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article imageUltra Europe Vrboska: Hvar Wine Association tasting season opens Special

By Paul Bradbury     Jul 16, 2014 in Entertainment
Vrboska - Hvar's winemakers put on a show along the canal in Vrboska, as a Master of Wine meets the world's oldest Plavac Mali vines.
With the exclusive resort town of Hvar given over to 5,000 electronic music fans at the Ultra Europe After Beach party on July 15, 2014, locals and tourists in search of a more traditional and authentic Dalmatian experience headed to the pretty town of Vrboska for the opening Hvar Wine Association tasting of the summer.
Located by the town's iconic bridge on the canal which has earned Hvar's smallest town the nickname "Little Venice," organizers were surprised by the number of visitors, which numbered several hundred, including a large number of residents of Hvar Town.
The opening event of the 2014 Hvar Wine  Association season was one of the best attended ever.
The opening event of the 2014 Hvar Wine Association season was one of the best attended ever.
Vrboska Tourist Board
"I wanted to support this event, as it this is what traditional Dalmatia is all about," said Zorka Bibic, author of the first dialect dictionary of the speech of Hvar Town. "I would much rather be here than at the Ultra Europe festival. Like many others, I am very concerned about the impact this increased party tourism is having on our long-term quality tourism."
Live music was provided by Rade Solaja  who played almost uninterrupted for four hours.
Live music was provided by Rade Solaja, who played almost uninterrupted for four hours.
Vrboska Tourist Board
Some of the top names in Croatian wine were presenting their Hvar wines, all members of the Hvar Wine Association, which was formed in 2010 as a means of better promoting the brand of the island's wines, which has a wine tradition dating back to the arrival of the Ancient Greeks in 384 BC.
Guests were free to sample the wines of Andro Tomic, regarded by many of the face of Croatian EU integration last year for his impassioned defence of the dessert wine Prosek, whose name the EU wanted to change to avoid consumer confusion with sparkling Prosecco; Ivo Caric, whose recent export markets include Italy and America; PZ Svirce, winners of organic gold at Biofach Mundus Vini in Germany; Ivo Dubokovic, regarded as the country's leading boutique winemaker; and Zlatan Otok, whose white Posip won regional gold at the prestigious Decanter awards in London last year.
Sometimes known as Little Venice  Vrboska is one of Dalmatia s prettiest resorts.
Sometimes known as Little Venice, Vrboska is one of Dalmatia's prettiest resorts.
Vrboska Tourist Board
The winemakers will return to action on Saturday in the wine village of Svirce for the annual Bogdanusa Evening, a celebration of Hvar's most famous indigenous white wine variety. Literally translated as "a gift from God," the presentation of Bogdanusa will be part of an evening of Dalmatian tradition, which will also include a rare game of zoga falo, which is all but extinct these days, but still played in Svirce (see video below of a previous Bogdanusa event).
Among the visitors to Vrboska was Master of Wine Jo Ahearne, who is visiting Croatia's premier island to investigate the potential of making wine on Hvar. Ahearne discovered the wines of Hvar at this year's Dalmacija Wine Expo in Split, where she talked to Digital Journal about the country's wine potential, and a humorous complaint about the lack of vowels in the names of some Croatian wines led to a direct introduction to the wines of Hvar.
Master of Wine Jo Ahearne meets Hvar winemaker Andro Tomic in his Bastijana winery in Jelsa.
Master of Wine Jo Ahearne meets Hvar winemaker Andro Tomic in his Bastijana winery in Jelsa.
As part of her tour of the Hvar vineyards, Digital Journal accompanied Ahearne to the Romanesque tasting rooms of Andro Tomic in Jelsa, as well as showing her the oldest Plavac Mali vineyard in the world, located close to the village of Dol. Plavac Mali is Dalmatia's most famous red wine variety and is a relative of the better known Zinfandel. As owner Sime Surjak explains in the video below, the vines survived the devastating phylloxera in the 19th century due to the sandy soil in the vineyard.
Ahearne, who is one of only about 300 Masters of Wine in the world (there are more astronauts than Masters of Wine), put forward the intriguing suggestion of working with the small vineyard's owners to make the wine for this year's vintage.
Master of Wine Jo Ahearne inspecting the world s oldest Plavac Mali vines in Dol on the island of Hv...
Master of Wine Jo Ahearne inspecting the world's oldest Plavac Mali vines in Dol on the island of Hvar.
Vrboska Tourist Board
While the vineyard is very small and the yield expected to be minimal, the prospect of a Master of Wine producing a vintage from the world's oldest Plavac Mali vines is the latest great story for an island of wine whose winemakers are growing in confidence and making an increasingly bigger impact on the international stage.
Master of Wine Jo Ahearne interviewed by Croatian national television at the Hvar Wine Association t...
Master of Wine Jo Ahearne interviewed by Croatian national television at the Hvar Wine Association tasting in Vrboska.
Vrboska Tourist Board
More about hvar, vrboska, Croatia, ultra europe, jo ahearne
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