Friday, 18 June 2021

Peljesac Peninsula Oyster and Mussel Production Facing Disaster

18 June, 2021 – Mali Ston on the Peljesac Peninsula is famous for its top quality oysters and mussels. But, recent drop in sales is threatening the livelihood of local producers and the Peljesac Peninsula oyster and mussel production as a whole.

The Peljesac Peninsula in Dubrovnik-Neretva Country is without a doubt one of the most beautiful parts in all of Croatia. Wine production and the cultivation of oysters and mussels have given it a well-earned international reputation. Traditions that span centuries, beautiful scenery and amazing historical towns and villages have turned Peljesac into one of the most favourite destinations for foreigners and locals alike.

It comes as no surprise that most of the yearly revenue of local shellfish farms comes from tourists travelling to Peljesac or restaurants around Croatia selling Peljesac Peninsula oysters and mussels. They're produced in cycles and are mainly sold fresh. So, any drop in sales usually means an un-recoverable loss. In 2020 there was an enormous drop in sales for Peljesac. This was the effect of COVID-19 related travel restrictions and the closing of restaurants.

Dangerous numbers

Slobodna Dalmacija released a report on the current state of oyster and mussel farming in Mali Ston with some alarming numbers to consider. Local aquaculture farmers are currently down 80% in revenue when compared to 2019. After a disastrous 2020, this number is very serious indeed. Along with this crisis, they are apparently facing problems with illegal oyster farms and illegal selling. According to a few interviewed producers, much of what is being sold doesn't even actually get recorded for tax purposes and this creates additional problems for those who are choosing to work above board and legally.

The President of a local association of shellfish producers, Marija Radic, denies there are illegal farms in operation in and around Peljesac. She also stated that instances of selling Peljesac Peninsula oysters and mussels without proper invoices is less common than some of the local producers might claim. However, she did confirm the numbers of around 80% in terms of the drop in sales are sadly correct. The only thing that can save the majority of Peljesac Peninsula oyster and mussel farmers is the return of tourism and restaurant consumption. The local market is simply too small and unable to alleviate such a dramatic drop in sales.

Do your part in helping out local businesses by visiting gorgeous Peljesac for a food, wine and beach trip. Here’s some of the best beaches on the peninsula and here you can find the locations of top local wineries.

For more, follow our dedicated business section.

Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Pelješac Interactive Map with Cycling and Hiking Routes Available

 May 26, 2021 - As part of an effort to strengthen adventure tourism on the peninsula, a Pelješac interactive map is available with five circular mountain biking routes and six hiking routes.

As stated by, tourist communities from Pelješac united at the end of last year to develop tourist products of Pelješac. Specifically, they approached the development of outdoor offers through hiking, cycling, and windsurfing, and five thematic festivals are planned in which visitors would enjoy the flavors of Pelješac, traditional dishes, and the well-known Pelješac wine.

As part of the development of the Outdoor Program, an interactive map of mountain cycling and hiking routes in Pelješac was made. There are currently five circular mountain cycling and six hiking routes on the map. Additional route extensions are planned, as well as the addition of catering facilities and wineries to the map so that guests can easily find their way around the area and get to know the complete offer of Pelješac. Pelješac is rich in wineries and traditional taverns and restaurants, so the combination of outdoors and traditional flavors is quite natural.

On the map, you can see information about the difficulty of the route, the type of surface, description, photos and you can download the GPX track that can be used in various mobile applications and smartwatches. There is also a link to the OsmAnd mobile app on the map, as a suggestion. Otherwise, the app is free to download and works offline.


Pelješac Interactive Map with Cycling and Hiking Trails (Screenshot)

The map shows a total of five mountain bike circular routes with a length of 184 km and six hiking routes with a total length of 39 km. The Tourist Boards of Ston, Janjina, Trpanj, and Orebić note that they have developed an interactive map that cyclists and mountaineers can study without coming to the info center, or looking at the websites of tourist boards. In addition, the trails were made in collaboration with local cyclists who know the terrain best, and thus end-users will be able to discover the most interesting parts of Peljesac, which hides many natural beauties.

