Croatia's picturesque Pelješac region has come alive with the start of this year's grape harvest, beginning about fifteen days later than the previous year. Vineyard workers have begun the meticulous task of gathering early varieties of white grapes, including the renowned Rukatca and Pošip. Furthermore, the first batches of grapes have been successfully collected from the famed Dingač and Postup vineyards.
A Noteworthy Start: Zinfandel Grapes
This year, as is the tradition, the harvest commenced with the Zinfandel grape variety, famous in the United States and with roots tracing back to Croatia's original grape variety, Crljenak. These vines thrive in a vineyard nestled beneath the St. John's church on the western slopes of the Vignje area. The vineyard was co-established by the late American entrepreneur Robert Hermann Benmoshe, in collaboration with the skilled winemaker, Marija Mrgudić.
This year's harvest marks the twelfth season in this vineyard. However, it faces unique challenges as it has experienced a smaller yield compared to previous years. Adverse weather conditions and an outbreak of downy mildew disease have caused the crop to produce only about one-third of its usual quantity.
Challenges Amidst the Vines
A lower yield has also been observed in the vineyard adjacent to the Korta Katarina hotel and winery in Orebić. However, the vineyard workers remain optimistic as they tackle the upcoming harvest.
While the harvest may be slightly delayed this year, the rich traditions and dedication of the region's winemakers continue to shine through. As the grapevines flourish under the Croatian sun, the winemaking heritage of Pelješac remains vibrant, offering the promise of exceptional wines to come. The vineyards here are not just a source of fine wines but also a testament to the enduring spirit of Croatian winemaking.