The Wine Fairs of Croatia: WineOS

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Unlike many other wine festivals mentioned on these pages, Osijek Wine Festival (full name: Festival of Wine, Delicacies and Fine Living) does not have a long tradition it can brag with. In 2016, only the third instalment of the two-day festival will take place in Osijek. And, quite surprisingly, the third festival will be held at the third venue, as organizers are obviously trying to find the perfect location for the growing festival. The inaugural event hosted around 50 exhibitors, last year’s was already 70 and the organizers are hoping this year in December around a hundred winemakers will attend. The festival has had international participation so far, with exhibitors from neighbouring Austria, Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is organized by Dekanter Association, Graševina Association, winery Vinita, and the city of Osijek, and is held in early December as a part of the initiative to attract tourists to the Advent in Osijek.

In an effort to promote Osijek and its gastro-oeno culture the organizers have been bringing the wine journalists from Zagreb to the festival, and also taken them to the tours of some of the wineries in the region, to show them (if they’re not already aware of that) what Slavonia has to offer. Some critics say that the chosen period for the festival is its biggest problem and that it’s the change that the organizers need to really consider, since it takes place after Zagreb’s Vinocom, a festival that is unofficially considered to be the closing of the wine festival season in Croatia.

Most of the Slavonian winemakers are present at the festival being held in their “capital”, and a lot of emphasis is put on graševina, and last year Vlado Krauthaker, one of the most prominent Croatian graševina-makers held a very interesting workshop on graševina and how to continually improve its quality and marketing presence. Other workshops were also held and were well accepted by the public and winemakers alike, and unfortunately we still don’t have the proposed program of the festival this year, so we don’t know which workshops will be held this December.

In addition to wine, the festival is dedicated to the delicacies, the finest of the foods offered in Slavonia, and kulen seems to have been at the centre of events so far. This year, we’ll see, so many delicacies in Slavonia to choose from, new venue might bring forward the new favourite. So, book the dates, December 9th and 10th 2016, Esseker Centre in the centre of Osijek, Osijek Wine Fest!


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