Are you a wine lover visiting Zagreb who wants to get to know the region’s wineries, sample some local varieties and enjoy the countryside? Well we also love wine, we love wine tasting and we love exploring, so we’ve done you all a favor and visited almost all of the wineries near Zagreb to tell you which ones we liked the most!
We visited over 10 wineries, and below I’ll go through our top 5 picks (most are hidden gems you’ve probably never heard of), and tell you a little bit about each one.
We found that the Plesivica Wine Region (about an hour from Zagreb) has the most to offer, as it features many smaller, family-run wineries that are special to visit, and the wines are excellent because of great growing conditions. The other two regions that have wineries that made our list, are Vivodina and Zagorje.
The winemakers’ passion shines through as each wine is presented, and the experience is on a totally different level than going to a bigger, more industrial winery.
Here are our top 5 picks (in no particular order):
Jagunic winery, which is located in the Plesivica wine region, definitely holds one of the top spots. The region and winery is very well known for its sparkling wine quality, but also other fantastic varieties, too. The experience when visiting this place is traditional and authentic and you’re really made to feel at home.
The location couldn’t be better for growing grapes, says Dominik Jagunic (one of the sons who runs the winery). The winery is situated on a hill, with absolutely stunning views of the surrounding vineyards. There is a cozy, traditional style “house” where they receive visitors and prepare and serve snacks and meals along with the tastings.
Today, the Jagunic brothers are 4th generation winemakers in the family. They are three friendly brothers that all work together to keep the winery going. If you visit, you’ll surely meet at least one of them, chat about their wines, family history with the vineyard and the region in general.
Their main focus is white wine, and sparkling wines, which make up around 60% of production. Dominik is most proud of their sparkling wines and their orange “natural and organic” wine (amber riesling) - something he says he would like to produce and develop more of in the future.
Production of wine is a lifestyle for his family, and a labor of love. He and his family and friends pick all of the grapes themselves by hand, because the vineyard’s difficult position doesn’t allow for machines to do the picking. He says winemaking is more than a passion for him, which is very evident when you meet him!
#2 Robert Braje's Winery
Another great winery from the Plesivica wine region is Robert Braje’s winery. The winery and “excursion wine house” which I would actually call a “gourmet paradise” are located in Lokosin Dol, in the valley, surrounded by vineyards. The whole set up and property is just picture perfect.
There is a beautiful, rustic, wooden house that is traditionally decorated and built for wine tasting as well as for business lunches / dinners, team buildings, birthdays or other occasions. The wine is delicious, and the food brings it to a whole new dimension.
The feeling is very welcoming, especially when you sit down at their large wooden tables and the wine starts pouring and the food keeps coming.
The owner Robert and his wife Sanda are a fantastic team. Robert is in charge of sharing his wines, presenting the tastings and communicating the story of the vineyard, and Sanda’s duty is preparing all of the meals for the guests.
Matching Robert’s wine and Sanda’s food is something spectacular, something I’ll never forget, and something I’ll definitely come back for. They do an incredible wine and food pairing experience that I would describe as home-cooked fine dining.
The big advantage of this family is that they have their own garden and farm, with ducks, cows and pigs… so almost all of your meal is fresh from their own backyard.
They also have apple and pear trees on the property, which they use to produce natural fruit juice (which my kids can’t get enough of) and strudel, along with some other desserts, sauces, etc.
Braje Winery has 4 different types of wine, which he describes as traditional and strong, with plenty of character. Robert tells us that the reason the Plesivica Region is perfect for growing grapes, is because of the yellow soil. This soil naturally reduces the grapes, which in turn produces higher quality wine.
He also said that because of how the climate has changed over the years, his wines have changed as well, and all for the better. The region has experienced more sun, which leads to less acidity in the wines, and it’s good for business, he describes.
His most popular variety is Pinot Noir, as it must age for 5 years before it’s bottled and sold, and therefore has plenty of time to build the special characteristics it’s known for.
Robert laughs and says he gets attached to the wine, and sometimes it’s even hard for him to sell it, as he grows to love it even more after “caring for it” for those 5 years.
Just around the corner from Jagunic Winery is Korak Winery, another gem in the Plesivica wine region. The Korak family estate is located on the hilltop with magical views of Plesivica wine country.
The whole place has been renovated and will reopen this year, and we got a sneak peak at the stunning new restaurant and facilities.
Winemaking in the Korak family has been a tradition for several generations. During our visit, I met Korak’s youngest son, Josip, who proudly gave me a tour of their beautiful estate and let me taste some of their impeccable wines (among them was one of the best Chardonnays I’ve ever had).
Josip described how past generations had begun a legacy of having the best vineyards in the Plesivica wine region. He says they aim to carry on this legacy and pledge to continue to produce the fine wines they inherited from their ancestors.
