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Comprehensive description of all European growing areas, their grape varieties, traditions and legal rules with maps.

Description to Croatia

The country has a very old wine culture, because along the Dalmatian Adriatic coast the Illyrians were already cultivating wine in 1000 BC. The Greeks founded several colonies from 600 BC. From this time comes the writing "The Feast of the Scholars", in which wine making in Issa (island of Vis) is reported. A wine from here was even considered the best of the ancient wines of the time. The Roman Emperor Probus (232-282) promoted viticulture in the 3rd century and the Slavs who settled here in the 7th century continued to cultivate it. The Croats developed viticulture in Dalmatia as an important economic sector alongside olive growing and fishing. Around 1000 AD, the Republic of Venice conquered Dalmatia and parts of Istria and retained its rule for over 300 years. From the beginning of the 12th century, a personal union with the Kingdom of Hungary developed. In 1232, Cistercian monks founded a wine cellar in Kutjevo that still exists. In the middle of the 15th century, Hungary and Croatia suffered heavy territorial losses due to the expansion of the Ottoman Empire. After many battles against the Ottomans, much of Croatia came under Habsburg administration in the 18th century. After the Second World War Croatia became a constituent republic of Yugoslavia and in 1991 became independent as "Hrvatska".

Kroatien - Landkarte und Weingärten auf der Insel Hvar

Wine-growing regions

The country is characterised by a very varied topography. The large plain in the interior (part of the Pannonian Plain) is separated by the Dinaric Alps (Dinarides) from the almost 1,800 kilometre long Adriatic coast. There are over 1,200 islands along the coast, which is why Croatia is also called the "land of 1,000 islands". The coastal strip consists of Dalmatia in the south and the large peninsula of Istria in the north. The vineyards here slope steeply down to the sea, so there is optimal sunlight (exposure) for the vineyards. There are two clearly separated wine-growing regions. These are divided into a number of sub-regions and these into growing areas.

Continental Croatia (Kontinentalna Hrvatska)

Located in the north, this region stretches from Slovenia in the west to the border of Serbia in the east. In the south it borders Bosnia-Herzegovina. It has a continental climate with cool summers and sometimes very harsh winters. The region consists of the seven sub-regions Moslavina, Plesivica, Podunavlje (Danube), Pokuplje (Kupa), Prigorje-Bilogora, Slavonija (Slavonia) and Zagorje-Medjimurje. Two-thirds of the wines produced here are white.

Croatian Coastal Region (Primorska Hrvatska)

The southern region is best known for Dalmatia, where vineyards stretch from Rijeka to Dubrovnik. In the very south, there is a border with Montenegro that is only 25 kilometres long. Here the climate is much more humid and Mediterranean. The region is divided into five sub-regions, which are Dalmatinska Zagora (Dalmatian hinterland), Hrvatsko Primorje (coastal area with many islands such as Hvar, Korčula, Krk, Lastovo and Vis), Istra (Istria), Sjeverna Dalmacija (northern Dalmatia) and Srednja/Juzna Dalmacija (central and southern Dalmatia). It is mainly red wines that grow here, and the best-known Croatian brand wines include Dingac, Faros, Peljesac, Postup, Prošek and Teran.

Grape variety list

In 2020, the area under vines covered 21,454 hectares and the wine production volume 800,000 hectolitres (Statistics Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Agriculture). There are very many autochthonous grape varieties, which are often cultivated on only one or a few islands in very small quantities. The grape variety index in 2010 (Statistics Kym Anderson):

