Delights of the Pelješac Peninsula: Wines and Olive Oils - Ljetnikovac Natali
Ljetnikovac Natali
Ljetnikovac Natali

Delights of the Pelješac Peninsula: Wines and Olive Oils

15. September 2023.

Croatia might not be the first to come to mind when you think of wines and olive oils, but expect that to change during your visit. With some 130 indigenous vine sorts, many awarded vintages, and olive oils that reap international acclaim, this small country is replete with exciting terroirs and regions. One such wonderful region lies a daytrip from Dubrovnik. Step into Dubrovnik’s Wine Empire, the peninsula of Pelješac.

After the heart-shaped Istria poised in the north of the Adriatic coast, Pelješac is the second-largest peninsula in the country. It is also the longest, stretching some 65 kilometers, or 40 miles, parallel to the mainland. For travelers departing on a daytrip from Dubrovnik or for those who wish to enjoy a detour between Split and Dubrovnik, Pelješac promises a truly meditative backdrop of rugged nature, fertile fields, dramatic forests, and coves dotted with seaside villages.

At the isthmus sit the towns of Ston and Mali Ston, known for impressive walls, historic salt pans, and the freshest oysters and mussels. As you continue the drive deeper into the peninsula, vine-laden slopes and centuries-old olive groves change places on the rolling hills that line the winding road as it traverses the peninsula all the way to the village of Lovišta on the far end.

Some white wine varieties are grown in the area, like the indigenous pošip and rukatac, but Pelješac is especially known for its reds. And not any reds, but plavac mali, a grape variety that is related to the Californian Zinfandel. Its name literally translates to ‘the little blue’, for its grapes are small and of deep blue color. It thrives in different terroirs, showing a different personality depending on the area where it is grown. A tour of Pelješac wineries, from those in Ponikve to those in Orebić and Potomje, showcases its splendor in full glory. 

The most famous plavac mali is grown in two specific areas that have been protected since the 1960s, Postup and Dingač. Plavac mali wines from grapes grown here are called postup and dingač.


The location of Dingač is truly spectacular, with slopes that descend steeply into the sea at a 45% angle. So steep that the harvest resembles a rock-climbing adventure; people tie themselves to one another with a rope, to make sure they don’t roll down the hill if they slip. Grapes get loads of sun here, as the sun rays hit them directly and then also reflected of the sea surface and off the rock. For this reason, dingač wines are full-bodied, bold, with high alcohol content and impressive flavors.  

Many of the wineries also produce their own olive oils. Served alongside home-made cheese, bread and prosciutto, they are a perfect pair to local wines.


To let you truly experience the wines, olive oils, and lifestyle on the peninsula, our tour of Pelješac packs in a wine tasting and a lunch at a local winery. Wonderfully immersive, it will allow you to experience past times and traditions as they thrive in the present.


If you would like a taste of Pelješac wines and olive oils, but have no time for a day trip, look no further than the excellent gourmet experience at the Palace Natali restaurant. Focused on showcasing the best of the region on the plate and in the glass, and prepared by our greatly praised chefs, the dishes here take you on a savory journey across the Croatian south.

Pair a glass of dry white pošip with our signature brodetto stew, made of catch of the day in red sauce with mussels, clams, pickled shallots, parsley oil, and fried polenta. Or opt for a glass of red plavac mali for the perfect pairing with slow roasted beef ribs with celery purée, leeks and onion chips.