A New Business Expanding the Presence of Croatian Wine in the U.S.

A Delicious Pairing

When you think about where a wine comes from, what countries do you think of?

I think about France, Argentina, Spain, Italy, and the state of California here in the United States.

I never thought of Croatia as a wine-growing region until I visited the country for myself in 2019.

Yet, it should come as no surprise that parts of Croatia are ideal for grape growing, considering it is located just across the Adriatic Sea from Italy.

Croatians have literally been making wine for thousands of years. And good ones at that. With the increase in tourists visiting the country in recent years (nearly 21 million tourists visited Croatia in 2019), it should come as no surprise that more and more people are tasting and liking Croatian wines.

And that’s why Win Burke and Mirena Bagur, Boston residents, decided that it was the right time to start introducing Croatian wines to the United States.

Mirena Bargur and Win Burke at a vineyard in Croatia.

Croatian Born

Mirena Bagur grew up in the small town of Metkovic in the Dubrovnik-Neretva region of the Dalmatian coast. For Mirena’s family, traditions were important. Her grandfather had a Plavac Mali (a type of Croatian red wine) vineyard.

Mirena is the VP of Brand Management of Croatian Premium Wines. She moved to the U.S. after college and started a career in global communications. She later became involved in high tech, which is where she met Win Burke some thirty years ago.

Win is what you would call a serial high tech entrepreneur. He is highly experienced in the early stages of startups and is the President and CEO of Croatian Premium Wines.

Win and Mirena became a couple ten years ago, and when Win traveled with Mirena to Croatia for the first time, he realized that the U.S. was missing out on some seriously good wines.

“I didn’t know there were Croatian wines prior,” Win said. “I was really impressed,” he said, after trying several types of wines while he was there.

With the increasing popularity of Croatia, and with the Boston-based couple having more time on their hands, it created a “perfect storm” to start a Croatian wine importation business.

Croatian Premium Wine offers reds, whites, and rosés sourced from the Komarna wine growing area of South Dalmatia. The soil is sparse here, mixed with limestone and faces south and southwest.

“We have lately been importing wines from Dalmatia because ultimately, that is where I am from,” said Mirena.

Picking grapes in a vineyard.

Pošip or Plavac Mali?

Pošip and Plavac Mali are the primary varietals of wine from this region. Pošip is a type of white wine that is crisp with flavors of apple and citrus.

Plavac Mali is the main red wine in Croatia. It is rich and has flavors of dark cherry and pepper.

Mirena likes to pair Pošip with seafood dishes, which is easy enough to do here in New England. “I am your classic Dalmatian cook,” she said. “I do a lot of veggies with grilled seafood,” she continued.  Personally, Mirena prefers Plavac Mali as her go-to, which she likes to pair with swiss chard, olive oil, potatoes, and red meat.

A New Wine: K7

Croatian Premium Wines, in collaboration with the Komarna Seven Association (K7), just created a wine specific to the American market called K7. Komarna Seven is a winery association of the seven wineries in the Komarna Appelation in Dalmatia, Croatia.

“To me, that is a true expression of Dalmatia,” said Mirena. It’s very aromatic; it’s got all the tannins that you want. “It’s dry,” she continued.

And it’s moderately priced! “I think it’s worth more,” said Mirena.

Meals Inspired By Croatian Wines

Recently, the couple has hosted three dinners in Boston that were inspired by Croatian wines.

“All three were sold out,” said Mirena.

Mirena and Win are continuing to work on expanding the presence of Croatian wines in the U.S. market and the growth in awareness of Croatia as a holiday destination and the moderate prices for this wide variety of wines from the Dalmatian region.

For information on Croatian wine, go to www.croatianpremiumwine.com

Explore Croatia and its wine while on your Croatia Yacht Charter.

Enjoy Luxury Living on New Horizons Fleet in Greece

Who wouldn’t want to enjoy the azure water of Greece?

If you want to plan a charter to Greece, than chartering one of the New Horizons catamarans offered by Big Blue Yachting is the way to go. With ample space both above and below deck, gourmet food and water toys aplenty, there are plenty of reasons to charter in Greece.

