Slavonia and Croatian Danube

/ / Slavonia and Croatian Danube

It is thought that the Celts cultivated grapevine in the wine-producing area of Slavonia and Croatian Danube Basin in the pre-Roman era, in the 4th century BC. However, historical information on cultivation of vine and winemaking dates to the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius who reversed a vine planting ban and encouraged his legions to plant vineyards on the slopes of the Fruška Gora. Archaeological finds unambiguously indicate that grapevine was cultivated, and that wine was produced in this area. There is an opinion that the Romans named the Požega Valley nestled in the centre of Slavonia the Vallis Aurea precisely because of blossoming vineyards.  

This area enjoys moderate continental climate characterised by regular changes of seasons and optimal environmental conditions for cultivation of grapevine. The Danube Basin is primarily characterised by gently rolling slopes of the Fruška Gora in the Ilok area, the Bansko Brdo in Baranja, and the Dalj Hill sloping steeply to the Danube. Three exceptional winegrowing areas are related to the Danube: Syrmia, Erdut and Baranja. Slavonia subregion winegrowing areas: Kutjevo, Požega–Pleternica, Pakrac, Daruvar, Nova Gradiška, Slavonski Brod, Đakovo, Feričanci, Orahovica–Slatina, and Virovitica are situated on slopes of the Slavonian Mountains consisting of Psunj, Papuk (a UNESCO-protected Geopark), Krndija, Dilj Gora and Požeška Gora surrounding the Požega Valley. The vineyards cover gentle slopes at elevations of 150 to 450 metres above sea level. This region comprises the largest vineyard covered areas in the Republic of Croatia. Its numerous winemakers create some of the world’s best wines produced in continental climates.

Graševina (Welschriesling) is the leading grape variety found in countless variations ranging from sparkling wines; through fresh, light, and young ones; complex, matured, and full-bodied wines; to all types of predicate wines, depending on winegrowing area and wine production style. Diversity of the region is favourable for cultivation of many white varieties such as Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon, Traminer, Heiner Grüner, Müller-Thurgau, Grüner Silvaner, Rhine Riesling, and Yellow Muscat. Recently, numerous high-quality red wines have become prominent such as Pinot Noir, Merlot, Blaufränkisch, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Zweigelt, Portugieser, and even Syrah. Even though Graševina and white grape varieties are predominant, many red wines are excellently paired with traditional cuisine of the region.