Dalmatia Wine Expo, opening next Friday, has announced the programme of lectures, guided wine tastings, and the restaurants participating in Stars of Cuisine.
One of the true secrets of Dalmatia which is slowly being discovered is the quality of its wines. While still somewhat unknown on the international scene, Croatian wines are on the rise. A visit to the vineyards and cellars on Brac island will demonstrate why!
Croatia grows an impressive 130 indigenous sorts and some fabulous representatives can be tried here. The wineries are in spectacular locations, offering you the best of both worlds - quality wine and a quality excursion. Famished by phylloxera in the late 19th century, the region's wines are finally making a comeback. Slowly but steadily, the hills are being reclaimed and replanted. To give an example of the devastation caused by the vine disease, neighboring Hvar once had 5700 hectates of vines under cultivation - today that number is 280.
Following the pretty 50-minute ferry ride from Split, our first appointment, Sasa Senjkovic, whose family wine cellar is located in the tiny village of Dracevica, is one of the leaders of resurgence on Brac. Located in an old family house, the Senjovic experience smacks of authenticity and tradition, and the wines on offer are truly special - Bosso, Brocka Ric and the outstanding Spoza rose. Add to that the considerable culinary talent of his wife Magdalena, and here is an authentic food and wine pairing not to be missed!
Past the highest vineyards in all Croatia, the spectacular descent to the town of Bol, famous for its Golden Horn beach, takes us to the first Dalmatian wine cooperative, dating back to 1903. Its current occupant, Stina winery, is modern, stylish and outstanding, and you should not only try their awarded wines, but check out their award-winning bottle labels too! Truly unique! Enjoy the tasting and the subsequent lunch on a special private estate on a hilltop. Traditional homemade cooking, fabulous wines and a setting to die for!
Instead of taking the ferry as included in the program, it is possible to organize this trip on a private speedboat, at an extra cost. Our guide will be waiting to greet you at the port in Supetar. Moreover, our Stina guide can organize a tour of their impressive vineyards by Murvica, but be warned - the vineyards are steep and not for the fainthearted!
Ferry tickets and assistance to Brac island from Split, guided wine tour of Brac with tasting and tours at 2 prominent wineries, traditional lunch with wine. All transfers on Brač island
Available year round
Bring camera, jacket for cooler months
9 AM ferry departure from Split, local transfers on Brač
Hvar wine tradition has been documented as early as the Greek times, as they founded an agricultural colony known today as the UNESCO site of Stari Grad Plain, where olive and grape cultivation have continued uninterrupted since their arrival. By now, wine making has almost been perfected on the island, hence it is almost unthinkable to leave Hvar without a face-to-face encounter with their wines. It comes as no surprise that our Secret Dalmatia Hvar Wine Tour is one of our most popular excursions!
Hvar was once also a major exporter of wine, with some 5,700 hectares of grapes under cultivation. A punitive tax change in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and a devastating attack of phylloxera on its vines, led to massive emigration, with the result that only 280 hectares of vines are under cultivation today. But the island's winemakers are undergoing something of a renaissance, and nowhere more so than in the heart of the wine country, in the town Jelsa, where two of Croatia's outstanding winemakers welcome you with their contrasting styles.
Trying the wines of Andro Tomic is a Hvar must-do. His grandiose tasting rooms in the cellars of the Bastijana winery are made to the model of the Diocletian's Palace basement itself! Educated in France, but with a resilient passion for his native island, Tomic blends the traditional with the international. Savor his statement wines, such as the excellent Plavac Mali and Sveti Klement Posip, but - do not leave without trying his sweet dessert wine, Hektorovich, which is widely acknowledged as the finest in Croatia.
A short transfer towards the other side of the island brings you to the home and cellar of Ivo Dubokovic, known as Croatia's leading boutique winemaker, whose candle-lit tasting is a cherished experience. Set in his family konoba against a backdrop of oak barrels and other wine accessories, Dubokovic assortment is one of the most personal and thought-provoking in the country.
After a busy morning of wine appreciation, enjoy a traditional grilled lunch and olive oil tasting on a hilltop, against the picture perfect background of the azure Adriatic and UNESCO Stari Grad Plain, a perfect reminder of the ethereal beauty of Hvar and its longstanding tradition of both wine and olives.
Collection from your hotel or meeting point by our English speaking driver/guide, tour of two wine cellars with tasting and ending with lunch served in an olive grove or a tavern in an abandoned village (depending on the availability and preferences)
Available year round
10 AM departure from your hotel or other meeting place (can be adjusted), or 10:30 when coming by 8:30 ferry from Split to Stari Grad.
4 PM departure for afternoon programs with dinner included.
Bring camera, comfortable walking shoes...
Planted in over 10% of vineyards in California, Zinfandel was long considered an all-American vine, until DNA-profiling techniques related this black-skinned grape back to its Croatian origins, Crljenak Kaštelanski. An authentic sort from the region of Kaštela in Central Dalmatia, Crljenak is undergoing something of a renaissance on account of its relation with the American favorite. This is an exploratory tour which takes you to the true roots of Zinfandel grape, and of course - Zinfandel wines!
Croatia had several indigenous varieties of Zin, but many disappeared after an outbreak of phylloxera in the late 19th century. The attack was devastating for wine growing in the region in every sense, reducing the production severely and ultimately leading to massive exodus. But after their relationship with Zin was established recently, Crljenak wines took a turn upward as they never have before.
You will visit two renowned Crljenak wine cellars, both relatively new. The first one is located in Kastela, historic town on the coast, lined up along the bay of Kaštela with 6 other similar towns, creating a beautiful seaside promenade. Bedalov is a small wine cellar attached to a family guesthouse, and is all about hospitality. At Bedalov, you will have a chance to try three local sorts of wines, Crljenak Kaštelanski (Zinfandel), Plavac mali and Maraština, coupled with some light snacks such as local olives and olive oil.
As the region has 10 authentic sorts of grapes, at our next stop, the Babe wine cellar, you will taste a Crljenak Kaštelanski (Zinfandel), Merlot and Couvet. In a scenic Dalmatian location near Trogir, overlooking Marjan hill in Split and Čiovo island, Babe is a great place to visit the vineyards, learn about all the hard work that goes into tendering grapes and the happy times of making wine. Walk the Babe vineyards with a trained guide and learn about local wines while enjoying great views of Split and Kastela bay.
For a complete experience of the Dalmatian traditions and lifestyle, a unique wine-paired lunch featuring local specialties and the finest of local wines can be organized at either wine cellar.
Collection from your hotel, villa or private apartment in Split by our English speaking professional guide/driver. Local staff in wine cellars.
Available year round
10 AM departure from your hotel or other meeting place (can be adjusted)
Bring camera, sports shoes.
Off road drive up the hill.
FIVE GREAT WINE TOURS IN AND AROUND SPLIT
When you are in Split, don’t miss a chance to try the amazing wines of Croatia. There are a couple of quality partners that really showcase the best the wine scene has to offer, from winery visits, sailings, and vineyard walks. Have a look at the best wine tour selections below.
1. Tracing the Roots of Zinfandel
It is widely known that the California’s famed Zinfandel grape actually stems from Croatia, specifically from the nearby town of Kaštela. To read about the fascinating story about tracing the Zinfandel roots back to Croatia, click here.
There are a couple of options here. You can take a full day tour where you visit several wineries and vineyards, have lunch, and go to the garden where the oldest zinfandel vine is today. Alternatively, there is a tour to a vineyard at 400m altitude where you can enjoy a tasting and lunch (or snacks).
2. Day Sailing to a Winery on Brać with a Five Course Traditional Lunch
Hop on board a sailing boat and let the winds take you to the island of Brač where you will visit a beautiful family winery, taste five wines with a smashing lunch, followed by swims in a secluded bay.
3. Winery Visit with a 15-Course Molecular Tasting Menu
A trip for true hedonists, you will be taking to a five star winery an hour’s drive from Split for a tour and tasting matched with 15 courses made using molecular gastronomy. This is the best tasting you will never remember.
4. Palace Walk and a Sundowner Wine & Cheese Tasting
The best way to experience the heart of Split is surely with a guided tour of the Palace and to end an insightful tour, you will be guided through several wines and matching cheeses in a charming little bar.
5. Taste Three Generations of Dalmatian Grape Varieties
Head 15 minutes out of town to a little family winery that produces wines of three different Dalmatian grape varieties that are all related to one another. See what grandfather, father, and son taste like together with a selection of local snacks.
The secret of Croatian wines is slowly coming out to an international audience. The resurgence of the industry, powered by 130 indigenous varieties and its prize jewel, the powerful Plavac Mali, has resulted in global plaudits and exports from Chicago to China.
The Croatian wine industry is older than many better-known wine-producing countries, and dates back to well before the birth of Christ. It is an important component of the country's culture, and local wine festivals, such as the one on Hvar in the video below, bring some of the best tourist memories.
There are few bigger names in Croatian wine than Alen Bibic, and the tour of the Bibic winery is one of THE gastronomic experiences in the region. With his wine sold only in select stores and the remainder shipped to Europe and America, this is top-quality Croatian wine at its very best.
As if the were not enough, the 6-8 course food pairing dinner put together by wife Vesa, combined with the stunning location in the village of Plastovo, in the rolling hills above historic Skradin and the Krka National Park (two of Croatia's top destinations in their own right), makes the Bibic wine tour the highlight of any trip to Croatia.
There will be an opportunity to visit the Bibic wine shop, which also serves cold pressed olive oil and other specialities from Dalmatia. Don't forget to try the outstanding brandy!
Options to combine this tour with a tour of Sibenik and its UNESCO cathedral or Skradin and the Krka National Park are available, as is the possibility to also visit the Gasperov cellars and the region's most famous wine, Babic, before a final detour to the famous Bucavac vineyard in Primošten.
For 1 - 3 people - from 120 Euro each
For 4 - 8 people - from 100 Euro each
Quotes for larger groups on request.
Collection from your accommodation by English-speaker driver/guide, road tolls and parking, all wine tasting and dinner, and visits mentioned above, tickets if applicable, VAT and taxes.