Home DoorwaysToAdventure.com A Wine History Lesson. Quick – Name A Wine Region.

A Wine History Lesson. Quick – Name A Wine Region.

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Barrie Larvin and wife Karen. Champagne Toast For Barrie's Birthday.

Did you think of France, Italy, Spain, California, Australia, New Zealand, Oregon, Washington?

Did anyone think of Bohemia and Moravia?  Probably not.

As we had the opportunity to be in the Czech Republic for two weeks, the wines of this area became intriguing to me.  I found that most of the wines offered in restaurants were from Italy.  Something was missing.  I started searching.

A Long History Of Wines
Prague has been making wines since the tenth century, when Duke Wenceslas (that we know from the Christmas song as “Good King Wenceslas”)* planted vines in the Prague Castle.  The vineyards from that time are still there.  They have undergone a restoration that took several years and opened again to the public in 2008 on the 1100th anniversary of the birth of Saint Wenceslas.  Today it is called The Saint Wenceslas’ Vineyard, but legend calls this the “divine vineyard” or the “Lord’s vineyard” and it is said to be the oldest vineyard in Bohemia.  The history of the “divine vineyard” is inseparable from the Czech statehood and the adoption of Christianity.

If wine is the drink of kings, it was especially true in the Czech Republic and Prague in the fourteenth century.  The spread of wine in this area was promoted by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV (also known as King Charles IV).  The king was a wine lover and during his reign the number of vineyards drastically increased.  Charles grew up in France and was exposed to the growing and drinking of wines at an early age.  He cared about the quality of the wines as well as the quantity.  In his time, Bohemia experienced the cultivation of high quality vines.

In 1358 King Charles IV mandated that if you grew a vineyard in the city of Prague, you would be exempt from taxes and levies for twelve years.  The size of the plots were 100 yards by fifty yards: a football field.   Prague and the surrounding countryside became full of vineyards.  By the end of his reign there were over 1,700 acres of vineyards in and around Prague.

Until the time of Charles IV, the grapes grown in the region were white and acidic.  The new grapes that were planted came from France (primarily Burgundy and Champagne), Austria, Hungary, Italy and even Croatia.  A new grape was introduced called “rout” – probably from the French word “rouge” or red.  This was the beginning of red wines being grown in what is now the Czech Republic.

Barrie Larvin, Doorways To Adventure, excerpt posted              on SouthFloridaReporter.com, Sept. 3, 2017

Barrie Larvin ranks as one of the world’s most celebrated and accomplished wine professionals worldwide to have earned the prestigious title of “Master Sommelier”. He was the fourth person in the world to earn this distinction in 1970 at the age of 23. As President of Wine Design and as a Master Sommelier, Barrie utilizes his deep and well-honed wine evaluation and acquisition skills, marketing experience and educational talents to assure that his clients have unparalleled access to a unique wine experience, whether helping them source wines or create personal wine cellars. Barrie’s lifelong passion for wine and work in the industry has led him to be featured inThe Wine Spectator, Food and Wine Magazine, and Bon Appetit. He has graced the covers of The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune and The Sacramento Bee. In 1996, Barrie joined the Executive Team at the RIO Hotel, Las Vegas where he played a key role in creating the celebrated Wine Cellar, regarded as “The World’s Best & Most Famous Wine Cellar” that was awarded numerous distinctions, including the World’s Largest Private Cellar, the Five Star and Five Diamond Awards. Barrie is now happily retired and enjoying life.