The Autumn Wine-Festival: Wines Old and Young!

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The Autumn Wine-Festival: Wines Old and Young!

Traditional autumn festivals to celebrate the wine-harvest are popular events in the Czech Republic. In all larger towns with a wine-making tradition, the festivals are a major public event, often of importance beyond the immediate region. Opportunities to enjoy both mature and young wines are usually matched with extensive outdoor programs of performances and music.

No Longer for the Aristocracy 

As an event for the wider part of society, the celebration of the wine-harvest only truly emerged in the 20th century. Previously, the lauding of the grape was an amusement only for the best-situated. Now, the festivals are popular public events, and can be enjoyed in any town known for its production of wine.
The first grapes are harvested at the end of August and into the first week of September – and after then, the festivals may break out. Individual wineries take advantage of the opportunity to present samples of wines that in previous years enjoyed great popularity and renown, as well as lesser-known types and true specialties.

Don’t Sniff the Burčák! 

One truly original feature of Czech wine-festivals is the special young wine known as “burčák”. It is partially fermented grape pressings, created in the first to the second weeks of fermentation as an intermediate stage in the process of wine-making. Though usually not of attractive scent – it is not recommended to sniff it like a regular wine – this unique drink has a particularly sweet taste. It has a balanced amount of alcohol, sugar and acids. Moreover, it is almost exclusively a Czech speciality – except for a few areas in Austria and Slovakia, it cannot be found anywhere else. 

Among the best-known festivals with an irreplaceable atmosphere, visited annually by thousands, are the medieval-themed festival in Znojmo or the Pálava Festival in Mikulov. Along with culinary attractions and excellent wine, the festivals are popular for their wide-ranging offerings of entertainment, from traditional folkloric performances, concerts by popular Czech rock bands, or competitions and attractions for children. At the chateau in Mikulov, the festival also has the Czech national championships in determining wine by scent. 

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