From time to time, questions arise: What is the mission of Wines of Croatia? Who is behind the name and logo? What are its goals and future objectives? Does Wines of Croatia sell wine?
Often it is easiest to simply push ahead with business as usual and grow blind to the need for periodic adjustment of course, to the value of connecting with friends and supporters, and the necessity to ensure that the message is resonating with the right people in the right way.
I think you will agree, lately things have been pretty exciting. Last summer (in June 2011) we had the first-ever Grand Tasting of the Wines of Croatia in New York City, a successful event attended by over 200 U.S. wine professionals.
Then in September, one of the most important wine magazines in the United States, Wine Enthusiast, published a 10-page color feature about Croatia and its wines. Then in February 2012, Jody Ness broadcast a series of episodes entitled “Croatia Calling” on his Wine Portfolio program.
This year, the spring kicked off with a series of wonderful wine festivals: first the Zagreb Wine Gourmet Weekend and then the Dalmatia Wine Expo, both in April, followed by Vinistra, which kicks off this weekend in Poreč. A few weeks ago, Anthony Bourdain launched Season 8 of his wildly popular No Reservations TV program on the Travel Channel with an episode from Croatia.
With so much buzz about Croatian wines and the increasing responsibility I feel to work harder to better represent and promote Croatia, its wines and wine lifestyle, I decided that the time is right to take a moment to reassess and clarify Wines of Croatia’s mission and address a few of the questions I sometimes get asked. Much of what is covered in this post will also appear on the About Us and Mission pages on this blog and will shortly be available on the Wines of Croatia website.
I hope you find this post informative and interesting. Cheers!
Cliff Rames, Founder, Wines of Croatia
1. Who is behind Wines of Croatia?
Wines of Croatia was founded in 2007 by Cliff Rames, an American of Croatian descent who is a Certified Sommelier and Certified Specialist of Wine. Cliff administers the Wines of Croatia Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest pages, as well as writes for and manages this blog. When he is not spending his time at the helm of Wines of Croatia, Cliff serves as sommelier for the Caudalie Vinotheralie Spa at the world-famous Plaza Hotel in New York City. He also loves to spend time with his cockapoo (and Wines of Croatia mascot), Smokie.
2. What is Wines of Croatia?
Wines of Croatia is an independent, privately-funded, and increasingly membership-driven organization that supports, coordinates, initiates and/or conducts ongoing educational and promotional activities and events that raise awareness, expand appreciation and consequently increase demand for quality Croatian wine in the U.S., U.K. and other key international markets.
Wines of Croatia is the first and leading organization that promotes Croatian wines and the producers that make them, the wine regions wine roads that showcase their vineyards, the native grapes that give up their juice for us, the importers and distributors that enable the wines to reach our tables, and the wine tourism opportunities and agents that wait to welcome us to Croatia.
For more information, please refer to our Mission Statement.
3. Where is Wines of Croatia located or based?
Wines of Croatia is based in New York City. However, our mission and vision is global and focused on key markets where Croatian wines are in demand by consumers, imported and distributed by private businesses, and sold in retail shops and restaurants. We are in close contact with many Croatian wineries and other wines professionals in Croatia and internationally. Our friends and supporters come from all around the globe and many walks of life. One of the many beauties of wine is that it unites people. Our doors are open to anyone who shares our love and passion for Croatia’s wonderful wines, winemakers and wine regions!
4. Is Wines of Croatia a government agency?
No. Wines of Croatia is an independent, privately-funded, and increasingly membership-driven organization. It is not affiliated with or sponsored by any government agency.
5. Does Wines of Croatia import or sell wine?
No. Wines of Croatia does not directly engage in importation, distribution, wholesaling or the retail sale of wine. However, we work closely with many of these businesses, and we would be happy to advise you where you can purchase Croatian wines in your neighborhood.
6. How does Wines of Croatia fund/sustain itself?
Great question! You may have noticed that there is no advertising on this blog or our website. Whether or not this will change in the future is currently under examination. The harsh reality is, no matter how much we love the wines, it requires quite a lot of time, resources and support to operate as an effective and credible organization and to continue serving as a reliable source of timely information, news, data, and events.
Until now, Wines of Croatia has been self-funded through private resources, mainly provided by Cliff Rames with some help from a couple of generous individuals. U.S.importers such as Blue Danube Wine Company, Oenocentric, Dalmata and VinumUSA have periodically and graciously supplied wine samples. The Croatian National Tourism Board and the Croatian Chamber of the Economy have also provided airfare and lodging support for a few trips by Cliff Rames to visit wineries and wine expos in Croatia. The Chamber of Economy also provided financial backing for last year’s Grand Tasting in New York City, for which we are sincerely grateful.
From time to time we also offer certain quality items for sale. Sales of these items help to offset some of Wines of Croatia’s operating expenses. Currently on eBay we are offering a video called Croatian Wine Story, which is now on sale for $15. Please check this link for more info or to purchase your copy.
Looking ahead, the challenge of sustainability is an issue we must address. That is why we are planning to create a membership program, and we invite wineries, wine-related businesses, importers, distributors, retailers, restaurants and individual advocates to become members of Wine of Croatia in return for ongoing advocacy and promotion activities. Other options are also being considered, such as advertising, premium content subscriptions, and donations. Individuals or businesses that wish to become a member may contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
7. When will the Wines of Croatia website be finished?
Now that a new sustainability concept is in place, work on the website will resume. We project that much of the work will be completed in 2012. As new members come on board, content relevant to the members will proportionately expand.
8. Can Wines of Croatia make winery visit arrangements for me or develop an itinerary for my wine tour to Croatia?
Yes, but for a fee. Please contact Cliff Rames at email@example.com for a consultation.
9. I am interested in importing Croatian wines. Can Wines of Croatia suggest some wineries that may be interested in having an importer?
Yes. Please contact us via email for an exploratory consultation.
10. What is the best way to contact you?
The best way to contact Wines of Croatia is via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If there is a question we missed, please don’t hesitate to let us know.
Thank you for your friendship and support! Cheers!!