Saints Hills is a family-owned winery and the vineyards are named after the family’s children: Lucia, Ante, and Roko, while the youngest, Lorena, looks after the olives. The winery is proud of its cultivation of Croatia’s indigenous grape varieties, including Plavac Mali, Malvasia Istrana, and Pošip, though some international grape varieties are grown and cultivated for blends.
Why Visit Saints Hills Winery, Croatia
This guide to why you should visit Saints Hills Winery includes information on the three Saints Hills vineyard locations and their terroir, the Vinaria (where visitors can enjoy tastings and wine tours) as well as the grapes grown and wines produced by Saints Hills.
Where is Saints Hills Winery?
Saints Hills has a trio of locations in Croatia: Sv. Ante Vineyard in Radovani, Istria; Sv. Roko Vineyard in Komarna, Dalmatia; and Sv. Lucia Vineyard in Dingač, also in Dalmatia.
Sv. Ante Vineyard
Up in the northwest of Croatia, Saints Hills’ Sv. Ante Vineyard can be found in the small village of Radovani, close to the famous Visnjan Observatory, perched atop one of the highest peaks in Istria.
Ideal for the production of both wine and olive oil, the land is composed of red soil with limestone. Though the days are very sunny, the cool night breezes during ripening season provide the white wines produced here with their aromatic profiles.
Sv. Roko Vineyard
Down in the far south of Croatia, the Sv. Roko Vineyard is tucked away at the root of the Pelješac Peninsula, in Komarna, Dalmatia. The vines here have centuries of grape-growing history and the Plavac Mali grapes are fed by mineral-rich limestone and some Dalmatian red soil.
The location benefits from great sun exposure, while the temperature differences from day to night add to the character of the wines produced here.
Sv. Lucia Vineyard
The Sv. Lucia Vineyard is located in Dingač, nestled in the center of the Peljesac Peninsula, which juts out from the very south of Croatia’s mainland into the Adriatic Sea. Saints Hills is around an hour and a half drive from Dubrovnik, making a visit here an easy day trip from the city.
This vineyard is home to the first-ever appellation in the country, which was established and protected in 1961. Sv. Lucia is noted for its low yield of Plavac Mali grapes, steep terrain, limestone, and red Dalmatian soil (filled with quartz), as well as harvesting by hand.
Saints Hills Vinaria
The Vinaria is the spiritual home of Saint Hills, an old stone house in the small village of Oskorušno in the hills of the Peljesac Peninsula. Here, visitors can enjoy tours of the winery and tastings with tapas.
Saints Hills Winery Grapes
Saints Hills focuses on indigenous varieties of grapes, such as Plavac Mali, Malvasia Istrana, and Pošip.
This red grape is one of the most popular of Croatia’s indigenous grape varieties, noted for its dark color and aromas of red fruits and plum. All of the red wines produced by Saints Hills are made using Plavac Mali grapes, which grow best on southern slopes by the sea, such as the vineyards of Sv. Lucia in Dingač.
Not to be confused with Mediterranean Malvasias, this Istrian grape variety is best in a dry wine. The medium yields require a lot of vineyard work and grow best in the hillsides of western Istria. Saint Hills grows Malvasia Istrana at the Sv. Ante Vineyard matures the grapes to produce the best wines.
Pošip is another indigenous Dalmatian grape variety, autochthonous to the Island of Korčula. Saint Hills’ Pošip is grown at its birthplace, in the little village of Čara in the south of Korčula.
Saints Hills Wines
Sv. Lucija Ernest Tolj Dingač
This rich, sweet, spicy, dark, and ruby-colored Plavac Mali has layered aromas of herbs, tobacco, dry plums, raisins, and baked cherry, with a strong cherry aftertaste. The sweet and spicy Ernest Tolj Dingač is aged for 24 months in a 100% new French oak barrel.
Sv. Lucija Dingac
This red-purple Plavac Mali has aromas of cherry, blackberry, and blueberry, with a flavor palate composed of chocolate, ripe fruits, Mediterranean spices, and nuts. The full-bodied, warm, and pleasantly acidic Dingač is fermented in wood vats and barrels, then aged for 18 to 24 months in French oak barriques, then finally rested in the bottle for at least six months.
Sv. Roko Sv. Roko
Another red-purple Plavac Mali, the Sv. Roko is an intensely aromatic wine with fragrances of plum, fig, blackberry, thyme, oregano, vanilla, wood, and leather. This full-bodied, layered wine is fermented in wood vats and concrete tanks, then aged in new French oak barriques and concrete for 12 to 14 months to preserve freshness, before being rested in the bottle.
Sv. Roko Black
An intense red-purple Plavac Mali, the Black has aromas of cherry, plum, and Mediterranean spices, with flavors of forest fruits and vanilla, as well as a long, spicy finish. Made from a blend of Plavac Mali grapes from both Sv. Roko in Komarna and Sv. Lucia in Dingač, the wine is matured in wood vats, concrete, and barriques, then usually released after 24 months.
Sv. Ante Nevina
A blend of 70% Malvasia Istriana and 30% Chardonnay, the Nevina has a clear, straw, and golden color with intense aromas of lemon, lime, peach, and tropical fruit, followed by honey, nuts, herbs, and white pepper. This medium-bodied wine is mineral-rich, fresh, creamy, and pleasantly acidic, offering flavors of citrus, green apple, and peach, ending with an elderberry aftertaste. The wine is fermented in concrete and wooden vats for six to nine months, ending with time in French oak barriques.
Sv. Ante Mala Nevina
A blend of 72% Malvasia Istriana and 28% Chardonnay, the Mala Nevina has a clear, straw yellow color with a complex aroma comprised of citrus, peach, and tropical fruit. The character is mineral-rich and fresh, with flavors of honey, nuts, herbs, mint, and white pepper. This wine is aged for six to nine months, partly in new French oak barrels.
Sv. Ante Le Chiffre
This golden Chardonnay has strong aromas of apple, pear, peach, and fig, followed by lemon, lime, vanilla, butter, and honey. On the palate, Le Chiffre offers layered flavors of peach, apricot, vanilla, bread and butter, and pie crust. This wine is aged for 12 to 14 months in new French oak barriques, then rested in the bottle for six months.
Sv. Lucia Posh
This clear, golden Pošip has strong aromas of apricot and mango, followed by lemon, lime, citrus zest, honey, and dry figs. On the palate, the flavors are layered with peach, apricot, and pineapple, ending with a long, bittersweet aftertaste. This wine is matured in concrete tanks for six months to preserve freshness.
Sv. Ante Frenchie
This clear, light yellow blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon combines two French grape varieties to produce Frenchie, a wine with strong aromas of pineapple and mango provided by the Sauvignon, followed by lemon, lime, and honey fragrances from the Semillon. The fresh, layered flavors include peach, apricot, and pineapple, ending with a long, citrus aftertaste. The two grape varieties are harvested, fermented, and aged separately in concrete vats, then blended before bottling.
Sv. Lucia St. Heels
This Plavac Mali rosé has a clear, pale pink hue, offering intense aromas of elderflower, red roses, strawberry, and basil. The medium-bodied wine is fresh, with a fruity flavor and long, peachy finish. St. Heels is aged in concrete tanks for six months.