Tours in Croatia by Secret Dalmatia

Duration: half day

Difficulty: easy

Location: Split

Available May to October

The roots of Zinfandel

The incredible story of the Zinfandel grape

Planted in over 10% of vineyards in California, Zinfandel was long considered an all-American vine, until… surprise! DNA-profiling techniques related this black-skinned grape back to its Croatian origins, namely, the grape called Crljenak Kaštelanski. An authentic sort from the region of Kaštela in Central Dalmatia, Crljenak is undergoing somewhat of a Renaissance on the account of its relation with the American favorite. Enjoy this exploratory tour as it takes you to the true roots of the Zinfandel grape, revealing along the way the twists and turns on its path from coastal Croatia to California. Bon voyage and cheers!

  • This tour is fully private and on request only.
  • Tour includes collection from your hotel, villa or private accommodation by our professional English speaking chauffeur in a comfortable luxury sedan car or passenger van as driving on your own is not recommended, presentation of two wineries and a wine tasting in each.
  • Please note that a part of this tour includes off-road driving up the hill.
  • Bring your camera, comfortable shoes, hat and sunscreen in the summer months.
  • This tour is not recommended for families with children.
  • OPTIONAL: For a complete experience of the Dalmatian traditions and lifestyle, a unique wine-paired lunch featuring local specialties and the finest of local wines can be organized at either wine cellar. Available at additional cost.

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Tour description

What you'll see on this tour

Several indigenous varieties of Zin existed in Croatia prior to an outbreak of phylloxera in the late 19th century. This devastating attack reduced the production severely and ultimately led to a massive exodus. Thereafter, Zin made its story in the United States while its ancestor, Crljenak Kaštelanski, faded into oblivion. But after the recent re-establishment of their kin, Crljenak wines took an upward turn as they never have before.

This private wine tour takes you to two relativley new wineries and reveals the actual story behind the famous grape. The first winery awaits in Kaštela, a historic region of small towns lined along the coast forming a scenic seaside promenade. Bedalov wine cellar is small and attached to a family guesthouse. All about hospitality, Bedalov proudly presents Crljenak Kaštelanski (Zinfandel) together with two other typical sorts, Plavac mali and Maraština. Light snack such as local olives and olive oil will round off the first wine tasting.

At your next stop, the Babe wine cellar near Trogir, you will get to try Crljenak Kaštelanski (Zinfandel), Merlot and Cuvée. Given the spectacular location of the winery, with breathtaking panoramas of Čiovo Island and Marjan hill, Babe is ideal for a stroll through the vineyards as you learn about all the precious steps and hard labor that goes into each bottle of wine!

Quick Info





Distance to attraction


Split: 27 Km





In Search of Zin

Using DNA-profiling techniques, Carole Meredith, a UC Davis grapevine geneticist and two Croatian scientists, Ivan Pejić and Edi Maletić from the University of Zagreb, discovered in December 2001 that Zinfandel and the indigenous Croatian grape called Crljenak are one and the same. Meredith’s research proved that Zinfandel is the same as Crljenak Kaštelanski, a grape variety from Kaštela region on the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia, and not as Plavac Mali grape as it was presumed before. Zinfandel is acclaimed as California’s signature grape and the search for its origins fascinated wine lovers and scientists for more than 100 years.


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Our “Roots of Zinfandel” tour sets itself apart as it takes you on a journey tracing the footsteps of the Zinfandel grape from its origins in the picturesque region of Dalmatia, Croatia, to the vineyards of California. Unlike other tours, we dive deep into the historical and cultural significance of the Zinfandel grape, or Crljenak Kaštelanski, as it is known here in its homeland.

Your adventure begins in the historic region of Kaštela, a collection of scenic coastal towns where the story of Zinfandel, or Crljenak Kaštelanski, starts. Here, you will visit the charming Bedalov wine cellar, where the cherished Zinfandel grape is grown, harvested, and transformed into the exquisite wines that have made Dalmatia world-renowned.

The next stop is the Babe wine cellar near Trogir. Known for its picturesque views of Čiovo Island and Marjan hill, Babe adds a touch of splendor to the wine tasting experience. The Zinfandel journey, the labor, and love that goes into each bottle of wine are part of the tasting experience.

