Ivana Carić: Blending Tradition and Innovation in the Winemaking of Hvar Island

As we continue our journey through the stories of influential women in the winemaking world, we are thrilled to introduce Ivana Krstulović Carić, a name synonymous with the rich tapestry of Croatian viticulture. Embedded in the historic island of Hvar, Ivana not only upholds a 24-century-old tradition but also redefines it, making her mark on Croatia’s winemaking legacy. Her unique approach, combining a deep respect for indigenous grape varieties with innovative techniques, positions her as a pivotal figure in shaping the future of Croatian wine. Join us as we delve into Ivana’s insights, her dedication to winemaking, and how she stands as a pillar in the evolving narrative of Croatia’s wine history.


What is wine for you?

Wine is the imprint of my family’s identity, the key factor that determined my life path. Winemaking is strongly intertwined in the annual rhythm of our lives, as a consequence of more than 24 centuries of wine history on the island of Hvar. The beauty of this life with wine is shown in the saying “When the wine is on the table, there is no need for flowers“. It takes a lot of dedication and patience, but at the end brings joy and satisfaction.


How did you enter the wine industry?

From early years I was involved in agriculture, from father’s greenhouse to formal education at the Faculty of Agriculture University of Zagreb. I started to be seriously engaged in wine business when I met my husband Ivo. Back then, I was working as a consultant for quality and food safety systems.This experience was crucial to define my role in the winery as a marketing and sales manager as well, my role as a president of Hvar Winemaker’s Association for 12 years, which brought together island’s winemaking community. It gave me the knowledge and  the  skills to develop a holistic approach to winemaking.


What is your philosophy in making wine, and how is it reflected in your product?

We are a small family team, where everyone manages its own area, Ivo as a master vintner and Ljubo our nephew, as oenologist. Our business policies are always done in close interaction, with respect to each other ideas. We are dominantly focused on the indigenous varieties such as Bogdanjuša, Plavac Mali, Pošip, but we are also curious in how they blend with international ones. We try to express varietal character within the terroir of Hvar. We are stubborn when it comes to the wine production, we like to do everything on our own to have a reflection of ourselves in the bottles of Carić wines. Hvar island is an exceptional wine growing area, the island of many possibilities. We can create a range of wines from gentle, crispy, savory ones to powerful, full-bodied, typically Mediterranean wines due to the different soils and microclimates created by the karst topography.


How important do you consider education and training in the wine industry, and are there any special programs for women?

Education is a necessity due to challenges of the modern wine industry. Crazy love for wine comes from the fact that the world of wine offers countless possibilities and that it is always challenging us to discover more. Attending workshops and courses is something that I find enjoyable. Recently, I got a qualification in WSET Level 3 Award in Wines.  Within my work at the Association, I’m encouraging others to pursue further education. I’m also a research associate at Viticulture Collection Pitve, so I collaborate with the museum professionals. It is a place where you can find all aspects of winemaking on Hvar, where the past and present meet to provide direction for the future generations.


What advice would you give to young women who want to enter the wine business?

It is certainly more difficult to assert oneself as a woman in a dominantly male winemaking community. That is why learning and practical experience are important to gain self-confidence which is essential for achieving the desired goals. Women should not fear entering the world of wine in any aspect they are interested in.