Like most natural winemakers, Zrinko Baković lives what he believes. He loves nature and natural wines, never ceasing to be amazed by the God-given beauty of his small vineyard located in the spectacular Dingač appellation. Here, on the sun-drenched southern slopes of Pelješac, he cultivates his Plavac mali without pesticides or herbicides, with sparing use of only natural fertilizers, before bringing it to his cellar for further natural treatment: open fermentation with indigenous yeasts, no filtration, and rarely adding any sulphites. Though he produces a relatively small amount of bottles annually, all of them contain the same passionate character. It’s the unique Dingač terroir, exploding from every single intensely dark ruby drop of his wine, aptly named “Noć”, which is Croatian for "night". And it is during the night, when people retire from vineyards, that the plants carry on living their own secret lives.



The Bartulović Family, certified organic wine producers from the village of Prizdrina on Pelješac, know very well that organic agriculture encompasses so much more than just growing things without harmful sprays. They aim to create life on their land by focusing on the long-term health of their soils, waterways and livestock, managing their beloved vineyards with innovative techniques. Their all-around holistic approach creates many bottles of Plavac mali and some white Rukatac. Last but not least, the Bartulović family believes that wine is a rare gift. Because it brings people together and it slows down the time we share.


A renowned Croatian visual artist and art professor, Tomislav Brajnović approaches natural wine as an artistic project that began near his atelier in Golo Brdo, Istria. His amateur beginnings of planting vines straight into rock or in unfavorable positions failed to yield grapes, for which reason he refers to his first wine as Fictitious. The ensuing – now real - wine series are called Armageddon, now in its 5th edition. In Tomislav’s words, this name embodies both his worldview and his art. His spirited adventures in spontaneous wines are often joined by other natural winemakers and friends and are documented with heartfelt humor and authenticity in his project Supper With The Artist. Besides Armageddon, all of Tomislav’s wines – mostly Malvasia varieties – are named Reset, referring to the necessity of a radical reset regarding both one's general worldview and the world of wines.


At Clai Winery they believe no year is good or bad if you are working with - not against - nature. It's only that the vintages are different – some are easier, some harder. As they put it, it is no less than nature itself in your glass! And it is Istrian nature at its best: 200 m above sea level, with cool salty breezes blowing in from the nearby sea. At Clai, grapes are vinified naturally, with spontaneous fermentation on the skins. Without the addition of enzymes, selected yeast or malolactic bacteria. All Clai wines are mellowed in wooden barrels, with a long two year stay on the lees. No micro or sterile filtering, of course. For Clai, this is the only way to preserve the true qualities of a unique Istrian terroir.


When Cota’s great-grandfather returned from America in 1911, he began planting vineyards around the quaint village of Oklaj. Today, Petar Cota is the fourth generation of family winemakers. He claims to do nothing more than continue the natural approach of his predecessors. Situated between Mt. Dinara and the Krka River, at 255 m above sea level in a spot where three microclimates collide, this small-but-mighty family winery produces natural wines that are exported around the world. Like all sincere wines, they are the result of lots of effort and no intervention. Because, to borrow Petar’s words, “wine’s power comes from the roots.”


It's destiny. Many years after he was adopted at birth Mike Pulley found out, by sheer chance, that his ancestors were originally winemakers from Dalmatia, who departed the islands of Pag and Rab in the late 1880s for America, during the age of phylloxera. A globe trotter, a long-time wine fanatic, and a frequent traveler to Dalmatia, Mike reached an existential threshold during an slumberous afternoon at his office desk in London. That's when he decided to trade in his corporate career in order to become a winemaker on the Dalmatian coast. His friends called this decision delusional. Well… Today, his boutique winery located in the village of Jadrtovac, near Šibenik, produces prized natural wines. An authentic expression of the Babić grape and other true beauties from Dalmatian vineyards, these wines embody spontaneity and utter respect for nature. Turns out Delusional was the perfect name for a natural wine brand!