You can find the English version of the interactive map of Pelješac HERE, and the Croatian version HERE.

You can learn everything about what the Pelješac peninsula can offer you on your next trip, in Total Croatia’s Pelješac peninsula on a page, HERE. Total Croatia’s articles are now available in your language!

For more information about cycling in Croatia, go to Total Croatia's dedicated page.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.


Friday, 14 May 2021

Pelješac Cellar Festival Starts Tomorrow on the Famous Dalmatian Peninsula

May 14, 2021 - Starting tomorrow, the Pelješac Cellar Festival will take place in one of the most famous wine regions, and it will include discounts, workshops, and more!

Pelješac is well known for its wines, derived from the iconic Plavac Mali grape, which is responsible for the powerful reds made in the region. For some Croatian wine experts, the Plavac from the slopes of Dingač and Postup are among the best wines in the country. 

The fame of the peninsula among wine lovers is indisputable, and to their delight, starting tomorrow a new edition of the Wine Festival will take place in Pelješac, the Pelješac Cellar Festival, and will last for a month.

As reports, wineries, shipowners, shellfish farms, family farms, restaurants, and taverns… 53 of them from all over the peninsula joined the largest event on Pelješac so far, the Pelješac Cellar Festival, which starts from Saturday, May 15 until June 15, 2021.


During the festival, the wineries participating in the project will offer their visitors discounts on wine (20% on certain wine palettes), and restaurants and taverns will have menus with traditional Peljesac specialties with a glass of local wine designed specifically for the festival (two menus, one of 120 kuna and one of 180 kuna). The festival will also include educational workshops, professional lectures, and various other events of interest to wine lovers.

‘‘We are glad that a large number of winemakers have joined the Pelješac Cellar Festival, which focuses on Plavac Mali, a trademark of our peninsula and one of the largest wine brands in Croatia. All research confirms that the eno-gastronomic offer is among the first three motives for tourists to come to our country, and our wine empire with famous vineyards such as Ponikava, Dingač, and Postup, has become a real tourist attraction and not only for wine lovers. As part of the Festival on June 4th and 5th, we are organizing the traditional Pelješac Cellars Open Days, an event that usually takes place in December. We hope that this June version will become another traditional wine festival’’, said Slobodan Rosić, secretary of the associations Pelješac Wine Routes and Plavac Mali Pelješac.


The director of the Ston Tourist Board, Fani Slade, pointed out that all four tourist boards from Pelješac are participating in this project in addition to Ston: the Tourist Boards of Janjina, Orebić, and Trpanj, and the idea was realized in cooperation with Feel IQM. He says that the Festival would not have been possible without the support of the associations Ston's Shellfish, Pelješac Wine Routes, and Plavac mali Pelješac, as well as the Ston Walls, Solana Ston, and the Maritime Museum in Orebić.

‘‘We have taken care of epidemiological measures, so there is no mass gathering during the event, and we plan to hold an accompanying program such as wine workshops and conferences online. We also recommend all visitors announce their arrival at the winery, family farm, restaurant, or tavern in advance. We believe that next year the pandemic will be behind us, so the second edition of the Pelješac Cellars Festival will offer a rich entertainment and educational program’’, says Slade.

Croatian wines and grapes are among the best in the world, and you can find more information about them in Total Croatia’s Guide to Croatian Wine HERE. You can also learn more about what the Pelješac peninsula can offer you on your next trip, in Total Croatia’s Pelješac peninsula on a page, HERE. Total Croatia’s articles are now available in your language!

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 5 March 2021

Two Minor Earthquakes Hit Pelješac Peninsula

ZAGREB, 5 March, 2021 - The Croatian Seismological Service on Friday afternoon registered two minor earthquakes that struck the Pelješac peninsula in southern Dalmatia.

First, a magnitude 1.8 earthquake occurred at 12.38 p.m., and two minutes later, at 12.40 p.m., a stronger tremor, with a magnitude of 2.9, struck, the Seismological Service said.

Monday, 15 February 2021

Ponikve on Peljesac Becomes Protected Origin Designation of Croatian Wines

February 15, 2021 – Croatian wine gets another protection as Ponikve on Peljesac becomes a protected designation of origin for Croatian wines in the European Union.

