A Sip of Slavonian Wine
Vines have been cultivated in Slavonia for millenniums – it’s thought that the name Baranja is derived from the Hungarian for ‘wine mother’ – and after a period of stagnation the region is undergoing a serious renaissance. White wines made from local grapes, including graševina, are justifiably renowned, and earthy reds are also produced, primarily from frankovka (blaufränkisch), merlot and cabernet sauvignon. You should call ahead at all these cellars to make sure somebody is there to show you around.
Kutjevo, in the town of the same name, is home to a medieval wine cellar dating from 1232, formerly of the Cistercian Abbey. You can visit on a guided tour and sample its wines.
Nearby are two of Slavonia’s top wineries: Krauthaker, whose graševina and sweet wines regularly win top awards, and Enjingi, one of Croatia’s leading ecological producers, with winemaking experience dating back to 1890; try the award-winning Venje white blend. For a complete selection of Kutjevo’s wines, visit Vina Čamak – Kolijevka Graševine, a wine shop and tasting room in the town centre.
In Baranja, grape cultivation has been revived on the gentle hills around Kneževi Vinogradi. Up-and-coming winegrowers, mainly in the villages of Zmajevac and Suza, work along well-marked wine trails. Traditionalist in its approach to winemaking, Gerstmajer offers tasting tours of its cellar and 11 hectares of vineyards. Just down the hill is the area’s biggest producer, Josić, which also has a fine restaurant. Kolar offers a restaurant, shop and wine tastings in its 100-year-old cellar, located on the main road in nearby Suza. Don't miss a visit to Vina Belje, with its ancient cellars and gorgeous viewpoint amid vineyards.
Slavonia also boasts ancient cellars in Ilok at Iločki Podrumi, as well as wineries in Dalj and Erdut north of Vukovar, the best of which is Vina Antunović, which has a lovely tasting room where you can savour their white-wine varieties.