One of the most popular activities among tourists visiting Istria is to sample the brilliant selection of wines this region offers. There are several striking wineries located in this part of Croatia and visiting some of these wineries and trying a wine tasting tour should definitely be on your itinerary while in Istria.
The best wineries in Istria, and around Rovinj that we recommend visiting are Vina Matošević, Stancja Collis, Kabola, Kozlovič, Wine station Trapan, Benazic Winery, and Fakin Wines. There are several organized tours from Rovinj and other cities in Istria to these famous wineries but it easily possible to take up wine tasting tours on your own.
Since we based ourselves in Rovinj we visited some of these wineries driving on our own and took truffle hunting and wine tasting experiences while visiting these wineries. Getting to know the indigenous wine-growing heritage, unique aging processes used by each winery, and the local cuisine is an experience in itself and we highly recommend taking up at least one such tour while you are visiting Istria.
Vina Matošević – Rovinj
Matošević is a popular winery around Rovinj and is located about 18kms away from Rovinj in Krunčići. The easiest way to get here is either driving on your own or with a cab from Rovinj.
Matošević is a convenient day trip from Rovinj, and you can even combine your visit with other destinations in Istria. You can book their wine tasting tour by making a prior reservation. The tour costs about 150kn per person.
The winery produces great Malvazija (white) and Teran (red) wines. The wine varieties produced here are either stainless steel wines (non-aged), aged wines, and blended red and white wines. During the tour, you will be introduced to the history of wine-making in the region and Matošević winery. You will also get to see the production process followed by a visit to the cellar room to taste different wine varieties.
We sampled around 5-6 produced by Matošević accompanied by a platter of cheese and local meats. We simply loved the aged Malvazija wines – Alba Barrique and Alba Robinia. Both of these are typical Istrian Malvazija wines prepared from local produce and are their bestsellers.
You can purchase wines from the Wine Shop at this experience center or their office in Pula. Matošević wines are also available at outlets in other countries.
Stancja Collis – Rovinj
Located in a rustic setting right outside Rovinj, Stancja Collis is a family-run farm and winery. It is easily accessible from Rovinj by car or cab,
We highly recommend visiting Stancja Collis if you are in and Rovinj. Their staff is really welcoming and the entire experience is like visiting a family place. You can enjoy long walks through the vineyard and olive groves, and enjoy the vast expanse.
The wine tasting is offered at a reasonable price of 80-110kn per person depending on if you choose just wine tasting or along with a cheese and sausage platter. You can also try some of their fabulous local produce like cheese, olive oil, and fresh vegetables. It is best to book a tour with a prior reservation to make sure they are prepared for your visit. But even if you walked in without a booking, the staff can help you sample their wines and best produce.
We visited the winery on our way to Pula (read our Rovinj Travel guide to know what other you could do in this area), without a prior booking. The staff was really accommodative of our impromptu visit and arranged wine sampling and cheese platters for us. We had a great time listening to how they manage so many activities on the farm. This is an upcoming winery so expect some great but not vintage wines.
We stuck to our favorite Malvazija wine and brought back a few bottles too. The goat cheese produced at Stancja Collis is simply incredible and you must sample this aside of the wines.
Kabola – Momjan
Kabola is located in the north-western part of Istria at a beautiful site in Momjan overlooking the sea. Marino Markežić, one of the most famous Istrian winemakers, converted a dilapidated stone house to this gorgeous winery and was the first in Croatia to start producing wine from amphorae.
Kabola is a must-visit winery while in Istria and is considered a boutique winery. Located about 60kms from Rovinj, you can easily visit Kabola on your way to the northern towns like Grožnjan or Motovun. It is best accessible by car or cab.
Kabola vineyards Istria, source: https://kabola.hr
Kabola offers different types of wine tasting based on interest – Basic, Winelovers, Winexpert, VIP. These tours vary in the wines offered for sampling and overall time duration. We would recommend going for a Basic tour if you just want to sample the wines or Winelovers tours if you are keen on exploring the wine cellars and winemaking process.
Kabola offers a wide variety of wines ranging from fresh wines, aged wines, and sweet wines. Malvasia Amfora is their best seller though all of Malvasia and Teran are equally good. You should also try the fabulous olive oil produced by the estate.
Kozlovič – Momjan
Located in Momjan well off the main route, Kozlovič is another must-visit winery in Istria. The best way to visit Kozlovič is with your own car while traveling through other Istrian towns like Motovun and Groznjan. We would recommend having a truffle-laden in either of these towns and then heading for an immersive wine tasting at Kozlovič.