As Dubrovnik-Neretva County reports, Ponikve, a wine-growing position on the Pelješac peninsula near the Municipality of Ston, has become a protected designation of origin for Croatian wines in the European Union.

On February 10, 2021, the European Commission published that "Ponikve" had entered the register of protected designations of origin and protected geographical origin (ZOI), becoming the 17th protected designation of origin for Croatian wines whose name is registered in the EU.

Along with Ponikve, protected designations of origin of Croatian wines in the EU are the Dalmatian hinterland, Dingač, Croatian Istria, Croatian Danube region, Croatian coast, Eastern Continental Croatia, Moslavina, Plešivica, Pokuplje, Prigorje-Bilogora, Coastal Croatia, Northern Dalmatia, Slavonia, Central and Southern Dalmatia, Zagorje-Međimurje, and Western Continental Croatia.


Ston / Photo: Romulić and Stojčić

The aim is to label the products, namely, wine, and highlight the name of the Ponikve locality following EU regulations, to easily identify the specifics of the vineyard locality.

The protected designation of origin covers the vineyard position of Ponikve located in the cadastral municipality of Boljenovići on the Pelješac peninsula near Ston, within the Pelješac vineyards in the Central and Southern Dalmatia subregion.

"Ponikve" stretches from the bay Prapratno in the southeast to the place Sparagovići in the northwest. On the north side is Ilija hill, and on the south is the state road Ston-Orebić. Ponikve is located in a hilly area with some smaller valleys and fields. The relief is typical karst.


The ZOI "Ponikve" area is located on the Pelješac peninsula near the Municipality of Ston and is marked in red

The whole area is an outstanding example of the traditional way of raising vineyards with terraces and dry stone walls of attractive landscape architecture and view. The viticultural position of Ponikve is one of the most suitable terrains for growing vines on Pelješac, a peninsula well-known for its rich tradition of growing vines. Carefully selected places in Milo, Crnjava, at the foot of the hill Stari Grad, and all-day sunbathing give exceptional quality wine.

Apart from good wines, Ponikve is also known for excellent olive oil.


Recognized black and white grape varieties are Plavac mali, Maraština, and white Pošip. The maximum yield per hectare is 11,000 kilograms or 6,600 liters of wine per hectare, according to the document "Product specification for the protected designation of origin Ponikve" by the Institute for Adriatic Crops and Karst Reclamation from Split.

The protection process for the locality Ponikve lasted for more than seven years, since 2013. The "Pelješac Wine Routes" Association was the project holder, while the development was entrusted to the mentioned institute. The Municipality of Ston, Dubrovnik-Neretva County, and the County Chamber of Commerce supported the Ponikve Site Protection Study production, reports Hina.


Photo: Romulić and Stojčić

To read more lifestyle news from Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Dingač Wine at Joe Biden Inauguration an Opportunity for Croatia

January 20, 2021 - Dingač wine will be served at the Joe Biden Inauguration on Wednesday, which is a huge opportunity for the Pelješac wine region and the whole of Croatia.

The inauguration of the new US president Joe Biden on Wednesday will attract people from all over the world - and in addition to the list of distinguished guests, two Croatian wines will have their place in the spotlight. 

Namely, T.portal writes that the first protected Croatian wine - Dingač - will be found on the tables of Biden's inauguration, as well as Zinfandel. 

Plavac Mali is the most important native grape variety in Croatia, and the best Plavac is produced in the localities of Dingač and Postup on the Pelješac peninsula, on the south side of the island of Hvar, and in the good positions of the Brač and Vis vineyards. 

"Dingač had a good reputation before the 15th century and was sold at higher prices than all other wines in the market. It is a premium dry red wine, protected by the Geneva Convention in 1961 and the first Croatian wine protected by law. More than 90 percent of Plavac is produced on Pelješac. The fact that it will be served at Biden's inauguration is a great promotion for the wine itself and the whole of Croatia," says Slobodan Rosić, secretary of the Plavac Mali association from Pelješac.

