With our wine rack getting dangerously empty and the last week of summer ahead of us, we decided to take one last (wine) holiday this year. As writers of a blog dedicated to Czech wine, we naturally headed to the Czech Republic, but this time we chose to explore the areas of the country that are traditionally not associated with wine. We travelled to Prague and Bohemia, the land of beer in the western part of the Czech Republic.
So what is a wine drinker to do when stranded in an area, where beer is still cheaper than water? In a place, where people choose in which restaurant or bar to meet based on what type of beer is served there, not based on the wine list (or the menu). In a part of the country, where – as nicely explained in a popular Czech TV series “Winemakers” – “people don´t spend their evenings with a few glasses of the godly drink of wine, but with beer and TV”.
Prague – the (former) city of wine
Surprisingly enough, even the most passionate of wine drinkers will find plenty of sights, activities and drinking establishments related to their favorite beverage there. Prague itself used to be known as ´the city of wine´ a few centuries ago. Even though it has unfortunately lost this good name as most of its vineyards slowly disappeared, the remains of its reputation as a wine center can still be found in the capital of the Czech Republic.
Prague has three main vineyards, where wine is still produced. One of them is St. Wenceslas vineyard directly next to the Prague Castle, which you will surely pass if you visit the city. The other ones are St. Claire´s vineyard , overlooking the historic city from the northern edge of Prague, and Grébovka in the central part of the capital. Although the number of local winemakers is a bit limited, what Prague lacks in vineyards, it makes up for in the amount of wine bars and wine shops. (More detailed information to come later.)
Bohemian wine locations
If you – by any chance – become tired of Prague, you can also take a few (day) trips to nearby towns suitable for wine lovers. Your journey could lead, for example, to Mělník or Litoměřice. In both towns you can taste wines from only Bohemian winemakers in historical cellars underneath the local castles. The famous castle of Karlštejn also has adjoining vineyards.
So even though Moravia definitely is the true wine center of the Czech Republic, the central part of the country also has a lot to offer, although it indeed doesn´t include a full evening spend with the godly drink of wine in a nice cool cellar. The beer culture is still very strong in Bohemia and wine lovers will need to be a bit selective about where to go and what to drink, but they can still enjoy a nice glass of quality wine in a very pleasant environment.