Croatia has many different indigenous grape varieties producing some fabulous wines. They aren’t well known around the world, perhaps because of their complicated names with special characters like č or ž. Despite that, the country is developing a reputation for its wine scene, thanks to word-of-mouth, with more and more travelers discovering its delights. Visitors can take a wine tour in Croatia to sample many of its best while exploring independently, as an excursion that’s part of a small ship cruise and more. The best for touring and testing here, are the smaller, family-run wineries that so many are raving about.
Croatia’s Best Family Wineries
Tomic Winery in Hvar
Tomic is one of the most highly sought-after family wineries, a popular destination on any wine tour in Croatia. This is a great one to start with, as it’s practically guaranteed to make you fall in love with Croatian wines. Andro Tomic’s photogenic vineyard is located in the small coastal town of Jelsa, on the island of Hvar. The vintner is one of the most innovative and most well-known in the country. Combining his education at the Faculty of Agronomy in Zagreb and training in France with his intimate knowledge of Hvar, was he was born and raised. The result is an impressive selection of wines that range from wines made with indigenous grapes, like Posip, Plavac Mali and Bogdanusa. As well as more world-wide recognized types like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Tomic is particularly known for its Prosek, the original Dalmatian dessert wine, and produces some 150,000 bottles of various wines every year.
Bibich Winery Skradin
Bibich Winery also produces some of the finest wines in the nation, considered a must for anyone looking for a Croatia wine tour. Driving here is a treat in itself, as it’s located in the picturesque Skradin wine region, just 15 minutes from Sibenik. Run by the same family for centuries it was burned to the ground during the war. Spouses, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins are still working closely together here today. They produce highly acclaimed wines, 80 percent of which are exported to Scandinavia and the U.S. Culinary magic happens here as well, including some particularly delicious Croatian-style tapas for perfect wine pairings. The winery is enveloped by gorgeous surroundings, with a vineyard that dates back around 500 years, while traditional wines are poured. Visitors are given various tasting menus like the 100% local, red- and white-focused options, and may even meet the passionate owner. Alen Bibich himself, who enjoys chatting about the wines he makes from the local indigenous grapes.
Kozlovic Winery, Istria
The Istrian Peninsula, a spectacularly scenic region that’s been compared to Tuscany without the crowds, complete picturesque valleys, rolling hills, vineyards, olive groves and medieval hilltop towns, is home to the Kozlovic Winery. Run by the same family for generations, it’s surrounded by olive trees and gorgeous landscapes. Although the winery building itself is modern, it harmoniously blends with its surrounding environment. From here, you can gaze out at the vineyards where grape vines include Teran, Muskat Momjanski (unique to the area) and Malvazija Istarska, representing indigenous varieties. International varieties are planned here too, like Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc. Producing bottle wines since 1987, over the decades they’ve become recognized abroad, and can be found in a number of Michelin-star restaurants in the UK. Gianfranco Kozlovic may give you a tour through the winery, built into the hillside. He may tell you all about his living roof, gravity flow and challenges he faces, and has overcome, in producing such tasty wines.
Fakin Winery, Istria
Marco Fakin, a young winemaker from Motovun, has been referred to as being “destined for greatness,” having already been recognized with a number of awards, including several gold and silver medals at the Decanter Awards. His winery, that really shouldn’t be missed on any Croatia wine tour, took the gold for Fakin Teran 2017, a variety that is considered one of the country’s most important reds. This outstanding wine was described as having black cherry, mulberry and blueberry flavors with a sweet spice nose, a rich palate packed with fruit and integrated vanilla note, with a long finish, polished and very well done. The same year, Fakin received four bronze awards, for Istarska Malvazija 2017, Terna Il Primo 2015, Teran Rose 2017 and Muškat Žuti 2017, as well as a silver for Malvazija La Prima 2016. While the winery isn’t big, visitors are ensured an exceptional, personal experience where the winemaker himself or a family member is likely to greet you before pouring whatever you’d like to taste.
Rizman Winery, Peljesac
The Stimac family, one of the most famous names in sports in Croatia thanks to famous soccer player Igor Stimac, owns the Rizman winery. The family’s winemaking roots go back to grandfather Mihovil Mijo Popich, who was called Rizman, after whom the winery is named. Its location is stunning, set atop a hill above Komarna, providing awe-inspiring views over the Peljesac Peninsula, the sea, islets and vineyards. The winery includes a small shop, wine cellar, production line and a tasting room that faces the Adriatic which opens up to a vast terrace for enjoying the wines with picturesque views. A few of the wines you might taste include Posips, Tempranillo, Rosé Rusula and Placac mali Primus, providing a sampling of the tasty options produced here. Tastings are accompanied by homemade delicacies, including breads, cheeses and Dalmatian prosciutto, along with Rizman’s own olive oil. The famous produces two types, one with intense flavors, and one mild.
For more information about any of the wineries here, call our Croatia travel experts today on +14156850816 from the US & Canada, or on +442039509613 from the UK & the rest of the world.
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