One sun shines on our vineyards. However, they give incredibly varied wines outstanding in their original fruity tones and spiciness, a rich spectrum of aromatic agents and a harmonic full taste. This is the reason why Moravian and Bohemian wines are so popular among lovers of the quality and optimally matured wines.
The Wine Region MORAVIA is highly promising for the production of white wines that combine an interesting spectrum of scents complemented by typical spiciness, which do full justice to the raw material emanating from the fertile Moravian soil. The interplay of nose and palate is underlined by a fresh acidity that can only encourage repeated tastings of these nicely balanced wines, each with its characteristic taste, specific to a single Moravian sub-region. Moravian red wines were always an integral part of the country diet and gave strength to the winemakers for their hard toil. These wines were never lacking in a genuine earthiness while at the same time they retained the fruity character of red wine. Lately the character of red wines has changed under the influence of applied modern technology, which endows them with greater suppleness. The picturesque landscape of the southern Moravian region together with the unique natural growing conditions endow its wines with a specific identity, which is the principal reason that interest in their unique qualities will not fade despite the presence of an almost inexhaustible choice of wines from around the world.
The wine Region MORAVIA lies between latitudes 48o40' north in the southern tip of Moravia and 49o20' north in the Brno area, and contains around 96% of the total area under vine in the Czech Republic. The average temperature over the year is 9.42°C, the average annual rainfall is 510mm and the average annual sunshine is 2.244 hours as verified by records going back 78 years and held by the experimental Vine Research Institute in Velké Pavlovice. In southern Moravia 80% of vintages are of good, very good and excellent quality, while only 20% of vintages count as poor. The climate is transient, inclining towards the continental with occasional incursions of damp Atlantic gusts or icy air from inland. Vegetation cycles are somewhat shorter than in the west of Europe, but in most years the higher temperatures during the summer months have a favourable effect so that the cultivation of late-ripening varieties giving wines of high quality is possible. Grape ripening occurs at a slower pace in Moravia and this is the reason the berries retain and concentrate a wide variety of aromatic substances.
The Znojmo Wine Sub-Region
The Znojmo sub-region is one of the four Moravian wine sub-regions. Znojmo is situated in the rain shadow of the Bohemia-Moravian Highland formation, whose many extremities, mainly in the northern part, have given rise to stony soil, excellent for the cultivation of Ryzlink rynsky, Veltlinske zelene and even, in the area around Dolní Kounice, for black varieties, such as Frankovka.
The town of Znojmo was always prominent as a wine centre and a labyrinth of long underground passages for use as wine cellars lies directly under the town. Near the town several first-class grape-growing locations stretch from Kraví Hora in the direction of Hnánice, where gravel subsoil is interspersed with loess, sometimes even with clay. From Znojmo to the south a series of vineyards extends towards the Austrian border through Šatov, Chvalovice, Vrbovec, Hnízdo, Slup and Jaroslavice, all the way up to Hrušovany nad Jevišovkou, which have mainly loess and loamy soils. To the east along the river Dyje (Thaya) lie the vine slopes of Tasovice and Hodonice, most of which have loess or gravel soils. In the central part of the Znojmo sub-region there are several distinctive wine entities in Únanovice and Jevišovice with their well-respected wine communes of Těšetice, Lechovice and Borotice. The large vineyard plantings in the area surrounding Hostěradice and Miroslav are known for their Volná Pole and Weinperky locations. In general, Znojmo is a region of white aromatic wines, where, other than the main variety Veltlinske zelene, Muller-Thurgau, Sauvignon, Ryzlink rynsky and Palava all excel. The Pinot varieties, Rulandske bile, Rulandske sede and Rulandske modre, are also of notable quality.
The Mikulov Wine Sub-Region
The Mikulov sub-region is one of the four Moravian wine sub-regions. The Mikulov wine sub-region is characterised by the limestone elevation of the Pavlov heights. Spread along the the hillsides and the wider surroundings are limestone loam, sand and sizeable loess drifts.
