Croatian wine making traditions date back to Ancient Greek times and the country still holds its own on the international wine market, widely celebrated for its fine white wines and cultivation of traditional grape varieties. Today, many of Croatia’s wineries are still family-run establishments and wine tours offer the chance to mingle with local winemakers and learn their deep-rooted traditions, while sampling some of the country’s finest wines.
Whether you’re a self-professed wine buff or glass-with-dinner kind of drinker, taking a Konavle Valley Wine Tour from Dubrovnik or plotting your own DIY wine-tasting route can be a fun way to spend a day.
Over 300 winegrowing districts are dotted around coastal and continental Croatia so there are plenty of destinations to choose from. To get you started, here’s a quick rundown of the principal wine regions.
The Mediterranean climate of south and central Dalmatia yields some of the country’s most popular and expensive wines, most famously Zinfandel, which originated in the region. The grapes grown here are comparable to those harvested in Greece and Italy, with grape varieties like Plavac Mali and Babić producing popular red wines. The scenic vineyards and historic wineries around Dalmatia are frequented by tour groups and wine tasting trips make a popular option for day trips from Dubrovnik and Split.
The coastal region of Istria is best known for its Italian grapes like Moscato, Trebbiano and Verduzzo, as well as the white grape, Malvasia Istriana. There’s plenty of variety in Istria, though and you’ll find local Chardonnays, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat, Merlot and Teran among the options.
The cooler climates of Slavonia and the Danube lend themselves to producing dry white wines and the winegrowing regions surrounding Zagreb and the northeast are best known for their Graševina, or Welschriesling, grapes.