Our story begins in Pleternica, a picturesque Slavonian town rimmed with the only mountains protruding from the flatlands of this fertile region. In the centre of Pleternica a road emerges, embellished by miles of rich Slavonian grapes entwined with beguiling roses of intense colours and captivating fragrances.
It will take your breath away.
The Road of roses and wine reveals the enthralling story of time-honoured traditions, perseverance of the local community and astonishing natural beauties.
The wine traditions of Slavonia
Best known for delectable gastronomy, Slavonia is also recognized for its exquisite wine. Bottles of first-class Pinot Gris, Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as Graševina – the most popular white wine in Croatia, come from vineyards leading into the fruitful Golden Valley.
The road of roses and wine is one of three Slavonian wine roads, which produce wine acknowledged beyond Croatian borders.
The Pakrac Vineyards are an oasis for outdoor activities with their many hiking and cycling trails – just make sure to indulge in wine after the activities. The Kutjevo Vineyards are home to the oldest wine cellar in Croatia – the Old Wine Cellar from the 13th century. It is where the Empress Maria Theresa and Baron Franz von der Trenck spent an entire week satiating their overwhelming need for wine – and each other.
The Road of roses and wine stretches over an area that nature has particularly blessed. The Požega-Pleternica Vineyards nestle along the foot of Požega, Klikun and Starac Hills with astonishing 7,500 vines on 390 hectares.
Exceptional richness and beauty
In addition to conveying a fairytale appeal, the roses have a very practical purpose. They indicate any potential diseases that can threaten the grape vines, thus enabling winegrowers to deal with the problem before it can cause irreparable damage.
The hills of Klikun and Starac are regarded as two of the greatest wine destinations in inland Croatia. The wine growing traditions of those areas extend over many centuries, creating heart-warming wine stories and superlative wine – once consumed even on the Viennese court.
There is an interesting story behind the name of the Klikun Hill. It was named after the Clicquot widow, the 19th century champaign empress, who fell in such profound love with the hills of Pleternica on her way to Saint Petersburg, that she even sent vine slips.
On the very top of the Starac Hill (in Croatian Starac means “Old Man”) there is a scenic chapel of St. Peter, offering the most spectacular view of Pleternica’s breathtaking nature and romantic vineyards. The sight is especially captivating during summer when the lavish roses are in full bloom.
Things to see and do
You can enjoy the Road of roses and wine whichever way you want: you can walk, take a cycling trail – or even arrange a carriage to experience the loveliness of the area in the most traditional and romantic way possible!
Family held restaurants, guest houses, wine cellars and eco ranches ensure you experience the full offer of this rich region. These people have been breathing and living tradition for many generations and are on the first line of conservation of invaluable Slavonian inheritance.
Croatia is so much more than just its indented coastline and spectacular myriad of islands. Many priceless traditions and irreplaceable customs hide on the slopes of hills and nestle between the pastures of inland Croatia, speaking volumes of the authentic Croatian way of life.
It is a side of Croatia not many see, but those who do – keep coming back for more.
Author: Petra Škofić
Photo Credit: Tourist Board of Požega-Slavonia County