Ilok’s fertile soil produces some of the best wine in Eastern Europe and maybe even some of the best in the world. As one of Croatia’s easternmost towns, Ilok sits on the shores of the Danube river and is hugged by the slopes of the Fruska gora mountain in the historical region of Srijem. While the town has not yet become a large tourist draw, it has certainly been a favorite of wine lovers for over 1,800 years.
The wine-growing hills of Ilok received their first major harvesting effort in the 3rd century after Roman Emperor Probus abolished prohibition. Then in the 16th and 17th centuries, the Odescalchi dukes built the town’s famous wine cellars, the Old Cellars of Ilok (Stari ilocki podrumi), under the Ilok castle. The cellars are still in use to this day and are owned by the highly esteemed Ilocki podrumi, a company that produces a number of fine wines including Traminac, Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Rein Riesling and Chardonnay varieties.
Ilok wines have won fans even among royalty. Rumor has it that when Queen Elizabeth the II was crowned, the English Court ordered 11,000 bottles of Ilok’s top wines.