Top 10 must-visit wineries in Istria
If you’re a wine lover or travel enthusiast seeking the next great adventure, Istria is an idyllic destination that can’t be missed!
As one of the most important Croatian wine regions, some of the country’s most essential and impressive wineries are located there. Find out the top 10 Istrian wineries you simply must visit!
Istria wine region
Over the last ten years, the Istrian peninsula in Croatia has emerged as a haven for wine lovers, drawing visitors from across the globe. In these stunning region – with some of the most unique vineyard appellations – wineries are renowned for their exceptional wines, especially those made from native Malvasia Istriana and Teran.
Tucked away amidst the rolling hills and bathed in the warm Mediterranean sun, these wineries offer an escape from the frenzied pace of urban life, inviting visitors to unwind and indulge in tastings, intimate gatherings, and unforgettable gastronomic experiences.
The Kozlović family has been cultivating wine since the beginning of the last century in 1904. Their journey started with just one hectare of land, but with hard work and dedication, they have grown to become one of the most celebrated wineries in Croatia.
Fast forward to today, and the Kozlović winery is a cult destination for wine lovers worldwide. They produce some of the most sought-after Croatian wines, such as:
- Malvasia Istriana,
- Malvasia Istriana Santa Lucia,
- Malvasia Istriana Selection,
- Santa Lucia Noir,
- Muscat Momjanski.
The real treat is wine tasting in their astounding surrounding itself. You must experience their guided wine tastings, where you get to sample the finest wines, especially those from their Valle and Santa Lucia vineyards, perfectly paired with dishes embody the rich culinary traditions of the Istrian peninsula. Some of their wines can only be tasted at the winery!
The open-air space is a visual delight, particularly with the transparent terrace providing an unobstructed view of the old Momjan Castle and its vineyards. In case you need further persuasion to explore this enchanting location, it’s worth noting that Kozlović was the sole Croatian representative in the monograph “Sommelier’s Paradise: The Most Beautiful Wine Cellars in the World,” published by Swiss publishing house Braun Publishing a couple of years back.
If you’re a wine lover, you won’t want to miss out on the Matošević family’s winery. They produce some of the most renowned Croatian wines from grapes in two locations—one in Bujština and the other near the village of Grimalda. The Bujština vineyard produces the best white wines, especially Malvasia Istriana, while the Grimalda location is “responsible” for the Grimalda white and Grimalda red wines.
The Matošević family’s winery is not your typical fairy tale story with a long lineage of winemakers. They are bold and daring individuals who have taken on the challenge of winemaking and are confident in their ability to create outstanding wines that delight visitors.
For them, winemaking is not just a business; it’s an adventure. They have infused their passion into every step of the process, often breaking the rules and regulations to create something truly unique. They have been on this journey for over twenty years, consistently striving to offer their best to the visitors.
Since 1891, the third generation of the Markežić family has been shaping their unique and recognizable style of winemaking that looks to the future while rooted in tradition and love for nature.
The winery is located on the northwest side of the Istrian peninsula, on a hill called Štancija. Situated at an altitude of 275 meters, the winery offers stunning views of the Alps and the Dolomites on one side. At the same time, on the other, you can enjoy the lush greenery of untouched nature and a beautiful view of the sea.
Guided wine tastings occur at one of the most beautiful Croatian wine estates, which even famous filmmakers couldn’t resist capturing on camera. Expert sommeliers lead different tasting tours that will take you on an unforgettable journey into the wine world, emphasizing amphora-aged wines.
Recommended wines from Kabola winery:
- Kabola Sparkling Wine Re,
- Kabola Malvasija Unica,
- Kabola Momjan Muscat,
- Kabola Amfora Teran,
- Kabola Cuve Supremo.
Benvenuti winery is the most famous winery in the Motovun wine-growing region and maintains the highest quality in everything they do. The winery’s rich history dates back to 1946 when Pier Benvenuti planted the first vines. However, it wasn’t until 2003 that his son and grandsons decided to transform their passion for winemaking into a commercial venture.
The most important wines are produced from native varieties:
- Malvazija, and
- White Muscat.
These have won awards such as platinum or regional champion at the world’s most influential competitions, Decanter and IWC. The awards guarantee the highest quality they cultivate in their cellars and vineyards. Teran Anno Domini and Malvazija Anno Domini are investment-worthy wines that can be stored for years after purchase. At the same time, the Muscat San Salvatore, which comes from the vineyard of the same name at an altitude of over 400 meters, produces Croatia’s best dessert wine.
The limited-edition Teran Santa Elisabetta is also of special value, and reservations must be made a year before its release. In addition to visiting the winery, it is worth taking a stroll through the vineyards and hiking up to San Salvatore, one of the highest vineyards in Istria.
