The fifth edition of Dubrovnik FestiWine will take place from 16 to 22 of April 2017 in Dubrovnik. The Festival is organized by the Dubrovnik-Neretva County and produced by the Dubrovnik PartneR Agency. The Festival has been supported by its loyal partners and sponsors since its inception.

Dubrovnik FestiWine was established in 2014 as the regional wine festival intended to promote wine culture and autochthonous wines of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County. In 2017 it opened its doors to participants outside the County and thus became an international festival.

'This year, Dubrovnik FestiWine celebrates its fifth birthday. We continue with dedication and confidence to develop the strategy of viniculture and winemaking in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County. We look forward to welcoming all participants and their wines, all visitors and wine connoisseurs. We welcome the healthy competition, where the wines from our county can prove their excellence even further”, said Nikola Dobroslavić, the Dubrovnik-Neretva County Prefect.

The central Dubrovnik FestiWine Exhibition will take place on Friday and Saturday, 20 and 21 April 2018 in the beautiful atmosphere of the Sunset Beach in Uvala Lapad (Lapad Bay). During the exhibition, wine professionals will meet winemakers and the guests will have the opportunity to take part in wine and cooking workshops, lectures and wine tastings.

The “Dubrovnik Wine Week” will open the Festival, during which many Dubrovnik citizens and their guests can visit restaurants, taverns and wine bars with the “Wine friendly” sign, and taste top wines of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County paired expertly with fine delicacies of the Dubrovnik region.

The “Dubrovnik FestiWine Trophy” is an international wine judging. The international panel of judges, oenologists, wine professionals, bloggers and wine promoters, headed by the president of the panel, Bojan Kobal, will select the best wines of the Festival. The results of the judging will be announced at the award ceremony dinner on 21 April 2018.

One of traditional events of the Festival is the blind tasting of wines that are paired best with the famous delicacy of the region, the Ston oysters. The event, known as “Blind date: In love with Ston oysters”, has become one of the most popular events of Festival sponsors, media partners, and professional judges alike.

The annual Dubrovnik FestiWine gala dinner will take place on Thursday, 19 April in the Dubrovnik Excelsior Hotel. The seven winning wines from the 2017 Festival will be the basis for the culinary creations by our young and renowned chefs, the guest chef Igor Jagodic and the host chef Petar Obad. Just like in the previous years, the proceeds of the gala will go to providing scholarships for the young Dubrovnik talents (chefs and sommeliers).

Dubrovnik FestiWine 2018 presents:

16-22/04/2018

DUBROVNIK WINE WEEK

Dubrovnik restaurateurs and hoteliers offer authentic menus with selected wines at promotional prices and are awarded the Wine Friendly title. All participating establishments will be provided with a specially designed, visible sign.

16-18/04/2018

DUBROVNIK FESTIWINE TROPHY – HOTEL EXCELSIOR

Renowned panel of international judges will taste several hundreds of wine samples, rate them and select the best. The partner of the Festival, the Adriatic Luxury Hotels, will include the winning wines into the wine lists of their hotels.

18/04/2018

BLIND DATE: IN LOVE WITH STON OYSTERS

Evaluation of wines that are best paired with the Ston oyster – pairing of the most valuable autochthonous delicacies (invitations only)

19/04/2018

FESTIWINE GALA DINNER – HOTEL EXCELSIOR

Guest chef Igor Jagodic from Slovenia and host chef of the Dubrovnik Excelsior hotel, Petar Obad, will answer the challenge of the FestiWine and create a unique menu based around the winning wines of the last year’s Festival. Seven wines will accompany seven creative courses. The proceeds of the gala dinner will go to providing scholarships for the young Dubrovnik talents (chef, sommelier and waiter). Two of them will be announced winners of the prestigious award and attend a month-long training in the Strelec restaurant in Ljubljana, where they will be mentored by chef Jagodic.

20-21/04/2018

DUBROVNIK FESTIWINE – SUNSET BEACH UVALA LAPAD

Central wine exhibition

B2B (winemakers and restaurateurs, hoteliers, wine merchants, sommeliers, wine journalists, bloggers etc.)

