When to Go
Wine in Croatia has a long, long
history. It was the Greek settlers who first introduced vineyards to the
Croatian coast in the 5th century BC and wine production has flourished
ever since. During the Homeland War, many wineries and vineyards were destroyed
but the winemaking industry has rushed back.
Croatia now produces up to 700 wines, some of excellent quality. Purists may scoff, but Croatian have the habit of diluting their wine. In the south, they call it bevanda and in the north, they call it gemist.
Croatia Wine Regions
As in France, wines are strictly labeled according to their origin. There are some 300 official wine regions divided generally into coastal and interior wines. The majority (67%) of wine is white and produced in the interior while 32% is red and produced along the coast. Rose is relatively rare.
Although there are hundreds of grape varieties in Croatia, experts agree that the red Plavac Mali grape produces the best red wine. Plavac Mali is genetically identical to Zinfandel grapes which clearly come from Croatia, not Italy as has long been thought. Croatia's sparkling Prosecco wine comes from Bogdanusa, a white grape. Malvazija from Istria and Posip from Korcula produce Croatia's most renowned white wines.
Croatia's Best Wines
In 2009, Croatia shocked the wine world by walking away with eight gold medals at the prestigious Decanter Wine Awards, beating out such stalwarts as Chile and New Zealand. Sweet, white wines won most of the medals. Wine judge Angela Muir described the dessert wines as" "exclusive, expensive, high-end and they are no question up with the great Sauternes." It's worth noting also the gold-medal winners come from continental Croatia, not the coast. Here are the winners
See the full list and commentary here.
Vineyards & Wine Tours
Peljesac Vineyards--great wine-tasting in a rustic, familial atmosphere
Villa Antonio--castle-hotel on a vineyard organizes visits to Peljesac wineries
Matosevic Wine Cellars --winery in Istria
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