History of Hustopeče Viniculture
The tradition of wine making in Hustopeče is inseparable. Professor Vilém Kraus presumed vine growing first appeared in the third century, A.D. in the Czech territory, a time when vineyards were established by Romans. In the 13th century, vine growing was organized differently; whole wine towns surrounded by vineyards were set in and some enterprising townsmen even tried to successfully grow wine outside of town walls. Hustopeče was the biggest wine center of Czech territory, dominating through the Middle Ages as well as in the modern period. Wine making or viniculture used to be the main livelihood in this town.
Hustopeče was one of the towns which could take control of vine growing by its own special wine law established in the 13th century. The main representative of this wine court also supervised the work on vineyards too. He designated when the main work on vineyards could start, he collected mandatory tithes and bestowed punishments for grape robberies. The highest punishment was a sentence to death. This unique wine law and court was cancelled by Josef II in the late 19th century and was replaced by new directions, enabling people to use their property freely.
The 19th century held one of the largest vineyard areas of land, which was 1 232 hectares. Today Hustopeče is one of many wine towns in the Czech Republic, however, vineyard areas has declined to 175 ha, which is seven times less compared to the golden age of wine making in Hustopeče. The retrogression was caused by several factors: firstly, wine making was strongly related to Germans living in South Moravia. These people were forced to leave this region during World War II and in the post war period. Germans were masters in both viniculture and wine making and it was them who owned the majority of vineyards. Instead of Germans, new settlers came to Hustopeče from Eastern Europe, but they had little knowledge or connections to those vineyards calling for attention and care. Another negative aspect was the agriculture collectivism responsible for vineyard dilapidation and grubbing. The decline of the status of the biggest wine town was not caused by any natural powers or disasters, which had occurred as viticide or pest excess arose many times in history, but by manpower instead.
Vine growing and wine making has had indispensable influence on the town’s architecture and town planning. We can see hundreds of wine cellars, dozens of typical winepress houses as well as vineyard sites around the town. These specific buildings make our town unique.
Hustopeče is known today as the town of good wine and almond trees. The main wine streets are Vinařská and Na Hradbách (Turhandly). It is always very nice to walk around these streets and discover the culture of every single wine cellar or taste the wine treasure in which they guard.