(Translated from the original post, published 11.03.2016 by Peter Panjkota, RTL Televizija Croatia)
For the past ten years, Cliff Rames, a native New Yorker whose father is from Murter island, has been on a mission to popularize Croatian wines in America. Many top sommeliers have listened, and Croatian wines are now offered in many bars, including one in the heart of Manhattan.
“Sometimes bar owners or sommeliers have not heard of Croatian wine or do not want to take the risk to buy a wine they think nobody knows,” said Cliff. “That is why it is hard work and you have to personally hand-sell these wines. But once they taste them, they usually say, ‘this is interesting…this is great…we should do this’”.
And they do. Like here at Anfora wine bar, where Plavina from vineyards around Šibenik is offered among proven favorites from France and Italy.
“These wines are special in their own unique way,” said Cliff. “I think that people who understand wine will want to taste the uniqueness of the wines of Pelješac, Hvar, Slavonia or Plešivica and be willing to pay a few dollars more for the experience—the experience of tasting a unique, indigenous variety that grows no where else except on a single island or field in Croatia.”
And has this experience been shared by any American celebrities?
“I once served wine to Jennifer Lopez,” laughed Cliff. “Unfortunately it was not from Croatia. It was from France. There is still time. So, Jennifer, if you’re watching….”
Conversations over wine often turn to politics, so a question for Cliff: What about this crazy campaign for the US presidency?
“Before i answer that, I need a drink!” laughed Cliff. “This is one of the craziest elections. What will stay with me—I hate to say it—is fear. Fear that this has opened a Pandora’s box of craziness, intolerance, hatred and just terrible politics for the future. So much negativity. So much attacking. It’s going to influence elections in the future and it makes me afraid, it makes me unhappy,” revealed Cliff.
Regardless of whether Hillary or Trump prevails, we hope that Croatian wine will be ever more frequently consumed.
For the original text and video, please click HERE.