There is a long tradition of grape-growing and wine production in Croatia, as evidenced by recent findings indicating that this activity dates back at least to the Bronze Age and the time of the Illyrians. Wine production in Croatia has been increasing in recent years and amounted in 2011 to 1.4 million hectolitres, representing an increase of 15% compared to 2005. About 2,000 Croatian wines benefit from geographical indications.

Society and way of life

Wine

There is a long tradition of grape-growing and wine production, spread throughout most parts of the country, and viniculture is a traditional way of life. In homes and restaurants, local wines are commonly served.

Natural features (climate, soil and topography) have divided the country into two main wine-producing regions, continental and coastal, and in each, there are several wine-growing hills with specific characteristics. About two-thirds of the wine produced is white, mostly in the continental region, while red wine is dominant in the coastal region. Wines are categorised by quality as table wines, quality wines and premium quality wines.

Vineyard at the Plešivica Heights near Zagreb
In Dalmatia, vineyards tend to be enclosed by stone drywalls. They form part of the unique cultural landscape and are a monument to centuries of human labour. There are particularly picturesque terraced vineyards in the Primošten area in central Dalmatia.
Kutjevo Cellar, a wine cellar dating back to a former 13th century Cistercian monastery.

In the continental region, the most widespread variety is Graševina (Italian or Laški Riesling), and the main vineyards are in Baranja and the area around Ilok in the far east of the country, Kutjevo and the Đaković area in central Slavonia, the Varaždin and Međimurje areas in the far north of the country, and the Plešivica Hills near Zagreb. Notable white wines are Traminac and Pinot White, while the best known red wines are Frankovka and Portugizac, which are drunk while still new.

In Istria, where there is the greatest number of family-run vineyards with their own labels, Istrian Malvazija is the most popular culture among white wines, and Teran among reds. The most renowned wine from the northern Adriatic islands is the white Žlahtina from the island of Krk. Typical Dalmatian red wines are produced from Plavac Mali grapes, often called after the place where they are grown (Dingač, or Postup from the Pelješac Peninsula). There are also notable vineyards on the islands of Hvar, Vis and Korčula.