One sector of Hvar life which is undergoing a renaissance is wine.
Moving to Hvar. It is a dream for many for people to live on Croatia's premier island, but is it really possible to live here, and what to do once here?
One sector of Hvar life which is undergoing a renaissance is wine. Some of the island's better winemakers - Caric, PZ Svirce, Tomic, Zlatan Otok and Dubokovic are exporting more internationally, with Hvar markets now opened up in America, Singapore, China, Italy and Russia, for example.
But there is a more interesting international wine story - the foreign wine experts and enthusiasts who are moving to Hvar to live and work.
It all started when a young winemaker from Argentina arrived in Vrbanj just over a year ago. With a grandmother from Rudina, she was keen to explore her roots, as well as get to grips with the indigenous varieties of the island's grapes at the Plancic winery. A New World winemaker producing Bogdanusa! It is delicious, but not yet in the bottle, and the problems at Plancic have sadly meant that our talented Argentine is no longer with us and has returned to Mendoza.
Tonight, however, sees the arrival of Jo Ahearne, one of only 314 Masters of Wine in the world (there are more astronauts). Jo discovered Croatian wines at this year's Dalmacija Wine Expo, and she seemed to be particularly impressed with the wines, and the wine potential, of Hvar.
Jo Ahearne visited the island for a week in July and met several members of the Hvar Wine Association, and she will initially be working in space provided by Andro Tomic to produce her own wine. A Master of Wine producing Hvar Plavac Mali - now THAT is a story.
There are others. Canadian Lidija Biro, who has Croatian roots, and who is studying for a wine qualification in Niagara, has been following the Hvar wine story for quite some time, and she contacted the President of the Hvar Wine Association, Ivana Krstulovic Caric several months ago to ask about possibilities of helping out and working in a vineyard. Lidija is now living in Pitve with her husband and mother and in the week she has been here, she has already fallen in love, both with the island, and the Caric winery where she is helping out. She has a blog which she has just started where you can follow her progress. http://divinevines.wordpress.com/
With more and more wines being exported and more and more wine professionals coming to check out Hvar, the future of the Hvar wine industry is looking very bright indeed.
*Author - Paul Bradbury
*Photo Credit - Antonio Rossetti / Rossetti PHOTO