From Croatia to one of New Zealand’s best winemakers: The impressive story of Eva Pemper
- by croatiaweek
- in Food & Wine
Eva Pemper, a Croatian living in New Zealand, embarked on a journey in 2012 to travel, meet people, and make wine around the world. Little did she know, this journey would lead her to fall in love with New Zealand and its wines, people, and places.
Originally from the central Croatian city of Bjelovar, Eva holds a master’s degree in winemaking from Agriculture University in Zagreb, Croatia, and a Graduate Diploma in Oenology from EIT, Hawke’s Bay, giving her a deep understanding of winemaking practices from different parts of the world.
Eva was always destined to become a winemaker. Her parents started making wine in a garage during the period of the Homeland War in Croatia, and as a family, they are proud of what they achieved in those difficult times.
After leaving Croatia just over 10 years ago and heading off on a journey, Eva settled in New Zealand.
She spent six years at Marisco where she gradually advanced to the position of assistant winemaker and later worked as a production winemaker at Marlborough Vintners for a few years.
In 2020 Eva launched her own wine label – Eva Pemper Wines.
One of the inspirations for Eva Pemper Wines is the significant influence of Croatian heritage in New Zealand’s wine industry. This history saw families coming to New Zealand over a hundred years ago with just their suitcases, following their dreams. Today, this dream has resulted in some of New Zealand’s highest-profile wine industry people and brands that are well-known and respected in New Zealand and around the world.
Eva is currently going around the world showcasing her wines. The tour continues to London after the USA where she has just been. She then travels to China, where she will be a part of the New Zealand Winegrowers and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise event called The China Roadshow in Shanghai. At the event, she will pour her wines for wine buyers, distributors, importers, and wine professionals from China.
Her last stop is Singapore, where she will be visiting one of the biggest wine trade events in the world, Vin Expo Asia. There, she will meet wine distributors from all over Asia, including Vietnam, Singapore, and Taiwan, presenting many opportunities to grow the Eva Pemper wine brand in Asia.
Eva’s journey has been full of unforgettable experiences, one of which was a fabulous evening in New York City, tasting her New Zealand-made wines in the middle of the city at a gorgeous Croatian restaurant called “Dubrovnik.”
“My Eva Pemper Wines around the world trip had the most amazing finish to my first part of the journey in the USA before I head to London.
What a fabulous evening that was last night! It was so special tasting my Eva New Zealand-made wines in the middle of New York City in a gorgeous Croatian restaurant called “Dubrovnik”! What a cross-section of cultures that just fitted perfectly together to create this unforgettable event.
“Thank you so much to Sam and Duska Ramic from WINESA , for coordinating and organising this event and special thanks to Ane Mljecka for the connections. Thank you so much to Zeljko, the owner of the restaurant Dubrovnik for his wonderful hospitality. The food was incredibly delicious and so authentic, brought me back to Dalmatia and the experience was so real. The seafood matched perfectly with my Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and the gorgeous traditional Croatian desserts went so well paired with my beautiful Single Vineyard Pinot Noir Rose,” Eva said.
The evening was made even more special by the presence of several renowned wine producers from around the world who joined the table. Among them were Alise Bisoli Mallenchini from Tuscany, Italy, who owns a winery that has been in operation for over 200 years outside Florence in Villa Medici. Cyril Noel, hailing from the heart of Bordeaux, France, brought his exquisite Moulin, Ellegance and Excellence wines to the table.
From Croatia, Ari Benmosche, Dingac and Zinfandel, and Željko Tomić with Tomić Pošip and Tomić Plavac Mali showcased their fine wines, all of which were curated by Sam & Dushka of WINESA. Guests Atanas and Tina, who originated from Macedonia, were also in attendance. The evening was an incredible celebration of wine, culture and community, bringing together people from different corners of the world to share their passion for winemaking.
“My heart is full and looking forward to come back again!” said Eva.
Eva will attend the AUS-NZ Croatian Women in Leadership summit which will take place in Biograd na Moru in Croatia this summer, presenting New Zealand wines as a guest speaker.
Her journey continues, and she looks forward to many more opportunities to share her passion for winemaking and the Eva Pemper brand with the world.