The town of Mikulov was an important wine centre very early on thanks to the superb location of its winemaking, due as much to its immediate proximity to the town as to the many wine communes in the surrounding area, foremost among which is that in the distinguished decorative château inValtice, in whose cellars the National Wine Salon can be found. The oldest wine school in the country is also located in Valtice. The principal scenic beauty spot is Pálava - the last outcrop of the limestone Alps and a pearl embedded at the edge of the enchanting region of the lower Podyjí. This protected area, along with the Lednice-Valtice expanse, transports one directly into nature, where one can stop off for good wine in any of the numerous wine bars and private cellars in the vicinity. Prominent since the Middle Ages, thanks to the quality of their wine, are the wine communes of Sedlec, Dolní Dunajovice, Pavlov, Perná, Dolní and Horní Věstonice, Novosedly and Brod nad Dyjí. In the limestone soils around Pálava, Ryzlink vlassky ripens to a very high quality varietal wine with an uninterchangeable mineral character and incomparably good structure. This old variety has found its true home in this part of the world. Rulandske bile and Chardonnay also give excellent quality here. In the loamier soils of the Dunajovice hills the Ryzlink vlašský can be added to Veltlinske zelene as another variety typical of the Mikulov region. Muller-Thurgau thrives in less propitious vineyard positions, as do Neuburske and Sylvanske zelene in Valtice. To the north of Pálava are the villages of Strachotín, Pouzdřany, and Popice, known for Ryzlink rýnský, Tramin cerveny and Palava, the last of which was developed at the experimental Vine Research Institute at Perná, as was the variety Aurelius.
The Velke Pavlovice Wine Sub-Region
The Velké Pavlovice wine sub-region is one of the four Moravian wine sub-regions. In the central part of the region one finds soils of limestone loam, marl, sandstone and conglomerate rock. Here red varieties rule, planted in soils containing a high content of magnesium. These vineyards mainly extend from the centre of the region - the towns of Hustopeče, through Starovičky, Velké Pavlovice, Bořetice, Vrbice and Kobylí, to the town with the greatest number of registered vineyards in the country - Velké Bílovice.
This is the heart of red-wine production in Moravia. In the northern part, around Hrušovany and Žabčice, vines are grown in arenaceous soils where, apart from Veltlinske zelene, Rulandske sede thrives, as well as aromatic grape varieties such as Tramin cerveny, Palava, Muskat Moravsky and Muller-Thurgau, which are of prime quality. The main axis of the vineyards lies along the Brno-Břeclav stretch of motorway. Along the right side one finds Židlochovice, with a preponderance of loess in a variety of hilly terrains. Židlochovice has a long wine history. It was the one-time domain of the Brno burghers who founded their vineyards under the jurisdiction of our oldest wine laws. The Židlochovice laws were published in 1379 by Margrave Jošt. Conditions here are very good for achieving wines of superior quality, mainly from the Pinot family. Along the left side of the motorway one can see the wine slopes of Velké Němčice which skirt the motorway all the way toVelké Bílovice, where those of Moravský Žižkov and Prušánky take over. There is a range of vineyards with top-grade soil, which feature from the valley plains as the first elevated hilly Oligocene terrain of Chřiby. The slopes are south-west and south facing and in autumn are washed by warm dry winds that speed the ripening of the berries. The multi-faceted line of vineyard plantations continues forward along the right-hand side of the long ridge between the villages of Zaječí, Přítluky and Rakvice, all with prime sites and where exceptional wines from Veltlinske zelene, Ryzlink vlassky and Modry Portugal have always bee born. Beyond the main range of vineyards are others, located among the undulations of the higher plateau, which always used to be the principal domain for the cultivars such as Neuburske and Müller-Thurgau. This is the so-called Kloboucko, with the wine communes of Křepice, Nikolčice, Diváky, Šitbořice, Boleradice, Morkůvky and Krumvíř.
