While two years ago, Czechs drank 350,000 bottles of St. Martin’s wine (Svatomartinské víno), this year more than 750,000 will come on the market.
Still, it is not enough to compete with Beaujolais, another young wine, which is popular all over the world. Two million bottles of Beaujolais are sold in the Czech Republic every year.
Nevertheless, it was possible to revive traditional production and consumption of this young wine, mentioned in Czech chronicles already in the times of Joseph II. The arrival of the young wine is celebrated for the 13th consecutive year now.
The wine fund Vinařský fond is promoting the wine tradition, and it has also approved the use of the Saint Martin’s brand at 80 vineyards this year. “It is the first time such a high number of winemakers comes together in one project,” said Jaroslav Machovec, head of the wine fund. Red and rosé wine are made from Modrý Portugal and Svatovavřinecké, while the white is made from Müller and Veltlínské červené rané.
Young and not Martin’s
Not all winemakers want to apply for a label from the wine fund and so it is possible to get bottles with different labels. Vineyard Lahofer in Dobšice in Znojmo region, for example, has introduced its own brand Mladý Lahofer. “People are getting lost in all the St Martin’s wine as it is getting bigger and this is our way to be different,” said Jaroslav Chaloupecký, the vineyard’s business manager. Sonberk from Popice follows a similar path, offering Mladý muškát this year. Petr Skoupil presents a wine labelled Vinum Novum.
Jiří Hort from Znojmo has been producing young Veselé víno and claims demand is growing every year. “We increased the volume of Veselé víno by 20% to 16,000 bottles this year,” Hort said. Despite the fact that the number of young wine producers is growing, there are still many winemakers that can do without it. “There’s no point in drinking wine that is not yet 100% ready,” said František Polehňa from Blatnička in Strážnice region. Nonetheless, he considers Saint Martin’s wine to be a good way of popularising wine here. He won’t be opening a bottle on St Martin’s day, though.
French Beaujolais remains the most traditional new wine with many fans in the Czech Republic. Bottles from a French region of the same name have been uncorked around the world on the third Thursday in November for more than half a century.
The Czechs usually try the Beaujolais at more high-end restaurants while the Saint Martin’s wine remains the domain of wine cellars and restaurants specialising in local cuisine.
According to the latest available statistics, some 1,600 hectolitres of Beaujolais are drunk here every year and the number of imported bottles is on the rise. In France the demand for Beaujolais is on the decrease. It is especially the young who consider it a stodgy tradition. Beaujolais winemakers therefore started to innovate and are also offering a rosé version. It has allegedly been a success, and so there will be more of it this year.
Saint Martin’s wine
is a Czech specialty sold since 1995. The first bottles of the year are opened on St Martin’s day 11 November. White Saint Martin’s wine is made from Veltlínské červené rané and Müller Thurgau, the red or rosé from Modrý Portugal and Svatovavřinecké.
according to the tradition established in France in the 1950s, it opens on midnight of the third November Thursday. It is made solely from Gamay kind and some 50 million bottles are go on the market every year.
is a category which includes both Beaujolais and Saint Martin’s and in general comprises wines that are drunk shortly after harvesting, most often in November and do not have a special label.