Tucked in the western corner of Istria, near Momjan, lies Dvorić vineyard. This is where the Širola family runs their microwinery and grows natural vines in harmony with biodynamic principles. With a bit of luck, this is where you’ll find Raul Širola - or Raul of Dvorić, as friends call him - while he’s training his Malvasia and Yellow Muscat. Though small, Širola winery is very present on the Istrian spontaneous wine scene, always eager to contribute. So, if you come upon a bottle of their Malvazia Dvorić or Muškat Dvorić – not an easy feat, considering the size of the vineyard – you’re in for a treat. One that unveils the unique terroir of the green Momjan hills.


Some 10 years ago, Damir Mihelić from Novigrad in Istria decided to produce wines with ecological designation. As if that wasn't hard enough, he decided to challenge tradition in conventional winemaking by aging his Malvaisa in amphorae for a few years. Many people thought he had lost it! Well, the hard work and mad risk paid off. A whole new world opened in front of him, and he vowed to spend a lifetime exploring its joys and possibilities. One of those is his Madura Malvasia, renowned for being stronger than its ordinary counterparts. It grows in his vineyards - edged by beehives and covered with native herbs and nettles - before retiring to age in 450-liter amphorae made from Tuscan terracotta.


This small family winery, situated atop the Mramor Hill in Moslavina, has already made a name in Decanter. This comes as no surprise for anyone who knows Antun Glavica, or his wines. His Škerlet Glavica joined a special family of wines that carry the Demeter Certificate. And that is just the beginning. Besides growing and producing according to biodynamic principles, Antun has also been experimenting with PIWI varieties that are more resistant to fungal diseases. He also has peculiar vineyard helpers: a flock of geese and ducks take care of the snails, while a ram and two sheep tirelessly graze the grass, improving air circulation among the vines and adding natural fertilization to the vineyard.



Described by the media as the “black sheep of Moslavina wine region, uncompromising naturalist and opponent of chemical modifications in the cellar”, Ivan Kosovec has a small yet dedicated following of wine aficionados. Though admittedly, 80% of his wines end up in high-end restaurants outside Croatia. Inspired by his farmer grandfather, Ivan completed his graduate studies in enology. Yet, early on he realized that it all comes back to having healthy, ripe grapes. His 2011 Škrlet Selekcija is still considered one of the rare cult Croatian wines. Though his hands-off approach has cost him dearly at times – as when a hailstorm devastated his vineyard - Ivan doesn’t give up, appreciating the journey as much as the results.



Križ is certified organic winegrower of local varieties Plavac mali and Grk located on the Pelješac peninsula in southern Dalmatia. At Križ, organic viticulture has been the basic tenet ever since 2004 when Denis Bogoević-Marušić moved from Split to his father Mile's native village of Prizdrina. The winery owns only 3 hectares of vineyards with a maximum annual production of 8000-10000 bottles. Križ have refined the terrain by hand, creating terraces with dry-stone-walls – the protectors and guardians of poor soil. The cultivation of the vineyards and crops is 100% natural and traditional, only wild indigenous yeasts are used for fermentation and aging takes place in neutral barrels made of Slavonian oak for 12 months. The poor soil and low yields - less than half a kilogram per vine - make their Plavac a true nectar. As has been said since ancient times: "Adversity makes Plavac wine better!"


Danijel Bastijanić from Istria made quite an entrance when he appeared out of the blue – actually from a small village near Kanfanar in Istria – with his Malvasia that had been macerated for about 200 days. Since then, Lunika Winery has been doing solely natural, biodynamic wines and small series. Danijel finds the vineyard to be his most special place, where he comes not only to work hard but to recharge and heal. He often says that everything done in Lunika vineyards is transformed into the wine. And sometimes it pours over. Like when Lunika gave away grafts of their old red Muscat. When visitors ask why Lunika wines are so good, Danijel has a simple answer: "It’s because they are made from grapes!"


