Wine Tasting in Moravia,
Two Different Moravian Wine-Tasting
| Moravian Wine harvest festival:
A Moravian musician entertains at the festival. Photo
by Z. Karber courtesy of www.wineofczechrepublic.cz.
Moravia is in the eastern third of the
Czech Republic, bordering on Austria, Slovakia and Poland,
and containing 94% of the country’s vineyards. Abounding
in wine cellars and hospitable accommodations, it is an
embarassment of riches for the visitor seeking the best
locations for a Moravian wine tasting.
However, one need really look no further
than Lednice and Valtice, two neighboring towns, for an
authentic Moravian experience. Apart from wine being
their chief attraction, these two historic towns have much
to offer in scenic and architectural beauty. The 120-square-mile
Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape, one of the largest artificial
landscapes in Europe, has been inscribed on the UNESCO
World Heritage List as an “outstanding example
of human creativity.” Valtice and Lednice Chateaux
and surrounding parklands were transformed by the Dukes
of Liechtenstein between the 17th and 20th centuries, resulting
in an impressive combination of Baroque architecture and
romantic English landscaping.
Traveling by car from Prague, Lednice
is reached after a 160-mile drive southwards on a highway.
You take the exit to “Lednice” and “Podivín”,
a short distance before the Czech-Slovakian border. From
then on you are in Czech wine country.
The road meanders through peaceful countryside
dotted with vineyards, until you enter the town of Lednice.
One unique budget accommodation is the family-run Pension
Jordán situated opposite Lednice Chateau.
The rooms are basic, clean and comfortable, all with en
suite WC and showers. Beneath the guesthouse is the wine
cellar, offering a tasting of a variety of wines from the
Jordán family vineyards.
Before the evening’s wine tasting,
a visit to Lednice Chateau, dating back to 1222 and rebuilt
in the neo-Romantic Gothic style in the 19th century, should
not be omitted. Strolling through the landscaped park along
shady paths winding amid man-made ponds and streams, you
will eventually reach the Minaret. This Moorish structure
is the largest of its kind to be found in a non-Islamic
country and appears strikingly out of place in the formal
English-style landscaped park. And Lednice’s ponds,
teeming with birdlife, are listed among the International
The walking will prepare you well for
the Pension Jordán wine-tasting experience. We were
led through a tiny door in the garden, where we had to crouch
to descend stone steps into the cellar, which had been the
property of the family for two hundred and fifty years.
There we met the vintner—a wizened little man who
appeared to have been part of the cellar for centuries as
well. The vintner proceeded to suck the wine from the barrels
with a long glass wine extraction pipette, before emptying
it into our tasting glasses. We had some rapid tastes
of wine, one after the other, making it eventually quite
difficult to differentiate between any of them. We were
told to name our wines of choice and then to go upstairs
to the tasting room where the wine would be brought to our
Emerging from cellar into the fresh
night air, we were shown the tasting room. Here we were
served the wines of our choice in carafes. The červené víno (red)
tasted superb, as did the refreshing víno bilé (white),
which we had chosen. Both were extremely reasonably priced.
The wine began to taste even better as the evening wore
After breakfast the next day, we purchased
some of our cellarmaster’s wines, which he decanted
into plastic 2-liter bottles for us straight from the barrels.
He told us that he and the neighboring farmers are mainly
small-scale farmers who produce only small quantities of
wine. This particular family’s vineyards produce 15
different types of grapes on only two hectares. From
these varieties, they produce 12 different wines of excellent
Should you wish to spend some more time
in Lednice, Pension Jordán has bikes for rent. The
countryside is excellent for cyclists, as it is fairly flat.
A 4-mile drive or bike ride will take you to another gem
of the Moravian wine lands,
Valtice has been a vintners’ center
since Roman times. The Secondary School of Viniculture and
the Viniculture Academy here prepare students for all aspects
of viniculture, as well as for the sommelier profession.
In the cellars of Valtice Chateau, you
may taste some of the one hundred of the country’s
top wines. These cellars are home to the Wine Salon of the
Czech Republic, as well as the National Center for Viniculture
and the Moravin Union, the largest union of Czech and Moravian
vintners. You might also go on the 3-mile wine trail which
begins on the town square, continues through the Chateau
and its vineyards, ending at the Viniculture Secondary School.
