Andro Tomić has Devoted his Life to Wine

By , 10 Mar 2017, 10:16 AM Croatian Wine Producers

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Legendary artist of Croatian winemaking, charismatic Andro Tomić, spoke to us about how his love for wines was born and how they became his life road. Tomić Wines, as well as Andro Tomić, have for a reason gained cult status on the domestic wine scene

Wish.hr: Mr Tomić, you have devoted your life to wines. How did your love for wines come about and how much did growing up on Hvar Island influence the choice of your profession?
My wine story began a long time ago, when as a child I had to pray to God with my grandfather when the corks were taken off from 20 hectolitres barrels. I remember those moments of great uncertainty until the wine was tasted. I will also not forget entering those barrels through the small door, where I used a small light to remove residual wine scale from the walls. Practically all my duties when I was a child were connected to the vineyards and cellar.

W: Tell us how your professional life came about and how the Tomić brand was created, recognisable in the wine world today?
The study of agronomics at the University of Zagreb and my preference for wine was recognised then, as I was accepted as an assistant in the Winemaking Department. I worked there for 7 years and trained students in practical and laboratory oenological classes, but also participated in scientific research. I was lucky that at the time the French government released a tender for 20 perspective oenologist from the world, with room for one or none from the former Yugoslavia. Out of 24 candidates, the French chose me which decided my future winemaking life. In those six months in France, with 20 other distinguished oenologists from around the world, I gained detailed insight into 50 wineries of all French regions. That experience was invaluable. The next seven years I worked in the Adriatic Culture Institutes in Split where as a scientist I participated in the creation of a study on the protection of geographic origin of Dalmatian wines. The decision was made then to return to Hvar Island, accepting the offer from Badel 1862 company to run the Svirče winery and be the main oenologist of the coastal area of Croatia. Upon arriving to Hvar I helped many wineries and individuals across Dalmatia, especially on Hvar Island, which I am especially proud of.

W: What enticed you to return to Hvar Island?
I had in me an entrepreneurial note and life taught me that I must do every segment of production on my own for it to be good, secure and efficient.

W: Tell us about the Tomić brand, what are the labels in the Tomić winery portfolio and what is your target market, or how do you see an admirer of your wines?
Our forefathers nurtured the best domestic varieties, but the challenge remained: how to pour all of their potential into superior wines. In this direction I founded in 1993 a company named Bastiana whose main goals were to produce superior wines, as well as promote wine culture. Today we produce 11 labels: 2 white wines, one rose, 5 red wines, 2 dessert wines and 2 liqueurs. Our target market is the one that likes to ask questions about wines and whose culture, acknowledgment and enjoyment of wine is growing.

W: What is your ideal combination of taste and wine? Can you recommend a combination of food and Tomić wines which can be prepared at home?
I offer to my guests, at the end of the tasting, my superior Plavac Mali together with domestic Slavonia kulen and Pag cheese. Plavac Mali is generally served among the last wines. Our homeland truly offers various indigenous food which can creatively be combined with different wines.

W: The Tomić Wines image is of a male character. But you gentle rose and white wines are recognised by many women. Is there a stereotype that Tomić wines are more popular with men?
I would say just the opposite, Tomić wines are more popular with women and not just gentle wines such as roses and lighter whites, but contrary to stereotype, red wines with character and full body.

W: Your wineries and wines are renowned and you have tourists coming from all around the world. What does your summer look like?
Our summer sees many visitors and countless wine tastings and toasts which we enjoy very much. There is always a lack of room, maybe the best indicator of going in the right direction.

W: Do you enjoy spending time in nature and how much does the beauty of Hvar inspire you in your wine creations?
I used to enjoy riding my motorbike across the hills and valleys of Hvar and today I tour it with my boat.

W: What are your expectations from the new 2016 harvest and which wine do you think will be the pride of the 2016 harvest?
The 2016 harvest was excellent and we expect all the wines to be of high quality. Furthermore, the Plavac red wine which is always in the quality label, will push into the superior class.

W: Which labels of Tomić wines are recognised by the younger generations, which wines do they prefer?
There are no rules. Wine is a personal matter and while someone prefers strong red wines, others will choose lighter white or even sweet dessert wines. It is important to have a choice, so everyone can choose something for themselves.

W: How much are Tomić wines recognised abroad and who drinks them?
Our export amounts to about 5% of total production. These are mainly red wines made from Plavac Mali which has become quite popular in the world in the past years. Actually, until now we didn’t strive to export our wines as we have always had a good domestic market, but this year we will turn to export as well.

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