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article imageAndro Tomic in Brussels with a bottle of Prosek from Croatia

By Paul Bradbury     Apr 4, 2014 in Food
Brussels - Leading Hvar winemaker Andro Tomic, champion of the Prosek dessert wine, puts his case to the European Parliament in Brussels.
Croatia's most charismatic winemaker, Andro Tomic from Jelsa, was in the European Parliament in Brussels on April 3, 2014, in the latest chapter of the Prošek versus Prosecco saga, which was covered last year by Digital Journal.
The EU decreed last summer that the name prošek is too similar to the Italian prosecco, and must therefore be replaced. The fact that the two products have different names and are totally different products - one a sweet dessert wine, the other a sparkling wine - is of no consequence, and nor is the fact that the Croatian brand has a centuries-old tradition, whereas prosecco is a product of the latter half of the 20th Century.
Leading Hvar winemaker Andro Tomic at the European Parliament in Brussels explaining the differences...
Leading Hvar winemaker Andro Tomic at the European Parliament in Brussels explaining the differences between Prosek and Prosecco.
24 Sata
The decision, announced weeks before Croatia's accession to the EU on July 1, 2013, sparked outrage and was a wake-up call for some on the realities of joining the wider European family.
Tomic, as the leader producer of prošek (pronounced 'pro-shek') with his Hektorovich brand, became the most sought-after interviewee in Croatia, as a horde of international journalists including AP and BBC television made its way to his impressive Romanesque cellars in Jelsa on Hvar to seek out his opinion not only on the prosecco debate, but also his feelings on European integration.
Speaking in flawless French in Brussels yesterday (as reported on 24 Sata TV), Tomic once more pointed out the absurdities of the possibility of confusion between prošek and prosecco.
Tomic in Brussels is the latest international appearance from the winemakers of Hvar, who are enjoying something of a renaissance in recent years. With a wine tradition dating back to the arrival of the Ancient Greeks in 384 BC, the island's wine industry was decimated by phylloxera in the 19th century, when some 5,700 hectares were under cultivation, compared to just 280 hectares today.
Reduced quantity has not impacted the quality however, and the visit to Belgium followed that of Jelsa neighbour Ivo Dubokovic last month, while the neighbouring village of Svirce has produced an organic gold medal winner at Mundus Vini Biofach from PZ Svirce, and Ivo Caric's Bogdanusa was this week named among 6 of Croatia's top bottles by leading gastronomic magazine Saveur.
The Tomic prošek  Hektorovich  generally asknowledged as the finest in Croatia.
The Tomic prošek, Hektorovich, generally asknowledged as the finest in Croatia.
Andro Tomic
Hvar, the sunniest island in Europe, already suffers from an embarrassment of tourism riches and natural beauty, and the growing international recognition of its wines is one more string to that bow.
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