"I think this is an opportunity for the whole of Croatia, as it is great to have a bottle of wine from Croatia on the tables of the inauguration. The producer is not important either, but Pelješac, Dubrovnik-Neretva County, and Croatia. I think that we winemakers, as well as all our counties and chambers, should start a good wine campaign to place Dingač on the world map; that is a good way," says Rosić.

He adds that such an opportunity should definitely be used because of the coronavirus pandemic, which drastically slowed down sales:

"Because of the coronavirus pandemic, we can't even offer a day of open wines. We have large stocks of unsold wine in warehouses, and we expect restaurants and cafes to open every day. The wine will not be distilled, it will age for a year without income, but it is difficult for winemakers, as they have been without income for a year," he concluded.

Dragan Kovačević, vice-president of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce for Agriculture and Tourism, believes that the selection of Croatian wines for Biden's inauguration is the culmination of many years of trends in their successful export and promotion in the American market.

"Our exports are growing at a rate of 10 to 15 percent per year, and according to data for the first ten months of 2020, it reached 860 thousand dollars or remained at the levels of 2019 despite the business crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, which hurt all business segments, especially the wine sector, as it is highly dependent on promotional and social events and tourism trends," explained Kovačević. He added that in the USA, which is the fifth most important market for the export of Croatian wines, mostly top bottled wines (over 80 percent of exports) are sent at a high average price compared to other countries Croatia exports.

For example, in the first 10 months of 2020, the average export price of Croatian wines in the United States was 6.84 euro per liter, while in 2019, it was 6.89 euro per liter. Due to the specific distribution method, wine exported from Croatia for $12 for a bottle reaches $35 to $40 on the shelf of an American wine shop, or from $60 to $80 in restaurants.

"Wine for a country like Croatia, which achieves almost a fifth of its GDP through tourism and the multiplier effects of tourism, and is visited annually by over 20 million tourists, is potentially an important export product. Along with gastronomy, wine plays an increasingly important role in the tourist offer and branding of Croatia as an eno-gastro destination," said Kovačević, adding that we must emphasize our advantages, which are over 120 indigenous grape varieties and a mosaic of four wine-growing and wine regions with all varietal and positional specifics, which should be the backbone of marketing.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 9 January 2021

Croatian Wine from Peljesac to Be Served at Joe Biden Presidential Inauguration

January 9, 2021 - Special occasions require special wines, which is probably why a Croatian red from Peljesac will be enjoyed at the January 20 Presidential inauguration of Joe Biden.

Where would America be without Croatia?

First, a little stone to build The White House, then a few vines to produce Zinfandel, then a little Super Bowl sports coaching with Bill Belichick.

And now, a little drop of red for the presidential inauguration.

Croatian media is reporting that the Benmosche Family Dingac will be served in Washington on the big day.

Croatian online wine merchants, The Wine and More, have more information about the wine in question, and the rather famous American connection:

Robert Benmosche, was the CEO of MetLife when he retired in 2006 to become a winemaker in Croatia. The Empire State native had built a wine collection of a few thousand bottles when a trip to Dubrovnik sparked an interest in making Zinfandel. Robert bought land on Pelješac peninsula, and planted Plavac mali grapes in protected region where Plavac mali gives the best results. And in Viganj he planted Zinfandel. At the time he was investing in vineyards, they found out that Zinfandel is genetically the same as Crljenak Kaštelanski. Both Dingac and Zinfandel are coming from young vineyards planted in 2006. Wines are made with traditional techniques and kept in barrique barrels for 12 months and in bottle another 18 months.

Croatia wine is of course no stranger to the biggest global ceremonies. At the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, 11,000 bottles of the 1947 Ilockli Podrum Traminac were ordered for the Royal guests.

And if you would like to sample a bottle of the famous bottle, you still can, but bring your credit card. When I visited the winery last year, they still had 182 bottles of the 1947 left, with a cool price tag of 55,000 kuna (about US$9000) per bottle. Learn more in Croatia's Most Expensive Wine: Selling Well at 7,400 Euro a Bottle.


