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The most charming wine event

Mare Mrgudić: Our advantage on the global market is that we are unrecognizable

Mare Mrgudić: Our advantage on the global market is that we are unrecognizable

She will say she was born of dingač and married into postup. Her top wines, Dingač bura and Postup Mare, have received numerous recognitions and awards. She produced her first dingač in 1995, and today she exports a high 80 percent of her wines to US, Switzerland and Great Britain. For quite some time Marija Mrgudić , born as Marija Bura, has been one of the most esteemed Croatian  wine producers whose wines found their place on the global wine map.

You are among rare Croatian wine producers who were able to place their wines on the global market. How do you succeed in doing this and do other wine producers have a chance seeing their bottles in New York, London or Zurich stores, like you?

Eighty percent of wine I produce is aimed for export. Some 12 years ago we turned to exporting, when it wasn’t really popular, but we believed we can succeed. We started exporting to Switzerland and then slowly broke into the US market. New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles; today we practically cover the whole east and west coast of US. The British market is new to us, and we hope to repeat the American success in a very demanding wine centre such as London. I perceive the exclusive orientation toward the local market to be difficult, especially after joining the EU. The Croatian market is too small and a lot of wine is being imported, so we have to find our niches abroad.  I think the Dalmatian wine producers have a very strong future in this regard; they can find their place on the global market, especially when Plavac is concerned. That which seems as a flaw is in fact an advantage. Plavac is still not recognizable, and today’s trend on the global wine scene is exactly that which is unknown, exotic, and unrecognizable. We have that advantage and we should learn how to use it. What I mean to say is that you cannot sell wine at the price of 20 euro just because its name is Dingač. It must have substantial quality to cost 20 euro.  In the same fashion, quality Plavac cannot cost 10 euro if its value is not 10 euro. I think we do have the quality and with this quality we can go anywhere to find the niches that will satisfy our needs.

Four years ago you established the Postup Association with the objective of raising wine quality and creating identity?

Postup Association gathers some hundred wine growers and wine producers, mostly family estates, all of them Postup producers. We established the association as soon as we felt the need to join forces in order to present our wine on the wine scene in the best possible way. We realized that in the past 20 years white wine has taken a back seat, and we have excellent potential for it being a first class wine. We also wanted to use the so called appellation, the protection of our Postup geographical area dating to 1967. It is this year that we celebrate the 45thanniversary of appellation, and in honor of it on 21stApril we will organize a round table related to this subject, to properly mark the Postup appellation. We hope to be successful in bringing the professor Ivan Sokolić who worked on the appellation, Andro Tomić from Hvar who worked at the Institute of Adriatic Culture and who declared the appellation, to tell us how it all went on in 1967 and to compare it to today’s situation. A renowned guest from Italy, highly esteemed in wine circles has also suggested she will attend this event.  

 

The Chairman of association “Wines of Dalmatia”, Ivica Kovačević, says there is a flood of wine events in Croatia. How good is this for the wine scene development?

Something should certainly change there. I consider the model of classic festivals like the ones we had thus far to be exhausted. There is the Zagreb Vinovita, for example, once a rather popular wine festival which is practically done today. It just failed to follow the wine world trends and it was trampled over by more modern festivals like Dalmatia Wine Expo (DWE) or Wine Gourmet, which offer so much more to wine producers and guests.  Today, it is just necessary to offer something different, as the wine world charges ahead at full speed, requiring the festivals to adjust each year in order to survive. Dalmatia Wine Expo is certainly a bright example of this. In one of my first conversations with the late Milan Ožić I recognized the enthusiasm, young people full of desire to succeed, and I immediately agreed to come and give my support. I think this is a young crew with good ideas, and I hope they will succeed in recognizing the wine world trends and know what to change with time in order to maintain the quality of the festival. One just has to feel the pulse of wine producers and the visitors and know how to offer them what they are looking for.

You brought Robert Benmosche, American businessman and friend of the American president Obama, to the first Dalmatia Wine Expo. You grew zinfandel with him, or better said crljenak vine which was brought back to its home land of Pelješac from US, with your help. How is that cooperation progressing?   

The cooperation with Benmosche is going great. You will have the opportunity to taste his Dingač Benmosce at the next DWE. Unfortunately, he will not be present at DWE, as he is coming to Croatia in May. Robert visited the first DWE, gave his support and recognized the work of young people who are to do something for the Dalmatia wine scene. We are still trying to expand the Zinfandel, i.e. Crljenjak plantations, but we are facing great administration problems. We also plan to build a winery, but this project has also faced obstacles. We don’t intend to stop as we think we are on good track, but success requires a lot of patience and strength. 

  • “I salute the efforts of the organizers who, with their dedication and effort, managed to bring to life a significant enogastronomy event. Being acquainted with one of the leading enogastronomy festivals in Dalmatia, I have decided to become the patron of the festival.”

    IVO JOSIPOVIĆ, President of the Republic of Croatia
  • “This festival is very significant to promoting the wine culture of Dalmatia.”

    MIKE MILJENKO GRGICH, renown Californian-Croatian wineproducer
  • “Dalmatia Wine Expo is an event that follows no pattern, and does this in a very becoming and professional manner. It might not be the biggest, but it certainly is the most charming wine event. ”

    LADA RADIN, journalist with gastro.hr
  • “I salute the fact that “Dalmatia Wine Expo” is held in Makarska. Wine industry holds a great potential for your country. I especially welcome the enthusiasm of organizers who initiated such a noble idea.”

    ROBERT BENMOSCHE, CEO of AIG, US
  • “The best wine event in Dalmatia.”

    dr.sc. LEO GRACIN, wineproducer, assistant professor at the University of Zagreb, Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology

http://youtu.be/VdWsb-e7u7I http://youtu.be/Uzm2Xd8BJoo http://youtu.be/9KL6DYVaHY4

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