Croatia’s Top 7 Coastal Wineries You Should Add to Your Sailing Itinerary

21.02.2024.

Nenad Trifunovic

If you’re sea, sun, and wine enthusiast, then a week or two of you bobbing on a boat along the Croatian island-studded coast has all the makings of your dream sailing vacation. Just picture it – a sun-soaked summer day in a secluded cove; your adventure boat now still, its sleek lines reflected off the glassy sea. And you finally unwound and at rest, sipping on a chilled glass of white while the stress melts away.

Like I said… the stuff of dreams, right?

But here’s the thing – a LOT of those coastal wineries you’ll find online? Well, most of them aren’t really all that coastal… or even accessible by boat, like the 7 wineries I’ve picked out for you:

  • Stina Winery, Brač Island
  • Grgich Winery, Pelješac Peninsula
  • Zlatan Otok Plenković Winery, Hvar Island
  • Lipanović Winery, Vis Island
  • Zure, Bire & Cebalo Wineries, Korčula Island

And let’s be honest here – there’s nothing worse than excitedly disembarking all ready for a sip of red – or two or three or ten – only to find yourself hiking uphill for miles in the scorching heat. A parched throat is NOT a wine-tasting-ready throat… and it’s best avoided.

That’s why the 7 Dalmatian wineries listed here are either 100% boat-visit-friendly (dock or mooring available) or just a short 10-minute walk from the local marina or port.

7 Boat-Visit-Friendly Wineries in Dalmatia

Stina Winery, Brač Island

Stina Winery literally sits on the waterfront of old town Bol. Stina inherits the ancient “first Dalmatian wine cooperative” located at the very seafront of the charming town of Bol on Brač Island.

This lively space is decorated and well-equipped. Find shade in the tasting room or soak the sun out on the open terrace, gazing at the horizon and the shimmering sea. 

The winery is renowned for its unique wines, from the native white Pošip and Vugava grape varieties to the acclaimed red Plavac mali or Tribidrag (the original Zinfandel).

If you visit, make sure to try out their hits:

  • Stina Pošip
  • Stina Plavac Majstor
  • Stina Plavac Stipančić

Enjoy a picturesque journey to Stina, explore its modernised facilities in the old cellar ambience, and savour its superb wines while taking in the beauty of the Adriatic.

Grgich Winery, Pelješac Peninsula

Mike Grgich, a Napa Valley winemaking legend, founded this winery in Trstenik on the Peljesac peninsula. It’s only a short walk from the docks. Surrounded by vineyard slopes and along the coast, Grgić winery provides an ideal setup for a mesmerizing wine-tasting experience.

Grgić Winery produce only Plavac Mali and Pošip. However, those are the must-try Croatian Pošip and Plavac wines. Although Miljenko has received countless awards for his California-made wines, those dearest and most meaningful to him are the ones he received for his Pošip and Plavac mali.

You can take a guided tour of the vineyards and the cellars before indulging in a wine-tasting session.

Zlatan Otok Plenković Winery, Hvar Island

Have you heard about the under-the-sea winery? This attraction belongs to a Zlatan Otok winery – a unique wine archive built below sea level in their marina in Sveta Nedjelja on the island of Hvar.

To reach the winery, many visitors arrive by boat and enjoy a relaxed wine-tasting experience on their seafront terrace while taking in the breathtaking panorama.

For years, Zlatan Otok Plenković winery has been an exquisite destination for wine lovers. This family-owned winery is known for its robust red wines, notably the Plavac Mali varietal.

If you visit, make sure to try out their hits:

  • Zlatan Otok (blend of local varieties Kuč, Bogdanuša, Prč, Maraština, Pošip)
  • Zlatan Plavac Grand Select
  • Zlatan Crljenak Grand Select

Nikola Plenković of Zlatan Otok Winery in Hvar, Croatia talks about the evolution of Croatian wine.

Lipanović Winery, Vis Island

Vis Island is an attractive stop for more sailors looking for an open sea. And Lipanović Winery offers a fantastic maritime escape to everybody coming to the Vis harbor.

