Vina Croatia 2015: Croatian Winemakers Storm Manhattan

A Short Report & Photos from the 2015 Vina Croatia Grand Tasting in NYC (Photos © 2015 Cliff Rames)

Braving frigid winter temperatures and blustery Hudson River winds, representatives from twenty-four Croatian wineries and over 500 guests turned out on February 24, 2015 for the third Vina Croatia – Vina Mosaica Grand Tasting at Astor Center in New York City.

The wineries attending the Grand Tasting included: Agrolaguna; Badel 1862; Benmosche Family Vineyards; BIBICh; Degrassi; Feravino; Galic; Grgic; Jakovino (Stina); Korta Katarina; Korak; Kozlovic; Krauthaker; Lagradi; Markus; Matosevic; Milos; PP Orahovica; Rizman; Saints Hills; Suha Punta (Gracin); Volarevic; Zlatan Otok; and Zigante. Collectively these wineries presented nearly 110 different labels, allowing guests to discover a wide range of wine styles from Croatia’s four diverse wine-growing regions and fascinating collection of indigenous grape varieties, such as Babić, Debit, Graševina, Lasina, Malvasia Istriana, Maraština, Plavac Mali, Plavina, Pošip, Teran, and Zinfandel, as well as a host of international varieties.

A focal point to of the event was two sold-out masterclass seminars with special guest speakers. The first masterclass was entitled, “Meet Croatia”. Moderated by Saša Špiranec, regional wine expert and writer and Christy Canterbury, Master of Wine, this seminar offered an overview of Croatia’s wine growing regions and major grape varieties through a guided tasting of nine wines. The second masterclass seminar, “American Winemakers Who Fell in Love with Blue Adriatic”, focused on three Croatian wineries that have a connection to the United States, two of which were founded by Americans after they visited Croatia and fell in love with the country.

The session was moderated by Cliff Rames, Certified Sommelier and founder of Wines of Croatia, and featured two guest speakers, Ivo Jeramaz, Vice President of Vineyards & Production at Grgich Hills Estate, and Ari Benmosche, representative from Benmosche Family Vineyards of Dubrovnik. Attendees of the seminar tasted two wines from each of the three wineries. “We are really going global,” joked Benmosche, as he described his family’s annual 4,000 bottle production of Plavac Mali and Zinfandel. While Croatian wines really aren’t storming the market or going global just yet (more distribution is needed), the positive reactions of so many of the attendees that crowded the Vina Croatia event demonstrate that these small-production, well-made, and delicious wines with curious names are starting to emerge from obscurity and find their niche among some of the world’s best and most interesting wines. Perhaps the winds that blew that day were indeed the winds of change.

Check out this selection of photos from that exciting day!

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