Between Ston and Orebic, the Peljesac peninsula contains nothing but rocky, barren hills. The soil is generally poor but the generous sunshine is perfect for cultivating grapes. As a result, Peljesac wine is renowned throughout Croatia and is considered by many to be the country's finest wine. (See more on Croatian wines).
Introduced by the Greeks and then advanced by the Romans, wine production has a long history in Peljesac. Now you'll find acres of vineyards interspersed by olive trees throughout the Peljesac peninsula but concentrated in the southeast. The most celebrated wine is Dingac (pronounced Ding-atz) which is either white or red and produced around Potomje. Other local stars include the red wines, Postup or Plavac Mali. Recent DNA tests have revealed that California's famed Zinfandel grape is the same (or closely related to) Plavac Mali.
Most wine production on the Peljesac is relatively small-scale so visiting wine cellars is informal and generally low-key. Before starting out, you may wish to pick up a map of the wine cellars at the Ston tourist office. But the wine cellars aren't hard to find. There's only one main road running through the Peljesac peninsula and the cellars are all well signed. It's best to visit working hours which are from about 9am to noon and 2 to 6pm Monday through Saturday. Outside of working hours you may need to wait around for someone to arrive. Although the vineyard owners may or may not speak English, they can usually dig up someone who can explain their products to you.
Here are some of the better-known vineyards, starting in the southeast:
The Vukas family has been in the wine business for over 100 years and produces about 1000 liters/year. The cellar is small and prices start at €4.
Although the actual vineyards are in Ston, the family tradition here extends back for centuries. A good bottle of Plavac costs about €7 going up to €22 for aged wine. There's also a nice semi-sweet aperitif wine for €34.
Located just over Trstenik beach, this is Peljesac's, and Croatia's, most famous winery. Miljenko Grgic is famous for his California winery, Grgich Hills, and uses many of the same techniques here. Premium wines are placed in big tanks imported from California to insure a cold fermentation. Grgic Plavac mali and Grgic Posip are more costly than other Peljesac wines and appear on the wine lists of Croatia's most prestigious restaurants. The winery is open 10am to 5pm daily.
This atmospheric cellar is modelled after the cellars of France and has a capacity of 4500 litres. Dingac, Postup, Plavac mali, Rukatac and Chardonnay wines are excellent and there's also olive oil for your consideration.
The 480-year-old family wine making business has recently been revitalized by young Mario Bartulovic who is the only producer on the Peljesac peninsula to offer rosé. The excellent wine and rustic ambience has made this vineyard a favorite of tour buses.
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