Croatia, or Hrvatska, is one of the most successful wine producers of the former Yugoslavia on the Balkan peninsula. The Adriatic coastline of the mainland stretches 1,880 km while its 1,244 islands add a further 4,398 km. In recent years Croatia has become hugely popular as a tourist destination creating a ready-made market for its wines.
In the 18th century much of present-day Croatia came under control of the Habsburg Empire, with wine production flourishing. However by the turn of the 20th Century, winemaking in Croatia was hit badly by phylloxera. Under the Communist regime in Yugoslavia, wine production was mainly centred around large cooperatives, producing bulk wines. The collapse of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s saw many vineyards and wineries once again destroyed. However, since the mid to late 1990s there has been a shift back to small, independent producers, focusing on quality.
Key grapes include Malvazija Istarska (white) and Teran (red) in Istria with its mild Mediterranean climate. In Dalmatia, the stretch of coast and islands running down to Montenegro, the red Plavac Mali grape predominates, growing on steep rocky soils.