Europe

Wine is fine in the Czech Republic

The wine is fine in the Czech Republic!
Photo credit: Czech Tourism

In 1993, Czechoslovakia split into Slovakia and Czech Republic, so Czech Republic has only been around for a very short time. But this has had no bearing on the incredible and fascinating amount of history you can see on a tour to Czech Republic.

Czech Republic is made up of two ancient lands, Bohemia and Moravia, which for centuries have been affected by Europe’s various wars and imperial domination. But it is Prague, the famed capital of Czech Republic, which has been the political, cultural and economic center of the Czech state for over 1100 years. Here you’ll find beautiful, wide spanning historic architecture as well as a thriving and dynamic nightlife.

Wine production in the Czech Republic centers around southern Moravia, particularly around the River Dyje. Four wine growing sub-regions are located here, each named after a major town or region.

If you are a wine lover, admirer of beautiful landscapes and ancient history, then a tour of the wine regions in this wonderful country and wineries is definitely in order.

The wine making tradition has been ongoing for almost two thousand years.

In the 2nd Century CE, the Roman 10th Legion based at Vindobona built an extensive outpost near the Amber Road and the Pálava Hills in Mikulovská, near the present-day village of Pasohlávky. Around the year 278, the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius Probus annulled the edict of Emperor Domitian that had prohibited the planting of grapes in colonies north of the Alps, and encouraged the planting of new vines in the northern Roman colonies.

Modern-day archaeological excavations of the ancient Roman outpost near Pasohlávky have yielded many artifacts, including a vine pruning knife. Wine historians theorize that, during the Roman occupation, the Grüner Veltliner and Welschriesling grape varieties may have been introduced to the region.

Viticulture was practiced during the Great Moravian Empire (833–906), as evidenced by numerous pruning knives and grape seeds unearthed during archaeological excavations of Slavic settlements.

Wine academies, dedicated to training capable enologists in the art and science of winemaking, were founded in Bzenec (1855), Znojmo (1868), Valtice (1873), Mělník (1882), Lednice (1895), Mikulov (1903) and Klobouky (1921).

All quite fascinating … even if you do not appreciate the art of the vine and wine.

During a tour, you can peak into the lives of local wine producers in picturesque villages, which always have two centres – residential and wine making. In addition, every evening you will have a chance to taste and to compare samples of exceptional wines of the various regions along with specialties of local cuisines.

The Pálava Wine-Festival,  Czech Republic
Photo credit: Czech Republic

The wine-producing areas of the Czech Republic are well known for their wine festivals (Czech: vinobraní) which take place around harvest time in September. The biggest of these festivals are in Znojmo, Mikulov, Brno and Mělník and feature samples of hundreds of local wines as well as local music, dancing and cuisine. These wine festivals take place in big towns apart from the wine-producing areas as well in Prague.

The Czech Republic boasts of two golden ages, during which a large portion of the capital took shape. The period of Charles IV in the 14th century was a particularly flourishing time as Charles founded the striking St Vitus Cathedral (which you can find inside the enormous Prague castle), the Charles Bridge and of course Charles University, all in Prague. The second Golden Age was under the reign of Rudolf II, who in the early 17th century actually established Prague as the capital of Habsburg Empire.

There are countless castles rich with tales of the once powerful, such as Lednice Castle with its sumptuous Italianate Gardens, as well as picturesque historic spa towns which are set to the backdrop of Bohemian Massif, a huge ring of mountains which rises 900 metres above sea level.

Be sure to travel beyond Prague to Tabor, to get a taste for another important Czech city. Tabor was once the headquarters of the 15th century religious reformer, John Huss. Prefer culture to history? Czechs are very proud of their (great-value) beers, and a short trip to Pilsen will give you the chance to sample their finest wares fresh from the breweries. For more typically Czech towns try Schrems or pretty Brno, which was once the headquarters of Napoleon. Czech Republic has bags of history which it just begs for you to uncover.

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