This story has been a decade in the writing. That may seem a long time until you consider that Croatian wines have been two and a half thousand years in the making.
The first mosaics showing amphora and vine are traced to settlers from ancient Greece. On the Dalmatian island of Hvar - Pharos to those Greeks but better known today for superyacht visitors - there are the longest continuously cultivated vineyards on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Then Romans brought their vines: with golden eagles, north and east as far as the Danube; with checkerboard mosaics, down the Adriatic to Split. Later, Venice spread its influence southwards, from Istria opposite. Whilst the Austro-Hungarian Empire continued viniculture in the Romans' footsteps. Even Napoleon left his mark on Croatians' wine lands.
Thus emerged a mosaic, still clearly visible today. Not that man alone created this mosaic. In each corner of Croatia, vines flourish under the same sun but in much varied lands and climates. The soils of Inner Croatia have all been rich since pre-history but green Croatian Uplands to the west breathe fresh mountain air, whilst Slavonia east to the Danube bathes in more golden summers. Along the Adriatic, mild Istria is where Alpine and Mediterranean climates meet whilst Dalmatian vines shimmer in rays mirrored by the sea.
Until recently, the sheer complexity of Croatia inhibited progress towards international recognition, as a country let alone wine source. Then, just as its wines improved, an inspired group of wine producers, big and small, came together from Croatia's four corners in common cause: to put Croatian wines on the map.
They sought advice from brandstory, which brought to the table its long wine world experience and a decade of exploring Croatia. brandstory rejected the anglicised title "Wines of Croatia" in favour of Vina Croatia, to reflect its warmer, classical origins. Vina Croatia would stand out from New World wines on history and heritage, from Old World regions on accessibility, simplicity even. Simplicity in Croatia? Yes, for this was one house, with many rooms (and 60 leading grape varieties!) but just four corners, four regional pillars, each with a distinct character - revealed in its leading wines. For wine explorers from thirsty Western Europe, it was simple to visit Croatia and, wherever they toured, to taste the place. In each glass of wine.
So it was that the brand story of Vina Croatia evolved, from its history, telling the simple, beautiful truth of its very own mosaic.
Vina Croatia-Vina Mosaica was written. In Croatia and now on the world map.
In a country of myriad opinions, this brand story has created uncommon unanimity. The pre-eminent critic in the national press wrote of it: "A brilliant official frame for the international campaign to brand and export Croatian wines". The country's wines now stand out at the world's fairs, on the world stage. For country and wines, a true identity is emerging.