Peaceful agriculture. That is what Marinko Pavlović Maka calls the biodynamic approach which he applies in his vineyards with unwavering consistency, faith, and creativity, never failing to pay tribute to the predecessors of this ultimate natural method. Marinko says it is hard to describe all the jobs and tasks in his vineyards and cellar. However, to make a long story short, he uses biodynamic preparations, natural methods and compost. Always and only. Situated near Rovinj in Istria, Marinko tends 2000 vines of 7 red varieties in his vineyards. “Thank God,” he says, “that our soil in Croatia is still alive.” And he does everything he can to keep it that way. So when you try his great natural wines, you know you’ll be getting pure, unadulterated Istria.


Neno Marinov is a math teacher at the elementary school in Primošten. He is also a renowned natural winemaker. Years ago, he and his wife Josipa bought land at the Bucavac appellation, where they planted an autochthonous sort of grape that grows only in the Šibenik region. The Bucavac terrain is extremely rocky, barely accessible and covered in small, non-terraced lots that are home to prized Babić vines. This grape does well in harsh conditions, which earned it the nickname “little black giant”. Here, among the grid of ancient drystone walls, just a few meters above the sea, the Marinov family began working in the vineyard the same way their elders taught them just “with some improvements”. No sulfur, no added yeast, just the pure character of the land. Today, Marinov’s sincere Babić wines are sought after both within and outside of Croatia.


A rugged hill called Ograđenik, 5 km north of Primošten, 250 meters above the sea. This is where the Matošin family grow their Babić vines. Like most natural winemakers along the Dalmatian coast, they work by hand, in hard and unforgiving rocky soil where yields are often very low. Yet none of this has stopped the Matošin family from sticking to strict ecological production, both in the vineyard and in their cellar. For them the formula for premium wine is simple: minimal intervention all along. The result? High-quality Babić wine, in all its unmistakable rustic glory.



The staggering amphitheater in Ponikve, with terraced vineyards sitting at an elevation of 150 to 250 m along the south-facing slopes, is the cradle of Stagnum, the first Croatian cult wine. The heirs to a 500-year-long tradition of winemaking, the latest generations of the Miloš family make 100% organic wines. No machinery, no pesticides, no irrigation, no additives, no filtering. Only natural soil fertilization and native yeast fermentation. For more than 30 years , Miloš Winery has been creating wines that are a pure, unadulterated expression of the indigenous Plavac mali growing in their vineyards. In the words of Frano Miloš: "A man can truly reaffirm himself in his surroundings by continuously evolving and trying to create a better and nicer world."


Born in Jurançon in the foothills of the Pyrenees, Dmitri Brečević studied enology and worked in wineries around the globe. Eventually, he ended up in his father’s homeland of Istria, making spectacular natural wines. Dmitri works the land by hand, encouraging his vines' roots to stretch deeper into the famous red soils that define the Istrian terroir. In his winery, an Italian concrete water tank from the 1930s holds a constant temperature all year long - here, his sincere Malvasia, Terran, and Refosco wines complete a wild fermentation and are bottled unfiltered.


Though his winery has only recently entered the market, Dragan has been a winemaker for almost 30 years. In his words, ever since he can remember. Taking a less-trodden path of winemaking that is natural, traditional, and more demanding, he also insists on the value of educating the public regarding natural wines. And he does that amidst the battle where precious old vineyards and appellations are often turned into money-cashing villas. His Rose, Maraština, Cuvet Maraština, and Pošip are made following principles similar to red wines, which contributes to their distinct and heavier notes.


Following the call of nature and family roots, in 2018 Rafael Ravnik said goodbye to city life and his career in economics. Together with his wife, he returned to his home village of Nova Vas near Poreč. A long-time aficionado of natural wines, Rafael immediately began 100% ecological wine production, with almost no mechanization. His approach is all-encompassing – he uses natural materials in both vineyard and cellar, spontaneous fermentation in Italian amphorae and buried Georgian qvevris, fermentation in oak barrels. In the end, his unfiltered wines are poured, not pumped, into clay bottles. Thus the circle from clay soil to clay quevri and eventually clay bottle is closed.



