There is a long tradition of grape-growing and wine production, spread throughout most parts of the country, and viniculture is a traditional way of life. Local wines are commonly served in homes and restaurants.

Natural features (climate, soil and topography) have divided the country into two main wine-producing regions, continental and coastal, and in each, there are several wine-growing hills with specific characteristics. About two-thirds of the wine produced is white, mostly in the continental region, while red wine is dominant in the coastal region. Wines are categorised by quality as table wines, quality wines and premium quality wines.

Vineyard at the Plešivica
In Dalmatia, vineyards tend to be enclosed by stone drywalls. They form part of the unique cultural landscape and are a monument to centuries of human labour. There are particularly picturesque terraced vineyards in the Primošten area in central Dalmatia.
Kutjevo Cellar, a wine cellar dating back to a former 13th century Cistercian monastery.

In the continental region, the most widespread variety is Graševina (Italian or Laški Riesling), and the main vineyards are in Baranja and the area around Ilok in the far east of the country, Kutjevo and the Đaković area in central Slavonia, the Varaždin and Međimurje areas in the far north of the country, and the Plešivica Hills near Zagreb. Notable white wines are Traminac and Pinot White, while the best known red wines are Frankovka and Portugizac, which are drunk while still new.

In Istria, where the greatest number of family-run vineyards with their own labels can be found, Istrian Malvazija is the most popular culture among white wines, and Teran among reds. The most renowned wine from the northern Adriatic islands is the white Žlahtina from the island of Krk. Typical Dalmatian red wines are produced from Plavac Mali grapes, often called after the place where they are grown (Dingač, or Postup from the Pelješac Peninsula). There are also notable vineyards on the islands of Hvar, Vis and Korčula.