Tuesday, 04 August 2020
Grk in Lumbarda Grk in Lumbarda Photo credit: https://www.instagram.com/winery_zure/

The Grk Grape Variety - “Wine, like women, get better with age”?

By  The Dubrovnik Times Jan 14, 2020

You know that saying: “Wine, like women, get better with age”?

I love that saying because it is true in so many different ways. Fun fact is that, even though people often refer to wine in the feminine gender, they rarely do so when talking about grape varieties. However, let us tell you a story of the most feminine grape variety with a very masculine name – Grk (Greek).

Grk (Croatian word for a Greek) is an autochthonous Croatian grape variety. It grows exclusively around the city of Lumbarda on the island Korčula. Many tried to cultivate it elsewhere, all around the world, but none of them succeeded.

And, although the name suggests an either Greek or Italian origin, Grk is confirmed to be indigenous to Croatia and a close relative to Crljenak Kaštelanski (better known under its other names, Zinfandel and Primitivo).


Besides meaning “Greek” in Croatian, the word “grk” also means “bitter”. Interestingly, wine produced from this variety cannot be described as such. It is highly aromatic like a Sauvignon Blanc, has an invigorating acidity like a Riesling, and, finally, it is so rich with flavors that it’s reminiscent of a Chardonnay. Knowing that a grape variety can be so versatile, must take your breath away.

Yet, this versatility or, let’s say, ability to “multitask” is not the reason many refer to it “the most feminine of all the grapes”. Rather, the reason behind it is the fact that the variety has only female functional parts of the plant. Therefore, in order to reproduce successfully, it must be planted with other grape varieties.

The variety it is most planted next to is the well-known Plavac Mali, the most planted red grape variety in Croatia. The reason behind this it that both of those varieties blossom at the same time, resulting in ripe fruit at the beginning of September.


However, it must be mentioned that Grk almost never gives a high yield. If we take that into account along with the fact that less than 50 hectares of the variety exists in Croatia (and, therefore, also in the entire world!), one must ask himself if each vintage of Grk might just be the last one.

Should such a thing happen, it would be a terrible loss for both winemakers and wine lovers across the globe.

Wines made from the Grk variety truly reflect the environment it is grown in: the sandy soil, scent of pine wood and hint of sea saltiness. Combined, they deliver a high quality, delicious, indigenous dry wine.


Due to low yields and the territory it grows in restriction, not a lot of Grk is bottled yearly, so getting a bottle into your collection is not an easy task. Some believe that your best bet is to buy a couple of bottles directly from Korčulan winemakers. And, should your path lead you to Korčula, we highly recommend you do so.

However, if this is not an option, we’ve got you covered. Pop off to the Wine&more website and have your bottle of Grk delivered to your doorstep.

If you give it a try, let us know what you thought of it. Until then, cheers!



The Voice of Dubrovnik


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