If someone were to ask you where the best wines in the Czech Republic are produced, you definitely can’t go wrong by saying that the best quality grapes are grown on the sunny slopes of Pálava in Moravia.
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Moreover, most experts and wine professionals would agree with you.
It’s no wonder, because this region has had the best conditions for growing grapes since time immemorial. Pálava is in the warmest and driest region of the Czech Republic, where winemakers have apparently thrived since the 2nd century AD.
© Jan Miklín
The highest point of the Pavlov Hills is part of the National Nature Reserve called Děvín-Kotel-Soutěska (the Děvín-Kotel Pass)
© Jan Miklín
Dolní Věstonice and the Nové Mlýny reservoir system
© Jan Miklín
Horní Věstonice – Chapel of St. Urban
The rise of winemaking below the Pálava Hills is recounted in legends. According to some stories, the first winemakers in the region were Roman legionaries in the days when the frontiers of the Roman Empire extended this far. Regarding the Celts who settled in the Pálava lowlands, we know that they liked to drink wine and traded briskly with the Romans, but the first written references aren’t found until the 8th and 9th centuries. In chronicles from that time, we can read that the rulers of the day already realized what treasures were ripening in the sun here.
Anyone who wants to set off on a journey back in time to discover the story of Moravian wine and the rich history of the region would do well to begin their journey in its traditional centre – the ancient town of Mikulov. In the cellars of the Mikulov chateau you will find an extensive exhibition and several historical artefacts, the largest of which is a giant wine barrel from the 17th century. Real-life experiences, however, are waiting for you beyond the gates of Mikulov. So after this theoretical introduction, hop on a bike and head off to the south of town.
Photos: Cycle paths and wine tasting (© David Marvan)
One of the many cycling routes in the area leads through a scenic landscape that was declared a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 1986 and which protects examples of the most notable ecosystems in the world. You will pass some romantic ruins – Orphan’s Castle, the Chapel of St. Anthony and Girls’ Castle. Below the last of these, we recommend a little detour. The view that you will have from Girls’ Castle looking in the direction of the Nové Mlýny (New Mill) system of reservoirs is definitely worth a little effort and a few metres’ climb. Looking down, you will see open up before you vast lowlands and also the goal of your journey – Pavlov and, right next to it, Dolní Věstonice, the renowned site of archaeological treasures left behind by prehistoric mammoth hunters. The rest of the route to the wine-producing village of Pavlov takes you right through the vineyards and leads you to its centre. We recommend starting your visit with a tour of the village, whose documented history dates back to the 11th century. Noteworthy are traditional farmhouses with Baroque gables from the 18th century, the Baroque church of St. Barbara and the charming Baroque cemetery below Děvín.
Cycling through the Protected Landscape Area of Pálava