Just how far back does Croatia’s winemaking tradition go? Greek colonists actually started the first vineyards in the country clear back in ancient times. Winemaking remained a prominent feature of Croatia’s culture up until communist rule. Under communism, winemaking left the hands of private vintners and was taken over by state cooperatives. During that time, quality declined, but after Croatia gained its independence in 1991, boutique winemakers again got to work. Since then, Croatian wine has entered into a new golden age.
Croatian wines are a joy to explore in large part because the diversity of the country is reflected in the wide selection of wines available. Just as the different regions of Croatia each have their own distinct flavors in terms of cuisine, they also have given rise to different notes and nuances inside each glass of wine. Croatia has a number of indigenous grape varietals which confer distinguishing flavors you simply will not find anywhere else.
To add to that, Croatia’s vineyards, wine cellars, and tasting rooms are also delightful, many of them offering spectacular views of the coast.
Any one of these makes an excellent addition to your itinerary. And if you are a wine lover, you may very well want to chart a course which takes you to several:
• Miloš. Discover this charming winery on the Pelješac peninsula. The view is stunning, the vineyards idyllic. For more than three decades, winemaking here has evolved into an art form, so much so that this vineyard has acquired cult status among both locals and tourists.
• Bibich. You will find this lovely little winery in the village of Plastovo. Curiously, they do not have a website, which is a deliberate business decision; they instead pass their name around via word of mouth. This makes them something of a hidden gem. Their wine is incredible and their restaurant is as elegant as you will find anywhere.
• Plenković. Take advantage of your charter boat and sail to the island of Hvar. There, nestled into the southern slopes, you will find one of the oldest wineries in the country, the distinguished Plenković. Dock your boat at the little marina and take a seat at Plenković’s beautiful restaurant. Both the food and the wine are phenomenal.
• Matusko. This winery is located in Potomje, and offers free tastings. It is a very popular destination and a favorite among many tourists visiting Croatia. It is also located very close to several other famous Croatian wineries, including Grgic, Vino Spaleta, and Korta Katarina Winery. Stop off in Potomje, and you will doubtless find plenty of winery tours to fill at least several days if wine is your passion!
Croatia may not be as famous around the world for its wine as France or Spain, but that is exactly why you should take the opportunity to explore the country’s vineyards and wine cellars while you have the chance. Once you taste the nuanced bouquets of flavors which can only be produced through indigenous Croatian grape varietals, you will discover a zeal for Croatian wine which will stay with you long after you return from your vacation!
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