Embarking on a Zinfandel wine tasting experience in Croatia, you’re setting sail on a voyage of flavor, history, and heritage. The wine is robust and deeply expressive, much like the region itself, revealing its unique notes to the discerning palate.

During your visit to Bedalov, you’ll not only savor Zinfandel’s rich flavor, but also Plavac mali and Maraština wines, well-matched with local snacks. Then, at Babe, expect a trifecta of delectable wines: Zinfandel, Merlot, and Cuvée. As you sip on these exquisite wines, you’ll be privy to breathtaking vistas of the region, and the grape’s journey from vine to glass.

The story of Zinfandel, known in Croatia as Crljenak Kaštelanski, has a riveting and surprising history. Its roots in Croatia were almost forgotten after a devastating phylloxera outbreak in the late 19th century. This catastrophe led to a significant decrease in production and resulted in Zinfandel gaining prominence in the United States. The ancestral variety, Crljenak Kaštelanski, sadly faded into obscurity in its homeland.

However, the recent identification of Zinfandel’s origins has sparked a renaissance for Crljenak Kaštelanski in Croatia. Now, the grape is again thriving in its home soil and creating wines that captivate and delight wine lovers globally.

Our private Zinfandel wine tasting tour is curated to offer guests an exclusive and memorable experience. The tour is chauffeur-driven, ensuring comfort, luxury, and safety. The itinerary includes visits to two unique wineries in the region where the cultivation of the Zinfandel grape is a part of their heritage.

On this tour, you will be guided through the vineyards and cellars, learning about the intricate process of wine production and the journey of the Zinfandel grape. Your tastings at each winery are supplemented by insights into the wines, the local olives, and olive oils.

Our Zinfandel wine tasting tour is a rich and immersive experience that dives into the history, culture, and intricate process of winemaking. Given the nature of this tour, including wine tasting and some off-road driving, we typically do not recommend it for families with young children. However, we are more than happy to recommend or customize family-friendly tours that cater to the interests and comfort of every member of your family.

Absolutely. In addition to the wine tasting experience, we offer an optional wine-paired lunch at an additional cost. This exclusive gastronomic event is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in Dalmatian traditions and lifestyle. Each course of the meal is carefully paired with local wines, enhancing the flavors of the dishes while highlighting the characteristics of each wine. The menu features local specialties, prepared using the finest, locally sourced ingredients, thus offering a complete and authentic experience of Dalmatian cuisine.

While the ‘Roots of Zinfandel’ tour is generally an easy and comfortable tour, we recommend you to come prepared for a day of exploration. As the tour includes a walk through vineyards and an off-road drive up the hill, it’s advisable to wear comfortable shoes. During the summer months, bring a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the Mediterranean sun. Above all, don’t forget your camera! The beautiful vineyards and breathtaking views offer picture-perfect moments.

The ‘Roots of Zinfandel’ tour includes a bit of adventure, as part of the tour includes an off-road drive up the hill. This segment of the tour allows you to enjoy the stunning landscape of the Dalmatian Coast, giving you a closer look at the vineyards and the surrounding scenery. Our professional English-speaking chauffeur takes care of the driving, allowing you to sit back, relax and enjoy the view. Please note that driving on your own is not recommended due to the specificities of the terrain.

The Zinfandel grape, locally known as Crljenak Kaštelanski, plays an integral role in Croatian wine culture. Although it nearly faded into oblivion in the late 19th century following a devastating phylloxera outbreak, the recent discovery of its origins has led to a renaissance of this grape in Croatia. The story of Zinfandel has become an exciting chapter in Croatian wine history, attracting wine enthusiasts and tourists alike. The rebirth of this grape has enriched the Croatian wine scene, and its unique, robust flavors continue to contribute to the global recognition of Croatian wines.

Our ‘Roots of Zinfandel’ tour is a half-day tour, giving you an ample amount of time to immerse yourself in the history and flavors of Zinfandel without taking up your entire day. This tour is available from May to October, which is the optimal time to visit Dalmatian vineyards. The Mediterranean climate during these months provides ideal conditions for exploring the vineyards, tasting wine, and taking in the spectacular scenery. However, please feel free to reach out to us to discuss the specifics of your visit. Our bespoke approach to each client ensures a personalized and memorable experience.