Croatians are an interesting bunch. We are a nation of so many contradictions. We can be incredibly strong and friendly and positive when we need to, but on the other hand we are often undisciplined, resentful of each other and negative. I’d like to think we display our good sides way more often than the bad. One thing we have problems with is jokes on our own expense. Generally, it can be tricky making a joke at Croatian person’s expense. So, naturally, this is exactly what I want to do.
Below are five types of wine drinkers in Croatia. Not everyone falls within these five categories of course, but these characters are just some that I meet around on regular basis. I’ve probably found myself in a few of the categories every once and a while.
This is a common category throughout the country. It’s the guy who thinks the only good wine is the one that tastes and feels exactly like the wine made in his village/town a hundred years ago. Usually has a good friend or someone from the family producing wine. Yep, these guys are not concerned with green tannins, overripe fruit or too much sharp acidity. “If it was good for my grandfather, it’s good enough for me”. This type is often combined with the next one.
The Family Guy
Speaking of family, beware of people offering you their cousin’s wine. Sometimes it’s really nice, but there are plenty of less than great in-house wines out there. There’s a few things I hate more than having to fake a smile with a mouthful of bad wine at a family dinner. Regardless of the actual quality of the wine, there is bound to be someone in the family who is determined this wine is „real wine”. No bells and whistles and fancy technology of modern day winemaking can compete with the knack for winemaking his/her cousin is naturally endowed with.
The Know it All
Know-it-alls come is all shapes and sizes in the wine world. To some of my friends I probably fall into this category even though I need way more learning to call myself this (yes, I would probably consider this title a compliment). Know-it-alls I am talking about here are those that are constantly dropping names of winemakers (be it local or international), bragging about how they figured out one 0,5 acre vineyard position is sunnier in July than the one next to it, insist on finding a flaw in every wine put in front of them and so on…
The Retail Expert
Oh boy. We love doing this in Croatia and it’s by no means limited to just wines. In fact, I can be challenged on any of the other categories by my fellow countrymen, but on this one I am not budging an inch. As a nation we are constantly re-evaluating and criticising the prices of all sorts of goods and services, often offering our own „realistic“ evaluations of what something ought to cost. Wine is no exception. Everyone and their grandmother will have something to say about the price and value of wine. Interestingly, the comments about what the price of certain wine should be almost never suggest ought to be more expensive.
The Party Girl
I wrote „girl“, but none of these categories is really gender specific. Party people will approach drinking wine as a step towards getting buzzed and not much more. If you are having them over for dinner, don’t sweat about proper food pairing combinations. Just make sure there’s wine and there’s a lot of it. This category I found the least annoying. If people don’t care about wine and just want to have fun, then let them be. At least they’re honest about it. On the positive side, you get to keep your expensive bottles hidden away and serve cheaper stuff when they come to visit (I can feel myself losing friends as I’m writing this).
Regardless of all of these, don’t think for a minute Croatians are not great people to drink with. Quite the opposite. In fact, I’m certain we could do this type of text for all the countries out there… who knows, maybe we should.
*If you need to be reminded of these, feel free to download our “5 types of drinkers” wallpaper.