Don’t let this be your regret. Do not leave Croatia and bid adieu to the Adriatic without trying some of the incredible wine Croatia has to offer. The beauty of a sailing holiday is that it gives you access to the islands which is exactly where some of the best vines grow. Croatia has more than 130 indigenous grape varieties, many of which have won numerous awards. To leave Croatia without sampling the local wines would be a crime. Let us take you on a wine odyssey in Central Dalmatia and introduce you to some of the more unique wines, winemaking locations and experiences.
Putalj Winery, Kaštel Sućurac (Split)
Let’s start in Kaštela, near Split which is home to the grape Crljenak Kaštelanski – known better as Zinfandel. Through genetic profiling, it was discovered that the origin of the famed Californian Zinfandel is Crljenak Kaštelanski (impress your wine friends with this knowledge when you return home)! Winemaker Anton Kovač blends 85% Zinfandel with 15% Plavac Mali (Zinfandel’s offspring) and the wine is aged in oak barrels for 6 months, then in the bottle for a year before release, creating a wine of rich character and depth. Don’t miss your chance to try the original Zinfandel and visit a gorgeous vineyard with a passionate winemaker.
Stina Winery, Bol, Brač island
Brač is famous for its white stone (rumoured to be in the White House), hence, this winery and wine is aptly named Stina (which translates as stone). The beauty of Brač stone is an inspiration for Stina Winery and Stina’s label has won many awards; the label is white acrylic paper and printed in the corner it says “za inspiraciju” – for inspiration. The idea is that wine invites creativity, so the label invites you to drink the wine then paint your own label – the shelves at Stina Winery are filled with inspired creations! Stina Winery sits proudly on Bol’s main promenade, making it a perfect stop for thirsty sailors. Here you can try Plavac Mali, Pošip and a Rose, all of which have won several awards – especially their barrique Plavac Mali. Stop in and be inspired.
Senjković Winery, Brač island
Senjković is a charming winery located in the heart of island Brač. If you moor in Milna, Sutivan or Supetar, it is only a 15 – 20 min taxi drive to Senjković Winery. Senjković is run by a husband-and-wife duo with a passion for wine and gastronomy. Saša's family have a long history in winemaking which is why he named his flagship Barrique red wine 'Bosso' after his great-grandfather. Saša continues this tradition while his wife Magdalena delights guests with stories and culinary delights matched to the wines. Set in a darling stone house and courtyard, this is a unique and intimate experience that lovers of food, wine and tradition won't want to miss.
Tomić Winery, Jelsa, Hvar island
Greeks first sailed into Hvar in the 4th century BC and vineyards have been cultivated here ever since. Andro Tomić was born on Hvar and is a legend in the winemaking world. Andro has 20 years of professional training in France and elsewhere before he returned to produce his own wine – following a 150-year family tradition in winemaking. Island Hvar is known as one of the sunniest islands in Croatia and provides perfect conditions for vines, producing rich and robust Plavac Mali, Pošip and other autochthonous varieties. The new Tomić winery is located in Jelsa with a brilliant tasting room modelled on an ancient Roman dining room.
"My only regret in life is that I did not drink more"
Duboković Winery, Jelsa, Hvar island
The Duboković family have been making wine for centuries; an even better story? The current winemaker Ivo Duboković was born above the cellar he now manages! How’s that for destiny? The Duboković family believe in natural processes; everything is done with care and attention – from the growing, to selecting the grapes and minimal interference with the fermentation process. The winery grows the popular Plavac Mali as well as autochthonous varieties like Bogdanuša and Kuć (white varieties). Their wines have cute names, like “2718 Sunce u Boci” (2718 hours of sun in a bottle) – to symbolise the average sunshine hours Hvar gets per year, and Prvi Poljubac (first kiss) – their famous dessert wine (prošek). Passion, tradition, small batches and organic products have given Ivo a reputation as a leading boutique winemaker.
Plenković Winery (Zlatan Otok), Hvar island
The southern slopes of Hvar island are blessed with sunshine and breathtaking sea views, and this is where you will find Plenković vineyards. The Plenković family established their vineyards in 1986, and they already received recognition by 1989 for top-quality wine. In 1993 they changed the name to Zlatan Otok and have since received more than 100 National and International awards, medals, and recognition, including being nominated twice for ‘Best Winemaker’. Plavac Mali is their most celebrated wine and the Grand Cru is the only Croatian wine on the menu of numerous Michelin-starred restaurants around the world.
Roki's, Vis island
Roki's is a family-owned, countryside Konoba (tavern) and winery. Explore the cellar and learn about the winemaking process before sitting in the courtyard or traditional konoba (which makes you feel right at home) to enjoy the wine tasting – paired with local delicacies like fish pate, cheese, olive oils, fresh bread and more. Here you will try local varieties Vugava and Rukatac, and reds Plavac Mali and Crljenak. Roki’s wines have been organically certified for 20 years. If you go for a wine tasting, be sure to book a traditional peka meal (lamb, veal or octopus) to follow. With the warm family-style hospitality, wine tasting, and peka dish, Roki’s offers the complete package for gastronomers.
Adriatic Wine Odyssey in Central Dalmatia
Believe it or not, this is only a small handful of the wines and wineries on offer in Central Dalmatia! Keep an eye out for the next edition of our Wine Odyssey in Southern Dalmatia.
For more information, please feel free to contact our team.
Until then, Živjeli (cheers)!