A glass of wine is welcome on every table. When we talk about Croatia and wine, we can safely say that this country has a long and rich tradition and even greater potential. All of this and much more makes Croatia very interesting on the world wine map.
Vine is one of the oldest cultivated plants. Thanks to the suitable climate and soil, Croatia has the possibility to cultivate different varieties of vine and to produce many quality wines. In Croatia there are all five vineyard climatic zones designated by the number of sunshine hours and temperature, that is even more than France, which has four zones.
Growing and spreading of vines was influenced by Phoenicians, Romans, Greeks, Thracians and many traders who were found in this area.
The fact that on the islands of Hvar and Vis were found wine vessels and coins that were produced several centuries BC with imprinted symbols of viticulture, speaks about a long history of vines in Croatia. Centuries BC ancient Greeks planted vines in the northern Adriatic and Romans after arriving at this territory already found viticulture which they continued to evolve, especially in Istria and along Croatian coast.
Apart from the Coastal region, vines flourished in Continental region, mostly thanks to the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius Probus, who was responsible for the development of vineyards in that area.
With the spread of Christianity in the fourth century, wine began to be used in the liturgy and thus led to the rapid development of viticulture and wine making. Systematic cultivation of the vine began with the arrival of the Slavs and a real boom began after the Slavs started to Christianize. Prominent monks were considered as great winemakers and vintners, especially the Cistercians, who in 1232. built a monastery in Kutjevo with a basement that has been in operation to this day.
Almost 400 varieties used to be cultivated on the Croatian territory, today we are speaking about 200 of which about 130 are indigenous. The most common varieties on the Croatian territory are graševina, malvazija istarska, teran, pošip, plavac mali, bogdanuša, plavina, kujundžuša, rajnski rizling, merlot, babić and crljenak which is actually a world famous variety Zinfandel.
In continental Croatia, the most widespread white variety is graševina and from indigenous varieties škrlet and kraljevina are largely grown. From red continental varieties portugizac, frankovka and pinot crni are represented, so are cabernet sauvignon and merlot.
In coastal Croatia outstanding white varieties are istarska malvazija, žlahtina, pošip, rukatac i viška vugava and most famous red variety is plavac mali.
Plavac Mali is the most famous Croatian wine grape variety from which Dingač, a top quality dry red wine of controlled origin, is produced. This wine became in 1961. the first Croatian wine with protected geographical origin. Wine Postup is produced of the same variety and in 1967. it became the second Croatian wine that has received the protected geographic origin status. Both of these wines are from Pelješac peninsula.
Thanks to its long and rich tradition of wine-making, Croatia abounds with excellent wines that every wine lover has to try. Croatian wines are becoming more diverse with higher quality, and that is recognized and respected in the world. This is evidenced by numerous awards won by our producers at world fairs and festivals.
Some of the prestigious events at which Croatian wines have won medals are: Vinalies Internationales in Paris, Chardonnay du Monde in Burgundy, Merlot e Cabernet insieme in Bergamo, Vinitaly International Wine Competition in Verona, Concurs Mondial de Bruxelles in Valencia and Mundus Vini in Neustadt. With numerous awards from the International Wine Challenge, the great and constant successes of Croatian winemakers at Decanter World Wide Awards in London, the best known and most prestigious wine competition in the world, should be noted.
It should be mentioned that Riedel, the world renowned manufacturer of wine glasses, made a glass specially designed for wine variety malvazija istarska.