Most wine production on the islands of Peljesac and Korcula is relatively small-scale with many family wineries making the cellar visits informal and low-key.
The wineries (vinarija) aren’t hard to find. There’s pretty much one main road running through both the islands; cellars are well signed. Outside of working hours you may need to wait around for someone to arrive.
Plavac (blue) Mali (small) is native to southern Dalmatia and probably Croatia’s most famous and popular red wine. DNA tests reveal that California’s famed Zinfandel grape is a close relative.
Other local stars include Dingac, Postup and Posip.
Peljesac is connected to the mainland with a causeway at Ston, so we’ll start here. The little village of Ponikve has two worthy wine makers: Vinarija Vukas and Vinarija Milos. (If you have the time, also try Vinarija Madirazza.)
From Ponikve head north to Trsenik to the grand-daddy of Croatian wine production: Grgic Wines.
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If you’re driving north from Ston to Orebic, you’ll notice that the terraced vineyards make it difficult to access grapes by machine. Hence most vines you see are harvested by hand.
For dinner (and more wine!), visit Saints Hills for a haute dining experience or simple tapas.
Continue to the historic sea captain’s town of Orebic (stay at a hotel in town) to visit Korta Katarina or Vinarija Mokalo.
It’s not all wine in Orebic. Hiking enthusiasts can scale the mountains of Sveti Ilija (Saint Elijah) rising up behind Orebic. A footpath at Viganj, Croatia’s windsurfing capital, leads into the mountains with a 961m ascent.
From Orebic take the ferry to the island of Korcula and onto Lumbarda, known for Grk wine made from the native grape of the same name.
How it got the name of Grk is anyone’s guess — perhaps from its tart taste (Grk in the Croatian Dalmatian dialect means bitter or tart) or from the Grecians (Grk in Croatian proper means Greek man) who established a settlement on the tip of Korcula in the 3rd century. They planted the first vineyards.
Korcula is a white wine drinker’s paradise. Posip is probably the country’s most sought after white wine and one of the first white wines protected by Croatian law. The wine is named after the native grape found only on Korcula. The grape is a world rarity in that it can be traced back to the exact place of its discovery and the farmer (Marin Tomasic) who discovered it.
The celebration of this special grape, Posip Days, takes place from the end of July to early August. If you’re on Korcula during this time, take part in the festival’s opening ceremony and wine nights around the wine districts Smokvica and Cara.