Set up in 2011, this is a fairly new winery which apart their artisan wines is famous for its beautiful, modern architecture amidst a gorgeous vineyard. Kozlovič offers a wide variety of artisan wines prepared by the winemaker Franko Kozlovič, who himself is known for crafting wines for different palates.
If you are not too much into wines, then try you must try their Kozlović Momjanski Muškat – a fruity cocktail style wine. But if you are a wine connoisseur, then you must try Kozlović’s St. Lucia, an aged wine in oak or their best seller Malvazija Akacija aged in acacia barrels.
You must book the wine tasting experience in advance by calling them or sending an email. During the wine tasting, you will be able to taste some of their signature wines followed by some new upcoming wines of the season. It’s a great place to shop for wines and even ship off a few boxes home.
Benazic winery – Pula
Located right outside Pula main town, Benazic is popular winery in this area known for its high-quality indigenous wines.
There is a wide variety of wine tasting experiences that you can choose from – basic 5 wine tasting with food samplers, truffle bites only, or a wine tasting experience with a complete food menu (explore their Menu to select your experience). You can also go for just having wine by glass accompanied by food samplers. If you are a wine enthusiast, they also organized workshops about wine-making on request.
We highly recommend trying Katarina – semi-aromatic dry white wine produced from the indigenous grape Istrian Malvazija, and Ana Antonija – a strong-bodied red wine made from the Istrian Teran and matured in oak barrels. Apart from the wines, you can even try some distillates produced here like brandy and honey.
While planning our visit, we found out that you can even book accommodation at a holiday home in the winery, and could be a great way to experience the beautiful expanse of the winner. Check out the Airbnb listing for this or contact the winery directly in case it’s not listed.
Wine station Trapan – Pula
Trapan is a modern winery located in a small village right outside Pula. It’s conveniently accessible from Pula by car or cab. You can also plan to visit Trapan if you are driving from Rovinj to Pula for a day trip (Read our travel guide on Pula for planning a day trip).
Bruno Trapan, the founder of the winery, is often called the rock’n’roll winemaker not only for his passion and energy but his style of crafting unique wines. The ambiance of the place is really funky and you will find yourself surrounded by billboards, photos, and minimalist furniture waiting to take on the wine adventure.
You can book a wine tasting experience with them by making a prior reservation. wine tasting is usually held either in the afternoon or evening in groups of 20 but they are also accommodative of stand-alone visitors. During the wine tasting, you will get to know about the unique wine-making processes of the winery and sample 5-6 wines. You can pair the tasting with some food samplers or snacks. They have also extended the winery to include a food station that provides a great culinary experience.
The gnocchi made with homemade skuta cheese and thyme, and lamb ragout from their food station is a must-try.
Fakin Wines – Motovun
Located at the bottom of the lovely hill-top town of Motovun, Fakin winery is a gorgeous destination with vineyards spread over 30ha. The winery produces several different labels of high -quality organic wines from Istrian grape varieties like Malvazija Istarska, Teran and Muškat. The terrain and climate conditions in this northern part of Istria gives the wines a unique freshness and character.
We visited Motovun as a day trip from Rovinj and had a sumptuous truffle based lunch at Fakin restaurant in Motovun which was accompanied by their fabulous wines. We wanted to sample and buy some of their wine varieties and that’s when the owners invited us to visit the winery right outside the town. It was a great experience visiting the winery and walking through the gorgeous expanse of the vineyards listening to the wine-making traditions of this area. We simply loved our chance visit to Fakin winery and bought both Malvazija and Teran wines.
You can contact the winery directly to book a tasting or visit them directly for a quick tour. The Fakin family has opened a restaurant at the winery too which serves excellent traditional Istrian dishes pair with local wines.
Wine tasting tours in Istria
If you do not plan to visit some of these wineries on your own or don’t have the time for it, a good option is to book one the wine tasting tours. The tours are available for different time duration and mostly include visits to 2-3 wineries. Most of these tours are day trips and can be completed in 5-6hours depending on your destination.
It is a great idea to book a tour that offer truffle hunting or a culinary experience along with wine tasting.
While planning our trip, we found great reviews and options for Istria wine tours and had planned to book the trip directly through their website. You can check out some of the tours from Rovinj which we considered here.