St. Martin Traditions – Celebrating Young Wine

St. Martin Traditions – Celebrating Young Wine

The feast of St. Martin, whom the Czechs honour on 11 November, celebrates good food and drink. That is why we invite you to experience the best of what the Czech Republic has to offer this year!

The feast of St. Martin is the time of year when autumn slowly turns to winter, temperatures start approaching freezing point and chilly winds often bring the first snowflakes, so it is high time to bring some happiness into our lives! The tradition on 11 November is to roast a corn-fed goose, and the first bottle of young wine is opened at precisely 11:11 a.m. St. Martin’s wines are fresh and young because they have only been fermenting for a few weeks. They usually have a spark and a lower alcohol content. There was a time that the farming year ended on the feast of St. Martin – farmers paid their workers, and that is why it was a time of happiness and abundance. Join in the celebration; it is high time to taste what this year has prepared for us!

This year, the festival of all wine lovers is starting unusually early (on Friday, 8 November) so that people can also celebrate over the weekend that precedes St. Martin’s Day on Monday. The Vinicultural Fund met the wishes of winegrowers, distributors, wine cellar and restaurant owners. Nevertheless, the main celebrations of St. Martin’s Day will continue through to 11 November at countless places across the country.

Saint Martin in Prague

Traditional events include the St. Martin celebrations and roast goose at Prague’s Náplavka – Boardwalks. On 9 November, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., the Rašín Riverside, right by Vyšehrad, will host a market with traditional refreshments as well as contemporary specialties. Will you try roast goose? Or goose liver? Have no fear – even if you prefer a lighter menu, you will find something to fit your taste. St. Martin’s wine will go extremely well with your meal (there will be approx. 6,000 bottles of wine available). The wine will be brought to Náplavka by Bohemian and Moravian winemakers. With a glass in your hand, you will be able to taste and choose whatever you like best. This year should be excellent! Several bands will be playing pleasant, perhaps even dance music all day, right on the Vltava River.

The Square of Jiřího z Poděbrad is the location of the traditional St. Martin celebrations on 9 November. You can look forward to roast geese from Czech farms, small refreshments, but mainly 20 Bohemian and Moravian winemakers and their young wines. The event starts at 10 a.m. and runs until 7 p.m.

If you prefer smaller events, you will surely appreciate St. Martin’s toast in the Prague Botanical Garden, where you can find the St. Clara vineyards. Like every year, the young wine will be opened on November 11 at exactly at 11 a.m. The location offers a unique experience with a view of the Troja Chateau and the whole Vltava River valley.

Young wine in wine country – in Moravia

Brno, the Moravian metropolis, will certainly not be left behind. On the feast of St. Martin (November 11), Svobody Square will be transformed into one large wine-tasting. Hundreds of St. Martin’s wines of the widest varieties from whites, rosés and reds. The first bottle for the celebratory toast will be brought to the square at 11 a.m. by St. Martin himself, followed by a large procession. After the toast, the square will be filled with cimbalom music and the tasting of St. Martin’s wines will go on until early evening. But you can taste (not only) St. Martin’s wine at Freedom Square until 15 November at St. Martin’s Festival.

If you’re planning to pass through Mikulov, stop by and visit the St. Martin's Festival in Mikulov (8‑17 November 2019). The entire city centre, including the castle, will transform into a historical market accompanied by an artistic programme. You will also have the opportunity to visit selected historical monuments. The celebrations will include the arrival of St. Martin, opening the first of St. Martin’s wine bottles, blessing the young wine of 2019, and on the weekends Mikulov Square will be filled with a St. Martin’s market and accompanying artistic programme.

Wine Festival in Český Krumlov

South Bohemia is home to a historical jewel listed in the UNESCO cultural heritage list – Český Krumlov. And this is another location that does not go unnoticed during the feast of St. Martin. The only difference is that the event will not only take place on 11 November, but you can try the wine and gastronomical specialties from 18 October until 23 November during the Wine Festival! Nevertheless, on 11 November, St. Martin will arrive, mounted on a horse, at Svornosti Square and will open the new 2019 vintage at exactly 11:11 a.m. with you. A series of local restaurants and hotels are also preparing a special St. Martin’s menu that should not be missed.

Saint Martin will also visit Kutná Hora and Jihlava

A feast and a visit to a gallery? This is not a problem in Kutná Hora, a city in Central Bohemia. The traditional event starts at 11:11 a.m. on 10 November at the Jesuit College, the seat of the Gallery of the Central Bohemian Region. They have prepared goose specialties, traditional festive pastries as well as young wine. After filling your bellies, you will enjoy wandering the picturesque streets of the medieval town. A day later, on 11 November, the St. Martin wine produced by the Kutná Hora wine cellars will be opened at the Ursuline Convent, and you can join a St. Martin’s lantern parade in the evening. The procession, led by St. Martin on a white horse, will start at the Church of St. James and continue to the Church of St. Barbara.

St. Martin will also make a stop on the border of Bohemia and Moravia – in Jihlava, the Vysočina region. The historical St. Martin procession continues the old tradition described in the folk tales from Jihlava and its surroundings. In it you will meet Jihlava’s councillors dressed in heavy historical gowns, as well as farmers’ wives with typical pastries made for this feast.
 
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