Iće i piće

NO 8, June 2008

wine and... Portrait of a Winemaker


Josipa Andrijanić

Photos: Damir Fabijanić

Wine Cellar’s ID

The tradition

When in long ago 1890 in the little Slavonian village of Hrnjevac Koloman Enjingi planted his first vines of Italian Riesling and Kadarka (aka Pozsonyi) he probably had no inkling that the cultivation of the grapevine and the making of wine would become a family tradition. Many years later his great-grandson Ivan left his job as a day labourer in the vineyards of the Turković family and at only 17 decided to make his own dream come true. A dream telling one of the best stories of the Golden Valley. A story about a man who, starting with 2000 inherited vines, by unremitting work, became one of the trailblazers of the future of Croatian wines. In 1965 he put down the first plantation vineyard in the former Yugoslavia, and each following year bought new land. Travelling around Europe and learning the trade from other vintners, in 1972 he introduced what was then very up-to-date equipment and replaced the traditional sale of wine in the barrel by selling it in bottles.

Vineyards and varieties

On the Enjingi estate they can boast of producing wine only from their own grapes. On 50 hectares of vineyard, the most common variety is Italian Riesling, and then come the varieties of Rhine Riesling, Grey Pinot, Sauvignon, Traminer, Muller Thurgau and the red varieties Zweigelt, Frankovka, Black Pinot, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The biggest and finest vineyard lies at a height of 385 m, the Venje block, and the rest on the best blocks of Hernjevac and Mitrovac in the Kutjevo wine region. The density of planting, with 8600 vines per hectare, the low yield per hectare, up-to-date machinery and good climatic conditions have resulted in a very high quality grape. Only ecological plant protection preparations are used for the prevention of diseases, and for nutrients, farmyard manure produced at home.

Cellar, technology, wines

The natural approach to production continues in the contemporarily equipped cellar, 2500 square metres in area, built in 1994, and Ivan proudly points out that he has never used selected yeasts in the production of wine. The rapid delivery of grapes to the cellar, the maximum cleanliness and superb technological conditions guarantee top quality and a natural course of fermentation, which takes place in big stainless steel vats, most of the wines though maturing in barrels of Slavonian oak. Some of the barrels are made in-house, and the whole objective is to put honest and individual wines on the market. The annual production is about 270,000 bottles of variety wine, and when climatic conditions enable the grapes to be left longer on the vine, in particularly good years, then they can offer a broad range of late and auslese vintages A particular place is occupied by Venje, deriving from the late vintage of the varieties Italian Riesling and Rhine Riesling, Grey Pinot, Sauvignon and Gewurztraminer or Savagnin Blanc; just come onto the market is a grappa – komovica – that has been ageing in the barrel for 24 years.

Commendations and awards

The Enjingi wines are wreathed with numerous commendations, they are drunk at the court of the King of Sweden. One award however is particularly noteworthy. Venje, at a competition in London in 2004, won the prestigious commendation of the wine magazine Decanter. It was declared the world best coupage in the category up to 10 pounds. At the same competition awards were won by the Italian Riesling late vintage and the Gewurztraminer hand-selected (auslese) vintage.

The estate

Twenty five people are employed on the estate, and it is important that all of them can do all the jobs. For Ivan, this is the only true philosophy, the only way into the European market. In the season, there is a lot to do, and out of season, they make their own barrels, put up new buildings, entertain guests from Croatia and elsewhere.

The philosophy

It’s all so simple. Wine is created in the vineyard. You have to put yourself second to the wine, and do everything in time. Every plant and every insect has its own place in nature. If people can sense nature, respect it, not disturb the natural balance, there’s nothing to fear. From a superb grape, you’ll get a superb wine. My objective is to work all the time and create something new, always better and always more than my forebears.

The future

The Enjingi cellar ambition is to put onto the market 98% high quality and only 2% quality wines, in order to increase competitiveness on the European market. Enjingi wines are sold in several European countries, and the object is to boost exports. Old vineyards are being rejuvenated, and the development of wine tourism is one of the important targets.

Vinogradarstvo i vinarstvo Enjingi

Hrnjevac 87

34335 Vetovo

(034) 267 200


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