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!

Book Tour

Duration:   half day

Difficulty:   easy

Location:   Split

Available May to October

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View of Kestela vineyards where Zinfandel is coming from
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Babe vineyard overlooking Kastela
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Babe vineyard overlooking Kastela
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At Bedalov vineyard high in the mountain
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At Bedalov vineyard high in the mountain
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At Bedalov vineyard high in the mountain
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Historic area is known for numerous churches and monuments
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Kastel Gomilica was one of the major trading posts for Kastela wines

Tour description

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!

  • 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.

In Search of Zin

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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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77°F  /  25°C


11:15 PM


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The roots of Zinfandel

The roots of Zinfandel

The incredible story of the Zinfandel grape