About 130 winemakers and winemaking equipment manufacturers gathered in the northern Adriatic town of Porec on Friday for the 23rd Vinistra wine exhibition.
The opening ceremony was attended by President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic.
Grabar-Kitarovic said in her opening remarks that Vinistra was making a strong contribution to the branding of Istria as a wine region. She said she was a staunch advocate of decentralisation and that the present system of counties was a very good solution for Croatia. "This system has given Istria the status of county and region which enables its development, and with support from Zagreb it can develop even faster," she added.
"I believe that the government will do all it can to accelerate those processes and strategic projects," the president said.
"Teran, Malvasia and Merlot are all synonyms for excellent wines on an international scale. I support the proposal by Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic who considers that we have quality and now we need quantity. I have met a lot of prominent people who have asked me whether we have sufficient quantities of our fine wines for export," Grabar-Kitarovic said.
Oreskovic said that Istria and Croatia have wines of excellent quality, but it is necessary to increase their quantity to make them more competitive on international markets.
Responding to questions from the press, Oreskovic confirmed that he personally would form and lead a team of negotiators with Hungary's MOL oil and gas group about the INA oil and gas company.
"Who says we are faring poorly in the arbitration? No one said that. We only said that the arbitration is continuing. We will set up a team of negotiators and start negotiations before the arbitration ends," Oreskovic said.
The head of the Vinistra association, Nikola Benvenuti, said that last year was an excellent year for Istrian winemakers, and that Istria had great potential as a wine region.
The Vinistra wine exhibition is taking place from May 13 to 15, and will include various workshops and presentations, including a presentation of Croatia's first sulfite-free wine.