Wine Festival in the Czech Republic (Episode 30)
During Easter weekend, we had the most amazing and rare opportunity: attend a wine festival in the wine region of the Czech Republic with our two friends! We took a short 3-hour drive with our pals to the region called Moravia, specifically the town Valtice.
In the podcast episode, we talked about:
- How we found out about this lovely wine festival in the middle of nowhere Czech Republic
- The cost of the festival and what we got out of it
- The food we ate and the TONS of wines we drank!
- What it's like drinking wine for 8 hours straight and walking around an adorable Czech town
- A few of the wine cellars and wineries we visited in Valtice
- Numerous castles we got to visit, including Valtice Castle, Lednice Castle, and Mikulov Castle
- Our unsurprising hangover the following day
- The bizarre Czech Easter Monday celebration which includes whipping women!
If you'd like to see more, like photos and a video, check out our blog post below!
Wine: Chateau Valtice - Frankovka (Moravia, Czech Republic)
Wine Festival in the Czech Republic
Just a little background on our two good friends: Johnny is from Prague originally and Katie is from Texas. They're also both really knowledgeable about the goings-on in the Czech Republic (and pretty much Europe!), so that's how we found out about this wine event. Johnny also speaks Czech and has a car, so that's even more convenient!
Really-- what do we bring to the table of this friendship? ...Wine and some laughs, maybe?
Friday, March 30th
(2:40) The four of us hopped in their car on Friday night and drove roughly 3 hours from Prague to Valtice.
After arriving, we checked into our hotel, or "Penzion," poured some drinks, and played a bit of Cards Against Humanity. For those who don't know, it's an impossibly raunchy, hilarious, and fun game-- for adults, of course. It was a wonderful evening before the wine festival, to say the least!
Saturday, March 31st
(4:48) The following morning, we prepared for our first-ever all-day wine festival by gorging on some breakfast provided by the hotel. Afterwards, we went to the ticket booth for the event. For one person, it cost 420 CZK ($20 USD). For that price, you get:
- A free wine glass
- A free wine tasting at all 17 different wine cellars/wineries in the town
- 100 CZK ($5USD) off a bottle of wine of our choice!
- Free transportation to the farther wineries via a provided bus!
Doesn't that just sound divine? Plus, almost all of the wine cellars and the wineries were within walking distance from each other, so it wasn't like we were trekking from place to place. Oh, and they were not shy with their wine tasting portions. It was usually half a glass to a full glass for a tasting!
(6:03) After buying our tickets, we wandered around the middle of Valtice, specifically Valtice Castle. We waltzed around the grounds there and stopped at a couple of wine cellars inside there.
The wine cellars that we went to during the day were mainly old and rustic. They were pretty much what you'd imagine a magical, old European wine cellar to be: in a brisk cellar, made of bricks, arc-shaped, and filled with giant barrels of wine.
Oh, and the public "bus" from 1951 that was provided definitely made the experience even more memorable!
The furthest place, which turned out to be a winery that we needed to take the bus to, was the most modern and unique of all the wineries/wine cellars. It totally stood out amongst the centuries-old buildings and other wine cellars/wineries!
However, the people running it were really snooty and made the experience there worse than it should've been. I mean, the guy who was giving tours was yelling at people to stop talking and to listen to him while he made announcements! At one point, we went on the tour with him and other guests. While we were whispering to each other in English and our friend was translating a little for us, the guy would stop talking and everyone would stare at us angrily! Uncomfortable and unnecessary.
We hastily hopped back on the bus when it came around again, then got off at the winery on the opposite side of town. We all enjoyed that one because we had a whole cellar to ourselves at one point. Oh, and we even snuck a peak into the "employees only" wine room!
(12:33) After that, we walked back towards the main square, stopping for a yummy Czech lunch along the way!
(14:19) Keep in mind: we were drinking wine from around 12:00 in the afternoon until about 7:30 PM. So, the day was a bit hazy and the wineries/wine cellars tended to blur a bit! Therefore, it's a little difficult to describe every single one.
(15:28) We unfortunately didn't get to every wine cellar and winery in the festival. There were altogether 17, but we only got to around 12. But, that's still a good number, we thought!
The festival ended at 6:00 PM, which meant we couldn't do free wine tastings in the wine cellars past that time. But, of course, we still wanted more wine!
