Explore Croatia one sip at a time in 2022. Croatia is filled with enchanting wineries from the highlands to the sea, offering an impressive variety of red, white, and sparkling wine. Croatia’s vast terrain provides for unique growing conditions for each varietal of grape. Whether they be rich reds happiest along the Dalmatian coast, or fresh whites preferring a cooler climate in the northwest. Whichever you prefer, wine of Croatia is not to be overlooked, so why not make this year the year of the Croatian winery tour.
In this guide, we will examine the 4 regions of wineries in Croatia, consisting of: The Highlands (which encompasses the areas of Međimurje, Zagorje, Prigorje, Plešivica and Moslavina), Dalmatia (beginning just north of Zadar and stretching down to Dubrovnik), Istria & Kvarner Bay (situated in northwest Croatia), and Slavonija (eastern Croatia).
Each of these regions host the best wineries in Croatia that produce premium products enjoyed locally and internationally. While you can probably find some of these wines in shops near you, why not embrace the true art of wine in Croatia and experience the tasting rooms in person?
Croatian Wineries You Must Visit in 2022
Wineries in Istria
The northwest region of Istria has been long known for its high-quality grapes and wine production. Grapes were first brought here by the Greeks in the 6th century and over the years were attended to with Italian and Austrian influence. In Istria, you can expect full-bodied red wines similar to those from Bordeaux. However, each winery will have their own unique speciality, so don’t miss out on these 4 must-visit Istrian wineries.
Characterized by rolling green hills and valleys covered in rows of vines, Kozlovic wine production has been passed down from generations of winemakers. Kozlovic Winery opened its new tasting room and multipurpose venue in 2012. It proves impressive in design and style with its modern architecture and glass-enclosed roof terrace, overlooking the vineyard. Kozlovic offers daily tastings, wine presentations and workshops, a wine bar, and a specialized wine shop that visitors are welcome to enjoy.
Since 1891, Kabola Winery has been producing premium wines for the world, making it one of the more recognized Istria wineries. Using organic growing methods, all Kabola wines have a seal of bio certification and are blended using only Kabola grapes. The Kabola brand is a trusted sustainable wine producer and offers a large variety of wines for sampling and purchase from their wine shop. The winery and wine shop present a vintage, rustic atmosphere inside a stone farmhouse located in the middle of the vineyard. The Kabola tasting experience includes a sampling of their wines paired with tasting snacks as well as tours of the winery and shop.
Visit Roxanich Winery and stay awhile at this exclusive winery and design hotel. Home to 20 different organic wines, you are sure to find the perfect match for your pallet. The owner and vintner, Mladen Rožanić, is famous in the Croatian wine industry. His highly beloved and recognized winery understands the true craftsmanship of winemaking bringing together the unique flavors of the region to create one-of-a-kind wines. This property also offers a modern luxurious hotel complete with on-site eateries, pool and sauna, conference space, and incredible views from their iconic aesthetically pleasing rooms and suites. Their incredible contemporary aesthetic against the rustic backdrop of the Croatian vineyards is truly remarkable.
Set in the foothills of a Medieval village, Fakin Winery is a rapidly up-and-coming wine producer on the scene in Istria. Although this winery may not be hundreds of years old, the owner and vintner, Marko Fakin of Fakin Winery, has perfected the craft from family traditions and extensive knowledge of the region. It is a truly surreal experience to be sipping wine from the local vine while enjoying the view of the timeworn town surrounding the winery. Fakin Winery’s tasting room is open every day and eagerly awaits new visitors to sample their unique and expressive wines.
Wineries in Dalmatia
Wines produced in Dalmatia follow traditional production methods, as the home of viticulture in Croatia. Wineries located along the Dalmatian coast are generally characterized by steep rocky hillsides and stone-walled enclosures, and the favored wines are generally red, from a local indigenous grape. From Zadar to Dubrovnik, imagine tasting exotic red wine with towering bouldery mountains on one side, and that glimmering adriatic sea on the other.
