The view from the road drops onto endless vineyards which sprawl until the very shore of the undulating Adriatic sea. One can imagine how much skill and fervor it takes for workers to cultivate these vineyards under the heat of Dalmatian summer and the scorching sun. The latter two also contribute to authenticity of wines originating from the vineyard plot of Dingač from Pelješac peninsula in Dalmatia (Croatia).

Igor Skaramuča and Ivana Anđelić, descendants of the winery’s founder, stand on a rocky path that winds through the vineyards. Ivana’s husband Branimir Anđelić is also involved in the business operations of Skaramuča Winery, which boasts the largest vineyard of 20 hectares at Dingač plot on Pelješac peninsula.

When running the winery, they feel a huge responsibility not to deviate from the path traced by Ivo Skaramuča, a former port captain with a vision to give Dingač plot the fame and international reputation. The oldest vineyards in that plot are more than 100 years old. They still bear fruit, although the younger vineyards that Ivo Skaramuča planted in the 1990s are now in optimal condition. From the very beginning, when in 1992 he received permission from the state to start a private business of wine and grape production, Ivo wanted it to be a family story, for the whole family to contribute together to the ultimate goal of making wines from Dingač available in people’s homes in order to give them a piece of Dalmatian landscape, sunshine and white stone from local vineyards in the glass.

Ivo Skaramuča often cited the example of his grandmother, the third generation in the family who owned vineyards at Dingač plot, to illustrate how significant Dingač was in their lives. Back in those days, the journey from the village to the vineyards lasted for two hours. She was mostly accompanied by donkeys, which were the basic mode of transport. In those days, life had a slower pace. It might be somehow incomprehensible to present-day’s folks how much our ancestors sacrificed their energy to make a certain result. It is exactly this very same energy and dedication that Igor Skaramuča and his sister Ivana possess today.

The story of winemaking in the Skaramuča family is also the story of Dingač, a premium wine from Plavac Mali grape variety grown on the vineyard positions of Pelješac peninsula, which was protected by law on geographic indications during the time of Yugoslavia and recognizable among wine lovers.

On one occasion, a journalist from the Yugoslav media asked Ivo Skaramuča if he drank Dingač every day. His answer was that a bow tie and a nice suit are worn only at a concert in Zagreb or at a wedding ceremony, in other words, only during special occasions. Similarly, Dingač was never consumed in the Skaramuča family unless there was a special reason for celebration, respect for religious holidays or when esteemed dear guests come to their house.

The harvest in the vineyards of Skaramuča Winery is always awaited with great impatience and excitement because one can see all the work invested in the course of year then. Igor Skaramuča remembers that even as a schoolboy, he used to be absent from school for 15-20 days in order to participate with his family in the activities that follow the harvest on Dingač. Thus, that common harvest with all family members together instilled a sense of belonging and family harmony in Skaramuča family from early childhood. Without that, a family winery in Dalmatia could hardly survive.

Text Tomislav Ivanović