Croatians refuse to swallow EU ban on time-honoured tipple


When Croatians celebrate joining the EU on 1 July, they may have to do so without raising a glass of their beloved Prosek, a sweet dessert wine which is souring their membership of the bloc.

The European Union has ruled that the name of the centuries-old tipple is too similar to Prosecco, the bubbly wine produced in Italy’s Veneto and Friuli Venezia wine regions.

Prosecco has the coveted EU “protected designation of origin” status, which means the name cannot be applied to any wine produced outside of the specified regions. Despite protests from Croatian winemakers that their drink is completely different, the EU has ruled that it cannot be sold under that name anywhere in the bloc, including in Croatia.

Andro Tomic, a winemaker from Hvar, said Prosek has been produced for more than 2,000 years, “long before the current Italian state started to exist”.

Mr Tomic is joining other winemakers in a bid to challenge the ban in court before the official EU membership date.

“Taking Prosek away from Dalmatia would be like taking away the sea,” he told the Associated Press news agency.