Sviličić and Rokis, a Taste of Vis Locals

Over a summer, two travelers drink their way through the wines of Mediterranean Europe

inside
Inside the tasting room of Roki’s.

The wineries of Sviličić and Roki’s are two of the many small producers on Vis along the Wine Route.

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Ivo Sviličić and wine.

They are working to grow their production capacity without stunting the quality of their wines. Obviously this is not an easy goal, but they both have long family traditions on the island that should give them a foundation for making this possible.

Starting 10 years ago, Sviličić has been producing from two of his own hectares. Out of this, he produces 10,000 liters a year, of which 70% is white. We first tried his white, the 2006 Vugava. It has a good deal of fruit to the nose. The body sparkles a bit more than other Vugavas that we tried and there is a delicious touch of apple in the body. The finish pulls out very smoothly. From there, we tried his 2006 Plavac. It is a much more dry version of the wine than we’re used to. You can even smell the dryness in the nose, as well as some good berry aromas. The finish comes out well enough, but the wine overall is probably best for real Plavac aficionados.

A bit down the road is Roki’s, which is a winery and restaurant combination. We talked to the owner’s wife, Valerie who is an expat from Australia that has lived on Vis with her Croatian husband since 1976. The house where they are making their wine is about 100 years old and the family has been producing wine at varying levels this entire time. They produce from their own four hectares of wine as well as buy grapes from their neighbors.

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They make several different wines including a Plavac, a table level red, and Vugava. We only tasted the white Vugava 2006 and found it to have a light, quiet, fruity nose. The body had some rather enjoyable honey tones to it and it all cleaned up in to a crisp finish.

These two wine makers are indicative of many on the island of Vis. After decades of geographic and military isolation, they are all starting to grow and produce more. You can taste it in a flight of different years that they’re having to understand their land again after the vines declined for years. With large-scale planting of Plavac Mali and other grapes on the island, they will undoubtedly be producing some signature reds in the years to come.