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Wine in Croatia, like so much of Europe, is part of daily life. Croatia’s lengthy coastline along the Adriatic Sea provides favorable conditions for cultivating vines, which line the coastal hillsides. The Istrian peninsula is known for its spectacular wine-making and – as such – wine tasting in Rovinj is an absolute must-do!
Not only can visitors get a taste of the locally-produced wine in Rovinj, they can get it straight from the source. In addition to the shops and bars in Rovinj that sell local wine, there are two wineries and a winery tasting room that are within walking distance from the Rovinj Old Town.
One of the best things to do in Rovinj, Croatia is to visit the three wine tasting locations on a convenient and easy Rovinj Wine Walk.
Croatia’s Wine History
Croatia’s long wine history dates back to the Ancient Greeks in the 5th century BC, but has seen many changes in current times. When Croatia was part of Yugoslavia, producing wine from traditional family vineyards was discouraged.
During the break up of Yugoslavia, many of these vineyards were destroyed and, more recently, wild fires consumed a great number of vineyards along the Dalmatian Coast. However, locally-produced wines throughout Croatia are flourishing and it’s quite evident…especially in Istria.
Visitors planning a trip to Croatia should definitely put tasting the local wine on their itinerary!
In Istria, white wines triumph over reds. Istrian white wines tend to be dry and fruity. Although red wine is less prevalent in Istria, Teran is a big, jammy, spicy wine that is commonly produced in this area of Croatia.
Wine Tasting: Shops and Bars in Rovinj, Croatia
Sampling the flavor of Istrian wine is fairly simple in the Rovinj Old Town. Every cafe and restaurant in Rovinj serves local wine. Additionally, the numerous wine shops and souvenir shops that line the streets sell wine, too (and offer free samples to tourists!).
Surprisingly, there are not that many dedicated wine bars in Old Town Rovinj…but there are a few! The charming Piassa Granda features a fantastic wine list of the area’s finest wines. The helpful waitstaff can make recommendations. 2023 Update: NOW CLOSED!
Two other wine stores in Rovinj are both near the Rovinj Market; Wine shop “MAGI” and Engel Wine & Cheese Shop.
However, visitors who are interested in learning more about the locally produced wine have the opportunity to visit Rovinj wineries.
While the Old Town is a dense jumble of cobblestone lanes, there is spacious land – and numerous vineyards – just outside the Rovinj town center. Visitors eager to taste Rovinj wine from wineries don’t have to go far. There are two wineries – and a winery tasting room – within walking distance from the Old Town.
Wine Walk: Wine Tasting in Rovinj, Croatia
Stoked to have found wineries so close to the Old Town, we created our own wine tasting route. The short walk – just 1.5 miles – can be made in a loop, beginning and ending in the Old Town. Using our directions, map and tips, visitors can follow in our footsteps for a fun afternoon of Rovinj wine tasting tour.
Would you rather join a guided tour to nearby Rovinj wineries? We feature popular Rovinj winery tours at the end of the article!
#1 Villa Dobravac, Rovinj
Villa Dobravac is many things – a hotel, a restaurants, a bar….and a winery. Featuring nine award-winning wines, Villa Doravac is a perfect place to begin tasting wine in Rovinj!
In addition to the on-site wine-making and bottling facilities, the Dobravac family also makes their own olive oils. Visitors can sample the wines – and other agricultural offerings and food pairings – from the restaurant’s spacious patio.
Of the two red choices, I favored the Fuga, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. I liked that it was bold and had a bit of spice to it. Kris preferred the Toccata, a blend of Merlot, Teran, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, which had a fuller fruit flavor and was slightly softer.
The atmosphere at Dobravac is stylish, but laid-back. We savored each glass of wine while taking in the views of the Rovinj Old Town and Adriatic Sea in the distance.
#2 Vivoda Wine, Rovinj
The Vivoda family has been producing quality wines since 1952 using the region’s well-known grapes: Malvazia, Teran, Merlot and Muscat White. Their signature wine is St. Euphemia (named after the the Rovinj St. Euphemia Church) – a white wine that ages for 16 months in oak barrels.
