Slovak winemakers regularly win international awards for their wines, but top producers are warning their industry could collapse completely as they struggle with imports of cheap wine, a lack of state support, and the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This year will be the hardest in history for winegrowers and producers in Slovakia,” the Guild of Winegrowers and Winemakers of Slovakia said in a recent statement, as quoted by the TASR newswire.
“We call on the Slovak government to change its attitude to winegrowing and winemaking.”
The guild has warned that the entire industry could collapse without help.
Viticulture and winemaking in what is now Slovakia dates as far back as the Roman Empire.
In more recent times, local winemaking was in the hands of families and private companies until the communist regime when large cooperatives took over production.
Before the 1989 Velvet Revolution, which saw the end of the communist regime, vineyards covered a total of 30,000 hectares in Slovakia.
After the revolution, vineyards were returned to their pre-communist owners and descendants, but restarting those businesses was not simple.