marking the entire Mediterranean civilization. In ancient times the grape was cultivated by the Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans. From then on grapevine has been cultivated and wine has been produced continuously.
Numerous amphorae discovered on our seabed testify to the way of storing and transporting wine, oil and other liquids.
At the time of the Dubrovnik Republic growing grapes was major agricultural activity. The production and export of wine were of high importance for the economy of the then Dubrovnik Republic, which flourished in the 16th and 17th centuries.
The Statute passed in 1272, comprises 56 articles which determine growing grapes and wine production.
Wine-growers and winemakers had to take a good care of the vineyard and to hill it up thoroughly two times a year.
According to an act passed by the Rector, grape harvesting was to begin from late August to St Michaels Day, which is celebrated on 29 September.
Harvest time was declared a holiday so that everybody had enough time for a successful grape crop.
The Republic controlled wine production and passed regulations which determined the storage of this precious product.
Wine had to be stored in the cellars and ground-floors of stone houses.
Selling wine in the open-air markets was prohibited. The penalty amounted to 25 perpers (the Dubrovnik Republic coins) and the wine was confiscated.
At the time of the Dubrovnik Republic two major wine varieties included white wine (vinum album) and red wine (vinum vermelum), as well as vinum purum (pure wine is not a wine variety, but the wine which is not mixed and includes no additives). According to the Dubrovnik Republic Archives, 27 wine cellars and taverns were supported by the state.
The total vineyard area in Croatia is about 132.000 hectares, and the two major wine regions are the continental and coastal wine regions. White wines prevail in the continental part of Croatia, while red wines are predominant on the coast. Out of 1200 world-known grape varieties one hundred are grown in Croatia, the majority of which are indigenous.
One of the original varieties, Plavac Mali, has become remarkably recognized and famous. The variety was named after the small dark blue grapes.
The finest Plavac Mali is grown in the vineyards of Dingač and Postup areas on the hillsides close to the sea in the central part of Pelješac Peninsula.
Dingač is Croatias oldest controlled wine name, cultivated in the steepest vineyards in the world. Exposed to the sun the whole day, they are situated in close proximity to the sea which reflects and intensifies rays of sunlight.
The Postup vineyards are located near the Dingač vineyards, yet on the less steep hillsides. The two Plavac Mali varieties produced in the area are named after these two grape growing localities - Dingač and Postup.
The connoisseurs claim Dingač to be Croatias best red wine. The bouquet of the ruby-red Dingač includes berries, Mediterranean flowers, herbs, spices and tobacco flavour.
In 2002 it was discovered that the Plavac Mali was a predecessor of the world-known wine variety Californian Zinfandel, the origin of which had been unknown for a long time. It is believed that the Californian Zinfandel was brought to the USA by the Croatian immigrants around 1820, when Croatia was a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The experts confirmed that Plavac Mali and Zinfandel were the same wine variety, and all those who tasted Dingač and Postup were convinced of their similarity.