Bicycle wine trip to Mikulov
On July 22 me, my husband and my parents, we decided to join a bike trip through the Mikulov wine sub-region. The trip was organized for public by the Moravian Wine Trails, the project which is responsible for building of 1200km bicycle trail net in the region of the South Moravia.
I had three main reasons to take a part on this event. First, I love wine and biking and fun. Second, I wanted to introduce to my parents the region and its excellent wine through more interesting way. And the third was, of course, to get to know the area better, meet local vintners and gather information to be able to prepare for you unforgettable wine trips.
The wine tourism in Moravia is on the rise and one of the reason, except for the excellent wine to sample, beautiful landscape and UNESCO monuments, are many organized events throughout the year. Starting from apring until the late autumn there is no weekend without an event in connection with wine held in one or more vinicultural traditional municipality which introduce people the specifics of the particular wine sub-region in Moravia. People from far distances come to Moravia to meet vintners in person to talk to him, to learn about winegrowing and buy his wine directly from him. This time the Moravian Wine Trails took us to the Mikulov wine sub-region, starting and ending in its centrepiece Mikulov town.
We arrived to Mikulov early morning, it is just 40 min driving from Brno. Our first steps were to the hotel Galant where we rented our bikes. One bike was an electro-bike for my mother. After picking up the bikes, we went to the registration check-point where we paid the registration fee and received a bike pass with the map and detailed information about planned stops and of course a degustation wine glass. The information about the trails had been available on the internet as well. Based on them and on the physical condition of my mother we decided for a shorter bike trail of the length of 30 km, while the longer one was of 50 km length. The organizers thought of hikers as well and prepared a hiking trail of the length of 20km. The weather forecast was very favourable and nothing could have stopped us before having a wonderful family trip.
First metres were a bit complicated. My parents had to get used to on bikes after many years without biking and we started on busy roads. It was Saturday and in the town already started a festival of the Nations of Podyji region. Luckily for us the first planned stop was very close, literally behind the corner. It was the winery Vinařství Volařík found at the beginning of the Mikulov wine-cellar alley in Bezručova street. The history of the winery dates back to the end of the WWII. It is a family company cultivating 19 varieties of wine of high quality on 80 ha of vineyards such as Chardonnay, Veltliner, Sylvaner, Palava, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Sauvignon etc. We were positively surprised when we found a wine of an organic quality in their offer. My father for the first time tasted the Palava variety of wine which was developed in the South Moravia and gained the named after the Pálava Hills which dominate the skyline of Mikulov.
What else dominates to Mikulov skyline is the Holy Hill under which is located our next stop and it is another family Winery Under the Holy Hill. The trail around the Holy Hill offered us beautiful views on the Hill with vineyards. The winery was founded in 1950s for private use only and from 1991 they have started with commercial production of wine. It is a small family winery producing Saint Lauren, Frankovka and Zweigeltrebe red varieties and Traminer, Pálava, Sauvignon, Müller Thurgau, Riesling and Pinot Gris from white varieties. Tasting was held in the cellars from the 19th century. Encouraged by wine 🙂 we left Mikulov and Holy Hill behind our backs and continued on bike through vineyards to our next stop Vican Family Winery located at the pond Mušlov.
The wine tasting was held in their newly open winery house where except tasting excellent wine on the terrace offering beautiful views on the surrounding landscape you can order cheese from their home-made production. This is the first winery where apart from using of traditional barrels or modern wine tanks for fermentation, storage and ageing wine they experiment with the earthenware vessels so called Kvevri like in Georgia.
Until this point our trail was the same for those who had decided for longer or shorter circuit. We, who prefered shorter circuit (30 km) were riding bike directly to Hlohovec town, while the others headed to Bulhary, Lednice and Valtice winegrowing municipalities. We skipped these municipalities following the blue trail mark.
Since my mother was using an electro-bike, she was everywhere first. We were quite laughing how she got ahead of everyone specifically on hills. And her speed caused my extra kilometres. Both her and my father lost from my sight when entering Hlohovec town where I wanted to show them the Border chateau. Desperately looking for them riding from one place to another, I finally found them complacently sitting on our next planned stop at the Winery Jaroslav Šlichta. I felt so hot after biking on the sun that when I entered the 400 years old Haban cellars where it is constant 7°C temperature throughout the year it was for me like being in a paradise. Lying on the grass before the entrance to cellars we tasted another samples of wine and had a bread with home-made spread to gain back the energy. In Hlohovec we again joined the red trail mark of the big 50km circuit. Since we were returning back to the Border chateau we made a short stop there for taking a picture.
Hlohovec lies in the UNESCO area of Lednice-Valtice and was founded in the 13th century. Until 1920 was a part of the Lower Austria and was in the possession of the famous Liechtenstein family who built here the Border chateau named after its location on the border line between Moravia and Austria before 1920. On the picture below you may see the border line made by tiny stream and the inscription on the facade symbolically dividing the chateau between two countries Austria and Moravia. When Czechoslovakia was established, towns like Valtice and Hlohovec which originally had belonged to Austria became a part of the newly established state. Today chateau is popular stop for hikers and bikers where they can refresh them in the chateau cafe and restaurant. Additionaly the chateau lies at Hlohovec pond, one of the three fish ponds built in the course of the 15th century for fish breeding, which is today important birds habitat and was declared a nature reserve.
Trail from Hlohovec to Sedlec, our last wine tasting stop, led us alongside Nesyt pond, which is the lagest pond in Moravia and the 7th largest pond in the Czech Republic. The pond is still used for fish breeding and it is a part of the Nature Reserve of Lednice ponds. It is very important ornitologic location. At the pond are installed lookout points where you can undisturbed watch birds and listen to their singing.
At our last stop we tasted samples of the winery Sedlecké vína. The winery is pround that their wines were served to the British Royalty or to significant politician like Hillary Clinton. At this stop we for the first time tasted a selection from raisins wine. It is very sweet, extractive and a rare wine thanks to an extremely long period of ripening of berries in grapes which turn into raisins.
Last kilometres back to Mikulov were alnogside the border line with Austria where on information boards you could read about sad destiny of people who attempted to cross the Iron Curtain.
The whole event was concluded with a draw at the main square in Mikulov. At each stop you were supposed to, except tasting the wine, collect stamps to your received pass and after the trip you could handed the pass over to the draw. We were not lucky to win anything, but on the other hand we spent together an amazing trip which continued the following day by visiting monuments of the region. This time we used a car 🙂