Korak winery is run by the second and third generations, and is based on a deep commitment to the Plesivica region, its terroirs and wines. Their wines are not a product of modern technology, but a reasonable collaboration of the best of nature, traditions and family.
Based on the location of their vineyards (on the southern, southeast and southwestern sides of the Plesivica vineyard amphitheater, at an altitude of 350-400m), it enables them to produce beautiful whites like Rhine Riesling, Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. For reds, you can find Pinot Noir, Syrah and Portugieser varieties in their vineyards.
They are very focused on producing the highest quality wines for a very picky market, including wine connoisseurs. Some of their most prized wines are Chardonnay Surlie, Pinot Red and Sauvignon.
Soon, they will add the long-awaited new series Amber wine, which is sulfur-free and called "In Search for the Forgotten Times." They are also proud of their two premium Brut Nature and Rose Nature sparkling wines.
In December, the Korak family is planning to open the signature restaurant run by Josip’s brother Bernard. He was a chef at Osteria Francescana in Mondena, officially the best restaurant in the world, so the food is going to be out of this world, I’m sure.
This will actually be the first “fine dining restaurant” in the Plesivica region and we are very excited to try it out!
Another winery which I recommend visiting is Vrbanek Winery, which is located near the town of Ozalj, in the heart of Vivodina Wine Region - basically on the Croatian-Slovenian Border.
The owners are Darko Vrbanek and his family. I can say that he is one of my favorite wine makers in Croatia, he’s so welcoming and is so proud of his beautiful region, that he spent the entire afternoon showing us around the whole area.
He organised our visit and took us to meet a few of the other local winemakers. We met Ivan Viktorovski, the other Vrbanek winery 1881, winery Gustin and then stopped by Frlan, which is a local restaurant, famous for having the best lamb in the region.
He established his winery in 2005 and produced 4 types of wines: Grasevina, Chardonnay, Yellow Muscat and Zweigelt, which is an Austrian sort of red wine, and also one of his wife’s favorites.
Wine is Darko’s life and he says he truly loves it, even though it’s plenty of work! He welcomes anyone to visit his winery, anytime, because if he is not home, one of his family members will be, and can show you around.
#5 Vuglec Breg winery
On the northside of Medvedica Mountain is yet another wine region, called Zagorje. In the past, this area had a reputation of producing acidic wines that didn’t match the quality of those produced on the coast in Dalmatia. However, the climate has changed, and winemakers in the region have used their skills to perfect their varieties, making this region fantastic for wines, as well!
Vuglec Breg Winery was founded in 2003 and it’s an indispensable part of the whole Vuglec family estate, which includes a restaurant, sweet little cottages to rent for overnight accommodation, and the whole estate is actually a wine-tourism complex where you can spend a leisurely day with your family.
There are tennis courts, soccer fields, parks for kids, and farm animals, along with small ponies perfect for riding. During the warmer months, they also have many Adirondack chairs positioned on the hill in front of the restaurant, looking out onto the vineyard and the beautiful views below. It’s a perfect place to sip a coffee after indulging in a delicious lunch or dinner at their restaurant.
The winery is well known for Chardonnay, Rhine Riesling, Grasevina, Sauvignon, Yellow Muscat, Silvaner, Pinot Noir, Blaufrankisch and Cabernet Sauvignon. Vuglec Breg is the largest winery out of the list, but I felt they deserved one of the top spots because their wine is fantastic, and the property makes for a wonderful day or weekend trip with your family in the country.
Just driving through the countryside is unbelievably beautiful, as there are rows upon rows of vines as far as the eye can see, which make impressive lined patterns covering the hills.
If you’re in the Zagreb area and are interested in exploring a couple of the wineries, let us know! We’d be happy to customize a day trip for you, or we have a Zagreb region wine tour already planned out that our guests love: https://www.royalcroatiantours.com/zagreb-region-wine-tour.html
We hope you’ll be able to explore at least one or two of these gems while in Croatia!
If you’re interested in reading a few of our other posts about Croatia:
- 38 Local Tips & Mistakes to Avoid When Traveling to Croatia
- Travel to Croatia With a Toddler or Baby (From Experience!)
- Tipping in Croatia: a Complete Guide With Suggested Amounts!
- Croatia Travel Itinerary for 5, 7 & 10 Days
- How I Learned to Speak Croatian as an Adult (in 7 Steps)
- Driving in Croatia (a Helpful Guide With Practical Tips)
- Zagreb’s Flea Market, Hrelic: a Helpful Guide
- Croatian Money: KN or EURO, Exchanging $, and Daily Costs
- Top 5 Croatian Travel Snacks
- 8 Reasons You Should Never Swim in the Adriatic
- Top 10 Day Trips From Zagreb, Within 1hr Drive
- 5 Reasons Croatian Grannies are Cuter than Kittens
- 9 Reasons You Should NEVER Use a Travel Agent