Interview With A Winemaker – Josip Barišić

4th August 2023

Interview With A Winemaker Josip Barišić

Wine isn’t just made, it’s crafted by the unwavering expertise of a Winemaker, sometimes old traditions are passed down by generations and on other occasions, new people venture into the industry, introducing us to new creations, this series of Winemaker Interviews will help you uncover the vast world and skills of how the artists passionate about wine make the world a bubbly place.

In this feature we speak with Josip Barišić, an amazing Winemaker from Croatia, let’s discover a little about his time in the Croatian Wine Industry.

Tell Us About Yourself

“My name is Josip Barišić, and I am the Director of Winemaking and Production at Agrolaguna, in Istria, Croatia. In this position, I oversee the production of wine, cheese, and olive oil. Agrolaguna is one of the biggest wineries in Croatia and one of the most influential. I have been in this position for just over a year now, and it has been a really great challenge and opportunity!

My winemaking experience and education has been pretty widespread. I studied winemaking in three countries including Croatia (Bachelor’s degree), France and Portugal (Master’s degree), and I have worked in the wine industry in Croatia, France and California. From each of these places, I have learned something different, and I think that makes me a better winemaker today because I can draw from all of these different experiences and styles of winemaking.”

How Did You Become Involved In The Wine Industry?

“I knew that I wanted to become a winemaker at the age of 17 when I worked as a bartender on the island of Korčula in Croatia. Here I saw the beautiful vineyards, tasted the amazing wines, and saw the role that the winemakers played. What really stood out to me is the idea that you can be involved in every step in the lifecycle and creation of a wine, from the grapes in the vineyard, to the harvest, fermentation, bottling, and aging of the wine. Then you have this concrete product that is a reflection of all of your hard work and dedication, and it is something that can be shared and enjoyed with friends. I knew that this was something that I wanted for myself, and from this moment I made it my goal to become a winemaker. Every step in my education and career has been in alignment with this goal, and through hard work and dedication I am proud to say that at age 26 I was able to accomplish it. I still have big plans for my career and for my future, but I am very pleased with how far I have come.”

As A Winemaker, What Has Been Your Hardest Obstacle To Overcome In Producing Wine?

“There have been many challenges in my career in the wine industry, but I think the most significant one is the impact of climate changes that we are facing right now. We continue to have hotter and drier conditions and more frequent extreme weather events. As we all know, wine is made in the vineyard and therefore having quality fruit is so important for the future wine that we can make. In the cellar, I like to respect the fruit as much as possible. However, when you have such a change in climate and more unpredictable conditions, it starts to get very difficult to overcome this in the cellar. This is why I think adapting the wine industry and evolving to the current conditions are so important. This involves investing in new technology, using irrigation, and trying to minimize our harmful impacts on the environment. In order to do this, we need the support of all winegrowers, consumers, and the government. The industry has a way to go, but I am pleased to see some positive changes recently.”

How Do You Determine When Your Wine Is Ready To Drink?

“That can be a tricky thing to answer because it really depends. Each wine does have an optimal window of time when it will be best. Wines that do have the conditions for aging depend on their combination of alcohol, tannin, body, structure, and acidity. These wines will evolve with time, and based on our initial tasting and chemical analysis, we can give recommendations about the timeframe in which the wine might be best to drink. However tasting a bottle at any given time can be an interesting experience, because the wine is continually changing and it can be really fun to try it at all of these different times!”

What Part Of The Wine Making Process Do You Enjoy The Most?

“Definitely the harvest time is the most exciting part of winemaking! Just all the rush around crushing, working long hours and planning the future wine is something so amazing. Each year is different, and you need to think on your feet and be aware of everything that is happening and problem solve all the time. It’s a stressful and tiring time too, for sure, but as a winemaker, it’s when you really get to come alive.”

Thank you  Josip, for sharing your words, knowledge and experience with us and we at Glass of Bubbly wish you the very best for the future!

Images belong to Josip Barišić. Glass of Bubbly was granted permission to use them.

Oliver Walkey

Champagne and Sparkling Wine Writer, Focused on Bringing the Exciting and Fascinating World of Bubbly to You.