Croatian Winemakers: Kraljevski Vinogradi in Zadar

By , 11 Apr 2017, 20:30 PM Croatian Wine Producers
Photo by Kraljevski Vinogradi Photo by Kraljevski Vinogradi

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A rare story of a piece of land that has had the same owners since 1066, vineyards at an elevation of 8 meters above sea level, Plavac Mali, Tribidrag and Pošip in Northern Dalmatia.

Kraljevski vinogradi (in English that would be “Royal Vineyards”) are a company that was founded in recent years, in 2009 in Zadar, with their vineyards located on the slopes above Petrčane. The history of winemaking in that location goes way back, with historic records showing that in year 1066 the Croatian king Peter Krešimir IV, called the Great donated some vineyards to a St. Mary’s monastery in Zadar, ran by his sister Čika. She purchased some vineyards in the Petrčane region several years later, as she was told (and probably had the chance to taste!) that the wines made from grapes above Petrčane are the best there are. When the Zoran Pantalon, the director of the company and his partners decided in 2009 to replant the vineyards in that location, just above the beaches of Punta Skala (some at 8 meters above sea level!), they had to discuss their plans with the same monastery, as they still own them! They were able to rent the land in concession for many years, and that’s when the work of turning the soil neglected for decades (or centuries) back to vineyards. They decided to plant mostly the indigenous Dalmatian varieties in their vineyards: Pošip, Tribidrag and Plavac Mali.

These days they make Muškat Žuti (Yellow Muscat), semidry wine of a specific varietal aroma, accentuated by the very rocky limestone soil where it grows. Their Rosé Scuro is a soft and light rosé wine, ideal for a summer afternoon enjoyment, made from Plavac Mali, Plavina and Cabernet Sauvignon. The first of their premium wines is their Tribidrag (they call it Crljenak, though), a fruity, soft wine of gentle aromas, mild tannins, aged in oak. Their Plavac Mali is grown on a location much more northern than where you would usually find Plavac, however the amount of sun the grapes get during the year is exceptional since it is planted on the best southern-facing slopes, so it’s a full-bodied and fruity Plavac. Pošip has only recently made its way into Northern Dalmatia, and it is also able to produce their strong, mineral fruity varietal aroma in Petrčane vineyards – and has already started winning awards and medals.

In the vineyards they also built a tasting room with a big terrace overlooking the vineyards and the sea, where you can enjoy the wine and the peace and quiet, away from the crowds on the beaches during the tourist season. And we just hope that in the future their wines will become more available in the shops throughout Croatia.

Croatian Winemakers


There are more than 2,600 registered winemakers in Croatia, a phenomenal number for such a small country. The majority of these are not commercial, and produce for their own needs, but more than 500 winemakers are registered to sell their wines. The range of winemaker in Croatia is as diverse as the grape selection - from large coopertives to small family producers - and the personalities are egos provide many a colourful story.

No proper database of Croatian exists in the public domain sadly, and the various wine databases we have had access to have been inaccurate and incomplete. Above is our attempt to rectify that, an ongoing process, and if you see any inaccurate information or a winemaker missing, please contact us on [email protected] and we will rectify things.

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