Sontacchi is a small family winery with a long history. The family's ancestors emigrated from Italy a long time ago in search of better living conditions, discovering them in the fertile valley and hills of Kutjevo. Now, the Sontacchi brothers work their vineyards and operate their cellars in an exclusively ecological way - equal parts tradition and innovative technologies. A few years ago, the Sontacchi family made their first sparkling wine, a blend of ecologically produced Graševina and Cabernet Franco, bottling the wine before the fermentation was finished. In the words of Krunoslav Sontacchi, “This fermentation happens only once. Which means there is no room for corrections or second chances”.


Growing and making wine is very much a family affair for the Šembers. Four generations of the family live and work together on their 12 hectare estate in the Plešivica hills, where Zdenko has been tending his vineyards and making wine for over 25 years, and his son Nikola with him for the past 15. For the Šember family, wine is born in the vineyard. They grow all of their wines ecologically and are especially motivated by their youngest family members to manage their land so that it will support the generations to come. They love to drink wine together as a family - both their own and bottles from fellow winegrowers who share a commitment to ecologically responsible, naturally fermented wines. Whether sparkling, Riesling, or Pinot Noir, the Šember family believes that wine is a reflection of the winemaker's character and philosophy poured from the vineyard into the bottle.



Rino Petar Šuran has been producing ecological and biodynamic wines in Istria for several decades. Šuran wines are produced from healthy, untreated grapes that grow in soil whose microbiological activity is enriched in strictly natural ways. Rino lives a way of winegrowing that is a dialogue between modern scientific discoveries and ancestral knowledge of communities, that grew food in harmony with nature for thousands of years. This dialogue, marked by equality and fertility, results in all-round sustainability and a balanced ecosystem.


Growing in the hills of Plešivica, Tomac winery likes to set trends rather than follow them. They started producing natural wines in 2006, including wine from qvevris. Their biodynamic wines are made in absolute harmony with nature. As they say, "we use almost every moment that we are in the vineyard to restore its energy, to take care of it and to thank it for another wonderful vintage." The Tomac family believes this is the way forward for winegrowers. Their dream? Sharing the beauty of the Nature they live in with the rest of the world...conveniently delivered in a bottle.


There’s steep and sunny, and then there’s Dingač! Straight from the oldest part of Dingač appellation comes Vicelić Dingač. This powerful and velvety wine was fit for the taste buds of none else than Queen Elisabeth herself. Passionate and resourceful like the rest of the producers of natural wine, Mateo Vicelić continued his great-grandfather's legacy by rejuvenating a limestone vineyard that cascades from almost 550 meters elevation down to the coast. Little Blue above the Big Blue. Organic Dingač terroir at its finest.


Doctor of physics at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, Dražen Zanchi has inherited a small “jungle vineyard” in the town of Kaštel Lukšić, north of Split. Believing that science exists to understand nature and not to poison it, in 2012 he planted Dobričić. This rugged and almost extinct Dalmatian variety, the rubbiest of them all, is also a distant relative of the Plavac mali grape. Dražen produces a single wine that follows its natural development process through indigenous yeasts and spontaneous fermentation, without even the slightest addition of sulphites. In his words, his Dobričić Kružine is “a juice that is pure, healthy and without additives, and is surely not going to give you a headache”. It is also authentic, spectacularly pure, and spontaneous.



In addition to our Croatian winegrowers, we are partnering with VNDIMA 23, a natural wine festival in Brda, Slovenia, to bring several Slovenian winegrowers to GrapeSton this year. We are excited to welcome them as our friends and guests, and to enjoy their fantastic wines!


