In addition to world-famous beer, the Czech Republic also houses another gourmet treasure - delicious wine. You'll have a chance to enjoy its flavor at the traditional autumn festivities, where by winemakers initiate the annual harvest. Head out to the Czech Republic for the grape harvest festivals and taste young wine and other local specialties.
A picturesque country with vineyards, distinctive cellars with friendly service and typical Czech wine varieties, which include, for example, the intensely floral Cabernet Moravia, the ruby colored Lemberge, aromatic Pálava from Moravia or the Neronet with hints of black currant and cherry, cultivated in Bohemia. This is another face of the Czech Republic, which will enchant many a lover of wine. Wine-growing has a long tradition here, and reached its greatest expansion in the 17th century, when about 35,000 hectares of vineyards were planted. Today, you can taste wines mainly from Southern Moravia (the region of Znojmo, Velké Pavlovice, Mikulov or Slovácko), although the capital city of Prague, Litoměřice and Mělník also have their own production.
The celebration of a rich grape harvest definitely needs to include young wine
Autumn in the Czech Republic is traditionally combined with the launch and celebration of the grape harvest, when the first grapes of the new harvest are pressed. Besides the tasting, the grape harvest festivals also include grand, historical parades, folk dances and craft workshops. The drink that must be present at any grape harvest festival is young wine. The fermenting grape must is produced as an intermediate in the production of wine, where the sugar and alcohol are roughly in balance. However, you can only drink it for a few days after the start of fermentation, and it is necessary to let air out of the bottle into which the young wine is poured throughout the day.
Wines can be enjoyed at the Prague Castle
In the Czech capital, you will be able to enjoy the grape harvest festivals directly in the interiors and gardens of Prague Castle. The tasting of Czech and Moravian wines will be pleasantly accompanied by dulcimer music and demonstrations of traditional crafts. The selection of Prague Castle is not random: it is precisely here, in fact, where one of the finest and oldest vineyards in Bohemia, whose origins date back to the 10th century, can be found.
Purely Prague wine is also grown in parts of the Trója or Havlíčkový vineyards, where this year you will be able to experience the autumn grape harvest festival. The program includes dance and fencing performances, a historic market and concerts.
Grape harvest festivals in Prague:
Trója Grape Harvest Festival – September 13
Grape Harvest Festival at Prague Castle – September 20 - 21
St. Wenceslas Grape Harvest Festival – September 27-28
Grébovka Grape Harvest Festival – September 27-28
The Grape harvest festival in South Moravia is visited by the king and his retinue
Wine and young wine festivities can also be enjoyed in the wine region in the south of the Czech Republic. In addition to its unique cellars, Moravia also offers its wine at the popular grape harvest festivals. One of the most famous takes place in Znojmo, where you can also recall the visit of King John of Luxembourg in the year 1327. The Znojmo festival has been celebrated since 1966, and every year it attracts tens of thousands of people with its Moravian wine and tasty homemade sausages and cheese.
However, in Southern Moravia you will also find other harvest celebrations, for example in Valtice and Mikulov. As part of the grape harvest festival, the Czech Championship in the recognition of wine aromas takes place right at the Mikulov chateau, where the largest cellar barrel in Europe is located. All visitors can test their wine nose and discover banana, marzipan or rose in the samples.
Grape harvest festivals in South Moravia:
The Znojmo Grape Harvest Festival – September 12-13
Pálava Grape Harvest Festival in Mikulov – September 12-14
Valtice Grape Harvest Festival – October 3-5
St. Martin's rarity - Czech Beaujolais and special sweet wines
Of course the grape harvest festival is not the only autumnal celebration of wine. Shortly before the French Beaujolais is opened in November, wine lovers in the Czech Republic can enjoy a local specialty. St. Martin's wine, the first wine year, is opened on November 11 at 11 am. It is fresh and fruity, because it ripens in just a few weeks.
The St. Martin's wine tradition is, of course, nothing new. It was used to make toastsat the Court of the Emperor Joseph II in the 18th century. November was in fact a period where winemakers concluded their service to their masters and negotiated their continued services the next year over a glass of new wine. In addition, roast goose with sauerkraut and cakes was served. To this day, many restaurants, wine bars and cellars offer a special menu with the St. Martin’s wine, which features traditional and modern adaptations of St. Martin's goose.
The beginning of November in the Czech Republic also includes the harvesting of ripe grapes ideal for the production of straw and ice wines. These contain a high proportion of sugar and are strongly aromatic. The best ice and straw wines from worldwide production this year can be tasted at the International Competition of Ice Wine du Monde, held on August 29-31 in the beautiful Lednice-Valtice area.