Wine workshops and lectures

Food and wine pairing workshops

Guided wine tastings

Wine tours

(invitations only)

Mark your calendar for Dubrovnik FestiWine, which takes place from 16 to 22 April 2018. Join us for the celebration of the fifth edition of Dubrovnik FestiWine. Meet our hardworking winemakers, taste some excellent wines, take part in our interesting workshops and lectures and find out a lot about wines

 

For the fourth consecutive year, two scholarships were awarded to future hopefuls of hotel industry and tourism as part of the Dubrovnik FestiWine Challenge program. The young and talented cook Kristina Curic and the gifted and skilful waiter Ivo Kmetovic received excellent recommendations from their employers as well as numerous colleagues and professors and spent a month in the small fishing village Zambratija and its restaurant Pergola. Upon their return from Istria, Kristina and Ivo shared the first impressions with us, not hiding their enthusiasm. 'We learned a lot during the month that we spent with chef Fabricio Veznaver, which is exactly why we are extremely pleased and proud of. We had a unique chance to learn from one of the best Croatian chefs about authentic specialties of Istria and the Mediterranean and a lot about food preparation and top service. The young talents from Dubrovnik-Neretva county have emphasised that the principle of work in the 'Food design restaurant Pergola' is truly unique; great attention is paid to all the details, from purchasing food and local ingredients, creating meals, designing the restaurant as well as how to individually approach and devote your attention to each guest'. They have also added that 'under the guidance of chef Veznaver, Pergola kitchen produces culinary masterpieces and we are so grateful for having had the opportunity to be part of this wonderful team in one of the leading restaurants in Croatia'.

During their stay in nearby Austria at the gala evening organized by the Kristina and Ivo had a unique opportunity to meet and learn from renowned
chefs Markus Rath, Stefanie Neugebauer and Lothar Krings, who are also, just like chef Veznaver, members of the reputable JRE group.
They also had the opportunity to learn about all the specific qualities of Istria and to experience a truly exciting gastronomic adventure. They headed to nearby forests to search for truffles and got to meet the Karlic family who have an extensive experience and long tradition of searching and harvesting this highly valued ingredient. Another special experience they had was visiting the majestic wine cellars of the Kozlovic winery, which has been officially recognized as one of the most beautiful wineries in the world by the renowned sommelier Paola Basso.

'I am very honoured to have been a part of the Dubrovnik FestiWine story, and particularly pleased to have had the opportunity to teach these young talents and share with them my love of food and wine', said chef Fabricio Veznaver, the guest chef of this year's Dubrovnik FestiWine.

The long-time patron and co-organizer of Dubrovnik FestiWine is the Dubrovnik-Neretva County. The Prefect and the initiator of the Dubrovnik FestiWine, Mr. Nikola Dobroslavic, can’t hide his enthusiasm for the success of the Dubrovnik FestiWine Challenge program, which enables
young scholarship recipients to gain new knowledge and experience. "Creativity and talent are always desirable, however, hard work and constant commitment are key to success. Our wish is to dedicate ourselves to educating young people who want to learn and develop professionally
and at at the same time strengthen and promote the culinary and wine industry of the Croatian South”, said Dobroslavic, pointing out that he would like to see a large number of interested young hopefuls sign up for the challenge next year.

This year’s recipients of the FestiWine Challenge scholarship Kristina Curic and Ivo Kmetovic will present their newly acquired knowledge and experience at the Dubrovnik FestiWine Gala Evening as part of the 5th Dubrovnik FestiWine, which will take place from April 16 to 22, 2018.

When exploring the wines of the region, these true wine enthusiasts, the young American-Singaporean couple, Charine Tan and Matthew Horkey, decided to stay in Croatia a bit longer than planned and to issue their second book, with an interesting title 'Cracking Croatian Wine: A Visitor- Friendly Guide'. This book is a practical guide for all wine lovers. It has been highlighted that many wine lovers often face time constraints when visiting a certain country and need to spend more time (which they often don’t have) to explore everything about the country's wines and authentic sorts. 

We talked with them briefly about the wine industry in Croatia, their plans and experiences.

What has brought you to Croatia?

In 2016, we wanted to cover the ex-Yugoslavian countries as part of our world travel through the lesser-known wine regions. As lovers of nature, gastronomy, and culture, Croatia has always been appealing to us with its swathes of coastline, traditional recipes, fresh seafood, numerous indigenous wine grapes, and heterogeneous society. Before we made our way to Croatia, we saw a few programs that made us particularly excited about the country. Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations: Coastal Croatia and a few episodes of Gary Vaynerchuk’s Wine Library TV presented Croatian wine in such a charming way. In the end, we spent one out of the three months we set aside for our ex-Yugoslavia tour in Croatia. We fell in love with the views, cuisine, wine, and most importantly, the people. Since our first trip, we've spent a total of nine months in Croatia. With all the knowledge and love for Croatia, we felt we had to channel all that energy somewhere. Hence, Cracking Croatian Wine was born.