The Vivoda Winery is an inconspicuous complex housed in a neighborhood that can easily be missed. We passed right by it and had to double back around to find it…and we are certainly glad we made the effort! Unpolished and industrial, Vivoda Winery is, perhaps, less a tasting room and more a functional wine making facility.
The Vivoda Winery Experience
When we arrived, we were unsure if they were even open until another patron walked in, approached the counter and unloaded several large empty water bottles. A man appeared from behind a cask and took the bottles to the back…only to return with them filled with wine.
Completely baffled by this unpretentious method of buying wine direct from the winery, we asked to try a glass of the Vivoda Teran, which he offered to us free of charge. There was only one table (a converted barrel) in the front of the room with two chairs, so we somewhat awkwardly took a seat. As we sipped the full-flavored wine, we watched more people come in, all with their empty bottles to be filled.
We consulted the price list and were astonished to find each 1 liter bottle only cost around $5 USD. Noting the bin of used plastic bottles next to the counter, we fished out a clean one and asked for it to be filled with Teran and enjoyed it later during an amazing Rovinj sunset.
#3 San Tommaso Wine, Rovinj
Not actually a winery (the San Tommaso Winery is actually located on a 150-year-old estate 10 miles outside of Rovinj in the town of Bale), the San Tommaso Vinoteka is a lovely tasting room. Located directly on the Rovinj fishing harbor and offering outdoor seating with views of the Old Town, San Tommaso is a fabulous last stop on a Rovinj Wine Tasting Walk.
They pour their own wine, as well as products from other Istrian wineries and have knowledgeable staff on hand for questions. We recommend taking a waterfront table and enjoying the sunset, with a glass of San Tommaso wine in hand, of course!
Top Tips for your Rovinj Wine Tasting Walk
- Allow about 2 hours to complete the Wine Walk, including stops for tastes at each place.
- During our visit in the autumn, the Villa Dobravac bar opened at 2:00pm and Vivoda opened at 3:00pm. San Tommaso and the other wine bars and shops had longer opening hours. Verification of open hours during your visit is suggested.
- Street signs in Istria are in Croatian and/or Italian.
- Visitors could also complete our Wine Route via bicycle. Read our tips for Biking in Rovinj.
- If heading to Vivoda, don’t forget to bring an empty liter water bottle!
Things To Know about Drinking Wine in Rovinj, Croatia
- Most wine pours in Rovinj are 100 ml (often listed as .1l), which is quite a bit less than a standard pour in an American bar or restaurant. We actually thought it was nice because we were able to sample several types of wine that way.
- Like most wine, prices range by quality. A glass of the local boutique wine can start at $10 and quickly shoot upwards. At the wine bars in Rovinj, even more expensive varieties are offered. However, at local cafes, a glass of Istrian table wine can cost as little as $4.
Rovinj Wine Walk Map
Use this link to Google Maps for an online version and walking directions of the static map below
More Wine Tasting Rovinj Experiences
We have already mentioned the San Tommaso wine cellars in nearby Bale, Croatia, but there are a few other wineries in Rovinj region that travelers can visit with a car (or hire driver).
Stancija Collis Winery Rovinj
At Collis Winery, they make organic wines (which pair well with their organic food offerings, too!). Wine tastings are affordable and the owner is a fun and gracious host.
A top-end experience from start to finish, Meneghetti is a complex inclusive of a hotel, restaurant and winery. The beautiful grounds are the perfect setting for sampling their premium Croatian wines.
Wine Tasting Tour Day Trips
Visitors can also join fun wine tours of the Istria region! There are group tours, private tours and most tours are provided in English.
Full Day Istria Wine Tour from Rovinj
Travel by air conditioned vehicle to three of the top wineries in the region on an Istria Wine Tour from Rovinj. Find out more!
Pula Wine Tasting Experience
Visitors also traveling to Pula can hop on the Istrian Wine Express. Travel through the Istrian region to three wineries with a tasting at each stop. Get the details!
Truffle Hunting with Wine
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