(AP Photo/Darko Bandic) ( Darko Bandic )
Bastijana was once again in the international spotlight yesterday, as owner Andro Tomic gave an interview to Associated Press on the Prošek scandal. As Croatia's leading Prošek producer, the winery has been in demand by the media for its position on the threat to the centuries-old name, which is now under threat due to some perceived confusion with Prosecco. Bastijana hosted a press trip in Jelsa on April 27, 2013. Read the interview below.
To join EU, Croatia may give up its wine
JELSA, Croatia - Does Croatia's Prosek jeopardize Italy's Prosecco?
Croatia is gearing up to celebrate its entry into the EU, but don't pop the corks just yet. A heated trademark battle over the country's beloved sweet dessert wine has some feeling less than bubbly, mirroring rapidly declining enthusiasm among Croats for membership in the economically battered bloc.
The EU has ruled that once the Balkan country becomes its 28th member on July 1, Prosek can no longer be sold under that name across the EU , even at home. It maintains that Prosek's name is too similar to Prosecco, Italy's sparkling beverage.
And, it's not just Prosek that's in trouble of disappearing. EU member Slovenia claims Croatia has no right to market Teran, a red wine made in the northern tip of the Adriatic shared by Italy, Slovenia and Croatia.
Croats are fiercely proud of their wine, a cherished product of the sunny, rocky Croatian islands on the aquamarine Adriatic sea. Many Croatians have sacrificed for EU membership, including losing jobs in unprofitable state-funded companies ordered shut by the bloc, and some see the wine ruling as adding insult to injury.
Joining the EU will give Croatia access to new markets and its citizens freedom to work in other countries, but some Croatians are beginning to agree with other EU residents who have chafed at what they consider interference by bureaucrats in Brussels. When Croatia gained independence from Yugoslavia in a bloody war some 20 years ago, about 75 percent of its population of 4.3 million wanted to be a part of the EU. The latest polls show the number has dropped to 45 percent.
Croatians point out that Prosek and Prosecco are different products, one sweet, the other bubbly. And the Croatian brand has a tradition dating back centuries, whereas Prosecco is a product of the latter half of the 20th century.
"Prosek is an established brand that has been produced in these areas for more than two thousand years," Croatian winemaker Andro Tomic said at his Romanesque winery in Jelsa, a picturesque town on the Adriatic island of Hvar. "Prosek was made here long before the current Italian state started to exist."
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