Istria’s burgeoning wine business is something that locals will tell you is a tradition dating back millenniums. The region supplied Roman emperors, popes, Austro-Hungarian diplomats, and wine consumers throughout the wider Mediterranean. Today, this Istrian export is traded globally, and many of the region’s wineries have established tasting rooms, some in 19th century farm houses, others in modern, design driven spaces. Epitourean has strong relationships with many of the regions best wineries where we bring our clients on group or solo excursions. Here are a few of our favorites:
1. Kozlovic Wine Estate is a family run business that has been making award winning red, white and dessert wines since 1904. These forth generation wine makers focus on producing native Istrian varietals on their 62 acres of vineyards. Their wines are delicious and seem to taste better when tried on site in their new modern tasting room. Don’t leave without sampling their white Valle wine, a crystal clear and fruity wine and one of Kozlovic’s classics.
2. Kabola Wine Estate produces one of the most unique wines in Istria, if not the world. They are of the few wine producers globally to make a wine fermented in large clay amphoras that they keep buried in the ground and allow fermentation to occur from the circulating natural yeasts in their environment. The result is a pleasantly unusual wine, best for drinking after dinner or by itself, and persimmon in color. Kabola is situated in a gorgeous valley that seems like a Tuscan landscape, and hosts daily wine tastings.
3. Bale San Tommaso Wine Estate sits on a 150-year old estate in Istria’s quiet village, Golas. Wine tastings happen in the winery’s recently renovated 19th century farm house. It’s a cozy wood clad room with tables and benches, and an upstairs loft that doubles as a sort of museum with an assemblage of antique farming and wine making equipment. Istrian delicacies and nibbles are offered to pair with the estate’s tipples, and the staff is incredibly warm and welcoming, not to mention wonderfully knowledgable of the Istria’s pantheon of wines.
4. Matosevic Wine Estate seems to always be bustling with eager oenophiles passing through to try the house’s latest vintage. The estate where the wine tastings happen is small, but charming, and has a large back yard planted with fruit trees and furnished with tables and chairs where tastings happen during the warmer months. These first generation wine producers are best known as the founders of Vin Istria, one of the region’s most important annual wine fairs.
5. Degrassi Wine Estate is probably Istria’s most prodigious wine making family, producing a whopping list of 30 different wines. Hidden off a busy road in northern Istria, this family run winery is blessed with a lively and animated sommelier who explains with clarity and detail the company’s wine making philosophy and the tasting notes of each Degrassi vintage. The tasting room is charming and rustic, and flanked on either side by a large fireplace and family-style table where the tastings are presented.