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Description to Croatia

The parliamentary Republic of Croatia (Croatian: Hrvatska) in the transition zone between Central and South-Eastern Europe with its capital Zagreb covers 56,594 km². The national territory lies to the east of the Adriatic Sea and partly in the south-west of the Pannonian Plain. Croatia borders Slovenia to the north-west, Hungary to the north, Serbia to the north-east, Bosnia-Herzegovina to the east and Montenegro to the south-east. After the Second World War, Croatia became part of Yugoslavia in 1945. Following a referendum in 1991, Croatia declared its independence in June 1991, but this was not recognised by Serbia. This led to a war that lasted almost four years and only ended in 1995.

Kroatien - Landkarte, Flagge, Wappen

The southernmost part of the coastal area (around Dubrovnik) is separated from the rest of Croatia for 7.5 kilometres by the municipality of Neum, which belongs to Bosnia-Herzegovina. This is why the Pelješac Bridge was built. There are 1,246 islands along the 1,777 km long Adriatic coast (526 km as the crow flies); only 47 are inhabited. This is why Croatia is known as the "land of 1,000 islands". The largest are Cres (406 km²), Krk (406 km²), Brač (395 km²), Hvar (300 km²), Pag (285 km²) and Korčula (276 km²). Viticulture is practised from Istria in the north to Dalmatia in the south and on some islands.


The country has a very old wine culture, as viticulture was practised along the Dalmatian Adriatic coast by the Illyrians as early as 1000 BC. The Greeks founded several colonies from 600 BC. The book "The Feast of the Scholars" dates back to this time and tells of wine production in Issa (island of Vis). A wine from here was even considered the best of the ancient wines of the time. The Roman Emperor Probus Marcus Aurelius (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 the year 1000, the Republic of Venice conquered Dalmatia and parts of Istria and incorporated the area into its colonial empire. The rule was retained for over 300 years. From the beginning of the 12th century, a personal union was established with the Kingdom of Hungary. In 1232, Cistercian monks founded a wine cellar in Kutjevo, which still exists today. In the middle of the 15th century, Hungary and Croatia suffered severe territorial losses due to the expansion of the Ottoman Empire. After many battles against the Ottomans, a large part of Croatia came under Habsburg administration in the 18th century.

Wine-growing regions

The country is characterised by a varied topography. The large plain in the centre of the country (part of the Pannonian Plain) is separated from the Adriatic coast by the Dinaric Alps (Dinarides), on which the many islands lie. 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 that there is optimal sunlight (exposure) for the vineyards. There are two clearly separate wine-growing regions. These are divided into many sub-regions and these are subdivided into growing areas.

Continental Croatia (Kontinentalna Hrvatska)

This northern region stretches from Slovenia in the west to the Serbian border in the east. It borders Bosnia-Herzegovina to the south. The climate here is continental with cool summers and sometimes very harsh winters. The region consists of the seven sub-regions of 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 the vineyards stretch from Rijeka to Dubrovnik. In the far south, there is a border with Montenegro that is only 25 kilometres long. The climate here is much more humid and Mediterranean. The region is divided into five sub-regions: 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; the best-known Croatian brand wines include Dingac, Faros, Pelješac, Postup, Prošek and Teran.

Grape variety index

In 2022, the vineyards covered 22,142 hectares and the wine production volume was 726,000 hectolitres. There are many autochthonous grape varieties, which are often only grown in very small quantities. The grape variety index:

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, Roter 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
Goldmuskateller (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
Kerner 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, Karbonera ?
Kadarun red - ?
Kupusar red Crljenak Kupusar, Plavac Kupusar ?
Kurtelaska Bijela white Kortolaska, Kurtelasca ?
Ljutun red Ljutac, Plavac, Plavac Bedalovac ?
Malvasia di Lipari white Malvasija 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 wine designations and quality levels. The following new designations and quality levels have been introduced (see quality system):

ZOZP (Zaštićena Oznaka Zemljopisnog Podrijetla) = Regional wine

A country wine with a protected geographical indication.

ZOI (Zaštićena Oznaka Izvornosti) = Quality wine

A quality wine with 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, Grgić Vina (founded by the famous Miljenko "Mike" Grgich), Milos Frano, Krauthaker Vlado, Skaramuca, Zdjelarevic, Zlatan Otok (Zlatan Plenkovic).

Map: © Goruma
Flag: by Nightstallion, Public domain, Link
Coat of arms: by Croatian Parliament, Public domain, Link

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