Croatia is located to the east of Italy on the other side of the Adriatic Sea. However, the land has a special horseshoe-like shape. As a result, the country has all possible climatic zones for viticulture.
In the northwest lies Istria with an average Mediterranean climate. Further inland you will find Slavonia (not to be confused with neighboring Slovenia) where there is a continental climate. In the north you have Zagorje with a cool climate and finally in the south is Dalmatia, where a hot and dry Mediterranean climate determines life.
The diverse climates in the wine regions require different grape varieties everywhere. Both internationally renowned grapes and distinctive indigenous grape varieties are used. The country boasts a laundry list of no fewer than 120 grape varieties for wine production, all of which can be called indigenous.
These special grapes in combination with the different climate zones and the differences in wine making styles makes Croatia a very diverse wine country.
Croatia is certainly not a new wine country. Wine was made long before the Ancient Greeks and the Romans. In the time of the Illyriers, more than 1000 years before Christ, wine was already being made on the Dalmatian islands. So we can even steal that wine was made earlier in Croatia than in France, Spain and Italy.
• Istria (moderate Mediterranean)
• Slavonia (continental climate)
• Zagorje (cooling climate)
• Dalmatia (warm Mediterranean)
• Total area of vineyards: 20,885 hectares
• Annual production: between 750,000 and 1,000,000 hectoliters
• Worldwide position of production volume: 30
• Number of producers: 1575
• Number of indigenous grape varieties: 120
• Number of protected wine regions: 16
• DNA testing has shown that the Italian Primitivo and the Californian Zinfandel all have their origins in Dalmatia
• After the Vatican and Andorra, the Croats drink the most wine per capita in the world.
Almost 70% of the wine production in Croatia is white. The Graševina is the most commonly used grape for this. Below is an overview of the most common grape varieties in the country.
• Graševina (white) - 23%
• Istarska Malvaija (white) - 9%
• Plavac Mali (red) - 8%
• Frankovka (red)
• Pošip (white)
• Silvanac Zeleni (white)
• Teran (red)
• Pinot Sivi (white)
• Traminac (white)
• Bogdanuša (white)
• Muškat Momjanski (white)
• Internationally renowned grapes (Chardonnay, Zweigelt, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc)