If there is one part of Hvar tourism which is growing quickly but has still hardly been discovered, it is the amazing Hvar wine story. With a history daying back to the arrival of the Ancient Greeks in 384 BC, the island of Hvar was a significant international wine exporter until the arrival of the devastating phylloxera disease, coupled with a crippling wine tax from the Austro-Hungarian empire.
Poverty and mass emigration followed, and the winemakers of Hvar played their part in building the wine stories of countries such as America, Australia and New Zealand.
The good times are back for Hvar winemakers, and their wines are now exported as far away as California, China, Russia and Singapore. The vast majority are made from indigenous varieties most visitors have never heard of (including Plavac Mali, a relative of Zinfandel).
Excellent wines, a stunning island and an amazing tour through the vineyards and wineries of an amazing 2400 year wine story. No wonder more people are taking time away from the beach to experience the magic of Hvar wines. Here are the top five tours:
1. Waves and Wine
Because Hvar Wine Tours is a local agency, we know every inch of this island, every vineyard. And for those who want to experience the magic of Hvar wines in the context of this gorgeous island, our Waves and Wines Tour will make you fall in love with Hvar forever. Much more than a wine tour, Waves and Wines is unique in its concept, combining speedboat transfers along some of Hvar's less dicovered coastline, world class wine tasting and food, as well as plenty of time to swim and sunbathe. Discover coves most tourists never hear about, swim in one of the clearest seas in the world, and taste award-winning wines in an underwater cellar. Hvar at its most complete! Learn more.
2. Hvar Half-Day Wine Tour
How much is it possible to learn about the wines of Hvar in just half a day?
Our half-day tour will take you on a journey through centuries of vineyards of Hvar, with your expert local guide bringing the vines to life with the rich history of the Hvar wine story. Choose from two of four outstanding Hvar winemakers for winery visits, each with their own personality and exceptional quality.
Decide between the Romanesque cellars of Andro Tomic (togas optional), a French-educated vintner from Jelsa who has appeared in Playboy and was the face of Croatian EU integration in his battle to protect the Prosek brand. Or Ivo Dubokovic, whose cosy Jelsa cellar offers an authentic and boutique tasting experience to match his reputation as Croatia's leading boutique winemaker.
Interested in organic wine? Head to Svirce, the village of wine, where the local cooperative, PZ Svirce, is leading the way, with its organic range, includine the delightful Ivan Dolac Barrique, an organic gold winner in Germany for two consecutive years from a winery which offers a fascinating insight into the transformation from socialist production to the present day. Or Zlatan Otok, Hvar's most famous producer, complete with underwater tasting rooms, Decanter gold medals and Croatia's only Grand Cru.
Whichever wineries you choose, Hvar Wine Tours guarantees you a day of education, fun and excellent Hvar wines. Learn more.
3. Hvar Full-Day Wine Tour
Wine tasting is obviously an essential part of the day, but at Hvar Wine Tours, we want you to undertand the history, the traditions of Hvar wine, and to fall in love with the island and its wines the way we have.
Our tour takes in two of the most charisamtic and respected winemakers in Croatia, both based in the picturesque wine town of Jelsa. French-educated Andro Tomic combines some Gallic flair with Roman tradition in his sensational wine tasting cellars, which are based on the cellars of Diocletian's Palace itself, and his exceptional use of indigenous grapes as well as international varieties is a wonderful journey of discovery.
Much smaller in production, but far more experiemental with his range of 11 wines made from indigenous grapes from the island, the Ivo Dubokovic candlelit tasting experiene in his family konoba could not be more intimate. Add to that a selection of his excellent flaoured olive oils, and here is the perfect introduction to the fruits of Hvar, expertly handled.
So much for the tasting, but that is just one part of your Hvar Wine Tours day. For to truly understand Hvar and its wines, it is important to hear the history, to visit the vineyards and olive groves, and a splendid lunch in one of the most attractive (and secret) olive groves on the island awaits, offering spectacular vistas over Hvar wine country and the Adriatic.
And all along the way, our expert wine guide - local, passionate - will slowly help you fall in love with the magic of Hvar and its incredible wines. Learn more.
4. Hvar Wine Island Rarities
2400 years of wine history, with grapes produced uninterrupted since the arrival of the Ancient Greeks, including the historic UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Stari Grad Plain.
More than two millenia which has seen the Greeks, the Romans, the Venetians, the Austro-Hungarians, the deadly phylloxers, and the Soclialists all put their stamp on the Hvar story.
And in a land of 130 indigenous grape varieties, there are several which are indigenous just to the island of Hvar, including Bogdanusa, which literally translates as a 'gift from God'.
And then there is Plavac. Plavac Mali (or 'little blue'), a relative of Zinfandel and the pride of Dalmatin reds, with the fabled steep slopes of Hvar's southern side one of the best places in the world for its production.
There are many rarities to be found here, which makes Hvar one of the world's most interesting wine regions right now, and the island is home to the oldest certified Plavac Mali vineyard in the world. Just one of its ancient treasures.
And just as the Hvar wine story has its history and its treasures, so too its wines. Join us on a tour of Hvar Island Rarities, a tour of the island's most intriguing (and rarely available) wines, sampled in the company of the winemakers themselves. Choose from reds and whites, oaked an unoaked, deligthful dessert wines and aceto balsamico. Visit the wineries and sample the increasingly rare but equally brilliant Plavac Mali vintages from 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2007.
For true wine affecionados, we can go back further in time, and into the private collections of the winemakers themselves, starting at 250 € per person. Learn more.
5. Champagne Sunset Picnic
Not a classic wine tour as such, but if you want to combine the magic of the grape with the magic of Hvar, with a little romance...
Enjoy the most amazing sunset in the Mediteranean and enjoy a wonderful picnic basket filled with island delicacies, sparkling wine and strawberries!
Perched atop the island’s highest point, Sv. Nikola, you and your loved one can experience the magic of watching the sun slip into the sea together, alone. Learn more.