The Istria and Kvarner Wine Region

The Istria and Kvarner Wine Region

Wine production in Istria and Kvarner dates back to antiquity. Nowadays, the area successfully cultivates both international and local grape varieties.

 

Istria and Kvarner, i.e. the northern parts of the Croatian Littoral region, together form one of the four wine regions in Croatia. It spans the Istrian Peninsula, the greater area of the city of Rijeka, and the islands of Krk, Cres, Rab, Lošinj and Pag. In the regions of Istria and Kvarner, vines have been cultivated since ancient times, and today, the wines produced here are praised for their superior quality. The mild Mediterranean climate and effects of the continental climate that comes from further inland enable producers to successfully grow different varieties that make various types of wines, from dry to semi-dry and sweet.

 

Istria is known for its fine white wines produced from such grape varieties as the Istrian Malvasia, grown mostly in the west of the peninsula. Central Istria is characterised by a microclimate resembling that of inland Croatia, which suits the Terrano variety that has also brought a lot of commercial success to Istrian winemakers. The most well-known variety in the Kvarner region is the Žlahtina grown on the island of Krk, with the one from the village of Vrbnik held in particularly high regard. Other varieties grown in Istria and Kvarner are Merlot, White Muscat, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot blanc, gris and noir, as well as some lesser-known varieties, such as Refošk, Sansigot and Trojišćina.

 

To set themselves apart from the competition and expand the variety of wines from this wine-growing region, more and more winemakers are opting for indigenous grape varieties which are under-represented in vineyards of the area. This in turn revitalises these varieties and increases the quality of the offer and the product itself. Indigenous Istrian varieties are attracting growing numbers of wine enthusiasts from different parts of the world, which further drives oenology tourism in Croatia’s largest peninsula.