The Slovacko Wine Sub-Region
The Slovácko wine sub-region is one of the four Moravian wine sub-regions. Slovácko lies in the south-east of Moravia and has very heterogeneous natural growing conditions. In the south of Slovácko is the land known as Podluží, the majority of whose wine communes are situated in the valley of the River Morava (March), cooled by north-east winds. The most advantageous vineyard positions are in the hillside breaches over the Kyjovka stream or in the more elevated plains with their light soil. The altitude and lightness of the soil will dictate the intensity of summer temperature, thus giving wines that burst forth with varietal character.
The varieties that fare best here are Ryzlink rynsky, Rulandske bile, Rulandske sede and for red wines Frankovka and Zweigeltrebe, and in the commune of Moravská Nová Ves the new red variety Cabernet Moravia. North above Podluží is a hilly terrain where vineyards are positioned higher up, where the influence of warmer southern winds during the grape-ripening season is less noticeable. This is why the wines from this area, although full and round, always maintain refreshingly crisp acidity, as well as the aromatic substances, that can be detected already during véraison (the ripening stage of the berries), which are retained in the grapes for a long time in the local microclimate. There are two leading wine centres here - Mutěnice - with its Vine Research Institute and Čejkovice, where the gothic fortress and extensive cellars constructed in 1232 by the order of the Knights Templar are to be found. The varietal structure is very rich. It is not only the normal range of white grapes that is grown here, a large area is dedicated to black grape varieties, which in good vintages achieve a crisp, vigorous character. Other celebrated communes are Hovorany, Čejč, Šardice and Terezín. The northern edges of Slovácko have, in the west, vineyards of the hilly range of Ždánice Forest with the communes of Ždánice, Archlebov and Žarošice. Vineyards are sparse in the outskirts of this area, then become more dense around the towns of Kyjov, Moštenice, Vážany and mainly Polešovice, where the Vine Research Institute developed the cultivar Muskat Moravsky, along with a host of table grape varieties. The northern tip of Slovácko is the Uherské Hradiště district, where vineyards are mainly situated in Boršice near Buchlovice. We can see them in a whole row of communes as far as Napajedla. They are scattered along the higher reaches on the south-facing hillsides. Principal varieties here include Ryzlink rynsky, Rulandske bile, Muskat Moravsky and Muller-Thurgau. In the central part of the northern extremities of the region, but somewhat to the south stands Bzenec, a town with a long winemaking history. The town's main claim to fame is that one of the very first wine cooperatives established here started marketing their Riesling under the name of "Bzenecká lipka". The nothern part of Slovácko lies along the foothills of the White Carpathians. The vineyards stand out from those in other Moravian sub-regions, in that many are sown on hard ground formed from original clay. These soils retain water giving the vines sustenance even in dry summers. This is reflected in the wine itself by high extract and round taste. The Pinot varieties are well suited to such conditions, as is Sylvanske zelene. Here, where the soils are stoney and more warming, great wines from the Riesling can be produced. From Blatnice pod Sv. Antonínkem comes the brand-name wine "Blatnický Roháč", combining wines made from the Ryzlink rynsky, Rulandske bile and Sylvanske zelene varieties. In neighbouring commune of Lipov are to be found the largest areas under vine. The true centre of the region, however, is Strážnice where the wine laws go back to Petr of Kravaře in 1417. Strážnice has, as in Blatnice, a range of superb vineyard sites, while in the neighbouring wine commune of Petrov, one can see the protected setting composed of interesting picturesque wine-cellar constructions known as "Plže".
Categories of wine in the Czech Republic
Individual types of wine are divided into a range of groups. The Czech Republic has traditionally adhered to the system which gives precedence to grape varieties and must-weight levels as measured in the grapes at the time of harvest. The latest amendments to the wine laws, however, also allow wine to be labelled primarily according to the place of origin of the grapes used in the wine’s production.
Categorisation of wines is subject to a variety of principles which are influenced by a number of factors. At the first encounter with a wine we classify it according to our well-known indicators. Knowledge and experience acquired down the years gives us a higher perception of the subject and along with this our ability to give winwe a qualitative rating. From the point of view of consistency and comprehension, however, the terminology and rules as defined by the Wine Act and EU regulations remain in force.
Observation: the following abbreviation "°NM" refers to the degree of the so-called Czecho-Slovak Normalised Must-Weight Scale (NM for short), which indicates how many kilograms of sugar are contained in one hundred litres of grape juice. One degree in the NM scale stands for one kilogram of natural sugar in 100 litres of grape must.
Categorisation of wine type and quality according to the Wine Act of the Czech Republic
Still Wines - Categories for still wines are as follows
Table wine is wine which may originate from grapes emanating from any country in the EU, and from grape varieties suited to the production of wine, table grapes and unregistered varieties. This is the lowest wine category. The table wine label can bear neither a vintage nor a grape variety, region, wine commune, individual vineyard or any other indication of geographical origin whatever. The wine is usually light with 7-11 % alcohol content, of low extract, suitable for daily consumption.
Country wine is table wine that fulfils the following requirements:
• It may only be produced from grapes grown within the country and harvested in vineyards designated for quality wine produced in a specified wine region or from authorised grape varieties permitted for the production of country wine.
• Yields in the vineyard must not exceed 12 tons/hectare.
• Minimum must-weight levels in the grapes has to be 14 °NM.
• Unlike the labelling for table wine, country wine label may bear the name of the wine region, vintage and grape variety from which it was produced.
Only grapes grown within the country may be used for quality wine from a single wine region. The production of such wine must take place in the wine region in which the grapes were harvested. Yields must not exceed 12 tons/hectare and must-weight levels must reach a minimum 15 °NM. Wine must fulfil quality requirements and be classified by the State Agricultural & Food Inspectorate SZPI, in one of the following two categories:
Quality varietal wine – wine produced from grapes, grape juice or grape must from a maximum of three varieties, which must be on the list of varieties authorised for the production of quality wines.
Quality brand wine - wine produced from a mix of grapes, grape juice, grape must or blend of wines produced from grapes harvested in a vineyard designated for quality wine in a specified wine region or by blending quality wines.
Quality wine with special attributes
The grapes used for the production of quality wine with special attributes must fulfil all the requirements for the production of quality wine. Furthermore the grapes must come from a single wine sub-region and the varieties, their origin, must-weight levels and weight must be verified by the State Agricultural & Food Inspectorate SZPI. Must enrichment (chaptalisation) of wines with special attributes is not permitted.
The wine may be produced from grapes, grape juice or grape must using a maximum of three grape varietes at the most. If the wine contains a minimum of 15 % of any one variety, it is permitted to name the varieties on the label in descending order. Wines with special attributes are divided into individual sub-categories:
Quality wine with special attributes – kabinet wines are categorised as wines made from grape must whose must-weight levels have reached 19-21 ° NM. The wines of this style are usually light, dry and pleasantly drinkable.
These are wines for which the grapes were picked later than is the norm, but only once the must-weight levels have reached 21-24 °NM. These are usually wines of high quality and extract, full and round, dry or semi-dry.
Special selection of grapes
This is the name for wines with special attributes made using grapes which have attained must-weight levels at harvest of 24-27 °NM. These wines tend to be full in body and extract, round, with a higher alcohol content, sometimes also with higher residual sugar levels.
Special selection of berries
The name for wines with special attributes made using selected berries which have ripened very long on the vine and whose must-weight levels at harvest have reached at least 27 °NM. They are usually very full in body and extract, semi-sweet or sweet wines.
Special selection of botrytis-affected noble berries
The name for wines with special attributes made using grapes ripened in the vineyard to a minimum of 32 °NM must-weight levels. Thanks to the extreme length of grape ripening on the vine helped by noble rot, such mature berries will have mostly turned into botrytised dry raisins. Such wines are usually high in extract and full-bodied, sweet, rather rare and thus also expensive.
As with other wines with special attributes, ice wine may only be produced once its residual-sugar level has been verified by a inspector from the State Agricultural & Food Inspectorate SZPI. They are made by pressing grapes frozen on the vine at a temperature of at least -7 °C and with a must-weight level of at least 27 °NM . The grapes must not thaw during the pressing process which is why a part of the water remains as ice crystals within the grapes. Ice wines tend to be opulent, rich, very sweet and are comparatively rare and thus very expensive.
This is the name for wines with special attributes which are produced from grapes dried over a period of at least three months after harvest on straw or reed beds, or else have been suspended in well aerated open spaces. By this a part of the water content evaporates thus concentrating the content of extractive material. To produce such wine requires well ripened and undamaged grapes. White grapes are generally used. The must-weight of the grape juice at the time of pressing has to reach a minimum level of 27 °NM. Straw wines are usually of tremendous structure, lusciously sweet and are comparatively rare and thus also very expensive.
The categorisation of still wines by residual-sugar content
Wine fermented to dryness, i.e. with a lower level of residual sugar, which may contain:
• a) max. 4 g/ residual sugar per litre or
• b) max. 9 g/ sugar per litre, where the difference between residual sugar and the amount of total acidity converted into tartaric acid is 2 grams or less.
Wines with a residual sugar content that is greater than the highest amount permitted for dry wines, but not exceeding 12 grams per litre of wine.
The residual sugar content in the wine is greater than the highest amount permitted for semi-dry wines, but not exceeding 45 grams per 1 litre of wine.
Wines with a higher unfermented residual-sugar content from the sensoric as well as the analytical point of view. They are usually a special sort of wine, suitable for long maturation. The alcohol content for sweet wines in this country is generally lower (7-11%; this is often the case with regard to straw wines, ice wines or special selection of berries). According to the legislative rules and regulations the wine must have residual sugar content of at least 45 grams per litre.
Red wine varieties
Modry Portugal (Blauer Portigieser)
Rulandske modre (Pinot Noir)
Svatovavrinecke (Saint Laurent)
White wine varieties
Muskat Moravsky (Moravian Muscat)
Rulandske bile (Pinot Blanc)
Rulandske sede (Pinot gris)
Ryzlink rynsky (Rhine Riesling)
Ryzlink vlassky (Welsch riesling)
Sauvignon (Sauvignon blanc)
Sylvanske zelene (Sylvaner)
Tramin cerveny (Gewurztraminer)
Veltlinske cervene rane (Fruhroter Veltliner)
Veltlinske zelene (Gruner Veltliner)
The personality of the Moravian wine region lies in the great individuality of the wines which come from the diversity of its vineyards stretching from Znojmo to Uherské Hradiště, the difference in climate in the individual sub-regions and their distinct terroirs – that unrepeatable genius loci, which is the expression of the unique character of a vineyard, knitting together the tradition of cultivation, the choice of varieties and the manner of production of wines coming from any given single vineyard. The unusual versatility among Moravian white wines reflects the variety of flavours which differ from those of other wines in their rich spectrum of extractive material and well-balanced palates coupled with their crisp acidity. Thanks to modern technological practices the reds are both well-rounded and deeply expressive, exhibiting fruitiness laced with smooth velvety tones on the palate. The common factor for both white and red wines is the extraordinarily wide choice of grape varieties available.
The Moravian wine region is one of two wine regions in the Czech Republic. It contains around 96 % of the total registered vineyard area of the Czech Republic, with the entire area comprising 18 500 hectares. This wine region has an average annual temperature of 9.42°C, the average annual rainfall is 510 mm and sunshine on average 2 244 hours per year. The Moravian wine region is composed of four wine sub-regions: Znojmo, Mikulov, Velké Pavlovice and Slovácko. The most frequently planted white grape varieties are: Müller Thurgau 11 %, Grüner Veltliner (Veltlínské zelené) 11 %, Welschriesling (Ryzlink vlašský) 8.4 %. The most planted red varieties are: Saint Laurent (Svatovavřinecké) 9 %, Lemberger (Frankovka) 7 %, Pinot Noir (Rulandské modré) 4 %.
The Moravian wine region is composed of four wine sub-regions
Znojmo wine sub-region
Total area: 3 500 ha
Wine communes: 91
Individual vineyards: 224
More than any other the Grüner Veltliner (Veltlínské zelené) grape variety is synonymous with Znojmo, however, a number of aromatic grape varieties, such as Müller Thurgau, Sauvignon, Riesling and Pálava also thrive here. In the area surrounding Dolní Kounice red wines come into their own, principally Lemberger a.k.a. Blaufränkisch (Frankovka) and St Laurent (Svatovavřinecké).
What do you need to see in the most westerly sub-region in Moravia? The famed Šobes vineyard in a meander of the river Dyje for instance. This is one of the highest quality vineyard sites in Europe which lies amidst the Podyjí National Park. You should also not fail to visit the town of Znojmo itself, with its 30 km of long underground passageways of wine cellars belonging to the townsfolk dating back to the Middle Ages. Worth a look too are the extensive wine cellars of the former monastery, Loucký klášteř, or the romantic remains of the Gothic monastery Rosa Coeli in Dolní Kounice. This town lies in the valley of the Jihlava river and here, as opposed to in the rest of the Znojmo region, black grape varieties take precedence, particularly Lemberger/Blaufränkisch (Frankovka).
Mikulov wine sub-region
Total area: 4 750 ha
Wine communes: 30
Individual vineyards: 182
On the foothills of the Pálava range, Welschriesling, Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay are cultivated, while Müller Thurgau, Neuburger and Sylvaner also do well here. And the aromatic Pálava variety was crossed and developed in the Wine Research Institute in Perná nearby.
The Mikulov wine sub-region offers a rich mosaic of natural beauty. From here one can see in the distance the dominant feature of the landscape, the limestone ridge of Pálava, an area proclaimed famous for its cultivation of the grapevine. Above all the Welschriesling and the Pálava variety itself, which was created in the commune of Perná right on the Pálava foothills, thrive here. Another jewel is the Lednice-Valtice area, with a range of monuments and landmarks, which has been included in the List of World Culture and Natural Heritage of UNESCO as the among the most extensive artistic landscape interpretations in the world. During a visit to the Mikulov region you should not omit the winemaking exhibition with its unique giant barrel in the château in Mikulov and the Wine Salon of the Czech Republic at the château Valtice.
Velke Pavlovice wine sub-region
Total area: 5 200 ha
Wine communes: 75
Individual vineyards: 319
Velké Pavlovice is the beating heart of Moravian red wine, made from, in particular, the Blauer Portugieser and Lemberger grape varieties. White wines are represented by Grüner Veltliner, Pinot Gris and the mainly aromatic varieties – Gewurztraminer, Pálava, Moravian Muscat (Muškát Moravský) and Müller Thurgau.
The Velké Pavlovice wine sub-region lies in the central part of the Moravian region. This wine sub-region is celebrated for it unmistakable full-bodied red wines. As you travel across this region do not miss a trip to the large underground cellars beneath the fortress in Čejkovice, which were constructed during the 13th century by the order of the Knights Templar, visit also the winemaking exhibition in the cellars of the renaissance house U Synků in Hustopeče or the picturesque horseshoe-shaped cellar colony Pod Strážním kopcem in Vrbice. And if you would like to have some fun and are interested in independence movements, do not forget to visit the Free Federal Republic of Kraví hora in Bořetice.
Slovacko wine sub-region
Total area: 5 000 ha
Wine communes: 115
Individual vineyards: 406
Riesling, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris grape varieties all thrive here, while in the Wine Research Institutre at Polešovice the Muškát Moravský (Moravian Muscat) was developed. Blaufränkisch, Zweigeltrebe and the newly crossed local variety Cabernet Moravia are the most planted red varieties.
The Slovácko wine sub-region is the most easterly sub-region of Moravia. The palettes of locally-produced wines are as varied and colourful as the Slovácko folklore, folk songs, folk costumes, dances and handiwork. In the outdoor museum in Strážnice you will discover a unique collection of wine-related buildings, in Mutěnice is another vast wine-cellar colony, whose façades are adorned with folk painting with its fanciful Slovácko ornamentation. Another unforgetteable experience is to wander through the historic wine cellars in Petrov-Plže or in Stará hora in Blatnice pod svatým Antonínkem. In Uherské Hradiště ask for Mařatické sklepy