The Roxanich winery is part of a stunning designer hotel complex, including a restaurant and a wine shop. You might not realize it from the outside, but the building is several floors underground! This is because Roxanich’s wine-making process involves lengthy aging in the cellar. Two floors are dedicated to the production, while several cellar floors are solely for aging the wine.
The cellar tour is a sight to behold! Countless bottles of wine are waiting to be released to the market, Georgian qvevri amphorae buried in the ground, and large wooden barrels in which the wines mature. A perfect place to taste the wine and enjoy in gourmet experience on the hotel terrace with an unforgettable view.
Recommended wines from Roxanich winery are:
Situated in the charming village of Brajki, near Krasica and just a short drive from Buje and the Slovenian border, this award-winning winery offers a range of exceptional organic wines made using traditional, all-natural methods.
The vineyards at Clai winery span over 10 hectares and benefit from the area’s unique combination of ample sunlight and a cool, salty breeze from the nearby Adriatic. The rich limestone soil adds to the distinctive flavor and quality of the wines, which are renowned for their depth of flavor and aroma.
At Clai winery, the focus is on producing exceptional wines through sustainable, biodiverse practices. They specialize in Malvasia Istriana and Refošk wines but also offer a range of other varietals, such as blends of Ottocento white and Ottocento red.
Some of the winery’s most popular wines include the Malvasia Istriana Sveti Jakov, a powerful and flavorful wine with a deep golden color, and the Brombonero Refošk, a highly sought-after wine with high concentration and lively acidity.
In addition to wine tastings, Clai winery offers the opportunity to sample their delicious homemade delicacies, including olive oil, olives, and Istrian delicacies. So if you’re in the area, visit this unique winery in the heart of Istria’s picturesque hills.
Coronica, a renowned Istrian winery, has recently constructed a new and attractive facility that houses tasting rooms and a room to mature wines and acetto balsamico. While the new building is impressive, the most important part of visiting Coronica is touring the vineyards covered in flowers and other plants carefully cultivated to achieve a biological balance.
Therefore, it is best to plan a visit to this winery during late spring or early summer. The winery’s flagship wines are Gran Teran and Gran Malvazija, both worthy of the most discerning wine collections.
The vineyard is a sight to behold, with its rows of meticulously tended vines and the stunning scenery surrounding it. Visitors can experience the entire winemaking process, from the cultivation of the grapes to the bottling of the wine, and sample some of the winery’s best offerings. Coronica is noted for its commitment to branding Teran, and he was among the first Istrian winemakers who demonstrated the potential of aged Teran. He recently also produced Ottaviano, an exquisite white Malvasia, in memory of his father.
Meneghetti winery is renowned for its luxurious wine selection and accommodation. For years, this estate has produced award-winning wines in a picturesque area near Bale.
Recommended wines are:
At the wine hotel Meneghetti, visitors can enjoy wine tastings in a beautiful setting surrounded by lush vineyards and olive grooves. Moreover, the estate has undergone an aesthetic refresh and renovation, making it even more stunning. Along with exclusive villas and relaxing pools, Meneghetti offers a restaurant with an exceptional reputation, ensuring an enjoyable wine and gourmet experience.
In 1885, Federico Rossi purchased a piece of fertile land on a hill above the Mirna river to plant the first vines of Teran and Malvasia Istriana. Little did he know that his fifth-generation descendants would still be producing wine today and, even more impressively, would achieve enological excellence with native Istrian wine varieties and brandies.
Since then, the Rossi family has been devoted to winemaking. Federico’s dream has flourished into 18 hectares of vineyards, from where an impressive range of products come. Along with their multiple award-winning top-quality wines, traditional Istrian brandies, and premium craft liqueurs, they have also created their gin and cognac, crafted in the style of premium French cognacs.
Recommended wines are:
Their goal is to position their wines and spirits at the forefront of the premium segment of domestic and foreign markets and establish the family brand “Rossi” as a synonym for uncompromising quality in wine and spirits. Need a better reason to visit this exquisite winery?
Located near Brtonigla, the Cattunar wine residence offers an exceptional wine experience along with stunning accommodation and surroundings. The Cattunar family has been passionate about wine production for generations, and their family viticulture tradition has a long-standing tradition.
Covering 56 hectares, Cattunar is the largest private winemaker in Istria. Come and explore this beautiful family-owned property, where you’ll discover the unique story of western Istria and the “4 Terre” or “Four Lands” project while enjoying the tasting of indigenous Istrian wines and delicious local delicacies!
Istria and its dynamic and innovative wine scene have an unrivaled reputation as the heart and soul of the Croatian wine industry,
Are you looking to expand your palate with Croatian wines? Look no further! Our team of experts carefully curated a collection of the finest wines.
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