Now’s the best time to go exploring your new home- and now we mean the rolling hills of Moravia proper, outside the city walls. Brnoregion is well-known for its wines and wineries; the further south you go, the more pronounced this will seem. Viticulture is ingrained in the lives of the locals, in their customs, music, art, dancing. And, during these weeks (September to October), also very much in their daily routine, as the time came to harvest this year’s grapes.
Make it into a trip and visit the charming countryside at its best. Here are some practical tips on how to go about it.
(If this article seems a bit too boastful at times, it has nothing to do with the fact that the author is from the deep south herself, nor with the fact she’s sitting among the vineyards whilst typing this.)
Visiting vineyards and sklepy
Sklep is the word locals use for a small, usually family-run winery. It literary translates as a cellar and indeed that is the vital part of the building, for that’s where the wine is stored and tasted. However, the above-ground levels are equally important, as that’s where the grapes are being prepared, crushed and squeezed, before the juice travels down into the cellar to ferment.
These wine cellars are usually clustered together, so winemakers can visit each other and taste, compare and give advice. The sklepy (or sometimes called sklípky) form streets within the Moravian towns, or even completely separate wine villages.
Make it a trip to visit one of these clusters – have a walk through the vineyards and buy some wine, or burčák, straight from the winemakers. I guarantee it will taste much better than your city-street bought bottle, just because of the unique setting.
This website suggests some wine trails on bikes, or day trips. Or, take this author’s direct tip and travel to the less tourist-known but equally charming sites: for example Pod Dubňanskú Horú or Šidleny wine village by Milotice where I’m typing this.
Have some good food on your trip – you can pick a spot from the Gourmet 2022 guide.
Celebrate the Burčák season
One more direct trip from this author. If you want to do as many Moravians do, embark on the Burčákový pochod on 8 October. Burčák is the word for a very young wine, or more precisely, freshly-pressed grape juice that is already fermenting but is not yet wine. Pochod means a walk.
On this Saturday, many small winemakers will open their cellars and also prepare samples of local cuisine. This author’s family, for example, will be frying rabbits, baking pigeons and smoking homemade sausages in a, how else, old wine barrel.
The walk takes you through up to three wine villages, Mikulčice – Dubňany – Milotice, but you can start wherever and finish still at the same place.
Pictures courtesy of South Moravia Region, and R. Sever.