The cultivated area comprises about 60,000 hectares in Croatia. In the Bronze Age the Illyrians knew vine already, but did not viniculture start to become established until the foundation of the first Greek settlements. When the Romans came, they started to further the wine-growing.
As soon as the Croatians settled down in Dalmatia viniculture became an important economic sector next to fishing and olive culture.
The climate is mediterranean and continental. Consequently, the grape variety is very wide.
The vineyards are partly located on steep, hardly accessible slopes with rocky soils. However, the reward is an extraordinary wine. The best wines are from the slopes of Baranja, also known as the “Golden Hill”.
Croatia is the only western Balkan country with a quality wine program. Since 1986 the designation of origin has been controlled for Croatian wines that are labeled with an S for Auslese, with a B for premium wines and with a C for table wines.
55% of the cultivated varieties are whites, such as Welschriesling, Riesling, Grau- and Weißburgunder, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay, Malvasier, Furmint, Posip, Gelber Muskateller and Zlahtina. The predominant reds are Babic, Plavac Mali, Plavina, Spätburgunder, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Refosco and Blaufränkisch.
The three main wine-growing areas (Northern Croatia, Continental Croatia, Mediterranean Croatia) are divided into twelve subareas.