This family-owned boutique winery near Zadar has been producing wine from their vines for over 500 years. This winery omits a rustic, yet minimalistic, atmosphere to sample fresh wines whilst gazing over the vineyard from their poolside patio. Be welcomed as family at Bibich winery and be sure to delve into their gourmet cuisine, specifically designed to be paired with their wines. The quaint and personal atmosphere will allow you to spend more time with the vintners, providing a great opportunity to ask more in depth questions about the winemaking process and the Bibich winery, first hand.
Not far from the illustrious Krka Waterfalls you will find Rak Winery tucked away between the hills, ready to welcome traveling wine lovers. This winery offers a cozy tasting room for up to 50 people and gastronomic specialties to indulge in. Rak winery uses modern methods of manufacturing, but traditional grape varietals to blend the old with the new. Despite their rural location, Rak winery uses modern innovative techniques in their wine production which allows for a large production capacity. That means plenty of wine for the tasting!
If this winery’s exotic location wasn’t enough, their dignified and earthy reds will have you raving about this winery to your friends and family. Although this winery is just 40 years old, Ante Madirazza has ensured the family’s involvement in the winemaking practice, so that this winery can continue to grow with age but hold on remnants of their original grape and flavor. Explore the Peljesac Peninsula across from the famous island of Korcula and be sure to stop by Madirazza Winery to taste test their award-winning wines that Pope Benedict was served in 2011.
Partake in exclusive wine tourism at Milos Winery and learn about the true fruits of their labor. Located in the county of Dubrovnik at the entrance to the Peljesac Peninsula, Milos winery demonstrates true Dalmatian winemaking with vines perched along steep rocky slopes. The views of the vineyard gleaming in the sun, scaling the mountainside are reason enough to experience this remarkable winery. In a unique fashion, Milos have chosen to never use new barrels for fermentation as they prefer to avoid flavors from fresh oak in their wines. Be sure to sample Milos, special Plavac mali, a wine produced from blue grapes which is exclusive to this region.
*February 2022 Update: Milos winery is temporarily closed. If you’re interested in visiting this vineyard, be sure to double check their website for up-to-date working hours.
Impressive oak barrel cellars, familial dedication, and pride for the homeland contribute to the divine reputation of Matusko Winery. This winery is a well-known micro vintner in the Dalmatian wine culture community and encourages potential visitors to experience tasting indigenous fermented grapes where they thrive, along the coast. This winery is located along the prime seaside slopes of Potomje. If the Peljesac Peninsula is out of your way, you can still test these wines and purchase bottles from Matusko’s very own tasting room in the heart of Old Town Dubrovnik.
Wineries in the Highlands
Experience the rolling green “lungs of Croatia” where premium Croatian white wine is produced. The Croatian highlands and outlying Zagreb area, commonly produces internationally recognized wines as a product from a combination of limestone-infused soil, cool weather from the north, and warm Mediterranean winds from the south. Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, and Sauvignon Blanc are generally the most common varieties in this region.
Timeless practices and reliable vines make for remarkable wines at Šember Winery. Three generations of the family are still tending to the grapes and making the wine at this family-owned boutique spot. This cozy winery offers a quaint farmhouse-style tasting room, where you might sense the familiar feeling of sitting across from family at the kitchen table. The tasting room also offers an outdoor patio area perfect for some summer-time sipping. Šember Winery also produces brut sparkling wine. If you have never tasted bubbly at a winery before, this is your opportunity.
Quality over quantity is the mentality at Korak Winery. Sample rare wine at this charming spot located in the hills outside of Zagreb in the Plešivica region. Korak Winery produces limited quantities of their wines, perfecting the craft of each barrel produced. Their pragmatic approach may take time, but their efforts are well worth the wait when you arrive at the winery and taste their products. This family-run estate also houses a restaurant, conference center, and even a “wine-dog” that is sure to greet you with a wagging tail.
