The town of Valtice calls itself the capital of wine. Even though I´ve only just begun exploring the Czech wine scene, I must say I agree with this title. Valtice is a rather small town, but the possibilities it offers to wine lovers seem boundless.
Wines hidden deep underground
When in Valtice, you will surely not overlook the stunning baroque château directly in the centre of the town. Not being able to miss this great historical building is very useful, as its cellars deep under the ground hide a collection of the (supposedly) best Czech wines for the given year. This collection represents the top 100 wines that scored the highest in the most prestigious wine competition of the Czech Republic, called Wine Salon (Salón vín). Anybody is free to visit, taste and purchase these wines any day of the year, except for February when new wines for the upcoming year are selected.
The Valtice château is also home to the winery called – very originally – CHATEAU VALTICE. Wines of this brand can be tasted in other large cellars underneath the château, but we haven´t had the chance to visit those just yet, because there are truly (too) many wine related locations in Valtice.
Labyrinth of wine cellars
One of those is Valtické podzemí (Valtice underground), a labyrinth of wine cellars with the overall length of roughly one kilometer and located 6-12 meters under the surface. Just looking around these cellars, which are still actively used for storing wines, is interesting but it wouldn´t be Moravia if you couldn´t have a glass of wine during your tour. The underground also has a pleasant bar with wines made by Chateau Lednice. Sommeliers on the spot will be happy to advise you with your selection and for roughly €10 you can taste about 7-10 different wines.
Besides the mentioned large cellars, Valtice is also home to a considerable number of smaller wineries and winemakers. Some of them are purely private, some commercial, but given the hospitality of the locals you are likely to get the chance to visit both types.
Having the option to taste so many different wines within such a small area will surely help you become rather knowledgeable on the topic of wine. However, if you´d like to become a true wine expert (and you speak Czech, that is), Valtice is definitely the best place for you to be. Valtice hosts the Wine Academy (Vinařská akademie), an educational center providing courses and professional training to anybody deeply interested in wine.
If you are already hooked and planning a trip to this true capital of Czech wine, you might like to know that Valtice is located only about 1 hour away from Vienna or Bratislava and about 2,5 hours away from Prague. Cheers!