- The fist vineyards were founded by the Romans from 7th century
- six viticultural regions, forty areas, more than 20,000 hectares of vineyards.
- Frankovka of Rača ((Blaufränkisch), Grüner Veltliner, Welschriesling, Mül
About This Wine Region:
Slovak wines already used to be popular in the past on several emperors’ or kings’ tables. If you are interested, what made Their Lordships to love them, the best way how to find it out is to start tasting on your own…
The fist vineyards on the territory of Slovakia were founded by the Romans and the unique archaeological findings of the wine-grower´s knives date from 7th century. The first written documents about wine-growing date from 11th – 13th centuries. The wine-growing tradition is proved by the motifs on village seals and town coats of arms.
Vine growing or viticulture is considered the oldest branch of farming oriented to growing of vine and processing of grapes.
Areas of Slovakia where vine is grown, following the European regionalization, are classified into zone B. In total there exist six viticultural regions in Slovakia with forty areas. These areas stretch on the total surface of more than 20,000 hectares of vineyards.
Almost four fifths of vineyards are located in the region of the western Slovakia, about 13 % exist in the central Slovakian region and some 7 % is in the eastern part of the Republic. Viticultural areas are further broken down into viticultural communes.
It the 13th century the most important wine-growing region was the region of the Malé Karpaty mountain range. German colonist also contributed greatly to creating the particular character of the wine-growing culture of this region.
Various customs are connected to the wine-growing tradition; e.g. decorating the statue of St. Urban, the patron saint of wine-growers, with vine twigs, customs connected to vintages, pouring wine onto the ground for the souls of those dead before the toast, etc.
Gradually wine-growing became more important and wine became an important commercial and export article. It is said that račianska frankovka (Frankovka of Rača) was drunk and appreciated at the court of Maria Theresa.
Among the best quality products of wine-growing and wine-making in the Kingdom of Hungary was the Tokay wine from the southern slopes of the Zemplínske vrchymountain range.
The oldest evidence of winemaking in this region is scissors and knives used to treat vineyards, found in the Small Carpathian hill fort of Molpír, proving that wine was produced here 400 years before the Roman Empire reached the area. When it did, people were encouraged to make more wine, as it became an important commodity for the soldiers at the Roman forts and cities.
Around the 17th century, vineyards were cultivated throughout Slovakia, and the wine was exported all around Europe. The country’s winemaking thrived until a small bug, Phylloxera, found its way from America to Slovakia. This bug wiped out over 90% of the vineyards by eating their roots, and it took years to find a cure and start rebuilding the vineyards.
Another challenge for Slovak winemakers came in the 20th century. During the decades of communist rule after World War II, vineyards were nationalized and the new golden rule of winemaking was quantity, not quality. The fall of communism in 1989 began a long process of restoration. Vineyards, mostly in poor condition, returned to the private sector. But after years of collective ownership, the will to make quality wine, together with winemaking traditions and knowledge, had disappeared.
While this initially set the Slovak wine industry back, this has been a blessing in disguise over time. A younger generation has moved into the wine industry. Without the burden of tradition, this generation has been able to implement modern winemaking knowledge and technology from the West, making for a blossoming wine scene in Slovakia.