Zin in Croatia (Crljenak)

Traveled to Croatia last week and stopped at the mother-land of Zinfadel. Just outside the airport in Split, Croatia stands the mother of all Zinfandel vines known locally as crljenak kaštelanski.

I called the Radunić home and was put in touch with Špiro who invited me to the winery.

Špiro and his brother Josip were working in the cellar which is quite ancient. Along with their father Ivica “John” they are local firefighters that continue to maintain the vineyard with some of the oldest Zinfandel vines in the world.

Špiro and Josip in the winery.

It is a family affair. They do it because they love it and it is their family tradition. It was amazing to see ancient history, alive and in-person.

We visited the vineyard and I paid homage to one of the nine original Zinfandel vines.
It was great visit and despite the small language barrier, I was thrilled to be there and the Radunić’s were absolutely top-notch hosts.

Ivica in the vineyard

Croatia is a remarkably beautiful place with friendly people and great history. I’d go back again anytime.


Nice report, Walt. Thanks for sharing that.
This Crljenak vines don’t look all that old… maybe 40 yrs or so.
Most of the old Crljenak vines in Croatia are badly virus infected. FPS brought in Tribidrag from Croatia and cleaned it up of the virus. Some of that original Tribidrag has been planted in Calif (Ridge for one). And FPS has returned some of the virus-freed plant material to Croatia.
Croatia is a wonderful country. We spent 5 days in an Agriturisam way in the interior in a village where the pigs & goats & cows way outnumbered the people (and we didn’t even count the chickens). The owner’s daughter was the only one there who could speak English (barely). But we all had a rollicking good time over dinner & numerous glasses of wine… a universal language!!

This is cool on an extradimensional level. Thanks for sharing!

Thanks fellas.

Brian, “extradimensional” is a good word. When I was talking to Špiro and Josip, Špiro’s young daughter (10 yrs old, approx) was there and I told her how lucky she was to have this history in the family. That they were protecting a part of history just as people had protected the walls and buildings of Dubrovnik, Split, Hvar, or Trogir over the course of time. I’m not sure she was totally on board, but Špiro and Josip really seemed to appreciate the comment.

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Such a cool story! My wife and I visited Croatia back in 2019 and stumbled across Popić Winey while we were visiting Lumbarda for the day on the island of Korčula. The wine was quite good - we both really enjoyed their Grk (a white wine), as well as their Plavic Mali (a red wine). Would love to get my hands on both again but I don’t think they’re available in the US.

Here’s a picture we took from their outside tasting area - the views were stunning: