Wine Cellar’s ID
On the sunny island of Hvar many islanders make a living growing grapes and making wine. One of them is Andro Tomić, a winemaker who has found inspiration in wine and decided to continue 150 years of family tradition, having no second thoughts about his future profession. As a student at the Faculty of Agronomy in Zagreb he spent six months in France and toured about fifty cellars spending a few days in each of them learning new things and acquiring valuable knowledge. Upon return from France he became Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Agronomy and after finishing his master’s degree went south to Split. After being away for twenty years pursuing scientific career he came back to Hvar where he was born and in 1997 founded a company called Bastijana, engaged in the production of top-quality wine. Those who are lucky have tasted the awarded 1991 Plavac mali, and today uncle Andro is one of the most prominent and recognized Croatian winemakers.
Vineyards and assortment
Family vineyards in Jelsa surroundings are not large, so grapes are provided by about thirty co-operators owning vineyards at the best locations on the island of Hvar.
Sun-kissed southern slopes and the geographical position of Ivan-Dolac guarantee the supreme quality of Plavac mali, the trademark of the Tomić Cellar. In addition to the Plavac, the northern part of the island is covered in white grapes of various sorts, so vineyards are interlaced with Bogdanuša, Drnekušica, Maraština, Prč, Kuč and other indigenous grapes. In cooperation with the Bracanović family they plant and tend 2 hectares on the island of Sv. Klement, one of the Paklinski islands. The Pošip, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot have found their place in that special microclimate surrounded by the sea and warmed by the sun and later they continue their lives as Sv. Klement wine. They have realized that without having their own vineyards it is difficult to control the quality of grapes, and if everything goes as planned, they will soon have ten new hectares thanks to the concession for the land in the vicinity of the town of Hvar.
Cellar, technology, wines
At first the entire production took place at the Badel cellar in Svirče, but later it was moved to Jelsa into a new cellar built near the family house. The cellar is still not finished, but Andro is very proud and satisfied with the fact that he is finally making wine in his own production facility. Modern technology for the production of white and red wine is in use, but he believes that one must always progress and aim to achieve better. The fermentation facility with new stainless steel tanks is at the first floor and Plavac matures in barrique barrels in the cellar. One hundred thousand bottles of wine are put on the market every year.
In addition to Plavac, the main product is Dalmatian prosecco or prošek so it is not surprising that many connect Tomić with Hektorovich prosecco made from dried white grapes of Hvar sorts. They are still experimenting and searching for the best drying method,
‘It is ridiculous to think about prosecco produced from grapes dried in the attic under old wooden beams at this time and age. This type of production requires modern technology’, says uncle Andro.
In addition to white Sv. Klement produced from the indigenous Pošip grape, Bogdanuša, in his opinion unjustifiably neglected, will be put on the market as well.
Hvar u boci brandy is aromatized with seven aromatic herbs, and Hektor red wine produced with the technology used in the production of port wine.
While Andro enthusiastically tells the story of wine and tends to that part of business, his son Sebastijan manages the company and ten permanent employees. He started working to help his father, but today he can not imagine doing anything else. Andro’ daughter Janica often comes to Hvar from Zagreb where she lives, especially in the summer months, and enjoys talking to many guests who like to come to the wine cellar and talk about wine.
Andro’s sister Tanja is family’s ‘good fairy’ and she is in charge of collecting aromatic herbs for their herb brandy. They communicate po hvorski, in the local dialect. If you arrive in time, you will have a chance to try their homemade olive oil. In the cellar there is a beautiful area for wine tasting and socializing, decorated in Diocletian’s Cellars style. Since the entire family promotes wine culture, the atmosphere is always vivid and it seems that everyone comes back once they have visited.
To make wine one has to love wine, but one also needs to follow global trends.
Organoleptics is a dynamic discipline and consumer preferences change constantly.
Today barrique is in fashion, but if you offered it fifty years ago people would not have accepted it. It is hard to suggest someone what is better. I do not enjoy some wines as I used to seven or eight years ago and they leave a different impression now. I think a good oenologist follows trends and tests his work all the time. We are all individuals with our own opinions, but when assessing wine one must stay objective. I have to try a new bottle of wine every day to know what the world likes and drinks. That way I grow and keep moving forward.
Due to relatively small production output and great demand their products are currently available only on the Croatian market. However, with new vineyards they will be able to offer their products on European markets as well and that is the plan.
The foundations have been set long time ago and now it is a matter of finesse. Plavac mali is a great wine and a good investment opportunity. The Bogdanuša grape is widely represented on Hvar. I believe it can become a great wine and I would really love to achieve that. I have a hunch that white wine will come into fashion soon and white grapes are scarce in Dalmatia. In order to succeed abroad continuity is necessary, and the biggest problem of the Croatian winemaking is the fact that the production is not standardized and quality is questionable. Oscillations should be felt only to the extent each vintage differs from another, so only slight variations should occur. I believe that Dalmatia has a bright future