Arriving at the recommended Penzion
Moravský Sommelier, situated a short
distance from the center of historic Valtice, hosts Radim
and Yvona Štěpánek welcomed and escorted
us to our spacious, comfortably-furnished double room
with air-conditioning, TV, internet connection, and en
suite bathroom. We learned that this modern guest accommodation
was constructed above the family wine cellar dating back
to 1890. We soon descended the few stone steps to the
cozy cellar. A gourmet feast of Moravian delicacies was
spread out on the tables before us. These included ham,
salami, sausages, and a huge selection of breads and
| Guests in the cellar of Penzion
Moravský Sommelier enjoy the finest Moravian
wines and a cold buffet feast. Photo by Ian Harris.
When the sommelier appeared, he introduced
himself and proceeded to entertain and educate with his
commentary on all aspects of Moravian wines. We were then
shown the inner realms of the brick-lined cellar filled
with its precious store of valuable wines. The sommelier
personally selects a variety of top quality wines for this
prestigious cellar and then offers a range of his special
recommendations to his guests for tasting—and further
consumption. On his way out of the cellar, he jokingly admonished
that guests might certainly try to imbibe whatever
remained in the bottles.
The guesthouse also rents bicycles to
cycle-tourists. At the same time as reserving accommodations,
it is wise to reserve the wine-tasting and lecture by the
sommelier, with the option of a live cymbal band.
After leaving the guesthouse, do not
omit a visit to the “Vinotéka Moravský Sommelier.” In
this wine store on Náměstí Svobody (the
main square) in the historical center of Valtice, you may
buy some of the 250 types of assorted wines from all the
main Moravian wine-growers. Emphasis is placed on the four
South Moravian sub-regions: Mikulovian (Mikulov), Velkopavlovian
(Velké Pavlovice), Slovan (Slovácko) and
Znojemian (Znojmo). The champions of Valtice’s Wine
Fairs, the cuvée selection of Chardonnay and Veltliner,
are also available. If you are up to it the morning, after
a night of wine-tasting, there is a daily tasting of ten
types of Moravian wines. On sale is a staggering array of
wines ranging from domestic to imported varieties, from
wines for immediate consumption to vintage wines dating
from 1950 for collectors.
Libor Nazarčuk is the patron of
this wine cellar, a sommelier of enormous distinction. At
Moravský Sommelier, one may be assured of tasting
only top quality wines which have personally been selected
by a semi-finalist in the XII Concours Mondial for the Best
Sommelier in the World, held on Rhodes Island in 2007.
Valtice is a historic town, graced by
the beautiful Valtice Chateau, with a long history of wine-growing. Above
all, Valtice is a paradise for the wine-lover. The streets
and stores all exude the centuries-old odor of wine and
viniculture. The Valtice Wine Market is held annually in
May with International participation.
For that special celebration or private,
exclusive getaway in the company of wine-loving friends,
Penzion Moravský Sommelier is my recommendation.
For a genuine, traditional Moravian wine-tasting experience
in a family-run establishment, Pension Jordán will
not disappoint. Better still, why not spend two unforgettable—and
very different—evenings at both?
For More Information
wine-tasting in Lednice:
Prices: Double rooms in
season – approximately $45 for two.
Wine Tasting: Food and wine purchased,
charged individually according to choice
Accommodation and wine-tasting in Valtice:
Prices: $55 for a double room with breakfast. Wine-Tasting
with lecture by sommelier, food and wine included
per person: $30
Getting there: Trains run
between Prague and Valtice. The quickest way to
get to Moravia from Prague is by car. For car hire,
visit Expats.cz for
numerous other car hire companies in the Czech
Pearl Harris was
born in South Africa where she spent most of her life
before emigrating to the Czech Republic with her husband,
Ian, in 2002. Besides travel, her passions are writing,
photography, reading, and animals. She has a B.A. in
English & Linguistics, post-graduate Diploma in
Translation and TEFL qualification. Formerly an EFL teacher,
Pearl now freelances and you can find more information
on her website about her
work proofreading & editing.
Pearl has been widely published
in magazines and on the web. Her travel memoirs, From
Africa to Buková, and the sequel Where
is my Home? are available on Amazon.com.