Big Blue Yachting currently has three catamarans in its New Horizons fleet. They are all owned by the same owner. They have a year round crew onboard and every winter, they are meticulously maintained in order to ensure that they are ready for the busy summer season. They already have confirmed charters for the 2020 season.

The spacious foredeck onboard New Horizons.
New Horizons

New Horizons is the smallest of the fleet (46 feet) and built in 2014, refitted in 2017. She is a Lagoon 450.

Dia Pappas is the operations manager for Big Blue Yachting, and she assured us that the catamaran is in impeccable condition and a perfect vessel for a more intimate charter setting (she has four cabins).

Enjoy gourmet cuisine onboard New Horizons.

All three boats are based in Athens and can do itineraries in the Cyclades, Ionian and Saronic islands.

One of the double cabins onboard New Horizons.
The New Horizons II also has plenty of deck area, both shaded and in direct sunlight.

 

 

Although there are some suggestedroutes for the boats, “we’re flexible on moving the boats around,” said Pappas.

There is an ideal deck for sunbathing on Horizons II.
New Horizons 2

New Horizons 2 is a Saba 50 and was built in 2016. She has ample space both above and below deck. She has five cabins: one master, three doubles and one triple and can accommodate up to 11 passengers.

Her aft seating area is covered so that you can lounge and dine in the shade. The foredeck is an ideal lounging spot for anyone wanting to enjoy some sun and take in the sights.

There is an upper deck  as well. She is staffed by a full-time crew of three.

Horizons II interior space is also ample.
Horizons II at sail.
New Horizons 3

The New Horizons 3 is the newest of the fleet (built in 2019) and has a total of five cabins. She is a Bali 5.4. and is also staffed by three crew members.

The New Horizons 3 is spacious and offers the best indoor/outdoor living.

New Horizons 2 and 3 can carry up to 11 people, and the New Horizons 3 can carry up to 10 people.  “All boats have been customized for a luxury holiday experience,” said Pappas.

Each boat has its own gourmet chef. “They are certified chefs,” added Pappas, and are perfectly capable of taking on even the most difficult of dietary preferences. She said that they recently had a charter on one the catamarans that had to be an all Kosher charter, and it it went smoothly.

“Preference sheets are sent to the crew at least a week before the charter” added Pappas, to ensure that all guests are happy with what they are served.

Each catamaran is equipped with a water maker so you don’t have to worry about running out of water.  “Everything onboard is very unique,” said Pappas.

Other perks onboard these boats making them the “Tiffany’s of Catamarans” according to Big Blue Yachting, is that each boat has teak decks throughout, air conditioning, hydraulic gangways and they even offer robes and slippers to each guest.

Horizons 3 spacious interior.

Charters can be personalized, weather permitting and can range from one to three weeks.

Some of the places that you can visit include the Cyclades island group, which offers sandy beaches, instagram-worthy blue and white architecture, and Greek traditions and history.

The foredeck of Horizons 3 at sunset, which also offers a perfect setting for dining.

Mykonos is part of the Cyclades and is one of the most well known Greek islands. Here, you will find those idyllic sandy beaches.

Nearby, is the island of Delos. Considered one of the most important archeological sites in Greece. The island can be reached by ferry from Mykonos, Paros or Naxos. If the weather permits, you charter boat captain can take you to island and arrange for a tour guide. Or, if you hop on the ferry, there are guides offering their services as you land.

The island is an important archeological and historical site. Evidence shows that Delos has been inhabited since the third millennium BC. There is a museum to visit here, as well as the different archeological sites.

And when being awed by the richness of Greek history gets too much, there are always watersports. Each boat has SUPs (stand up paddleboards) and sea scooters. They are equipped for water skiing, tubing and snorkeling.

“The diving is also very nice,” said Pappas. There are sunken ships, planes and even archeological sites to dive on.

For more information on the New Horizons catamarans, reach out to Christopher Patrick at chrispatrick@ckimgroup.com.

New Horizons is €8,800- €14,500 /week

New Horizons 2 is €14,000 – €18,000 /week

New Horizons 3 is  €17,500 – €26,000/week

Rates do not include VAT and expenses.

 

What could be better than fresh lobster?