Croatian wine has a long history dating back to the time of the first Greek settlers over 2000 years ago. The vineyards and many of the local grape varieties may be ancient but modern winemaking techniques imported from elsewhere in Europe have guaranteed that Croatian wine can rival any other produced in most parts of the world.
The Croatian Institute of Viticulture and Enology was set up in 1996 to oversee the country’s wine industry, and be responsible for regulating wine-growing and wine production. Standards similar to the EU wine regulations were set up to ensure the consistent quality of the final product. In terms of global production Croatia ranks a lowly 30th, however wine is a popular drink and is consumed with most meals. Whites, reds, rosé, sparkling and dessert wines can all be found here.
In Istria and the north coast, the focus is on is on fruity, dry white wines from a wide range of grape varieties, but mostly Malvazija.
International varieties such as Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Chardonnay are also grown in the Dalmatia region, albeit under their local names, the best known being Plavac Mali.
In Dalmatia, the islands and hillsides have an infinite variety of microclimates resulting in a wine-growing area where terroir is a crucially important factor.