It is the Dalmatian wine area of southern Croatia where wines and oysters mix with water and can be enjoyed on a private yacht charter between Dubrovnik and Split. Here vineyards planted in ancient terraces built by Greeks and Romans tumble down slopes on the coast and islands; for wines have been made in Croatia for over 2500 years…albeit with some disruptions. With the settling of Croatian daily life after the War of Independence ended in 1995, wine making began anew with gusto. Old family wineries are back in production, and new wineries have sprung up, both of which are producing award-winning wines.
Close to Korcula Island, are three great wineries to visit by charter yacht located on the mainland on the Peljasac Peninsula, where grapes grown for red wine making are said to produce particularly fine wines, many of which have won awards. And don’t worry, your Captain will make all arrangements for reservations at each winery, including private transport if needed, and will provide you in advance any menu choices, and costs for your final decision. You need only relax and enjoy each wine tasting experience, one after another, at each winery.
Peljesac Peninsula Wineries: Across from Korcula Island, the soil of this peninsula particularly on the south coast where arid conditions as well as the salty breezes are well known to provide the indigenous Plavac Mali vine with grapes that produce a red wine that has a deep color, is full bodied, and rich and velvety, with a high alcohol level of 13 – 15%. These wine qualities are so specific that wines made from these grapes, grown in either Dingac or Postup, two coastal villages, are the first of the Croatian rebirth in wine producing to receive an appellation (protected geographic origin) so that only wines from grapes grown in Dingač can bear the name Dingač and only wines from grapes grown in Postup can bear the name Postup. Vintners at wineries in this area tend to produce wines using one specific red grape varietal and one specific white grape varietal without blending varietals.
- Saints Hills Winery: Available by van after docking or anchoring in Orebic. With vineyards in Dingač, this winery produces a wine called Dingač from their SV Lucia Vineyard in Dingač. Other wines to taste include Nevina, with grapes grown in their vineyard near Istria, another great wine grape growing area, and SV. Roka from their SV. Roka Vineyard at the base of the Peljesac Peninsula. Saints Hills Winery offers a Vintner Tour to see the winemaking process, and at a cost, several different choices of wine tastings paired with the perfect food tidbits for each wine or multi-course lunches or dinners with each course of food chosen to showcase a wine. A menu is available from which to choose a wine and food pairing experience in advance to enjoy Saints Hills Winery wines. Reservations required.
- Korta Katarina: Conveniently located right on the coast so that your yacht can anchor in front of the winery. Your crew can bring you ashore by ship’s tender to walk up the hill to the winery. The Plavac and Zinfandel grapes used by Korta Katarina are grown in vineyards in the highly preferred areas around the villages of Dingač and Postup for production of certain red wines and a rose wine. Their white wine and white sparkling wine are produced from Pošip grapes grown around the village of Cara on nearby Korcula Island. Korta Katarina Winery offers three different tours, all at a cost and with reservations required:
- Basic Tour: 1 hour in length, tour of the winery, plus tastings of KK Pošip, KK Rosé and KK Plavac Mali wines.
- VIP Tour: 2 hours in length, tour of the winery plus tastings of KK Pošip, KK Rosé, KK Plavac Mali and KK Reuben’s Private Reserve wines paired with some tidbits of local delicacies designed to match with each wine being tasted.
- Gastro Wine Tasting: 3 hours in length, tour of the winery plus Five course lunch of specialty designed local foods, with KK Pošip, KK Rosé and KK Plavac Mali, KK Reuben’s Private Reserve and KK Sabion (sparkling wine) wines. Reservations required at least 2 days in advance for this tour.
- Grgic Hills: Founded by native Croatian Miljenko “Mike” Grgic with his daughter Violet Grgic, after founding successful Grigich Hills Estate Winery in Napa Valley, California. The “h” is added to the end of the family name for the winery name in Napa Valley for pronunciation purposes, to compensate for the soft Croatian “c”. In his own country, Mike Grgic, has named this winery Grgic Winery. Wine is in Mike’s blood, and his story follows the long history in Croatia of making wine. Mike was born1923 into a Croatian Family on the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia that owned a small winery and vineyard. Every year, just as his grandfather and great grandfather before, his father made wine. Miljenko, just as every Grgic child before, was weaned from his mother to a home-made mixture of water and family made red wine. Mike recalls he was first initiated into grape stomping at the age of three.
This winery produces two wines from two different grape varietals: Plavac Mali grapes grown in Dingac, for a red wine bearing the prestigious Dingac Appellation, and Pošip grapes grown on nearby Korcula Island for a white wine. The family prefers to produce only two wines and place their energy into creating the best red wine and best white wine possible.
Visiting the winery is simple, your yacht can anchor in Trstenik Bay, to access the winery by ship’s tender. No reservations are necessary, and the charge for tasting the two wines is minimal. Tastings occur in the Tasting Room where wines can also be purchased. There may or may not be a short Vintner’s tour, depending on how busy the staff at the winery might be. Wines may also be enjoyed on the terrace, as the setting of the winery is spectacular. The building is on Trstenik Beach on Trstenik Bay at the beginning of the Peljesac Peninsula. With the sparkling bay in front of the winery, and olive trees, wild herbs, and vineyards in the surrounding landscape, this is a fabulous visual and olfactory experience.
As a bonus, close by the Peljasac Peninsula are Ston and Mali Ston, where shellfish farms exist in abundance in the coastal waters. The opportunity to sample fresh oysters and mussels just plucked from the sea is around every corner. The waters in Ston Bay are perfect for growing very tasty oysters and mussels, as the Karstic Springs empty into the bay, providing an abundance of phytoplankton, and minerals. And what could be better than dining on oysters while drinking great wine while cruising on a luxury yacht charter along the Dalmatian Coast and through the islands of southern Croatia.
Visit the Northrop – Johnson Yacht Charters Website for More Information.