Hvar's leading winemaker Zlatan Plenkovic is honoured with the first Milan Ozic Award ahead of the 12th Dalmacija Wine Expo.
The sloping vineyards on the southern hills of Hvar contribute to some of Croatia's best wines
There was more good news for Hvar's winemakers on April 25, 2012, as the island's leading vintner, Zlatan Plenkovic from the Zlatan Otok winery in Sveta Nedjelja, was honoured with the inaugural Milan Ozic Award ahead of the 12th Dalmacija Wine Expo, which begins in Makarska on Friday, according to a press release on the festival's website.
The award, given for Zlatan Otok's outstanding contribution to the Croatian wine industry, will be presented to Plenkovic at a special dinner at Hotel Park in Makarska on the evening of the opening day. Digital Journal spoke to Hvar Winemakers Association president, Ivana Krstulovic Caric before she departed for Makarska:
"It is the first time this award is given. Milan was one of the founders of Dalmacija Wine Expo, a young guy who loved travelling, loved wine and together with others started the idea to change the wine scene of Dalmatia. He died soon after last year's Expo from heart disease. So his friends named this prize after this young, entusiastic guy. We are extremely proud of Zlatan, and delighted that this award further promotes the 2,400 year wine story of Hvar."
Digital Journal has been following the Hvar wine story over the last few months, as the island - best known for its sun, beaches, nightlife and celebrity draw - is slowly becoming established as a wine destination in its own right. At the heart of this momentum are the efforts of the Hvar Winemakers Association, which was founded in 2010, with an aim to promote the brand of Hvar.
Hvar's wines have enjoyed spectacular success in recent months, with the island's best wine, the Zlatan Otok Plavac Grand Cru, recently featuring at the Ruby Watchco restaurant in Toronto with celebrity chef Lynn Crawford. The Svirce Cooperative won organic gold in Germany, Chinese businessmen have discovered the island's premier grape variety, Plavac Mali, and a recent Hvar wine tasting at exclusive Oslo restaurant Baltazar has opened up some intriguing possibilities for the Norwegian market.
The Hvar Winemakers Association will be fielding a strong presence in Makarska, with members including Bastijana, Vino Caric, Zlatan Otok and Vujnovic. They will be joined by Antun Plancic who is fresh from exhibiting at the fair in Podgorica, and one of the island's premier olive oil producers, Bozic Uje.