Over a summer, two travelers drink their way through the wines of Mediterranean Europe
Only in a place like Vis do both ways lead to wine.
Sign along the route
The furthest inhabited island from the coast, Vis was founded in the year 4 BC and for nearly all that time, it had been producing wine. Already in the year 28 AD some Greek poet praised the wine from Vis (which at the time was known as Issa) for being far better than that of the other islands.
Nowadays, Vis’ wines lag behind those of neighboring Hvar due to their less advanced technology and lack of economic development on the island. During World War II, Vis, because of its strategic importance, at one point became the main hideout for Josip Broz Tito and the partisans (the Yugoslav resistance movement) and after the war the Yugoslav Army continued to use it as one of its main naval bases. For that reason, until 1989 Vis was closed to all visitors and tourists, and all its economy revolved around keeping up the military. During that time many of its inhabitants left the island, and the wine making industry dramatically dropped (on a side note, quite a few fishermen from Vis island ended up in Southern California).
After almost 50 years of isolation, now Vis’ economy has finally started to recover and tourism is slowly developing on the island. At the same time, new wineries have started on the island, based on family tradition, and old ones have been bolstered and renovated. Moreover, they have printed Vis Wine Route (Vinski Puti in Croatian) brochures and have put up road signs indicating where each winery is.
While Vis’ main points of interest for visitors are its two coastal towns, Vis and Komiža, the development of the Wine Route gives the opportunity to discover the quiet villages in the interior and to learn more about the centuries old wine making tradition in the island. And although its wineries need some further investments and technical development, they are definitely interesting to visit.
By the way, if you are interested in other wine routes, check out the one in Bosnia and Herzegovina.