SMALL-CARPATHIAN WINEMAKERS LIGHT THE WAY FOR WINE LOVERS

Lanterns lead the way to wine

EVERY year, on the third Thursday in November, amidst huge media attention, people all around the world take their first sips of French Beaujolais.
And in Slovakia, to celebrate the young wine, winemakers of the Small-Carpathian region invite visitors to taste their own products by placing lanterns at the entrances of their "dungeons of grape treasure". Once inside the depths of the old cellars, guests can taste the virgin wine, still musty but with a full aroma and heady flavour.


AND now, let's open another bottle.
photo: Courtesy of Malokarpatská vínna cesta

EVERY year, on the third Thursday in November, amidst huge media attention, people all around the world take their first sips of French Beaujolais.

And in Slovakia, to celebrate the young wine, winemakers of the Small-Carpathian region invite visitors to taste their own products by placing lanterns at the entrances of their "dungeons of grape treasure". Once inside the depths of the old cellars, guests can taste the virgin wine, still musty but with a full aroma and heady flavour. Inspired by their Austrian colleagues, the Slovak winemakers, with a tradition of winemaking stretching back more than 2,000 years, started opening their vaults to the public five years ago. Since then, the Day of Open Cellars on the Small-Carpathian Wine Route has grown in popularity, attracting more and more visitors each year.

"This year 63 wine cellars, in which 98 wine producers offer their products will be open on November 19 and 20," Anna Píchová, director of Malokarpatské osvetové stredisko (Small-Carpathian Educational Centre), told The Slovak Spectator.


ALL roads lead to wine.
photo: Courtesy of Malokarpatská vínna cesta

At the same time she warned that there are only 2,500 tickets. For Sk600 (€15) one can gain entrance to all the wine cellars and sample the young wines. The ticket also entitles its lucky owner to a wine glass, a wine "passport" to stamp each visited cellar, a map to find your way, a calendar of wine events and a Sk200 (€15) voucher with which to purchase a bottle or two.

The Small-Carpathian Wine Route starts in Bratislava and ends in Trnava. One of the most well-known cellars on the road is the 500-year-old vault in Častá, at the house of the influential Fuggers family, the businessmen and bankers who used to own the nearby Červený Kameň Castle.

So far, 28 towns and villages nestled in the Small Carpathians have joined the project.

The wine highlighted during the happening is the young wine, this year's harvest. According to Píchová, it has been a good season this year. "The vegetation period was slower, which means that not all the wines have cleared. Thus winemakers will reach into their older wine supplies," she said.

On Friday November 19, the cellars will be open from 15:00 to 20:00 and on Saturday, November 20 from 12:00 to 20:00. For more information or to book tickets call 033/6433-489.

Note: To revive its old tradition of winemaking, Bratislava will hold a tasting of Slovak and French young wines at Klobučnícka Street between November 15 and 21.

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