An approximately 10-minute walk up the hill from the Vis port, Lipanović is a place of unique atmosphere. Lipanović cellar is the only one in the world located in a military tunnel whose climatic properties and impermeability to light provide ideal conditions for keeping and storing wine.

The Lipanović family has nurtured indigenous varieties for 150 years, and Vis has been one of the cradles of viticulture in the area since the ancient Greeks.  

If you visit, make sure to try out their hits:

  • Lipanović Vugava
  • Lipanović Palaruša
  • Lipanović Plavac mali

Zure, Bire & Cebalo Wineries, Korčula Island

Another sailor’s paradise is the island of Korčula, well known for winemaking since ancient times. Korčula is the birthplace of the most planted Dalmatian white variety today – Pošip.

However, Korčula is also recognised by the most peculiar grape variety rediscovered exclusively in the Lumbarda area – Grk. From the Lumbarda port, every significant Grk producer is within a short walking distance. Most renowned are the Bire, Zure, and Cebalo families.

  • Experienced sailors visit Zure winery and restaurant for a lip-smacking meal primarily. The restaurant provides fresh seafood and local delicacies, which taste even better with a splash of Grk from Lumbarda.
  • Nearby is the Bire winery, recognised for its beautiful stone ambience enriched with Mediterranean herbs and integrated into the environment. Here, you can enjoy a fantastic view swirling the most praised Grk wine in your glass.
  • And for those seeking the most authentic expression of the variety, visiting the traditional house of Cebalo is a must. Their Grk comes strictly from the Lumbarda field, an ancient home to Grk variety.

Why Did I Choose These 7 Places?

Like I’ve written above, not every coastal winery in Croatia is easy – or even possible – to sail to without one thing or another cropping up and turning the whole thing into a memory-marring hassle.

What you do want is:

  1. Accessibility – all of these wineries are a stone’s throw from where you’ll throw the anchor (it could be a metaphorical one since some of them have docks or moorings available). Yeah, you might need to walk a bit – 10 minutes, no more – to reach some of them. But that’s good – you’ll work up a slight thirst in the process and that will make every sip taste better.
  2. Wine quality – and by quality I mean an authentic experience you can’t find in a coastal restaurant. Croatia has been experiencing a wine revolution for the last twenty years or so – I should know as I’ve been dutifully and dilligently mapping that revolution. Let’s say 20 years. Traditionally belonging to the Old Word, Croatian and particularly Dalmatian wineries are sought after by the wine connoisseurs worldwide. This does not guarantee you won’t stumble upon a tourist trap… but the wineries listed up there deal only in top-quality wines. I visit them at least once every year to make sure of that!
  3. The Experience – I define this as the things that make the detour – or the itinerary addition – worth it. Luckily, these Croatian coastal wineries provide unforgettable settings for enjoying a glass of fine wine. The grapevines guard the precious treasure hidden in cellars. The views are endless picture-perfect sunsets. And, in the tasting rooms, you’ll find everything you need for a world-class fine wine experience.

Anyway, those are my 3 criteria – hmmm, criterions? – and I’m sticking with them.

Which One of These 7 Wineries Will Your Add to Your Sailing Itinerary?

Croatia, with its stunning Adriatic coastline and rich winemaking tradition, offers a unique opportunity to combine two of life’s greatest pleasures: wine and gallivanting over the open seas.

Will you choose one of these winery to visit? Or all 7 of them? I know what I’d do if I were you.

Whether you are a wine connoisseur or simply a lover of breathtaking scenery, these wineries provide an exceptional day out that combines the best of Croatia’s coastal beauty with its world-class wines. So, set sail and embark on a wine adventure that you won’t soon forget.

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Nenad Trifunovic

Author
Nenad is best-known as the author of an influential Croatian wine blog, Vinopija. As a taster, Vinopija proved as an independent and sharp palate over the years. When his busy wine-drinking schedule permits it, he also develops the business side of Wine&More, Croatia's leading wine e-commerce store.

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