St. Martin in Jihlava 2012 St. Martin in Jihlava 2012 3
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Enjoy young wine and fragrant goose with St. Martin!

St. Martin’s Day, or Martinmas (11 November) is synonymous in the Czech Republic with the sampling of young wines and goose feasts. Come and join in the fun!

According to folk tradition, St. Martin arrives in November atop a white horse. This means that this is the time when snow begins to fall, not just on the mountains, but also in the lowlands, and the occasion is marked by a traditional feast and young wine. You, too, can honour St. Martin’s Day by sampling young wines and fragrant, golden-roasted goose!

The Martinmas tradition goes back to the 18th century, during the reign of Emperor Joseph II, when vineyard owners would visit their winemakers on St. Martin’s Day to sample the new wine and decide whether to extend their contract with the winemaker for another year. Legend has it that St. Martin was originally a Roman soldier who later accepted the Christian faith, becoming a missionary and eventually a bishop. And why are gooses roasted on St. Martin’s Day? According to the legend, gooses interrupted St. Martin while he was preaching and they are now being punished on the roasting-pan. This traditional seasonal dish is now offered in all good restaurants, and is typically served with stewed red lettuce with autumn apples and bread dumplings or fine semolina dumplings.

Svatomartinské wine at Prague vineyards

In Prague you can sample svatomartinské wine at, for example, the wine shop in the St. Clare’s Vineyard, a traditional spot for the celebration of wine from the new vintage. Come and sample young wine and test for yourself the quality of the latest vintage this year, too. The first young wines from Moravia and Bohemia will be sampled from 11 o’clock on 11 November in the vineyard cottage at the St. Clare’s Vineyard.

You can enjoy St. Martin’s wine and various culinary delights even aboard ship while sailing on the Vltava River. You can try wines from South Moravia and a special menu put together just for the occasion of the feast of St. Martin while admiring views of the famous panorama of Prague. There will also be fun on the banks of the Vltava – specifically at Náplavka. A section of Rašínova Riverbank, just above the surface of the Vltava, is a place well known to every inhabitant of Prague and to some who don’t live there.

The cycling and inline trail is where the action is today, where locals and students meet for a beer that often goes on until daybreak. The atmosphere of Náplavka attracts many foreigners as well, who come to Prague for an excursion or who live here steadily. And you will certainly meet them here on the feast of St. Martin. Naturally St. Martin’s wine and succulent goose can be enjoyed here as well.

The smell of roast goose permeates the Czech Republic on 11 November

St. Martin is also coming to Český Krumlov. He will be there for the local wine festival, which organizers have adapted for his benefit to include tasting the first bottles of wine and roast goose. Traditional dulcimer music will accompany the occasion. This feast day will also see the underground in Brno come to life. First, the young wine of the season will be blessed in the local cathedral of St. Peter and Paul, where a parade will commence with Martin in the lead atop a white horse. As throughout the rest of the Czech Republic, the first bottle will be opened at precisely 11:00 AM. The traditional feast then begins. Concerts, events, culinary and wine-tasting actions are being prepared for St. Martin all over the country.