Ilok was recognised for its soil, climate and location specifics. It has the ideal conditions for vine planting, cultivation and wine production. Wine has been produced here since ancient and Roman and Medieval times.
The first written evidence to early vine cultivation in this area date back to the Illyrian times, before the Romans came to this area. During the Roman Empire, the emperor Probus (276-272) confirmed that the Ilok land in particular was ideal for vine cultivation and wine production, and decided to plant the first vineyards with high quality often called “noble” vine varietals.
The major impact on the development of winegrowing and wine production of the royal and privileged town Ilok was marked during the period of its most famous owner Nikola of Ilok (Nikola Iločki) who built his castle on the foundations of the former roman fortress Cuccium. In 1450, he built the regions and countries very first purpose built 100 metre long wine cellar under his castle.
Wine production and wine cultivation did not stop despite the Ottoman Empire in this area (1526.-1688.g).
In 1697, Emperor Leopold I granted the castle and significant properties around Ilok to the Italian aristocratic Odescalchi family as an award for Pope Innocent XI’s financial contribution to the victory against the Ottomans.
The first owner of the estate, Livio Odescalchi, planted the vineyards with noble varieties and made his mark on the modern wine cellar and vinification technology, introducing for the very first time –The Original Domaine Bottled Wine.
At the beginning of the 18th century, the Odescalchi’s planted new vineyards and increased the wine production – for which they had to build a new wine cellar across the old cellar from the 15th century. Again, they introduced new technology in winemaking and wine storage, especially in the wine cellar built 12 metres underground. It is exactly the same as the old wine cellar from the 15th century, with constant ideal temperatures and humidity throughout the whole year.
In 1710, the Odescalchis brought the first Gewürztraminer vines and planted them on the unique single vineyard appellation – Principovac. Wines made from the Traminer variety from grapes picked the Principovac appellation are very unique and terroir distinctive. Thanks to these specific and distinctive flavours, Ilocki Podrumi’s Traminer is recognised by many wine experts from regions who also produce wine from this variety, and is often used as benchmark for ranking wines made of Traminer varieties from other Traminer wine growing regions in Europe and beyond.
In 1864 the Odescalchis built their summer residence castle on the top of Principovac vineyard appellation to enjoy the beauty of the place, the light breeze during the summer, the great sunsets over the horizon and of course during harvest and hunting seasons.
The Odescalchi estate was nationalised in 1945 when the family members moved back to Italy.
Further growth of winemaking and wine cultivation trends were marked in 1970 when the new wine cellar of Iločki Podrumi was built, in that time owned by PPK Vupik, Vukovar, with state of the art technology for primary grape processing, controlled fermentation and vinification as well as wine ageing and storage in an impressive wine cellar that today has a of total capacity of 10 million litres.
In 1999 the company gained its independence. In 2003, after the privatisation process, the major shares were bought by the company’s major shareholder, Mr.Juraj Mihaljević.
Since then we have been through many investment processes, especially in the new plantings of previously destroyed and ruined vineyards, wine cellars and other objects and buildings owned by Iločki Podrumi (Ilok cellars). For the first time ever the Summer Residence Principovac has been reconstructed, and become an innovative and highly unique wine tourism destination.