Hvar – A Paradise for True Wine Aficionados
To fully enjoy Hvar, add some divine drops of wine that the locals have been carefully preserving in barrels for decades. It comes as no surprise that Hvar has earned the nickname ‘the island of wine’, when we consider its rich UNESCO heritage, superb wines and indigenous grape varieties telling a 2400-year old story.
A wine story dating back to the ancient times
It was the ancient Greeks who first brought vines from the island of Paros and planted them in the fertile soil of Hvar. The winemaking process has changed little in the Stari Grad Plain in the following millennium. The Romans built their villa rusticae in the area where vines, fig and olive trees are growing to this day. Interestingly, Hvar also boasts the oldest Plavac Mali vineyard in the world, one of the few to resist the devastating phylloxera epidemic in the 19th century.
The people of Hvar have been cultivating their superb Mediterranean vines with skill and passion for centuries. Owing to around 2.800 hours of sunshine a year, both white and red grapes have always thrived here, regardless of the position. This means you can taste wines from the best indigenous varieties wherever you go on Hvar.
What’s so special about Hvar wines?
Abundant sun, Mediterranean climate and an ideal location are key reasons why Hvar wines have been winning first awards at various wine fairs. Most vineyards spread across the southern slopes of the island, boasting an ideal microclimate due to high insolation, stable temperature and the circulation of sea air. The best local wines such as Plavac Mali are produced from the vines grown without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, and far from the sources of industrial pollution.
The quality of these fantastic wines is evidenced not only by the awards but also by the numerous tourists who take them back home and show them to the world.
Where to find vineyards and wine cellars on Hvar?
The villages of Svirče, Vrisnik, Vrbanj, Pitve and Dol are located in the very heart of the island, on wooded hilltops with terraced vineyards stretching all over the hills and valleys interspersed with seasonal streams. Here you will certainly enjoy not only superb wines, but almost intact nature as well.
On the east side, overlooking the sea, Jelsa and Vrboska offer equally good organic wineries, where you can taste Plavac Mali, Pošip and Bogdanuša. The best Plavac Mali grapes come from the terraced vineyards around Svirče. They give wines with a pleasant and strong aftertaste reminiscent of Dalmatian herbal notes and dark fruits such as blueberries and plums. Plavac Mali pairs perfectly with red meat, wild game, pašticada stew and dark chocolate. Pošip is an excellent summer white wine featuring earthy and mineral notes with apricot and citrus fruit aromas. It pairs well with grilled fish, octopus, veal and aged cheese. Bogdanuša (Croatian for “a gift from God”) is an indigenous Hvar white variety. It has a refreshing cider aroma with a tinge of bitterness and pairs perfectly with light dishes based on white meat and seafood.
On the south side of the island, in the village of Sveta Nedjelja, you’ll find family wineries overlooking the sea, boasting a long history of dedicated winemakers. The peculiarity of their wines is that they are kept in a one-of-a-kind cellar 70 metres underground, at temperatures that never exceed 12°C. Another special attraction of Sveta Nedjelja is an exclusive underwater wine cellar with a glass wall. Here you can taste superb wines at an ideal temperature from 12 to 16°C, while enjoying the view of the underwater world.
If you are planning to head west, take a walk through the town of Hvar and you’ll come across charming little wineries that will provide you with memorable moments. If you decide to go on an excursion to the nearby Pakleni Islands, be sure to visit their local winery where you can taste homemade wines and delicacies while relaxing under the palm trees and enjoying spectacular sunsets!
Whether you prefer to taste delicious Hvar wines in a candlelit winery, in one of the seaside vineyards or in the underwater wine cellar that you can visit by speedboat – Hvar has it all!
Have a great wine journey on one of the most beautiful Croatian islands!