History of Wine-Making

Archaeologists found that grapevine was cultivated in Mělník at the dawn of Czech history in the 9th century. Legend has it that Ludmila, the daughter of a ruler of the pagan tribe of Psyovians and wife of Bořivoj of the Přemyslid family, contributed to the first planting of the vineyards in the 10th century, in order to secure altar wine.

Middle Ages

Wine production and trade with it became a significant activity of local burghers in the Middle Ages. An important personality for the development of Mělník wine-making was Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor. He created laws that defined the obligations and rights of vintners, set up order and promoted the cultivation of grapevine. It is known that he imported grapevine from Burgundy to Mělník, today’s Pinot Noir, one of the most valuable varieties.

War Period

The war period in the country always meant hard times for wine-making; a great decline was caused especially by the Thirty Years’ War in the 17th century. The social and economic changes brought about by the era of industrialization in the 19th century meant a decrease in the economic importance of this branch in Mělník.

Wine-Making History of the House of Lobkowicz

The wine-making history of the House of Lobkowicz dates back to 1753 when Countess Marie Ludmila Černínová of Chudenice married Augustus Antonín Josef, Prince of Lobkowicz. Her dowry included four vineyards: Sirotčí, Stará, Mečířská and Redlichova, with a total area of ​​19.5 hectares. They brought 6,000 seeds of Burgundy grapevine from France in 1798 and expanded the vineyard area by another eight by buying Štemberská, Sázená, Čenkovská, Celestínská, Dolhovka, Kriegerstein, Na Svini and Turbovice in 1729-1803.

The chateau winery bought Koráb vineyard in 1808 and Jiří Kristián, Prince of Lobkowicz, expanded the chateau winery by Vraštilka vineyard in 1873 and rented Thunovská vineyard (1902). The owner of the estate, Jiří Kristián of Lobkowicz (1835-1908) contributed to the creation of St. Ludmila vineyard which is planted with Burgundy grapevine and gives Mělník its typical appearance, characteristic of Mělník even today. The vineyard is located on a slope under the chateau and was planted with 15,537 vine bushes, occupying an area of ​​1.8 hectares.

The greatest boom of the chateau winery took place at the time when the owner of estate, JUDr. Bedřich, Prince of Lobkowicz (1881-1923) had bought the vineyards of Trautmanka, Klamovka and Venclovka, rented town vineyards in Mělník and in the village of Tuháňská. He had a new, modern cellar of St. Joseph built under the courtyard of the Mělník Chateau. He also introduced the production of Mělník sparkling wine, knowing the production of which from the French Champagne wine region.

There was a new decline in the Mělník wine-making at the beginning of the 20th century and even after the establishment of the independent Czechoslovak Republic. There are several causes, such as unprofitableness, superannuated vineyards and their non-renewal, lack of modernization, inappropriate varieties and unprofessional treatment of vineyards.

Continuation: New Era