Wildfires on Croatia's Dalmatian coast are believed to have destroyed vineyards, with the Grgich winery near Dubrovnik also losing thousands of bottles worth of wine.
Around 25,000 bottles of Plavac Mali wines from the 2010, 2011 and 2012 vintages have been lost at the Grgich winery, one of the best known in Croatia and the sister operation of Mike Grgich’s eponymous estate in Napa Valley.
A state of disaster was declared by the municipal government of Dubrovnik-Neretva County after 300 firefighters battled a blaze fuelled by extremely hot, dry summer temperatures and strong winds.
The full extent of damage from the fires is still being determined, but tens of hectares of vineyard were feared to be among the hundreds of hectares of land destroyed on the Peljesac peninsula and the island of Korcula.
Hardest hit was the area around the peninsula’s village of Trstenik, where the Grgich estate is located.
Also burned were vineyards in the neighbouring eastern part of Croatia’s heralded Dingac wine appellation, which is home to many of the country’s premium Plavac Mali wines.
‘Around 100,000 grapevines were destroyed around Trstenik and more in the other areas,’ said Ksenija Matic, a pr representative for the city of Dubrovnik.
‘A number of vineyards from smaller, up-and-coming wineries were badly damaged. But we have to wait and see which vines survived, and what would need to be replanted and so on.’
The main damage at Vina Grgic was to a building housing vintages wines – with the stone winery building itself not affected. But, some wine did survive. ‘Thank God that everyone is safe, and our 2013 Plavac Mali in barrels are safe also,’ said Drazena Vuckovic, who helps manage the winery. ‘We are open for business and for tourists, and we are already preparing for the 2015 harvest.’
Several other wineries were not affected by the fires, including Korta Katarina, Frano Milos and Bura-Mrgudic.
No lives have been reported lost, with residents and tourists evacuated from at-risk areas.
Editing by Chris Mercer