Luckily, we managed to find one wine cellar that gave us our free wine tasting past 6:00! Because they were so considerate (and we waited until the last possible second), we bought two bottles of wine with our 100 CZK ($5 USD) coupons!
Then, we went into their empty wine cellar, sat down, open our bottles, and drank more wine in our own private cellar!
After drinking a bit there, we finally returned to our hotel-- after drinking wine for 8 straight hours! But, not to worry-- we weren't done with alcohol just yet!
(17:45) Matt and our friend Johnny took two large empty water bottles we had laying around and wandered to the nearest bar. There, they filled up the bottles with tap beer! They then returned and we played tons of drinking games with the beer!
Oddly enough, beer really tasted good after drinking wine all day!
As the evening unfolded, we made a mess...and got really drunk. We didn't go to bed until 1:00 AM. Oops! No shame.
(Easter) Sunday, April 1st
(22:04) One of the best parts of our weekend (other than the wine festival itself, of course) was the day after. Well, the hangovers we had were brutally unpleasant, but we did a bit of exploring, which turned out to be one of the best parts of the weekend!
Oh, and as it turned out, it was Easter Sunday! However, Easter Sunday isn't exactly a celebrated holiday in the Czech Republic. The next day, a.k.a. Easter Monday, is... and it's celebrated in a very unique and bizarre way.
On Easter Monday, men go to neighbor's homes. When the women answer, the men whip the women on the behinds with a stick called a pomlázka. This is said to keep women young, beautiful, and fertile. After the festival whipping, the women give the men shots of alcohol and/or decorated eggs.
...Pretty wild tradition, huh? Easter egg hunts don't look so bad now, do they!?
Unfortunately for us, we didn't get to witness this celebration for ourselves first hand, but we did buy a pomlázka prior to our weekend and after plenty of alcohol, our guys whipped us! You can see that on our video below!
(24:53) Before we checked out of our hotel and went exploring, we had some yummy Czech breakfast provided by the hotel. We had some eggs, meats, cheese, and Easter bread. Easter bread is an incredible bread/pastry and if you're ever in the Czech Republic around Easter time, you have to try it!
(27:40) After breakfast, we packed up our things and drove to two places: Lednice Castle and Mikulov Castle.
Even in our hungover state, we were all blown away by the beauty of Lednice Castle. It was one of the most intricate and well-constructed castles we'd ever seen. The castle grounds were also magical with a good number of acres filled with greenery and walking paths. There was even a small pond! Oh, and the biggest greenhouse we'd ever seen!
(30:00) We drove about 20 minutes and found ourselves in Mikulov, which is an adorable small town so close to Austria, you can see it! We waltzed around the town, which conveniently was having a little Easter festival in the town square.
After admiring the adorable festival, we walked up the hill to Mikulov Castle. This was yet another mesmerizing castle situated on a hill overlooking the town, the Czech Republic, and even Austria. There were plenty of windy cobblestone walkways to get lost in.
(33:05) After drooling over the architecture and cuteness of Mikulov, we hopped back in the car and drove to Brno, which is the second biggest city in the Czech Republic. We went there just to eat some lunch on the way back to Prague. While driving around there, we noticed that it resembled Prague quite a bit, but it wasn't nearly as breath-taking or even well-preserved as Prague.
Fun fact: according to our friend Johnny, Brno and Prague have a rivalry. The people from each city dislike the people from the other city!
Naturally, we gobbled down our food, then got back in the car to make the two hour journey back to Prague. However, there was immense traffic on the highway because of construction and a car caught on fire! What should've taken two hours took us almost four.
Kudos to our friend Johnny for driving through the traffic while we napped most of the time. Best friend ever!
Finally....finally, we arrived back home and died a slow, hungover death.
(34:14) We both had an insanely great time in Moravia, the wine region of the Czech Republic. We had the opportunity to experience an authentic Czech wine festival-- there were no other foreign tourists there, mind you! On top of that, we drank tons of delicious wine, ate some great food, spent time with awesome friends, and even got to explore some magical castles!
What could be bad about that?
It was one of our favorite weekends in the Czech Republic to date.
Lesson learned: the Czech Republic has far more to offer than just Prague!
Watch our video of our time at the wine festival in Moravia!
Wine: Chateau Valtice - Frankovka (Moravia, Czech Republic)
This wine was delicious and the perfect middle ground between dry and sweet. Thank you, Moravia-- for both the unforgettable weekend and the wine!
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