Yep! Beer may be king in the country and indeed, for most places in the Czech Republic, you can get beer cheaper than water. But in the south-eastern region of South Moravia, wine flows between the Austrian and Slovenian borders. Back when the Cezch Republic was still a Communist country, the state had taken over the businesses of winemakers.
The meticulously cared-for vineyards had then been nationalised, with the communist party focusing on mass production and automation rather than taste and quality. It wasn’t until the country had formed itself and emerged from over 40 years of communist rule that people rediscovered winemaking in the country.
Since then, with recovered quality and the use of a brilliant terroir, wine has become an enriching scene in the Czech Republic. Now, for wine lovers and those who just appreciate a glass of fruity treasures, the republic has several wine festivals that will delight your senses!
1. Mikulov Wine Festival
Picture this: Early autumn air, with cosy walks holding a glass of wine celebrating the grape harvest at one of Czech Republic’s biggest wine festivals. If this is your scene - you shouldn’t miss out on Czech’s winemaking epicentre, Mikulov in South Moravia. The town hosts a huge 3-day wine celebration each September, also known as the Mikulov Wine Festival.
During this time, the markets are bustling with cheese and artisanal accompaniments for your drinks and there are live musical performances. People swarm the streets in folk costumes and the jovial atmosphere makes the 3 days feel like it isn’t enough in the name of wine.
The Mikulov Wine Festival also puts on display traditional folklore that is closely tied with the wine of South Moravia - so expect huge parades, concert stages with local performers and of course, ever-flowing nectar.
Where to stay in and around Mikulov
Budget - Penzion Volařík: A nearby drive from Mikulov at about 5km, this Pension is a comfortable and affordable stay.
Mid-range - Apartmán Astrid: This chic open studio apartment has everything you'll need to make the most of your time in Mikulov.
Luxury - Amenity Penzion Horni Vestonice: Luxury here doesn't mean breaking the bank - especially when breakfast and dinner are included!
2. Znojmo Wine Festival
What better fitting setting for a wine festival than in the picturesque hilly town of Znojmo? Right in the noted winemaking region of South Moravia, Znojmo’s historical architecture permeates its walled alleys and gothic squares.
The 3-day Znojmo Wine Festival is a huge bash for all wine lovers, though it isn’t any ordinary celebration. If you think you’ve experienced wine festivals - well, this one takes it up a notch with a Medieval twist! Yep, if you want to live out the Middle Ages in style, the Znojmo Wine Festival includes a whole knight battle tournament, where people don knight armours and ride on horses that are adorned with sigils and royal emblems. This is in accompaniment of jesters, jugglers and folklore dance shows of course.
Make sure you pace yourself though, as the festival ends with an array of fireworks shows that light up the night sky with streaks of design and colour.
Where to stay in and around Znojmo
Budget - Penzion Belle Donne: Superb location at a superb price, this cute abode makes for a great stay in Znojmo.
Mid-range - Dům u lázní: Stay in the historical heart of Znojmo with funky design.
Luxury - PREMIUM Wellness & Wine Hotel Znojmo: Luxuriate in a top tier spa and get ready for the wine festival with this wine-special hotel.
3. Prague’s Vinohrady Wine Festival
If you’re in the country’s capital, Prague hosts the Vinohrady Wine Festival in early September each year. In the Vinohrady district of Prague, right outside of the foreboding Church of the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord is Jiřího z Poděbrad Square. There, boutique wineries from the country’s wine-producing regions of Moravia and Bohemia come so you can taste its victor.
More so, independent winemakers and merchants from other countries in Europe come to the festival, including Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia and more.
For wine enthusiasts or curious culture seekers, be on the lookout for burčák, which is a traditional Czech wine. Burčák is made from the first grapes of the season, so it’s still in the process of fermenting, which gives it a unique sweet yet yeasty taste.
While you're in Prague, definitely check out our list of these other delicious places for fantastic bites that will go with your wine!
4. Wine Festival at Prague Castle
Prague Castle is already such a city landmark and symbol of the capital - but to attend a wine festival on the castle grounds is a unique way to experience the sight!
It’s free for everyone to go to the festival, as the Royal Garden is open. Though for wine tasting there is paid admission.
There’s a full-day cultural programme for families with children - so even for those who don’t drink wine, it’s fun to see the folklore ensembles singing and dancing. The folklore ensemble is from the Kyjov region and will be donning their picturesque hand-crafted outfits.
The wine festival itself will showcase selected wines and artisanal Czech foods from various regions. This makes it a great alternative if you can’t travel out to these wine regions themselves! If you're curious about other similar hidden gems in Prague, we rounded up the best 36 things to do in the Czech capital here.
Where to stay in and around Prague
Budget - Plus Prague: A hostel that's within reach of all the main sights of Prague - great for getting around the city.
Mid-range - Panorama Hotel Prague: No matter which room you have, you'll have a beautiful view of the city!
Luxury - Hotel Paris: While the name borrows the glamour of another city, this hotel is smack in the heart of Prague's historical centre and has all the finer things in life available for all guests.
5. Mělník Vintage Festival in Bohemia
Held over a hundred years ago, the Mělník Vintage Festival is still celebrated today in the ancient streets of Mělník’s old town and the city’s chateau. The Mělník Vintage Festival is not only a way to experience the fine wine-making process of Boheme but also to travel back in time to the Middle Ages.
Mělník Vintage Festival covers the streets with dressed-up guards in Middle Ages armour, holding sceptres and putting on full historical period performances. You’ll also get to see fencing contests and listen to music dated with instruments from that age.
Be sure to visit Mělník Chateau during this time, as there will be more festivities around the vineyards that will surely wine you up.
Where to stay in and around Mělník
Budget - Hotel Jaro: Friendly staff and a simple stay - all that you need for exploring Central Bohmi.
Budget - ZOOPARK Zelčín A family-friendly accommodation with free entrance to the on-site zoo where you can also feed the animals!
Luxury - Hotel U Rytíře: Stepping out of this hotel, you'll be in the centre of all the historical beauty.
Other food and drink activities in and around Prague
Even though the wine festivals around the Czech Republic are limited to the grape harvesting season - you can always continue the fun year round. Definitely check out Folkloric dinner show in Prague for a traditional performance with your gastronomical experience or truly rewind to the Middle Ages with a Medieval dinner and unlimited drinks night in Prague.