Charine Tan Bio Photo

In one of your interviews, you mentioned our last year's associate, Cliff Rames, who significantly contributed in promoting Croatian wines, especially in the USA. How much influence did he have on you to start exploring Croatian wines?

Cliff has helped us a lot. His website basically set the foundation of our initial research. Without his work, we might have had to spend another month or so in Croatia to get the legwork done. Also, let's not forget that he was featured on Gary Vaynerchuk’s Wine Library TV! He brought Croatian wine onto THE show--that's really cool. The producers featured in the show, like Zlatan Otok and Clai, were the first few that we visited. 

The guide was published in August. What are the first impressions? Have you got any feedback? Have you got any comments from wine critics and sommeliers?

Our books are meant to be practical. They are not pretty coffee-table books or fine literature where the reader would chew on every word and ruminate. Instead, they are meant to be a cross between Lonely Planet's travel guides and Karen MacNeil's The Wine Bible: informative, handy, smart but never snobbish, and cater to wine lovers of all levels. We've received excellent testimonials and reviews from people in the business and visitors of Croatia. You can see some of the testimonials and reviews here: http://exoticwinetravel.com/cracking-croatian-wine-guide

Based on their feedback, I think we've achieved our objectives. We received quite a number of emails and messages from sommeliers, wine writers, wine importers and wine lovers who used our book when they were in Croatia. 

 What are your favorite wine regions in Croatia?

We've found vinous gems, exciting stories, heartwarming experiences, and the loveliest people in all the regions. It's not possible for us to say what's our favorite. But what surprised us the most during our research was Plešivica. It's about 30 kilometers southwest of Zagreb yet we've met so many wine-loving locals living in the capital city that haven't visited Plešivica. The views there remind us of Barolo in Italy. And some of the best wines of Croatia are born there as well. Oh yes, let's not forget the krvavica (smoked blood sausage) of Plešivica; it makes us want to spend every winter in Croatia.

You visited more than 40 countries and explored numerous wine regions. Compared to other countries, what are you impressed by the most in Croatia?

Croatia has a long tradition of winemaking and over 130 indigenous grape varieties. Many of those have unparalleled clonal heritage. The vineyards are located in some of the most beautiful places on earth. With a multitude of microclimates and soil types, coupled with the many autochthonous grapes that remain unknown to wine lovers outside the country, Croatian wines offer distinctive qualities that can amaze both casual and experienced drinkers. Sparkling wine, dry red, dry white, botrytized dry wine, sweet wine, and ice wine, Croatia can produce all that.

What do you expect from Croatian wine industry in the future?

Maybe not what we expect but what we hope to see? A constant increase in quality at a rapid pace. More indigenous varieties being made into wines in commercial production. More wine associations and groups that are able to bring together individual producers and work on marketing, branding, quality control as an entity. More market sensibility in pricing. A stronger presence on the international market. Better segmentation and targeting of market niches. 

Matthew Horkey Bio Photo

Future plans? Currently, you're in Belgrade?

We're heading to Sardinia next week to judge at the National Enological Competition for Vermentino. Thereafter, we will spend a few more days to learn more about the wines from Sardinia. Even though Italy is an established wine country, there are still many lesser-known wine regions in the country. That means there's a lot of work for us to do all over the world!

In November, we're doing a preliminary research on the wines of Hungary and we'll be there for a month. We're also spending some time in Slovakia in December to attend the Furmint Forum and learn more about Slovakian wines. Next year, we aim to explore Uruguay. To be honest, we're trying to cut down on our plans for exploring new wine countries, so we will have more time to deep dive into the places that we already know very well and publish books about them! We'll most likely work on a wine travel book about Serbia, Cyprus, or Mexico next year. 

Will we see you again in Croatia?

Absolutely. We'll be back in Zagreb in November 2017 for VinoCom, and we hope to attend Dubrovnik FestiWine next year. We are also planning to do a book tour all around Croatia in 2018. That will be fun and a good time to meet up with our readers and fellow wine lovers. 

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DID YOU KNOW?

That Plavac mali is the most numerous red grapevine variety in Croatia.
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