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The Roots of Zinfandel

Discover the roots of Zinfandel in the hillside of Split

Planted in over 10% of vineyards in California, Zinfandel was long considered an all-American vine, until DNA-profiling techniques related this black-skinned grape back to its Croatian origins, Crljenak Kaštelanski. An authentic sort from the region of Kaštela in Central Dalmatia, Crljenak is undergoing something of a renaissance on account of its relation with the American favorite. This is an exploratory tour which takes you to the true roots of Zinfandel grape, and of course - Zinfandel wines!
Croatia had several indigenous varieties of Zin, but many disappeared after an outbreak of phylloxera in the late 19th century. The attack was devastating for wine growing in the region in every sense, reducing the production severely and ultimately leading to massive exodus. But after their relationship with Zin was established recently, Crljenak wines took a turn upward as they never have before.
You will visit two renowned Crljenak wine cellars, both relatively new. The first one is located in Kastela, historic town on the coast, lined up along the bay of Kaštela with 6 other similar towns, creating a beautiful seaside promenade. Bedalov is a small wine cellar attached to a family guesthouse, and is all about hospitality. At Bedalov, you will have a chance to try three local sorts of wines, Crljenak Kaštelanski (Zinfandel), Plavac mali and Maraština, coupled with some light snacks such as local olives and olive oil.
As the region has 10 authentic sorts of grapes, at our next stop, the Babe wine cellar, you will taste a Crljenak Kaštelanski (Zinfandel), Merlot and Couvet. In a scenic Dalmatian location near Trogir, overlooking Marjan hill in Split and Čiovo island, Babe is a great place to visit the vineyards, learn about all the hard work that goes into tendering grapes and the happy times of making wine. Walk the Babe vineyards with a trained guide and learn about local wines while enjoying great views of Split and Kastela bay.
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.


Collection from your hotel, villa or private apartment in Split by our English speaking professional guide/driver. Local staff in wine cellars.

Quick facts

Available year round
10 AM departure from your hotel or other meeting place (can be adjusted) 
Bring camera, sports shoes.
Off road drive up the hill.


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Using DNA-profiling techniques, Carole Meredith, a UC Davis grapevine geneticist and two Croatian scientists, Ivan Pejic and Edi Maletic 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 Kastelanski, a grape variety from Kastela 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 quest for its origins fascinated wine lovers and scientists for more than 100 years.

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