Grape and wine production has great economical, social and strategic importance in Dubrovnik-Neretva County, like it did throughout the history. Viticulture was undoubtedly influenced by superb connection with the world that Republic of Dubrovnik had. New grape varieties and technologies were introduced, encouraging easier development and cultivation, especially of the red grapes.
In 2007, According to Croatian Bureau of Statistics, Dubrovnik-Neretva County was the fourth wine producing county in Croatia (with 7% of total wine production), while in 2011 6.200.000 liters of wine were produced. Nationally, importance of Dubrovnik-Neretva County in national context is evident knowing that the first Croatian wines with protected geographical originare from this area: Dingač(1961) and Pošip(1965, protected in 1967).
Area of Dubrovnik-Neretva County is a part of winegrowing sub-region of Central and South Dalmatia and covers the area from city of Ploče to far south, Neretva valley and the islands. This area includes 7 wine growing areas: Neretva, Konavle, Mljet, Korčula, Komarna, Lastovo and Pelješac.The area covered in vine is 2.127 hectares large with average vineyard size of 1.456 m2. In 2011, data of Croatian centre for agriculture, food and rural affairs enlisted 161 producers with 373 wines registered.
Most of the vineyards are positioned in Pelješac vineyards (63,5 hectares), with numerous locations overlooking the sea which ensures sea reflection light and favorable conditions for sugar accumulation in grapes. On the islands and in Konavle, vineyards are repositioning to this beneficial position. White grapes are still grown in the fields because they grow better in lower temperatures with more humidity.
Diversity of indigenous and introduced varieties is present due to favorable environmental conditions, soil diversity and unique position. Indigineous Dubrovnik-Neretva County varieties are: Plavac mali, Pošip, Malvasija dubrovačka, Crljenak (Zinfandel/Primitivo), Maraština (Rukatac), Grk and Kadarun. Plavac mali and Pošip are most common red/white ones. Introduced varieties present in this area are Cabernet sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah (Shiraz), Chardonnay…
In the last couple of years there is a noticeable production progress, many new producers appear and are using modern technologies and equipment. Old vineyard locations reappear, new soils are taken over, and original grapes are brought back to life. Knowing that Dubrovnik largely depends on tourism, being popular destination and international brand, producers are becoming more aware of importance of wine tourism.
All this makes Dubrovnik FestiWine more than just a necessary and an ambitious project. Presenting wines of Dubrovnik-Neretva County, festival’s goal is to remind and to relive tradition of winemaking, to encourage production and sale, and most importantly to make Dubrovnik a wine-friendly city, where wine can and should be celebrated.