The Kelhar family has been growing and making wine in the fertile green hills of Bizeljsko, Slovenia, for nearly 250 years. Miha and his father Marjan work together to make authentic natural wines which reflect their terroir, wines that carry passion and energy. Following maceration (sometimes up to 8 months) wines are aged in either stainless steel or wooden barrels. Keltis wines are produced according to biodynamic principles and preparations, provided in part by their small herd of cattle which graze the hillsides above the farm. Producing 30,000 bottles on their 5 hectares of vineyards, the Kelhar family is dedicated to farming and making wines that are rooted in history, while also regenerating the land for generations to come.


Located near the Bay of Trieste in Slovenia, Uroš Klabjan grows primarily Muscat, Malvasia and Refosco grapes on the karst limestone hills of his farm. These vines have been cared for by his family for generations, and Klabjan dry farms them ecologically, using some biodynamic preparations, as well as manure fertilizer from his own horses. The grapes are handpicked, and everything is fermented on skins, often without the addition of any sulphites. Then, wines are aged in stainless steel or Slovenian oak barrels until Uroš feels that they are ready to make their way in the world. Always unfiltered, fresh and timeless, Klabjan wines are reminiscent of the sea breezes which cool their vines.


The ancient settlement of Medana, where the Klinec family has been growing and making wine for over a century, lies on gentle hillsides which slope down from the peaks of the Korada and Sabotin hills towards the nearby Adriatic Sea. Their 6 hectares of vineyards are managed organically, using homemade compost, herbal extracts, and natural mineral inputs to boost the health of their soils, and so their "vines live in complete balance, and in turn they produce exceptional fruits each year." After hand-harvesting, the grapes are left on skins for 5-30 days before being pressed and decanted into wooden barrels. When mature, the wines stabilize in stainless steel with minimal sulfite additions. From the vineyard all the way to the final bottling, Klinec wines are made with a deep sense of responsibility for the future of the planet.


The Štekar family cultivate 5 hectares of vineyards in Brda, a region blessed with excellent grape growing conditions in the west part of Slovenia. The vineyards are located on steep slopes at an elevation of 180 m with S and SW exposure. They manage their vineyards organically, with common sense, care and respect for nature. In the wine cellar they follow their idea of natural wine where nature has been left to take its course. Štekar wines are produced without additives, chemistry or invasive technologies. They like to explore the rich local winemaking tradition of long macerations and spontaneous fermentations with indigenous yeasts while at the same time seeking new challenges. Above all, they try to produce genuine wine that inspires emotions, telling about their land and about themselves.


The Štembergers work in their vineyards with sensitivity and in harmony with nature. They tend their vines in accordance with sustainable and biodynamic principles. The same principles apply in the cellar. Grapes are harvested exclusively by hand. The wine is given time to mature and interventions are limited to the most essential and are as non-invasive as possible. Even the barrels and vats in the cellar reflect their environment, since they are made from traditional local materials: oak and acacia wood and karst limestone. The winemaker is a bold guide and friendly companion on the journey from grapes in the vineyard to the wine in the bottle. 



Continuing in the tradition of their ancestors, Radovan and Simona Šuman are committed to a cooperative relationship with their vines. Their biodynamic approach respects and celebrates vitality through the entire process - from soil to vine to wine. As they say, "our vineyards are full of life, and so are our grapes - the essence of which is retained in our wines." Located in the hills of northeastern Slovenia, their 8 hectares of vineyards are spread across several diverse growing positions, which gives their wines a distinct freshness, richness and variety. All grapes are macerated, with nothing added and nothing taken away, before aging in wooden casks - unfiltered and, above all, alive.


An economist by profession but a winemaker at heart, Bojan Baša planted his first vines in 2010 in Serbia's historic winegrowing region Fruška gora. Today, his organic haven spans over 5.7 hectares and cultivates an array of autochthonous varieties like Prokupac, Tamjanika, Furmint, Morava, and Grašac beli. Respecting the rhythm of nature is paramount at Baša vineyards - situated at altitudes of 140-210 meters, basking in sunshine, and drawing nourishment from limestone and deep clay soils, and the mighty Danube's embrace. Biodynamic practices and minimal intervention in the cellar ensure the wines produced truly express their terroir.