First Dalmatia Wine Expo is not something I would miss! As the wine story of Dalmatia (and Croatia) grows and gets more and more great international publicity, attending events like this one is an absolute must. So, after we visited Vinistra last month, it was time to see what Dalmatia had to offer.
This first Dalmatia Wine Expo was taking place in picturesque Makarska and although the organizers had a very nice plan to host the event at the very beginning of the tourist season, it looked more like late October with terrible rain pouring for two full days. But, the event was nevertheless, successful and well visited.
With over 80 exhibitors this was a great event to learn more on local wine producers and to meet the winemakers themselves. As our plans on expanding wine tours in Dalmatia, and wine tours in Croatia in general, we met some quite interesting contacts. One of the wines I liked the most was fantastic Nevina by Saint’s Hills winery from Sinj. This new winery is climbing fast at all lists with their GREAT wines! They do not grow grapes in Sinj but they purchase from several producers on Peljesac and from Istria. However, as soon as their big, newly planted vineyards start bringing grapes, I am sure they will get even better. Definitely a winery to keep an eye on!
Next place on my list to visit is Grabovac winery from Proložac near Imotski. We had an interesting conversation with the owners and we will be creating a nice wine tasting tour of this lovely cellar. Grabovac wines are actually quite interesting and we had a chance to taste a lovely local Kujunđuša wine as well as sparkling rose. More on their wine cellar can be found here http://www.vinarijagrabovac.hr/ but only in Croatian…
We enjoyed a number of great wines: Plenkovic’s new Crljenak, Pošip Čara, Pošip Bibich, Merlot Badel from Korlat vineyards… But what would this event be without local food?
Great people from Imotski kept slicing pršut and cheese creating crowds. They were also offering locally grown strawberries and that was a huge success!
Overall, the event was a great success just by getting over 80 producers in one place and I think this will continue to grow to respectable event. Also needed is the support of local authorities and national tourist board who did not want to pay about 15000 USD to bring top 20 international wine and food journalists. The impact on our tourism and wine production would be enormous from that measly 15 000 USD. But, as always, wrong people in wrong places cost us too much time and money…
And here is the photo for history! Me (on the far left) with Mike Grgich in person! Next to me is Milan Ožić, the organizer.
Mike Grgich was great! Immediately he started speaking in Croatian and loved talking to us not playing a superstar wine maker that he is. He told us a story of his beginnings in wine business – at the age of three his parents would put him in big barrel to press grapes. The barrel was big enough so he would not fall out and, if he was thirsty or hungry, he would only had to grab from the bottom. “Old school” child raising and wine making!
Mr. Grgich is holding the latest issue of Visit Split that features a great story on origins of Zinfandel.
http://www.dalmacijawineexpo.com/novosti/ – The official site