Today in the Palace Ranjina, in the areas of the Dubrovnik-Neretva county, was held a press conference at 12.30 to mark the completion of the first regional wine festival, Dubrovnik FestiWine, which was held on April 24th to 26th in Klarisa.

Mrs Melanie Milić, the director of the regional development agency DUNEA, was the first one to speak to the guests, briefly presenting the project - where it started, why the project was initiated, why we have committed to this project on which we continue to work.

She said that the preparation of Dubrovnik FestiWine was very long and thoroughly elaborated, and after the Strategy of winemaking and grape growing of the county was highlighted as one of the problems because of the lack of publicity of wine and wine makers. DUNEA applied and got a project on a cooperaction work development in wine making and tourism called ''Mreža vinskog turizma – WiNe'' (Wine Network Tourism), which the central event is in fact the regional wine festival Dubrovnik FestiWine. The project incorporate wine routes, wine museums, wine training programs and lasts 24 months.

As part of the Dubrovnik FestiWine was held a competition/evaluation of county wines at the hotel Lapad 22 and 23 April 2014. The results were presented by Mr Vido Bogdanović, secretary of the jury.

Mr. Bogdanovic announced that 60 winemakers from the Dubrovnik-Neretva County and 15 from Montenagro participated, with a total of nearly 200 labels. Regarding the competition, a total of 40 winemakers gave their wines to the competation, so that the total number of wines in the evaluation was 80. Per vineyards it looked like : Pelješac 43 wines, Konavle 28 wines, Korčula 4 wines, Komarna 3 wines and Neretva 2 wines. Of these, 26 were white wines, 4 were pink wines and 50 were red wines. According to the announcing, the winner of the contest were chosen in 24 categories, but due to the lack of wines in certain categories, only the winners of the following 12 categories received a diploma :

the winner, gold, silver, bronze, best rated red winner, best rated Malvasija Dubrovacka, best rated Rukatac / Marastina, best rated wine from vineyards of Peljesac and best rated from vineyards of Konavle.

The jury is composed of 14 international and local judgeg headed by the President of the competition Bojan Kobal, a total of 64 medals from the 80 applicants were awarded, meaning that 80% of the applicants received an award. According to the results of the competition and international criteria, wines from the Dubrovnik Neretva County are situated in a solid middle status under the world standards, and have the capacity to improve during the next few yeards. Mr Bogdanovic pointed out that we were worried avout the lack of gold in the white wines category, and that winemakers need certainly to improve their technology, though he said that some excellent wines haven't been in the competition, and he hopes that this will change next year.

A special project within the Dubrovnik Festiwine was certainly finding the best wine of the county with the Ston oyster in a "Blind date". 16 judges were there : professionals, journalists, and wines lover who gave the same number of points to Grk Bire 2013., Malvasija Metković 2013., and Pošip Intrada Krajančić 2013, that have now the stamp "In love with Ston oyster 2014".

Mr Davor Martinovic from Poljopromet, whose wine Plavac Mali Terra Madre 2011, from the Komarna vineyards, winner of the first Dubrovnik FestiWine Trophy 2014 said : "I would like to thank everyone - oenologist Ivanka Celar, workers, organizers, journalists. In 2008 we started with the raising of new vineyards in the area of Komarna - it was difficult. In 2009, we planted fifty thousand wines of Plavac Mali which has just come to harvest somewhere in 2011. We are surprise of having the first place because we are such a youn vineyard. Except for us, a couple of medals were won by Komarna ; it is a new region, very interesting and there you have the production of organic wine. We are situated only two kilometers from Peljesac, so it is a good position, even though the experts were divided, but there the proof - first award, best Plavac.

Only for 1 point of difference, the awards was subverted from Mr Bozo Martinovic from Dubrovnik basement for Merlot Merlotina 2009. However, after the sum of the results, Terra Madre and Merlot Merlotina had the same number of points - 86,75, after a new blind tasting for the two wines, Merlot Merlotina went to second place. The result was 8-6 in favor of Plavac Terra Madre from Komarna. Mr Bozo Metkovic take this occasion to say "First of all, congratulations to my namesake for the award. I will not speak about wines, we will continue to work around wine and exert. I would like today to ask the journalists to help the winemakers and the organizers of this festival, because what people see on television, hear on the radio and read in the newspapers believe in that. If we want from our Dubrovnik-Neretva county to make a good wine story, we will not succeed without you. Without a joint approach with wine makers, organizers, local authorities and journalists, we will not succeed. Our cellar door is always open, you will be our dear guests, in order to educate ourselves. I am especially pleased that the jury was composed of international judges, because we can measure the same standards as the rest of the world. It is useless to tell us that something is good, when the voices of well-known people are heard around the world and claiming otherwise.""