Sunday, 15 November 2020

VIDEO: Peljesac Bridge Construction Update by EdoStuff

November 15, 2020 - A Peljesac Bridge construction update, brought to you by Split-based videographer EdoStuff.

Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, works on the construction of the Peljesac Bridge are in full swing. Works should be completed in a year and a half, and the bridge will be 2.4 kilometers long and 55 meters high.

The contractor of the bridge is the Chinese company China Road and Bridge Corporation. At the same time, the access roads, which will cover 32 kilometers in total, are being built by the Austrian company Strabag and the Greek company Avax. 

The contract for constructing the bridge with access roads, worth HRK 2.08 billion (excluding VAT), was signed on April 23, 2018. Eighty-five percent of the costs are financed from EU funds.

Poslovni Dnevnik reported last month that there are as many as 600 Chinese workers currently working on the bridge, ensuring things stay on track on one of the largest strategic projects in Croatian history, especially during these trying times.

The bridge will eliminate the need for those crossing from the extreme south of Dalmatia into the rest of the country or back again to cross into neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina (Neum).

But that's not all.

While the bridge will certainly change the Neretva coast landscape and make life much easier for travelers in southern Croatia, it has also brought a demographic boom in the area, namely in the nearby municipalities of Ston and Slivno.

Slobodna Dalmacija reported last month that the municipalities of Ston on Peljesac and Slivno on the Neretva River, connected by the Peljesac Bridge, recorded an increase in the population of as many as 407 people. This is shown by the Central Bureau of Statistics report on estimates and natural population trends in the past year.

>Eddy Mestrovic of popular YouTube channel EdoStuff Aviation filmed a Peljesac bridge construction update on November 13, 2020. 

"Possibly the most important construction site in Croatia right now. The Pelješac Bridge (Pelješki most) is the bridge that will connect the Croatian mainland with most of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County. Finally, achieving the long-awaited goal of connecting the south with the rest of Croatia without going through Neum in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The bridge will be a multi-span cable-stayed bridge with a total length of 2,404-metre. It will comprise 13 spans, while seven will be cable-stayed - five central 285-metre spans and two outer 203.5-metre spans. Two pylons around the 200-metre x 55-metre navigation channel will be 98-metres above sea level and 222-metres above the seabed. Built by the China Road and Bridge Corporation. The clips in this video were filmed in June 2020 and early November 2020," writes EdoStuff in the video description.

The bridge should be completed on January 31, 2022.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.


Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Peljesac Bridge Brought a Demographic Boom in the Nearby Municipalities of Ston and Slivno

October 20, 2020 – In addition to changing the landscape of the Neretva coast, the Peljesac Bridge brought a demographic boom in this area, namely in the nearby municipalities of Ston and Slivno.

As Slobodna Dalmacija reports, statistic data says so, and in this case, the situation is favorable for two municipalities – Ston on Pelješac and Slivno on the Neretva River, which are connected by the Pelješac Bridge.

Unlike other Croatian regions that record a pronounced depopulation trend, especially in the Dalmatian hinterland, Ston and Slivno have an increase in the population of as many as 407 people. This is shown by the report of the Central Bureau of Statistics on estimates and natural population trends in the past year.

However, it cannot be said with certainty that the construction of the bridge directly affects the population growth, but it is certainly interesting that the positive demographic trends coincide with the intensification of work on the Pelješac Bridge. True, hundreds of workers temporarily staying in this area work on the bridge and the surrounding access roads, but it is assumed that they are not covered by these statistics because they do not have a permanent place of residence in the municipalities of Ston and Slivno.


Desirable places

The Mayor of Ston Municipality, Vedran Antunica, is delighted about the news that the number of inhabitants in the municipality of Ston increased by 281 people or 12.5 percent. Namely, in 2018 in the municipality of Ston there were 2246 inhabitants, and now there are 2521, interesting numbers in this part of Pelješac where tourism and shellfish farming, especially oyster farming, are the main economic activities.

"Our municipality provides certain benefits for young families and I am sure that this has also contributed to positive demographic trends," says Mayor Antunica.

