When talking of Croatian wines, one image pops to my mind right away – sunny September afternoon, grape fields of my uncle and the grape in my hand. Babic grape to be specific… Babic is one of the best known grape varieties in Croatia. It is mainly grown in Northern Dalmatia – Šibenik area. Although Babic wine is known for it’s boldness, people first think of the fields of Bucavac when they hear Babic.
Monument to Dalmatian men and women, Bucavac is one of the areas that leaves you speechless. The effort that was taken to “steal” these patches of soil from the rock is simply amazing. So amazing that UN headquarters in Geneva have the giant photo of this vineyard on it’s wall. The site even entered UNESCO tentative list of World Heritage sites: http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5102/ as one of the very few vineyards even considered.
The vineyards at Bucavac are not that old. Between 100 – 150 years. They were the result of the late 19th century expansion of wine making in Croatia due to disasters that hit French and Italian vineyards from phylloxera. That increased the demand for Dalmatian wines and many people got involved in wine making. Unfortunately, the Austro-Hungarian government had a little sense for them after the vineyards of France recovered… Massive demonstrations were staged in Šibenik protesting bad policy of the Empire for not supporting the export and helping it’s own subjects.
The obvious effort to destroy wine making in Dalmatia was successful and that was the reason for the first big wave of emigration… Our people traveled far away: Argentina, Chile, US, New Zealand, Australia… never to return. Always hard working, many of them succeeded and became wealthy and influential. Babic Wine of New Zealand is one of the best examples – although Babic is the family name and not taken from the grape…
In the past years, there have been several attempts to grow olives in the place of grapes in these small patches of soil. That provoked the government and local authorities to hurry with prevention of this unique monument…
On our wine tours in this area, we offer a walking tour of Bucavac with possible wine tasting of Babic wine at private cellar or at Pilizota’s. The 2004 Pilizota Babic brought the brand back to life after years of low cost/low quality Vinoplod wine.
Or, the wine tour can be combined with our cooking class at Primošten Burni to get a broader image of local traditions and tastes.
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