The first Wines of Dalmatia festival was held on 13 and 14 April in Split, in the Student Campus area. The choice of the space may be odd at first glance, but when you think about it, it sure makes sense. The location is not in the very center of town where it is difficult to park for both presenters and visitors. The very space is large and tall which is quite important – enough room, not crowding and plenty of air, quite important. And another important matter: lots of natural light.
I very much liked the buzz of students around the festival and was under the impression the organizer managed to bring the wine festival closer to them. Someone might say: “Yes, teach the youth to get drunk,” but that is not correct; we are teaching them the wine culture, and there is a great difference.
The festival itself had many interesting presenters from all over Dalmatia and there were excellent wines for tasting. Split caterers probably stopped by the stands of other festival guests, the winemakers from the Graševina Croatica association.
What is important to note is the fact that this is the first such festival organized be winemakers themselves, the Wines of Dalmatia Association. I cannot tell if this means the winemakers are not satisfied with organizers of other festivals or they simply wanted to try their hand at it, but in fact it does not matter; they made a large step forward – starting a festival and navigating those waters.
The organization itself was just fine. There were a few minor shortcomings, but this is simply a matter of experience, surely this will be better next year. The only critique I must note is the lack of promotional activities ahead of the festival. As this was the first year, some of the truly significant winemakers of Dalmatia were missing, who probably did not manage their time well in the flood of events, so I expect them next year.
Festival attendance was quite solid; not too many crowds, but this may be for the better – those that were there could truly enjoy the wine. We could enjoy the Stagnum by Miloš Winery which is a privilege in itself. The entire palette of Stina wines was on offer. The winery gets better each year and some aged wines such as Majstor are a true spectacle. I was personally most impressed by the Trnjak by Grabovac Winery; a truly wonderful wine. There was of course the Krolo Winery and Mas-Vin and many others… Dalmatia once again proved it has plenty to offer.
There were also workshops for those who want to learn more, and they could learn plenty of Dalmatian varieties. The workshops were:
Pošip – from the vineyard of Marin Tomašić Barbaca known as Caparin to the most important white variety of Dalmatia. Comparative tasting of chosen wines from all over Dalmatia.
Wines as a component of Mediterranean nutrition: medical point of view.
Maraština/Rukatac – hidden ace of Dalmatia. Multifunctional variety giving equally good fresh white wines as ripe, aged and dessert wines.
“Different Dalmatia – Kujundžuša, Zlatarica and Trnjak.”
Plavac Mali – comparative tasting of the premier three-year Plavac wines. Styles and evolution of Plavac aged three, an age seen as ideal for market launching of most premium wines of that variety.
Debit/Lasina – varieties of the Šibenik area and its potentials. Comparative tasting of chosen wines from winemakers who are passionate about preserving heritage and tradition.
Dalmatian red blend – future is in the affirmation of authentic coupages of the Dalmatian wine regions. Comparative tasting of chosen wines with an overview of positive experiences of established global regions.
All in all, we can say the festival was a success, but certain comparisons can only be made next year after the second edition. Then us journalists will be able to write more complex articles on the festival, as all that was good we commend, and all that wasn’t we forgive, as it is the first one.
We must mention the great chef duo – Hrvoje Zirojević and Braco Sanjin, who were assigned to the kitchen. We all enjoyed their delicacies with a symbolic financial donation for humanitarian purposes – the money was raised to aid Split students in need. Once again these cooking grand masters proved their human greatness. Trust me, tasting their food is truly a privilege.
In the end we should quote the organizer, Ivica Kovačević, President of the Wines of Dalmatia Association: “This is the first time we organized something like this, we are satisfied with the nuber of presenters, and the reactions and comments we received from them are positive. We are already looking forward to next year.”
And so are we.
Translated from the G.E.T. Report, for the original click here.