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Secrets of Brač Winemaking Revealed

30.07.2015.

"They say that back in the old days Brač island produced more wine than the Croatia today", said Ivo Kraljević, tasting room manager at Stina Winery on Brač Island.
He told us how back in the 1900's, there was a grapevine disease in France, called filokara – which in return increased the demand for wine on the island of Brač. The French discovered that on Brač, wine was produced in a similar way as in France, so they began ordering large quantities of wine from the area of Bol. At that time, locals mostly produced Vugava and Plavac mali, which were later exported to France and around with boats. "That is why the winery was built so close to the sea, because all transport was done with ships."



The Stina Winery was preserved for years, however, only in 2009 did it come alive, when Mr. Jako Andabak took over the lease and modified the winery with brand new technology, hardworking employees and an amazing atmosphere.

The renovation process was very expensive, but that is why Stina today is one of the most modern wineries in Croatia, which has already gained a very good reputation on the market. "It's very popular, especially amongst tourists with a higher spending range who are searching for something new and exclusive, but here they can feel comfortable and at home. We hope that the winery will be even more popular in the future."

What nature gives, is what you get

Brač is naturally an island with excellent wine making conditions for the wine sorts of Plavac mali, Crljenak, Pošip and Vugava. It's very hot and the vineyards are not irrigated, therefore everything depends on the weather, or in other words: "what nature gives is what you get". It rains a few times during the summer, and that's about it. For instance, Plavac mali is planted on the southern slopes of Brač, precisely because this location is much better for maturing, the reflection of the sun comes from the sea and shines directly to the vineyards. Because of this, sugars are much larger while the land is dry and porous.

"The terroir is extremely important – or in other words the influence of climate, man and maturation. All of these conditions influence the wine and give it a personal touch."

Limestone is the kind of stone very common on the island of Brač. It is very good for the cultivation of Plavac mali and its vines. Pošip can also be planted above sea level, it does not need to be near the sea, which is desired. This way, the wine is a lot more mineral. Therefore, we have vineyards that are on the southern slopes of Brač near the sea, and we also have vineyards that are 500 m above sea level, which makes them one of the highest vineyards in Croatia.

"Terroir creates a top quality product, but besides good climate conditions, new modern technology purchased in 2009 and professional oenologists are the other important factors in producing quality wine."



The process of winemaking:

1) Harvesting -
Before winemaking, we check the grapes to see if they are of good quality for wine making. If they are unripe or show signs of disease, we return the grapes to our local subcontractors, while all grapes that will surely produce quality wine and are ready for production are sent to the track.

2) Crushing -
From the track, the grapes move onto the "ruljača – muljača“ (rul – ya – cha, mul – ya – cha), which is a technical machine for destemming the berries. Now they move on to the pneumatic press machine.

3) Pressing -
The pneumatic press machine presses the grape must and collects grape juice, later on the juice is sent on to the fermentation process.



4) Fermentation -
is the process of converting sugars into alcohol and producing dry wine. When the fermentation process is complete, after about 10 days, the wine is cooled down and stabilized.

5) Clarification –
Then, solids such as dead yeast cells, tannins and proteins are removed (this is called the clarification process). Next, wine is transferred to an oak barrel or stainless steel tank and filtered in order to remove any excess particles from the wine. The wine is kept in the barrels for about a month or two. Finally, the wine is ready for bottling or aging. In this case, we are ready for bottling and putting our wine on the market.

6) Aging –
aging is optional! But a very cool option, we use barrique barrels for example. Using oak barrels gives the wine a rounder, smoother and more flavored taste. As the wine ages, it's exposure to oxygen also increases, resulting in a decrease of tannins and reaching better fruitiness of the wine.

We use French, American and Croatian barrels which give off vanilla, caramel, coffee and chocolate scents. At the end of aging, we mix the 3 barrels together and get a variety of scents! ;)

More about barrique barrels and Stina Wine..

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