Prague is renowned for its beer halls and pubs, but not so famous for its wine-bars. All this week, however, a brand new festival is taking place to try and get Czechs and tourists alike off the beer, and onto the wine. Prague Wine Week started on Monday and will culminate in a tasting session of more than 300 wines on Friday evening. Šárka Dušková is the festival’s organizer:
When it comes to New Year’s Eve, things have changed in the last 20 years. Now Czechs don’t just sit in front of their TVs on the last night of the year, noshing on chlebíčky and jednohubky, the famous open-faced sandwiches and canapés. They go out more, partying with friends and dining out; many theatres give special performances and neighbours just get together and celebrate the coming year. But one thing has not changed at all – their favourite drink to match the occasion is an original Czech sparkling wine – Bohemia Sekt.
Over the last couple of months, American glassmaker Charlie Parriott has been working with Czech scientists and craftsmen to make the biggest wine bottle in the world. The project has taken blood, sweat and more than the odd glass of Muller-Thurgau, but now it is finally drawing to an end. In the final days of the project, I met up with Charlie Parriott to ask why he decided to embark upon this mission in the first place:
Czech farmers are planning to protest in January against the low purchase price of milk, the country’s agrarian chamber said on Wednesday. Milk producers will hold demonstrations at both supermarkets and dairies, the chamber’s president Jan Veleba said, adding that they may even blockade such facilities. Mr Veleba said producing milk had become unprofitable and the current low prices could lead to the liquidation of some livestock.
The Pálava white wine variety produced by Vinselekt Michlovský from Rakvice in South Moravia won an international champion title at the Terravino Mediterranean International Wine and Spirit Challenge in Israel on Saturday. This is the first time any Moravian wine has won such title at an international competition. Moravian winemakers also won eight gold medals at the competition.
This week, the Czech Union of Friends of Beer (Sdružení přátel piva) announced its awards for the best beers, best breweries and the best brewmaster in the country. The title Brewmaster of the Year went to Josef Tolar, the brewing and technical director of Budějovický Budvar. In addition to that, Budvar also received an award for the best dark beer of the year. Earlier today, I spoke to Budvar’s Josef Tolar and asked him what it is that makes their beer so special:
In Business News this week: the EU has agreed on new agricultural policy, which Czechs do not support; Russian oil firm Lukoil wants to buy a stake in several Czech refineries; a packaging firm scoops the title of Business of the Year; over a half of Czechs find it difficult to get by on their current income, and Czech hoteliers are registering a decline in the number of guests.
A small Czech village has got its own little Stonehenge. The best of both: a Czech brewery produces grape beer. The Ajeto glassworks in Lindava has been asked to help produce what looks set to become the biggest carillon in the world. And, Catherine Zeta Jones comes to Prague for a shampoo ad. Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.
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