The country has a very old wine culture, because along the Dalmatian Adriatic coast the Illyrians were already cultivating wine in 1000 BC. The Greeks founded some colonies from 600 B.C. onwards. From this time comes the writing "The Feast of the Scholars", in which the wine production in the colony Issa (today's island Vis) is reported. A wine from here was even considered the best of the ancient wines of that time. The Roman emperor Probus (232-282) promoted viticulture in the third century AD and the Slavs who settled here in the seventh century continued to cultivate it. After settling in Dalmatia, the Croats developed viticulture as an important economic sector alongside olive growing and fishing. Around 1000 AD, the Republic of Venice conquered the regions of Dalmatia and parts of Istria and kept the rule for over 300 years.
From the beginning of the 12th century a personal union with the Kingdom of Hungary was established. In 1232 Cistercian monks founded a still existing wine cellar in Kutjevo. In the middle of the 15th century, Hungary and Croatia suffered severe territorial losses due to the expansion of the Ottoman Empire. After many battles against the Ottomans, a large part of Croatia came under Habsburg administration in the 18th century. As a result, there was a mutual influence of the viticulture. The privileged import of Italian wines at the end of the 19th century made viticulture more difficult. After the Second World War Croatia became a part of Yugoslavia and in 1991 became independent as "Hrvatska".
In 2012 the vineyards covered 29,000 hectares of vines, of which 1.293 million hectolitres of wine were produced. The area under vines has thus been reduced by half in only 12 years since 2000. Well-known producers are Enjini Ivan, Katunar, Frano Milos, Grgich Miljenko (cellarmaster of Grgich Hills in Napa Valley), Milos Frano, Krauthaker Vlado, Skaramuca, Zdjelarevic, Zlatan Otok (Zlatan Plenkovic). There are two clearly separated wine regions. These are subdivided into sub-regions and these into growing regions. The northern continental Croatia (Kontinentalna Hrvatska) extends from Slovenia in the west to the border of Serbia in the east. A continental climate prevails here. The region consists of the seven sub-regions Moslavina, Plesivica, Podunavlje (Danube), Pokuplje (Kupa), Prigorje-Bilogora, Slavonija (Slavonia) and Zagorje-Medjimurje. Two thirds of the white wines produced here are white wines.
The region of Croatian coastal land (Primorska Hrvatska), located in the south, is best known for Dalmatia, where the vineyards stretch from Rijeka to Dubrovnik. The climate here is predominantly Mediterranean. The region is divided into five sub-regions: Dalmatinska Zagora (Dalmatian hinterland), Hrvatsko Primorje (coastal area with many islands such as Hvar, Korčula, Krk, Lastovo and Vis), Istra (Istria), Sjeverna Dalmacija (northern Dalmatia) and Srednja/Juzna Dalmacija (central and southern Dalmatia). Here mainly red wines are grown, the most famous Croatian brand wines are Dingac, Faros, Peljesac, Postup, Prošek and Teran. The 2010 grape variety index shows that many autochthonous varieties are cultivated:
|Grape variety||Colour||Synonyms or name in Croatia||Hectare|
|Malvasia Istarska||white||Istarska malvazija, malvazija Istarska Bijela||1.705|
|Plavac Mali||red||Crljenak, Kasteljanak||1.569|