by Miki Bratanić
From west to east, north to south, for centuries, Croatian regions have had their own wines as powerful brands based on unique stories
A hundred years ago, a major source of living on my birth island Hvar, and all over Dalmatia was wine. Almost every house had its own wine cellar, or Konoba, where wine was produced and stored. The quality of red and white grapes as the base for wine production was excellent.
Plavac Mali, Teran, Crljenak, Debit, Graševina, Pošip, Maraština, Bogdanuša, are just a few of the many native Croatian vine varieties spread around the country.
It was a custom that in front of a house, at the table there was a decanter full of wine as a sign of hospitality and friendship. Wine was consumed widely at all public events and served at parties.
A bunch of grapes, vines, vineyards and wine itself are embedded in many coats of arms, stories, and poems as some kind of trademark.
Thanks to people like Miljenko Grgić, Croatia plays a significant role in the history of the wine industry worldwide.
Wine is mentioned even in the lyrics of the Croatia national anthem “Lijepa naša domovino” written by Antun Mihanović.
There is no doubt at all that Croatia is a wine country.
These days we are facing facts that the Croatian wine culture is seriously impacted by the beer drinking culture. Strong and continuous marketing generated by large beer manufacturers changes the behaviour of the masses.
We are surrounded by beer commercials in all aspects. In our human mindset, it is almost unimaginable to watch a football match without beer.
Of course, it is not about stopping beer pleasure and production. There should be a choice and there should be competition.
But this is about asking questions.
Why are we so rapidly abandoning what we are, and accepting what we are not?
Why are we losing the power of our historical traditional story?
Croatia is a tourist country as well. We should invest a lot in branding in all areas. Wine branding should definitely be one of the key areas.
There are a lot of tourists around the globe who would like to come here to be introduced to our history, tradition, gastronomy, and to listen to our unique stories.
The wine story is an endless one, with so many aspects included and with the most valuable point; human touch with nature.
Abandoning our wine production, we are strongly impacting our nature, and changing the face of our landscape. What is Dalmatia or Istria without vineyards?
Our UNESCO protected cultural heritage “Stari Grad plain” was established by Greeks 2400 years ago mainly as a vineyard plain.
Without wine production it will be in danger to disappear as a cultivated area and loose its main purpose; be a vineyard.
There are so many arguments which are not possible to mention in this article, but let this article be a starting point for talks about the need for changes in our Croatian wine scene.
The Croatian national football team kit is red and white checks and it is our best brand. Let’s embed our red and white wines at squares and introduce the world with fact that Croatia is wine country.