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Rich in natural resources Mediterranean destination

The second part of the interview with H.E. Ms Andrea Gustović-Ercegovac Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia in the Hague about Croatian potential.

Beata Bruggeman-Sękowska: Croatia has its own natural resources, including oil and gas and most of all renewable energy sources. It also extracts and processes large quantities of salt from the sea. Could you please tell us more about it and about the Adriatic Oil Line system; JANAF?

Croatia is rich in natural resources. Among the most important are water, forests, oil, gas, and minerals. Croatia is one of the less populated country and natural resources are well preserved. Forests make up 37% of the territory. Energy sources include: wood, hydro energy, coal, oil, natural gas and geothermal sources. Oil is extracted at 34 fields and natural gas on 19 fields. Croatia covers 65% of its energy needs from its own resources. There are more than thousand power plants which use renewable energy sources (wind, solar and biogas power plants).

Croatia has a long tradition of salt production. There are three salt plains in Croatia, on the island of Pag and cities Nin and Ston. The most famous one is on the island of Pag. The tradition of salt production derives from the time of the first settlements in the area and salt was a strategic product for centuries. Solana Nin dates back to Roman times and during the summer is visited by a large number of tourists from all over the world. Solana Ston originates from the 14th century and is still in operation.

Adriatic Oil Pipeline (JANAF) is a Croatian company that manages the transportation of crude oil. It consists of a port on the Adriatic Sea (Krk) and 760 km pipeline, which also branch to the neighboring countries (Hungary, Slovenia and Serbia). Installed capacity is 20 mil. tones per year, and designed capacity of 34 mil. tones. It has also significant storage tank space which is of strategic importance in the supply of oil refineries not only in Croatia but also the EU member states and South-Eastern Europe (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic). Due to the reversibility of pipeline refineries can supply oil from two directions. In doing so, it is important that the pipeline has free capacities and allow a significant increase in the transport of oil from the direction of Omišalj for: refineries EU Member States and also refineries in Croatia and Southeast Europe. Furthermore, JANAF is recognized as a strategic oil pipeline to storage facilities in the project of interest to the European Union under the name of JANAF Adria. Thanks to significant free capacities of pipeline countries in the region can multiply increase oil transportation.

Croatia is a wine-growing country. Vineyards cover 58,000 hectares of land and two-thirds of the wine produced is white, mostly in the continental region while red wine is dominant in the coastal region. Could you please tell us more about the wine industry and sorts of wine Croatia is proud of ?

Croatia is located where the hot Mediterranean meets the cold alpine climate zones, and where historically and culturally East meets West. This is what makes the wine culture in Croatia very unique. The sheer number of native varieties that have developed here by adapting to both the climate and the local customs are proof enough. Throughout generations wine has always represented much more than necessity and families rarely sold their wines – most was kept for their own consumption, or for friends and celebrations. In this respect it is interesting to note that almost half of the vineyards in Croatia are not registered for business and trade but are grown for personal consumption. Croatia is divided into four wine regions, sixteen sub-regions and 66 appellations. The four wine regions (Slavonia and Croatian Danube; Croatian Uplands; Istria and Kvarner; and Dalmatia) are located in the four corners of the country and each has developed its specific varieties that best personify the geographical features, climate and customs.

There are 4859 origin protected wines grown by some 1337 registered wine producers. In regards to wine varieties, amongst over 60 indigenous varieties, the most popular ones include: Graševina (white), Malvazija Istrian (white) and Plavac Mali (red).
Graševina is the most common sort in Croatia. Its characteristics range from delicate, refreshing wines in West Slavonia to opulent, dry, fresh and mineral wines from Central Slavonia and mature, powerful, full bodied wines that come from the Croatian Danube region. Sweet predicate wines from selected dried berries and ice wines are the jewels. Graševina can be found in other countries under various names, but in Croatia does it stand for a premium quality wine that is always listed at the very top of a winemaker’s portfolio.
Plavac Mali is used to craft some of the finest Croatian red wines, especially when it comes from the barren, steep southern slopes of Southern and Central Dalmatia facing the sea. These locales are the home to the most famous and priciest labels, wines that are often powerful, alcoholic, full bodied and opulent. Further inland, Plavac is used to make fruiter, lighter, juicier, everyday wines to be enjoyed with a variety of cuisines. Some expert say that this is the father of Zinfandel.
Malvasia is a bright, fragrant, spring – like white wine from the cooler air of mystical, green Istria. It is one of the few varieties of dry white wine that has the potential to age for more than a decade and keep its great form. Malvasia comes in two styles. It can be fresh; which is instantly recognizable by its IQ label, a certificate of his quality. On the other hand, Malvasia is also capable in ageing in a variety of wooden barrels. Depending on the winemaking process and ageing, it is ready for sale no sooner than two years form the harvest and can maintain high levels of quality for as much as ten years. Croatian wines can be found in the Netherlands through the following distributors: www.croatiangrapes.com

Croatia produces about 50,000 hectoliters of olive oil every year. How does it compare to other olive-oil producing countries and what makes Croatian olive oil unique?

In Croatia olive oil is cultivated all along the Adriatic coast, particularly on the islands with the long standing tradition. For Croatians – it is a part of our most ancient tradition and history as we have been growing in since settlement in the 7th century in the area of what is today modern Croatia, continuing the tradition of the ancient times of olive growing in the area. It became a symbol of survival, fertility, wisdom, victory and peace. Modern olive growing is based on the production of recognizable products. There are about 30 Croatian cultivators and 60 host cultivators. Croatian olive oils are protected by labels such as „geographic origin“, „authentic product“, “traditional reputation“, etc. With about 5 million of olive trees, 30 000 ha of olive oil groves and production of 7 million liter of olive oil, Croatia stands on the 15th place in the world in the field of olive and olive oil production. There are many autochthonous olive cultivars, and consequently recognizable Croatian olive oils. This has been proved several times in the last couple of years when Croatian oils won top awards at numerous fairs and olive festivals. The latest being the golden medal in the category “Best Olive Oil 2016” on the international competition in New York and a gourmet oil award by the French agency for the valorization of agriculture products (AVPA) in Paris that was awarded to the Croatian producer “Zlatni brig”.

The similarities with other Mediterranean olive oils are numerous but the specifics lie in ecologically-viable clean cultivation (in large part on the islands), in areas where there are no large urban agglomerations, in the strict quality control, and specific taste of old sorts.

Croatia is a very popular tourism destination also among Dutch people. What tourists love about Croatia?

Last year 14 million tourists visited Croatia and 78 mil. overnight stays were created. Around 370 000 Dutch tourists visited us. Excellent road infrastructure is great advantage, creating Croatia one of the closest Mediterranean destinations for European tourists. With one of the richest archipelagos in the Mediterranean and crystal-clean sea, Croatia is ideal relaxation spot, whether you enjoy sailing or trying out the excellent oenological and gastronomic offer with your family and friends. Croatia is highly recognized tourist destination with well-preserved environment. On a relatively small space it has 8 national parks and 11 nature parks. Four national parks are situated in the costal and four in the mountainous region: Brijuni, Kornati, Mljet, River Krka, Plitvice Lakes, Risnjak, Paklenica and Northern Velebit.
The coast is not the only site worth visiting. The capital of Croatia Zagreb won Best European Christmas Market title in 2015 and travelers from all over the world voted city of Zadar as the best European destination for 2016. Besides being included on the list of UNESCO world heritage, Dubrovnik was also the main filming location in Croatia for Game of Thrones King’s Landing and eighth episode of „Star Wars”.


@Copyright Communications-Unlimited 2016

Photo: Embassy of the Republic of Croatia

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