Sample internationally acclaimed wines at this exclusive hilltop Winery. Štampar is located on the Hill of Maderka, the highest point in this region from which you can see four countries: Austria, Slovenia, Hungary, and Slovakia. If this isn’t already impressive enough, they have been producing wines since 1913 and have been selling them since 1928. With over 100 years of wine production streaming through the ç family tree, it’s no wonder they have claimed attention from wine connoisseurs across the globe.
Wineries in Slavonija
This easterly region has been growing grapes and making wine since the ancient Roman ages, and remains a prominent viticulture community today. The cold continental climate, the low-lying lands, and the proximity to gently flowing rivers of the Slavonija (Slavonia) region make for excellent conditions for the cultivation of white grapes. Wines in this region are produced en masse and are sold for reasonable prices, making this the largest wine-producing region in the country, and home to some of the best Croatian wine.
This incredible 800-year old estate is a destination in itself. The famous Croatian winery has been visited by world leaders, has been featured as a set and host for the popular television show, MasterChef, and is a national producer of agricultural goods and beef. From this alone you can already imagine the grandeur of this winery. Marked by an impressive manor house built in 1725, Kutjevo Winery holds an extraordinary title as being the oldest winery in Croatia with cellars dating back to 1232. Their impressive wine archive holds 65,000 bottles of wine, so you will never run short of wines to try when you visit Kutjevo. Tour their magnificent ancient stone cellars, wander through the acres of pristine vines, and stay the night at this incredibly famous and dignified winery.
Iločki Podrumi (Ilok Cellars)
Imagine an entire community built for the purpose of appreciating and celebrating the art of wine. Ilok Cellars is unlike any winery you have been to before, hosting a unique summer residence estate for visitors to come and REALLY stay for a while! Tennis and Badminton courts, golf lessons, children’s play parks, hiking trails through the vineyard, barbeque points, a freshwater aquarium, and a self servicing apartment complex where you can settle in for a season of outdoor recreational activities and wine tasting. If that wasn’t enough, this complex is also the home of a 19th century castle. The castle houses a gourmet restaurant and a panorama elevator which lifts you to a glass enclosed viewpoint of the surrounding lands over the Danube River. Ilok produces an impressive 4 million litres of wine annually, and is home to a 572-year old wine cellar.
This internationally recognized brand calls the Kutjevo region home within the 110 hectares of land owned and operated by Krauthaker Winery. Although this winery is relatively new compared to some of its neighbors in this eastern corner of Croatia, Krauthaker applies traditional methods to their wine production process with the help from a few of their four-legged equestrian friends. Uniquely, Krauthaker also holds micro vineyards in a variety of locations in order to produce a vast variety of grapes. This creates a diverse collection of wines with distinct properties depending on the soil, climate, and elevation in which they are grown. Products from Krauthaker Winery can be found in restaurants and shops in 17 different countries. However, if you pay a visit to the source, you’ll be greeted by a professional sommelier eager to elaborate on the unique flavors of Krauthaker wines.
Enjoy your wine of choice within the stone walled cellars of Josić Winery. The antique aesthetic of this winery creates an inviting eclectic atmosphere to enjoy over a few glasses of wine. But the essence of Josić Winery is held in both their viticulture and their gastronomic excellence. This winery doubles as a fantastic eatery which thrives off preparing the most authentic fresh food. If you are a guest of the restaurant, you will be welcomed to a free tasting of Josić wines, and will have the opportunity to walk through their cellars. Being known for their light colored wine, you will find Baranjski šiler, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Cuvée, Graševina, Pinot sivi, Rose, and Sauvignon amongst their products.
Croatian Wineries: Final Thoughts
Whether you are traveling through just one region or all of them, you will find wineries of all shapes and sizes offering some of the world’s highest quality wine. Croatian hospitality met with reliable vines will have you embracing Croatia’s wine scene full heartedly.
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