The award was established in 2012 by the G.E.T. Association, dealing with the promotion of eno-gastronomy and development of wine tourism. The White Grape Cluster today encompasses all regional countries, with the trophy awarded each year at the G.E.T. conference according to public votes from the entire region. This year there were 19 nominated wineries, and trailing Vukoje were Vuglec Breg from Croatia, Kopitović Winery from Montenegro, Ilok Cellars from Croatia and Kovačević Winery from Serbia. All nominated wineries were given plaques, and the five best crystal trophies from Rogaška Glassworks.
Besides the awards ceremony, held at the Principovac countryside estate in Ilok, G.E.T. organized the 4th conference on eno-gastro tourism. Organizers brought together eminent tourism experts and representatives of the most significant tourism institutions in Croatia and Slovenia, in order to discuss trends and challenges in the tourism sector, exchange best practices and entice discussion on the importance of strengthening cooperation of the public and private sectors for sustainable development of eno-gastro tourism.
It was a two-day conference, meant for professionals from the eno-gastro and tourism sectors of all segments – winemakers, producers od delicacies, caterers, traders, tour operators, tourism workers, marketing agencies, institutions, investors and all interested parties from the region, under the patronage of Croatian president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Tourism Ministry of Croatia, Agriculture Ministry of Croatia, Croatian Chamber of Economy, Town of Ilok, Vukovar-Srijem County Tourism Board, Ilok Tourism Board, Pleter-usluge, Lana Karlovac printing house and the golden sponsor Ilok Cellars.
“Eno-gastro tourism is a relatively new branch of tourism and is expanding greatly. It is an important fact that Croatia and neighboring states can offer a great number of indigenous wine varieties, but also interesting and ecologically grown ingreidents, quite interesting to tourists from highly developed countries,” said Tomislav Stiplošek, chief editor of the G.E.T. Report and President of the G.E.T. Association, pointing out he is convinced eno-gastro tourism is the activity which will bring prosperity to winemakers and their communities. Presentations at the conference were held by Željka Balja (Introduction – Who manages a destination?), Ivica Miličević (Tourism in Ilok), Damir Kmećko (Principovac countryside estate), Romana Bunčić (DMK – good practice examples and problems faced), Matej Perkušić (Is successful branding of Baranja as a tourism eno-gastro destination possible?), Ivanka Luetić Boban (Culinary heritage of Split-Dalmatia County), Petar Misja (Good practice example – Podčetrtek District) and Miroslav Varga (Google and online marketing in tourism). Tina Eterović Čubrilo, President of the Croatian and Deputy President of the global FIJET, international federation of journalists and tourism writers also participated in the conference.
“Eno-gastro tourism sees wine as a locomotive of the economic development of a destination, and people touring cellars will also gladly taste other delicacies, meet the history and culture of a destination and potentially buy a souvenir,” concluded Stiplošek.
The unique Principovac vine growing position has cultivated the Traminer variety since 1710, ad Ilok Cellars turn it into wines which win prestigious titles ad awards at the most influential national and international competitions. The location is within reach of Ilok, offering an impressive view of Ilok, Srijem and Bačka. Principovac castle was built in 1864 as a summer residence of the Odescalchi Duke family, now housing a restaurant with a rich gastronomy offer, and the estate offers luxurious and modern apartments on a hill, offering privacy, peace, quiet and a charming view.