From its connection point in Mali Ston to the tip of the Lovište cape, Pelješac extends parallel to the mainland in 77 km of length. This makes it the second largest peninsula in Croatia. Life has been thriving on Pelješac since antiquity and many cultures have left their mark on it. Pelješac is a place of harmonious small towns, fisherman settlements, untouched nature and rich cultural and maritime history. Aside from Plavac mali, oysters from the Mali Ston bay and highest quality extra virgin olive oil, Pelješac is known for the Ston walls, the second longest stone walls in the world. Ston was established in 1333 when the Dubrovnik Republic came into possession of Pelješac. The wall originally measured 7 km but its length has been reduced to 5,5 km due to natural occurrences throughout the centuries; mainly earthquakes. Here you will also find the longest salt pan in Europe dating back to the second century B.C.
Pelješac Wine roads
The Pelješac vineyards spread across the whole peninsula and more than 2,300 acres are planted.
The first stop on Pelješac is Ston. Its fields are completely covered in grapevine except for the small portions of brushwood and pines which cut into them at some parts. When going further into Pelješac prepare yourself to be swept away. Breathtaking views at the climbing terraces of vineyards reaching to the tops of the surrounding hills wedged into karst massif, sheltered from the cold winds and almost perfectly positioned towards the sun. Over 90 % of planted vines are Plavac mali, an indigenous sort which has adapted to the specific soil through centuries.
From Putnikovići, which is accented by the Early Croatian church of st. Anne surrounded by green fields of two autochthonous varieties of vine, a steep road will take you to Žuljana. This small settlement is a beautiful seaside town, famous for its wine, breathtakingly gorgeous sandy beach and crystal clear sea. Further, down the road Janjina awaits you. That vine growing and wine, in general, is the main nurturer of families living here becomes obvious at first glance at this picturesque town. The vineyards here greenishly frame in the whole town.
Potomje is located in the middle of the peninsula and is the place of, perhaps, most attractive vineyards on Pelješac. On one side the vineyards are protected by stone massif from cold winds and on the other they fall steep to the sea, becoming so perfectly positioned towards the sun. This position is called Dingač. Interestingly, some parts are so steep that they are extremely difficult to reach so people working here have to be tied by ropes not to fall down. In past time, the grapes were transferred to the wineries by mules and donkeys. The wine road continues to the largest town on Pelješac, Orebić. This part of the road is cut into by Postup positioned vineyards. A part of them go down hill in cascades to the sea while the rest go steeply up to the top of the nearby hill. As it is the case with the rest of Pelješac the variety grown here is exclusively Plavac Mali.
The distinctiveness of Pelješac surely lies in the extremely steep terrains of the Dingač wine position, which are very hard to access but where the sun shines upon the vine in two or even three ways. The first is the common, direct way, the second is the reflection from the stones of the rocky ground and the third the reflection of the sun’s rays from the sea surface onto the vine. This highly unusual occurrence reflects, naturally, on to the quality of grapes.
The specificity of Plavac mali is that it produces grapes with a very high sugar content on one side and low levels of acid. Another is the uneven maturation of grapes. On one cluster of grape, there will be immature and overripe berries. This gives the wine a specific lightness but also an aroma and a hint of a taste of dried fruit. Because of the high sugar content in the grapes, Plavac mali accumulates a high alcohol percentage which makes it strong but also gives it a rarely found fullness of taste. Plavac has one more great characteristic. It has the ability to, after a period of ageing, develop tertiary aromas, not losing its primary ones along the way.
Having recognized the attractiveness of their wine but also of the beauty of vineyards which grow at breathtaking locations, the vintners of Pelješac gathered and formed the associations “Pelješac wine roads” and “Plavac Mali”. These two associations organize a number of events every year. The most popular are the “Open days of the Pelješac wine cellars”.
The open days represent and present different wines made out of Plavac mali grown at various positions on Pelješac. You can visit vineyards and take walks, visit cellars and get informed about the process of making wine, or enjoy wine tastings along with domestic dishes and treats. The open days of the Pelješac wine cellars are currently opened and will be until the 15th of May. As a part of this years FestiWine programme, a visit to Pelješac, its wine roads and wineries will be organised from Dubrovnik. Never the less, you can visit the wineries, throughout the year although you will have to notify some of them in advance. The list is quite extensive, but it is always good to have options.
Enjoy Pelješac, it’s culture, history, green landscapes and breathtaking sea views. The Adriatic is of a special blue- greenish shade when looking upon it from this exquisitely beautiful peninsula.