Valentina Silovic

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Croatia and Croatian Wines

GIF related to the article 5 things you didn't know about Croatian wines

Croatia produces excellent wines that many wine enthusiasts may not yet know about. With a rich history of wine production that dates back to the 5th century BC, winemaking has been a crucial aspect of this nation’s legacy and remains of great significance to its population. Surprised? Interested to know more about it? Here are five interesting facts you probably didn’t but should know about Croatia and Croatian wines. We assure you that once you finish reading the list, you will definitely be inclined to visit this incredible wine country.

1. It’s one of the must-visit old-world winegrowing regions 

An graphic image of a man in showing map of Croatia

Did you know that Croatia’s wine regions are highly recommended as a must-visit by experts and readers of popular lifestyle, wine, and travel magazines? Croatia often beats world-famous wine regions like Napa Valley and Tuscany in these rankings.

Even Financial Times and the reputable Decanter magazine have provided suggestions. Croatia’s diverse geography gives rise to various microclimates, resulting in distinct wine regions. Notable ones include Istria, Dalmatia, Croatian Uplands, Slavonia and the Danube region, each offering a unique wine-tasting experience.

Catch a flight, rent a car, or better, rent a sailboat, and your wine journey may start with style. Head to Adriatic Coast and uncover some amazing wine-growing regions.

Then switch to the continental part of the country, and your Croatian wine discoveries may never end.

2. It’s a country with more than 1000 islands and 130 indigenous grape varieties

Graphic image of map of Croatia with wine bottles all over it

Croatia, a relatively small country located in southeastern Europe, is characterized by its remarkable diversity despite its size.

The country’s landscape ranges from coastal regions along the Adriatic Sea to mountainous terrains and lush forests.

This geographical diversity contributes to a wide array of natural beauty and ecosystems, making Croatia stand out as a biodiversity hotspot in Europe.

Did you know that Croatia is also home to more than 1000 islands? The Croatian Register of Islands reports that there are a total of 1,244 islands, islets, and rocks within the country’s territorial waters. Quite impressive, isn’t it?

If you’re a wine lover and planning a trip to Croatia, there are some top islands for wine lovers worth exploring to find the perfect spot for you to enjoy some beach wines.

In addition, there are exquisite beaches that can be accessed by sailing (which we totally recommend!). Check out our ultimate guide about sailing in Croatia, and have a look at the best beaches in Croatia to pick your favorite.

While you plan your visit to the stunning Croatian islands, let us assist you in choosing the perfect summer wines to refresh and accompany your trip.

As a wine enthusiast, you’ll be delighted to know that this country has over 130 unique indigenous grape varieties that are only grown here. 

This results in a diverse and fascinating terroir, tradition and wine culture that is sure to captivate you.

If you’re looking for guidance on which Croatian wines to try, we recommend reading our comprehensive article that covers everything you need to know about Croatian wines.

These locally grown grapes hold rich traditions, resilience, and fascinating stories.

Some of the world’s most unique and distinct vineyards are home to famed Croatian grape varieties, Plavac Mali and Babić, which thrive in these locations.

3. It’s the homeland of Zinfandel

“The grape we call Zinfandel and the Italians call Primitivo are both Crljenak Kaštelanski,” declared Dr. Carole Meredith of the University of California in 2002 in her press release, which was a result of years of research into the origins of Zinfandel and how it’s related to Croatia’s unbelievably popular red grape, Plavac Mali.

In Croatia, Zinfandel goes by different synonyms, so don’t be confused if you catch one of these:

For a deep dive into this fascinating world, explore the origins of Zinfandel by comparing it to its Croatian counterparts.

To assist Zin enthusiasts in this endeavor, we have carefully selected Croatian Zinfandel wine case that feature the finest Croatian wines for a side-by-side comparison.

4. The Croatian wines are award-winners

Image of a wine being poured into the glass on the Decanter wine competition
Photo credit: Decanter wine competition

Due to small production quantities compared to wine giants such as France, California, or Spain, Croatian wines are not a worldwide hit. However, they are almost regular award winners at prestigious wine fairs and yearly wine competitions.

The Decanter Wine Awards are no exception, and in the last decade, not a single year has gone by without awarding gold, silver, or bronze to a Croatian winemaker. Decanter even released the longest-featured article about Croatian wine ever!

Due to increasing demand, we opened a category Awarded Wines, so be sure to check it out for some new favorite awarded wine gems.

As we witness the revival of Croatian wine, we’d like to share a curious story about the noteworthy reaction to some of Croatian wines.

When Anthony Bourdain visited Croatia for the first time while filming his show, No Reservations, he exclaimed, “Why, oh why, is there so much amazing wine in this country?”

Medals are great, but surprise and awe from an amazed customer is the highest award.

5. Besides the great wine, there’s also great food

Graphic image and GIF of animated characters enjoying Croatian wines

Food and wine come hand in hand, and Croatia will not disappoint with either. The local seafood, cheese, prosciutto, and other tasty specialties will knock you off your feet, just as they did to Anthony Bourdain, whose only reaction was, ”Holy S…, that’s good!”.

Not to mention the premium quality fish, which comes straight to your table from the Adriatic Sea. Chasing wine experience might get you hungry.

No better place for real gourmands since Croatia have premium quality ingredients, renowned coastal restaurants, and Michelin-starred restaurants that know what to do with them.

If unsure where to start, consider checking out the best Croatian cooking classes and food tours.


Croatia’s allure extends far beyond its stunning landscapes and historic sites. Its winemaking tradition, deeply intertwined with its culture and geography, is gaining global recognition.

From the diverse indigenous grape varieties to the unique winemaking techniques, Croatia’s wines offer a tapestry of flavors that reflect the country’s rich heritage.

As you journey through Croatia’s enchanting wine regions and taste their diverse wines, you’ll uncover a unique side of the country that will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression.

Our Expertise

Valentina Silovic is an experienced sommelier and content creator with over a decade of expertise in the wine industry. She has worked in various settings, from luxurious hotels to cozy wine bars, and has explored the grandest wineries in Croatia, tasting and discussing an uncountable number of bottles along the way.

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