Within the large family of Adriatic Malvasia grapes, the one from Dubrovnik is among the oldest cultivated in Croatia. It is generally grown in the outskirts of the town of Konavle. The vineyards thrive on the hills here due to their favorable soils and climate conditions. The vineyards cover a total of around 20 hectares.
The berries are rather large, roundish, and greenish in color. They turn yellowish when they become mature. This variety is rather susceptible to fungal disease and it is not high yielding. The harvest, which is done manually, begins rather late, once the grapes reach the right level of sweetness. All of the next steps in the winemaking are done with extreme caution, especially the crushing of the grapes, which must be done very delicately so as not to alter the aroma and color. After the fermentation, the wine is placed in stainless steel vats or in wooden barrels and is normally bottled a few months later.
Dubrovnik Malvasia is a straw-colored wine, not too strong, and very refreshing and aromatic. It is drunk both after meals and while eating simple fish dishes. In the past, this wine was very well known and appreciated, not only by the inhabitants of Dubrovnik (most of all the aristocracy), but also in the nearby cities, where the wine was exported. The presence of Dubrovnik Malvasia is mentioned in documents from the times of the Ragusa Republic, dating back to 1383. There are written records of a custom in which this wine was served with sweets or candies. There was also a custom of offering a glass of Malvasia to diplomats who visited Ragusa.
After being forgotten for many years, Dubrovnik Malvasia almost disappeared completely. But today it has recovered somewhat thanks to a few winemakers who found the vines still growing at country houses. Production is still very low and is limited to the hills of Konavle.