Grape variety


Synonyms or name in Croatia


Welschriesling white Graševina 4.701
Malvazija Istarska white Istarska Malvazija, Malvazija Istarska Bijela 1.705
Plavac Mali red Crljenak, Kasteljanak 1.569
Merlot red - 780
Riesling white Rizling Rajnski 676
Chardonnay white - 668
Cabernet Sauvignon red - 646
Plavina red Brajda, Plavina Crna 643
Blaufränkisch red Frankovka 558
Debit white Čarapar, Debit Bijeli, Puljižanac 403
Babić red Babić Crni, Babić Mali 359
Malvasia Bianca Lunga white Maraština, Rukatac, Višana 285
Kraljevina white Kraljevina Crvena, Red Portugieser 268
Pošip Bijeli white Pošip, Pošipak, Vgorski Bijeli 253
Sauvignon Blanc white Sovinjon 249
Gewürztraminer / Traminer white Traminac 234
Trbljan white Dobrogoština, Kuč, Trbljan Bijeli 231
Terrano / Refosco red Teran 228
Pinot Gris white Pinot Sivi 219
Trebbiano Toscano white Rogoznička, Šijaka, Ugni Blanc 210
Kujundzusa white Kojundzusa, Kujundzusa Bijela 206
Pinot Blanc white Pinot Bijeli 188
Syrah red Shiraz 187
Pinot Noir red Pinot crni 180
Furmint white Moslavac 172
Vranac red Vranac Crmnichki, Vranac Crni 149
Silvaner white Silvanac Zeleni 139
Žlahtina white Vrbnička Žlahtina, Žlahtina Bijela 135
Ranfol white Plavis, Ranfol Bijela 135
Zweigelt red - 123
Refosco? red - 122
Garnacha Tinta red - 103
Cabernet Franc red - 95
Cardinal red - 91
Tribidrag / Zinfandel red Crljenak Kaštelanski 65
Škrlet white Ovnek Slatki, Škrlet Tusti, Škrtec 61
Müller-Thurgau white - 60
Gold Muscat (Moscato Giallo) white Muscat Zuti 59
Rkatsiteli white - 57
Muscat Blanc / Muscat white Muscat Bijeli 56
Kövidinka white Dinka Alba, Kevidinka 56
Victoria (1) white - 52
Bogdanuša white Bogdanjusa, Bogdanusa Bijela 48
Blue Portugieser red Portugizac Crni 42
Vugava white Bugava, Viskulja, Vugava Bijela 36
Cetinka white Blatinka, Blatka, Cetinjka 35
Zlatarica Vrgorska white Plavka, Zlatarica Bijela 19
Trnjak red Rudežuša, Trnjak Crni 15
Lasina red Krapljenica, Kutlarica 14
Rose muscatel red Muškat Ruža Porečki 14
Gegić white Debejan, Debljan, Gegic Bijeli 11
Core white Kerner Bijeli 4
Župljanka white Garganja 4
Babica red Babica crni, Kastelanka ?
Bratkovina Bijela white Brabkovica, Mesnac ?
Dišeca Ranina white Dišeca Ranina Bijela ?
Dobričić red Čihovac, Crljenak Slatinski, Dobričić Crni ?
Drnekusa red Darnekusa, Darnekusa Mala, Darnekusa Vela ?
Duranija white Brajdenica, Duranija Bijela ?
Glavinuša red Carnjenak, Glavanjuša, Okatac ?
Grk white Gark, Grk Bijeli, Grk Korculanski ?
Gustopupica Crna red Gustopup, Gustopupa, Gustopupka ?
Hrvatica red Hrvatica crna, Jarbola, Carbonera ?
Kadarun red - ?
Kupusar red Crljenak Kupusar, Plavac Kupusar ?
Kurtelaska Bijela white Kortolaska, Kurtelasca ?
Lyutun red Ljutac, Plavac, Plavac Bedalovac ?
Malvasia di Lipari white Malvasia Dubrovačka ?
Medna white Buboj, Bumba, Medna Bijela ?
Mladinka white Mladenka ?
Ninčuša red Lincuša, Mlinčevac, Vincuša ?
Pošip Crni red - ?
Prč white Čimavica, Parč, Prč Bijeli ?
Rotgipfler white Zelenac Slatki ?
Sémillon white Semijon ?
Sušćan red Brajda Velika Crna, Susac, Sušćan Crni ?
Vlaška white Maraškina Velog Zrna, Prejica ?

Wine law

In August 2009, the EU wine market regulation came into force with fundamental changes to the wine designations and quality levels. There are the following new designations or quality levels (see Quality System):

ZOZP (Zaštićena Oznaka Zemljopisnog Podrijetla) = Country Wine

A country wine with a protected geographical indication.

ZOI (Zaštićena Oznaka Izvornosti) = Quality wine.

A quality wine with a protected designation of origin.

Prädikatswein / Predikatno Vino = Predicate wine.

Special wine designations/types

  • Arhivsko Vino = Archive wine (longer maturation in barrel and bottle)
  • Desertno Vino = sweet wine
  • Istrian Quality (IQ, reference to basic qualities of Istrian wines)
  • KZP (Kontroliranim Zemljopisnim Podrijetlom) = controlled geographical origin
  • Mlado Vino = young wine
  • Opolo = Rosé
  • Pjenušca = Sparkling wine
  • Sortno Vino = varietal wine
  • Vrhunsko Vino = top wine, superior quality wine


Well-known producers are Enjini Ivan, Katunar, Frano Milos, Grgich Miljenko (cellar master of Grgich Hills in Napa Valley), Milos Frano, Krauthaker Vlado, Skaramuca, Zdjelarevic, Zlatan Otok (Zlatan Plenkovic).

Map: By UN Cartographic Section, Public domain, Link
Vineyards: By Danilo Tic - originally posted to Flickr as Vineyards, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

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