Croatian wines recently picked up 3 platinum and 8 gold medals at the prestigious 2021 Decanter World Wine Awards.
Whilst more than 200 Croatian wines received medals and recommendations at the largest and most influential annual wine evaluation in the world, exposure and knowledge of Croatian wines abroad is still small and limited.
Travel, food & wine writer Diana Škara Becevello is doing her best to change that.
The Canadian-born Croatian is currently doing her wine studies and has been promoting local Croatian wineries, winemakers and tasting their wines with them on her Instagram Girls Drink Wine Too in an effort to introduce Croatian wine to the international market.
We caught up with Diana, who was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, to find out more.
Can you tell us where is your Croatian background is from?
Both of my parents are from Croatia. My father is from Škabrnja and my mother is from Trogir.
How did Croatian culture play a part in your childhood and growing up?
The first language I spoke was Croatian, this was the only language spoken in the home until I started school. I went to Croatian school every Saturday and I was in a Croatian Folklore group.
Were you involved in the Croatian community in Canada?
I was in a Croatian Folklore Group.
Did you visit Croatia often growing up?
I have visited Croatia several times. The first time I was 3. I don’t remember much of that visit. Again when I was 7, several summers when I was a teenager, and a couple of times over the last years. Some of my favourite places are Trogir, Zadar, Hvar, and Istria, just a name a few. Honestly, there are so many.
What are some of things you enjoy about Croatia?
I love the beauty of Croatia, everything from nature, food, and people. I also love the lifestyle.
Can you access easily Croatian products in Canada?
We have access to some Croatian products in Croatia but more are becoming available.
Can you tells us about your projects trying to educate and get the word out about Croatian wine and your live Instagram events.
Wine has been a big part of growing up. My father made wine so we were always exposed to it. Recently I did my WSET wine studies and realized that there is no information taught about Croatia wine. I have partnered with Bozidar Jukic to connect with local Croatian wineries and have Instagram live events from Croatia and Canada, to educate people on Croatian wine.
How do you select which winemakers to profile?
Right now, I am profiling wines that are currently available in Ontario through Croatia Unpacked as this is where I live and love promoting Croatian wine to my fellow Canadians.
What is the knowledge of Croatian wine among wine lovers in Canada like?
Croatian wine in Canada is still very young and new. There is not much knowledge out there, that is where I would like to change that. Croatian wine is readily becoming available in Canada thanks to Croatia Unpacked and their initiatives.
What are your favourite or up-and-coming Croatian winemakers/wines you can recommend to readers?
I am loving every Croatian wine I have tasted. If someone is new to Croatian wine then I would recommend starting with Kujevo Grasevina.
For an introduction to red indigenous grapes then I would recommend Testament Winery Babic wine. If someone is looking for a serious bold red wine then I would recommend Saints Hills Dingac or Korta Katarina Plavac Mali.
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Do you have anything else coming up?
This year marked the first year of National Croatian Wine Day and Nicole Simunac and other Croatian brands partnered and did a Croatian Wine product and wine giveaway to mark that day. Nicole Simunac and I will be planning an in-person event in Toronto to celebrate National Croatian Wine Day in 2022 and hope to do several Croatian events leading up to the event.