ENOTOURISM IN POLAND
Author: Tatiana Mucha; VisitVineam; www.visitvineam.com
Recent years have brought us a trend that is constantly gaining momentum and growth. Polish vineyards and wine - perfectly fit in with the popular Slow Life Slow Food philosophy of living. They are strongly connected with our beautiful landscapes and seductively blend with our rich cuisine. This unusual and unique product is likely to become a permanent element of the Polish landscape.
Polish wine making has its roots that reach hundreds of years back. The oldest archaeological traces of vine planting date back to approximately 10th and 11th century, and are found mainly around Krakow, Poznan, Gniezno, Sandomierz and Plock. Wine making came to us with Christianity. The first vineyards were established in the ecclesiastical and princely estates and served to satisfy the needs of their inhabitants. Vines were grown then mainly in the Oder valley – places like Gubin, Krosno, Zielona Gora. The Vistula valley was also popular and wine making blossomed around Torun, Plock, and the already mentioned Krakow and Sandomierz.
The socialist system of the post-war Poland ultimately contributed to the liquidation of private vineyards and growth in production of “wine-like” alcohols.
The slow revival of viticulture occurred in the 80's. After the year 2000, and particularly in the last few years, the spread of vine growing and wine production has picked up at a spectacular pace. Many current wine makers with the support of the EU funds were trained in Hungary and Austria. Strong interest in viticulture and professional wine making resulted in the Jagiellonian University opening in 2012 he first in Poland Oenology studies.
Polish wine making is mostly done by family- run vineyards. Many of them are thriving wine farms with a wide range of tourist services. They offer tours of the vineyards, processing plant and cellars, wine tastings and wine sale on premises. They also promote wine education programs, offer accommodation and additional attractions. Polish wine makers are passionate people who are willing to share their knowledge and experience. The vineyards are most often in charming and nature-rich locations, where culture, architecture, history and sightseeing can be combined with the wine adventure, relaxation and recreation. There is also a number of hight class facilities for the more discerning customers.
The vineyards are scattered throughout the country. However, there are characteristic regions. First of all, Zielona Góra area - the famous Lubuski Wine and Honey Route a phenomenon across the country due to its most favorable climatic conditions. Lower Silesia, Sandomierz and surrounding areas, Janowiec and Kazimierz Dolny. The Malopolska Wine Route are vineyards mostly gathered in the vicinity of Krakow and Tarnow. Podkarpacie (large cluster around Jasło) in recent years has led in the development of the Polish viticulture. There are even isolated cases in less favorable conditions, in the northern and north-eastern Poland. Often wine makers refer to the tradition and establish vineyards in the original wine-growing areas.
In Poland popular are hybrid strains, it is not a Wine Grape, but hybrids that can withstand our Polish soil and climatic conditions and are resistant to fungal diseases. Wine grape variety which deals well with our climate is Seyval blanc, then other white hybrids: bianca, aurora, hibernal, solaris, Johanniter, muscat and dawn - the only Polish variety.
For red varieties Polish conditions are less favorable. This is due to their longer ripening period, and in the fall we have a little sun and early frosts end the life of the vines. Wine makers however, plant a lot of new varieties and experiment. From the red varieties: rondo, regent, Maréchal Foch, Leon Millot, Cabernet Cortis.
Many wineries also use Vitis vinifera, white Riesling, chardonnay, traminer, pinot gris, pinot noir red, Zweigelt ,Dornfelder. In Polish climatic conditions it is a difficult and a more risky crop, so the successful wine deserves recognition.
Wine means place, variety, man and his decision as to the style of wine. To appreciate the achievements of Polish wines one should know that wine makers make wine in difficult climatic conditions, following unfavorable laws and legal procedures. Despite these limitations, they learn quickly and achieve success, also at international wine competitions.
A large variety of Polish landscape affects the wealth of aroma and taste perception of wines. Thanks to this diversity the wine in neighboring vineyards may vary.
In colder region more pronounced is the effect of habitat on the character of the wine. Their greater acidity can be enticing for some.
Although most of the wines obtained from the hybrid varieties, in terms of quality they are not inferior to noble vines. They are interesting alternatives to chardonnay or merlot .
In favor of hybrids speaks also more ecological farming, which used much less herbicides.
Polish wines are more natural, simple, unique, non-schematic, ecological, and that do not necessarily meet the standard consumer tastes.
We are also seeing an increasing interest in light wines, with fresh fruit aromas and balanced acidity. Thus, Polish wine may comfortably enter into today's wine trends.
The emerging Polish wine culture is spreading. Wine is a great reason to visit Poland - the emerging wine region on the world map.
So far, we don't have generations of wine makers What decides here is passion. Emotional involvement and openness of the wine makers, escaping the commercialism and haste – it all translates into quality wine which does not stand out from the European standards. It becomes a unique product .
Welcome to the charming and amazing world of Polish wine making, to a discovery of unique places and people, and to gaining new and exciting experiences.
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