Where does Czech Grape Vine Come from?

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Where does Czech Grape Vine Come from?

There is no reliable evidence when grape vine was introduced in Czech countries and where exactly it came from. Be it from the Roman Empire on the South or from the Frankish Empire on the West, there is one thing clear – within the time, Czech viticulture has built up its reputation, which was thanks to good conditions for wine growing, as well as favourable attitude of rulers who became fond of delicious domestic wines. 

Should We Thank the Romans for Bringing Us the Grapes?

Most probably, grape vine was introduced into Czech countries in the second century by Roman legions; their soldiers might be founders of first vineyards in South Moravian region around the town of Pavlov. However, due to lack of evidence, it cannot be taken for sure.

Legend has it that the oldest vineyard in Bohemia was founded by princess Ludmila at the turn of the 9th and 10th centuries, and even Saint Wenceslas, patron of Czech countries, used to work there. This vineyard is situated northeast of Prague, on a Southern slope close to Dřísy village.

Czech Rulers Favoured Wine and Looked After its Production

In the 13th century, Czech viticulture saw unprecedented boom, with centres reputed for wine production emerging both in Bohemia and Moravia. Since that time, not so much has changed and still today we can taste great wines from Mikulov, Znojmo, Litoměřice or Mělník areas. In the Middle Ages, monasteries were the major supporters of wine growing, inducing people to plant vineyards, as larger vineyards were easier to keep away from animals, as well as from thieves.

Moreover, Czech wine growing could also thank local rulers who took great care of wine culture. Charles IV, famous Czech king and Holy Roman Emperor, even ordered vineyard foundation, granting them 12-year tax exemption. In addition, he also imported grape wine from Burgundy. Rudolph II, Holy Roman Emperor, adored Czech wines so much that he limited wine importation, preferring above all wines those from Bohemia and Moravia. 

Viticulture Today

Currently, there are about 19 thousand hectares of vineyards in the Czech Republic, most of them situated in Moravia. Their tradition and proper care of winegrowers have ensured local wines, especially white ones, equal-level competition to reputed wines from areas in France, Italy or Spain. Wines grown by Czech and Moravian producers have been awarded on international exhibitions all over Europe.

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