Eventually, the prefect M. Nikola Dobroslavić said :"The festival has confirmed that the best production of Croatian wines is produced in our county - both red and white. In my opinion, the festival was excellent and I am glad that winemakers agree with taht. We achieved what we wanted during the wine week - that the county wines are on the tables of restaurants and tourist facilities around the county, because the quality of these wines deserves it and I hope that we will have the support of restaurateurs in the tourism sector, as we had the support of winemakers during the festival week. Independently, the competition confirmed two things - that we have an excellent wine and there is a capacity for improvement, and that the county has the best material we can imagine and can make excellent wines. I would like to thank our sponsors and donors who have helped us. Congratulations to all the winemakers who participated in FestiWine, and special congratulations to the awarded and the winner. Activities of the festival will end with the completion of the festival, we want that the festival become a permanent annual event. Thank you and congratulations to everyone until the next FestiWine, which will be next year about the same time.

Tonight, the Dubrovnik FestiWine festival officially ended. The Farewell dinner was organised in the restaurant Klarisa, where the winners of the festival were announced (Dubrovnik FestiWine Trophy 2014).

On Tuesday 22th and Wednesday 23rd, in the Hotel Lapad, was held a competition / wime evaaluation. The jury was made up of local and foreign judges, oenologists, writers, journalists, bloggers, promoters of wine and wine culture, and at the head of the jury was Mr. Bojan Kobal, who holds an official license for judging wine competition, and who regularly participates in numerous international competitions, and is employed as an oenologist in Slovenia Ptuj cellar.

The winner of the competition Dubrovnik festiWine Trophy of 2014. was Plavac Mali 2011, vineyards KOMARNA, Poljopromet Ltd. The winners of the festival and the award FestiWine Trophy were decided by the fifteen judges : Anna Aga (Greece), Chris Alblas (the Netherlands), Vitomir Andric (Croatia), Boris Bernašek (Croatia), Staša Cafuta Trček (Slovenia), Dusan Jelic (Bih / South Africa / Serbia), Lars Torstenson (Sweden / France), Dominique Vrigneau (France / UK), Zeljko Suhadolnik (Croatia), Tomaz Sršen (Slovenia), Quentin Sadler (United Kingdom ), Alexander Noršić (Croatia), Angela Muir (the United Kingdom) Bojan Kobal (Slovenia) and Darrel Joseph (the United Kingdom).

The announcement of the winners was held by Mr. Vido Bogdanović, the secretary of the jury, and the dimplomas of the best ones were presented by sponsors. The diploma for the best wine, and winner, Poljopromet, was handed by Mr. Nikola Dobroslavić, prefect.

The winners of today's event 'Blind date' was also announced - where the best Dubrovnik Neretva county wine was find to pair with Ston oysters, the jury gave the equal number to three wines - Malvasija Metkovic, Grk Bire, Pošip Intrada Krajančić. These three wines will receive the stamp "In love with Ston oyster 2014".

It has been an exciting wine week, and the realization of the second FestiWine week is already on everyone's mind.

Today in Ston, within the Dubrovnik FestiWine Festival, was held a "blind date" - a quest for finding the best county wine pairing with oysters. After the competition, the jury was joined by the vocal groups ("klapa") from the Aklapela festival, so that the Villa Koruna was echoed with klapa's singing. One member of the jury who selected the best county wine with Ston' oysters was Rene Balakolivc, who gave his review on this day.

"Because of the culinary fulness of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, it is not easy to determine who should be the leading culinary icon. Most experts would probably chose Ston oysters as the main attraction. As it is Dubrovnik FestiWine's idea to in fact position wines in the broadest context, thus it was needed to have professionals in order to select the perfect wine to go with the county's leading culinary icon.

In order to not debate for nothing, a simple and fascinating method was conceived to solve this problem. Near from the Ston oysters farm in Villa Koruna in Mali Ston, experts from various fields gathered, there were 16. While the owner was persistently opening the freshly picked oysters, wine was poured into glasses from concealed bottles. They were in fact covered with foil paper so that nobody knows their identity and therefore have a completely objective testing. There was 20 county wines selected to be served with the fresh oysters : 18 white and 2 pink. The jury had at his disposal a simple grading system from 1 to 5 (from poor to excellent).

It was a small culinary school. Again, the problem was with the abundance of flavors and aromas. The strongest of course were the native county varieties : pošip, dubrovačka malvasija, maraština and grk. Pink wines were vinified of Plavac mali. The experts point of views differed. Some prefered the French experience - offer with fresh oysters fresh wines, sparkling wines, so in the French case champagne or young Sauvignon. In that sense, from our county wines variety, the young Malvasija and also other white varieties would have advantage.

But, on the other hand, there was also opinions saying that it was not necessary to follow the French experience in a manner that we could, in this case, set up our rules. Oysters from Ston are among the world's best oysters, they are recognized by their marked minerality which are powered by groundwater. This distinctive minerality can have its reflection and in "serious" white wines as experts like to say complex wines.

Therefore, we could also seek for minerality in wines, which is not a problem to find in the best wineries in our county. We can even offer pink wines, which would be another dilemma. Some experts have insisted that in some special circumstances and special meals, we could offer our delightful red wines. All these incertainties are resolved. Ratings and votes are counted, but they are kept in secret in order to be announced at the Farewell dinner of Dubrovnik FestiWine festival.

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