For the first child born in a family permanently residing in the municipality, 5,000 kunas is paid from the municipal treasury, 10,000 for the second child, and 20,000 kunas for the third and each subsequent. Mayor Antunica notes that the money is paid at once, not in delays or installments.

"The municipality strives to make life as easy as possible for its residents. That is our main task. We have a kindergarten for children, a nursery, all the facilities as in a big city, and we are a small community. True, Dubrovnik is not far away, so we are a desirable place for living," says Antunica, adding that it is very difficult to buy a house or an apartment in big cities, so young people stay with their grandparents.

Ston and Pelješac will be an even more suitable place for a living once the Pelješac Bridge is built. This will be an additional stimulus to the economic and demographic renewal of this area, the people of Pelješac hope.



The municipality of Ston / Copyright Romulić and Stojčić


Technical increase

Somewhere people emigrate, and somewhere they immigrate. According to statistical indicators, they also move to the municipality of Slivno, the only coastal municipality on the Neretva River. Statistics say that during 2018 and 2019, the population of Slivno increased from 1868 to 2024, 156 people, or 8.35 percent.

The former mayor of Slivno Mate Dragobratović says that the area of ​​Slivno is the most beautiful part of the Neretva valley, so he sees that as the reason for the number of increasing residents who have decided to live on the Neretva coast. Everything is close – Metković, Ploče, Dubrovnik – and such a geographical position attracts many, especially young people.

"People are engaged in agriculture, growing mandarins, and tourism, which is a good combination," says Dragobratović, emphasizing that with the construction of the Pelješac Bridge and the connection of the Neretva and Pelješac, the municipality of Slivno will be even more desirable for young families.

However, Denis Šešelj, a former municipal councilor, and local politician points out that there is no real increase in population but a technical increase in the population of Slivno municipality.

"We have people who are registered in their weekend cottages in the municipality of Slivno, but live in Metković or elsewhere. So they avoid paying taxes. This is best seen when voting in elections. In the municipality of Slivno, the number of inhabitants has been increasing in this way for years. Some companies and crafts are also being opened because taxes and duties are lower," says Šešelj.


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Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Fascinating Archaeological Discovery on Peljesac Peninsula

As Morski writes on the 5th of October, 2020, a fantastic archaeological discovery has been uncovered in the Dalmatian region of the Peljesac peninsula. A team of archaeologists has excavated graves dating back to the 11th century BC. In one of them, a multitude of jewellery was discovered, as well as an exceptional Greek-Illyrian helmet, one of only a few found in the entire world.

It's difficult to imagine the feeling of coming across such an important archaeological discovery, and after two and a half millennia of being buried away from human eyes, an incredible, ancient Greco-Illyrian helmet saw the light of day once again. These helmets are otherwise extremely rare, and there are only about 10 such helmets in the whole world.

''They were worn from the 7th century until practically the 3rd century BC and in each of those periods they were important in the sense of actually defining the members of the elite, the warrior elites who actually ruled the communities of that time,'' explained Hrvoje Potrebica of the Department of Archeology, Faculty of Philosophy in Zagreb, for HRT.

Archaeological work at this particular location in the Peljesac region began this summer and was contuining throughout last week. The archaeological discovery, more specifically a tomb from the fourth century BC, hid a real historical treasure.

''What we can see, in any case, are fragments of a Greek vessel, neskifos, with a handle. Next to it are fragments of a bronze bracelet, which is usually found as part of women's jewellery of that time, so we're talking about the time somewhere in the fourth century BC,'' said the director of the Institute of Archeology of Zagreb, Marko Dizdar PhD.

''Experts believe the finding is a tomb from the fourth century or fifth century BC. There are at least fifteen such mounds in this area, which tells us that there used to be a significant settlement here, but it also tells us that archaeologists will still have work to do here for decades, ''said HRT reporter Vicko Dragojevic.

''Now we actually have a few years to document the area, to actually know what we have in that area from the archaeological findings. And then when we understand the landscape, in parallel, we're going to conduct targeted research on the most endangered parts,'' Potrebica added.

After that, this should become one huge international interdisciplinary project, because there are extremely rare objects lying here that, thanks to archaeological forensics, can reveal something that cannot be found anywhere else.

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