Maro Bartulovic was born in Dubrovnik, Croatia, in 1976, the son of an engineer, and graduated in enology (viticulture) in Zagreb. When he was 15 years old, the Balkan War began and shook his biography. He gave up his original plan to become a historian and went to the front as a soldier. Today he runs the Bartulovic winery on the peninsula Pelješac together with his family. He does not know a separation between work and private life. The term Work-Life-Balance has no meaning for him. His only superior is the weather, which determines the harvest. He has dedicated his work to peace, sustainable cultivation, the environment and the preservation of old plant species and varieties. With his family, he is committed to the Slow Food movement and sustainability.
What drives you, Maro?
When I returned home in one piece and healthy after two years in the war in 1996, I was happy. My mother was traumatised. She couldn’t sleep a single night in those two years, worried about me. So one of the things that happened was that I set new priorities for my life in the time after I returned home. Unlike many people I knew, I was alive, unharmed and still had my life ahead of me! I gave up my original plan to become a historian and devoted myself completely to growing grapes. In exchange, I began to study enology in Zagreb.
I have been running the winery since 2000 and I am busy adapting the traditional way of growing grapes to modern times in a sustainable way.
In everything I do, my family is most important to me. Of course, I have friends, but without my family I wouldn’t be here. They are my roots. I am aware of that, my ancestors have already wrested their crops from these steep slopes. The land has been farmed by my family since 1520. All of our lives are a cycle and each of us will die at some point. That is why it is so important that we are aware of life – every moment – and enjoy it sustainably; we leave all this to our children and our children’s children. My family and I cook exclusively with the things we harvest ourselves and from our stored provisions. The food becomes so much more enjoyable and tasty than industrially produced products.
We don’t want to be a burden, another problem. We want to be part of the solution, contributing to the preservation of nature. All people should have equal opportunities, in the present – in every place and also in time – our descendants. With my work, I want to convey to people that there are more important things in life than the things you can buy – the quick and fleeting pleasures. It’s about the little things that have meaning and enrich a life. They are much more important than the fleeting pleasures. They last longer, so you need much less of them.
That’s what I try to teach my three children. I want them to be good, sincere and mindful people. I want them to remain honourable, even if life will be hard on them one day.
I want them to respect nature and other people. That is what drives me.