Wine conference held

As one of the activities of the EU project “Wine folklore as a historical identity of Podravina and Pomurje” (reVITAlize), a Wine conference was planned, which had the task of discussing current events in viticulture, winemaking and related topics. It was organized by the Koprivnica Town Museum and Nexus production from Koprivnica and held at the Mijo Kovačić Gallery on 26 June 2021 from 12 to 4 pm in two sessions.

Due to the limited space in the gallery and the epidemiological measures, it was possible to watch the conference live on a YouTube channel using the following link: https://youtu.be/OGyVaBxLlMc. The conference itself was attended by 25 participants from Croatia and Hungary who attended ten different lectures.

At the beginning of the conference, on behalf of the organizers and hosts, the director of the Koprivnica Town Museum, Robert Čimin, PhD, welcomed everyone and thanked the lecturers for participating. He noted that this was the first such conference in Koprivnica and expressed his hopes that it would become a traditional event since University North now had a Department of Food Technology which, among other things, works with wines as food products. In addition, Podravina and Prigorje are specific areas in Croatia where vineyard houses can normally be found next to vineyards, among which those of traditional architecture are especially important as a living element of the local population. Namely, in the past, there was almost no family in Podravina that did not own a vineyard and often spend time there.

The first presentation entitled “Wine label and brand evolution” was presented by the employees of Studio Borčić, a family company that turned their business towards communicating design content to the audience. As a positive example of product branding evolution, the company Ipša was singled out because with them, during the last ten years, they have been developing and crating one of the most recognizable Croatian wineries and olive groves with a clear visual identity, webshop for the end user, and the possibility of physical experience on site.

This was followed by two presentations given by professors from University North. First by Assistant Professor Dunja Šamec, PhD, entitled “Health in a glass of wine polyphenols or something else?”, in which she addressed the impact of wine on human health and presented chemical compositions of different types of wines and the effect of ethanol and polyphenols on people. It was concluded that only moderate wine consumption can be beneficial to our health. Then, Associate Professor Bojan Šarkanj, PhD, in his presentation “Microorganisms in grapes: good, bad or evil” spoke about the effects which these beings, or microflora, invisible to the human eye, have on the wine and grape vine. For example, yeasts directly affect the process of wine making through their fermentation, some bacteria spoil wine, and molds create microtoxins which can be fatal to humans.

This was followed by Željkica Oštrkapa-Međurečan, MSc, from the Ministry of Agriculture with the current viticultural topic “Prevalence of grapevine yellows disease and the population of the American cricket in the area of ​​Koprivnica-Križevci County”. The aforementioned titles addresses a contagious disease and a parasite which threaten the survival of the vineyard, and for the control of which a great effort of all people involved is needed, from the state to the individual. Furthermore, their eradication requires energetic and drastic phytosanitary measures, which include clearing and destroying infected vines, even entire vineyards, and obligatory control of the vector - the American cricket.

The oenologist Luka Košćak from the Kostanjevec Winery spoke about the “Traditional method of producing sparkling wines”. It consists of the production of base wine with key parameters and types important for sparkling wines. Moreover, the processes of the production of primary processing, fermentation and stabilization of the base wine, secondary fermentation and aging, turning, degreasing and bottling were also presented.

After a brief discussion, a half-hour break followed at around 1:45 pm.

The second part of the conference began with a presentation by Helena Tomić-Obrdalj from the Laboratory for Sensory Analysis of Podravka d.d. with the topic of “Wine foodpairing secrets”. Food pairing is the practice of creating harmonious compositions from an orchestra of aroma intensity, texture, taste, smell, color, and temperature. When one learns how to pair wine and food on a gastronomic horizon, a new range of wines opens up for us to enjoy and explore. It is shown very clearly which wines are associated with what kind of food, which are used for marinades, glazing, sauces, cooking, and which are exclusively made for moderate consumption.

Mladen Papak, as a long-term director of Ilok cellars and the current independent entrepreneur in wine production, spoke about the “Ilok terroir and assortment in Ilok vineyards”. Using the extensive experience in creating top branded wines, he passed on his knowledge of the circumstances of Ilok and its surroundings, which provide opportunities for the production of high-quality wines whose varieties are natural or even autochthonous, and with which they have been trying to expand their offer in recent years.

Mag. hist. Nikola Cik from the of Koprivnica Town Museum presented an interesting topic “History of viticulture in Koprivnica and its surroundings”. Through cartographic and topographic representations from around 1780, and also through some younger sources, he presented the representation of vineyards on maps, which marked wine production as Podravina’s important economic activity. He further explained the specifics of Bilogora through gorges and hills, and presented the oldest historically recorded data on vineyards, their locations, records of sales, recorded conflicts and deaths, etc. Since 1869, the organization of various vineyard properties (vineyards, meadows, vineyard houses, orchards, groves, arable land) can be noted using a cartographic key, which has continued to the present day.

This was followed by a slightly different presentation “Olive growing in Croatia - yesterday, today and tomorrow” which was presented by the leading connoisseur of olive growing in Croatia, Tomislav Filipović. It was found that “oblica” was our first autochthonous variety and that all our oils produced according to the rules of the profession were extra virgin oils. Oils are divided into two types according to general characteristics: northern (green, stronger herbal scents) and southern (golden yellow, fruity). Finally, some characteristics which oil should have were presented: fruitiness, bitterness, spiciness, complexity, harmony, and consistency. It was concluded that Croatia had a very bright future in developing olive oil production.

The last presentation was given by Domagoj Matković, the president of the Association of Wine Enthusiasts 5F, who spoke about the event “Koprivnica WineFest, from enthusiasm to wine festival”. He spoke about the beginnings in 2016 where, as part of the “Koprivnica Christmas Fairy Tale”, they wanted to promote the local wine scene and the culture of drinking wine. A year later, the Association of Wine Enthusiasts 5F was founded which, in 2019, independently organized the mentioned event. The wineries Kostanjevec, Matočec, Jušta, Cik, Vujić, Topolovčan, Ban, Šipek, Stina vino, Krauthaker, Kaptol, Kunčić, Negri, the County Association of Winegrowers “Fran Galović” and the oil mills “San Antonio” and “Bovan” were presented. The desire for the development of the event has still remained since, alongside the event, we also had a concert and this conference which has grown into an international event as part of the reVITAlize project and the Koprivnica Town Museum.

At the end, a small discussion and conference conclusion were held with a wish to repeat it all in the foreseeable future. Also, it is a great benefit that the entire conference was video recorded and that it could be used on other occasions.

The program was implemented with European Union funds within the project "Wine folklore as a historical identity of Podravina and Pomurje" (reVITAlize) within the INTERREG V-A cross-border cooperation program Hungary-Croatia 2014-2020.

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