Wine Cellar’s ID
In casual conversation during the not so long ago year of 1993 Antun Adžić at the urging of his friend, the then already known and acknowledged winemaker Ivan Enjingi, set out on the production of wine. Because of the family tradition already in existence and the natural surrounds, it wasn’t, he says, all that difficult to persuade him. The very next year he produced his first wine, Italian Riesling, from his own family vineyard. A year later, with great help from Mr Enjingi, in whose cellar the wine was aged, the first bottle went to market. In time he built his own cellar as part of the family house in the very centre of Kutjevo and moved the production there. Today he is well aware that the job of grape grower and winemaker is not easy but he likes it and has no complaints, rather makes self-effacing and yet bold progress. The steady quality and candour of his wines are his best cards today, and a sure map for the future. New and better wines of superior quality are a constant imperative for him. At home he is one of the significant winemakers of the Slavonian region, and in recent times his Rhine Riesling, which is taking leaps and bounds in quality each year, has begun to be heard of beyond the borders as well. With good reason, naturally.
Vineyards and assortments
The first vineyard with 5000 vines of Italian Riesling (Graševina) was renovated over the course of time, and today the family runs a total of 8 hectares of its own vineyards, and 2 hectares with subcontractors. In part, these are old vineyards bought up from local grape growers, and partially they are newly planted. Italian and Rhine Riesling, Grey Pinot, Pinot Noir and Zweigelt are cultivated on the best blocks in the very heart of the golden valley of Kujtevo. Venje, Hrnjevac and Mitrovac are particularly celebrated micro-localities. Since it is in the vineyard that the quality and path of the future wine are determined, everything is subordinated to careful cultivation, low yields and superior quality grapes. This year they have in particular drastically reduced the yields in the thirty year old plantations of Italian Riesling, and are looking forward to a substantial quality gain. “Every year brings new trials. Every day I am in the vineyard, going round the vines. I always do the last spraying myself. I inspect every vine. All the time, I am wondering what kind of vintage it will be, what novelty it will produce.”
Cellar, technology, wines
In this functionally built cellar, thanks to sound and high quality grapes, all the grapes are vinified without any use of selected yeasts, i.e. the fermentation takes place naturally, always assuming control of temperature. Whites are vinified and aged in stainless steel, and in a special small part of the cellar reds age in Slavonian oak barrels. Some 50,000 to 70,000 bottles a year find their way onto the market, depending on the harvest. It is interesting that the elegant and interesting labels are decorated by a detail of the needlework of traditional Slavonian costume called the Croatian star; the different colours on the labels are related to the variety, the gold label, for example, going to Hrnjevac Italian Riesling, which is created from selected grapes, and has been a delight to many. The wines are sold mainly on the Croatian market, a few going to Austria and the Czech Republic.
A family holding
Antun and his wife, along with three permanently employed workers, run the whole of the production; they are tireless in their endeavour that every bottle that comes out of the cellar should be recognised as a faithful reflection of quality and family tradition. The son Željko is charged with marketing the fruits of their work, and in recent times has become more and more involved in the actual production. At harvest time, son and daughter with their families join in, and the hard work turns into fun and companionship. A tasting room for about 50 persons is being got ready, for there are many inquiries from both local and foreign guests. If you want to find out a bit more about the actually production and the way the grapes are processed, just ask, for there are no secrets in the Adžić family. With due notice, they’ll give you a warm greeting, and along with first rate wines, will offer you something home-made, something Slavonian.
Wine is something that can be produced with a lot of philosophising and modern technology, or one can follow the tradition. I produce my wines they way they used to. I am different, but I have found a place on the market, found my fans. I have no lab, I don’t add yeasts. I don’t add anything to my wine. I am sure that it would be easier, but it wouldn’t be the same. It wouldn’t be me any more. My family has in a sense rounded off the production process, but in viniculture, it’s never over, so you can say, I’ve made it, reached the goal. There are always new challenges, something constantly pushes you on. Superior quality is the only thing that interests me. I like the job, and will do it as long as my health allows me.
We have laid down high quality foundations. Important things are going on around wine, and it is increasingly popular. I have three grandchildren, and I hope that someone will go on in my footsteps. I think that the Kutjevo wine region can do very well with Italian Riesling, which is not like the other whites. It’s a variety that gives a bit more. It is full of possibilities, from regular, late, select and ice vintages. It has its own significance, and is related to this region. It makes up 70% of my assortment, and so it will remain. The Kutjevo wineries and grape growers association has been working for several years already, and I hope that with our joint forces we shall put Graševina in the place it deserves. We mustn’t forget though the inland reds. The climate has changed, there is a lot of sun in the region, and in the last few years, some excellent reds have appeared on the market from the inland regions. Unfortunately, there are no good sites for the expansion of the vineyards in our region, unless bits of the forest are turned into grape growing land.