Southern Moravia has been celebrating “vinobraní” – in other words the results of this year’s grape harvest. At the weekend the towns of Znojmo and Mikulov, which are steeped in the wine-making tradition, saw festivities kick-off with many thousands of people taking part. As every year, celebrations included the consumption of the young Czech wine burčák. Producers say wine production suffered this year due to poor weather conditions but said visitors and attendees at the weekend celebrations enjoyed themselves none the less. This year’s festivities included local parades on Sunday led by actors portraying King Václav IV and his retinue. Actress Jitka Schneiderová – who hails from the region – was among those taking part.
The Sun in a Glass festival is expecting to host more microbreweries in one place than ever before, with 43 registered so far. 150 different beers will be presented at the festival, which begins September 18 at the Purkmistr restaurant in Plzeň Téměř. Organisers say the majority of the brewers will be small restaurants and publicans producing 200 to 1000 hectolitres a year. Each will present three or four types of beer. Two larger breweries and three Bavarian microbreweries will also be attending.
The number of ecological farms has risen this year by around 30 percent to around 3,500, according to the Ministry of Agriculture. The number of bio food producers has also climbed by around a third to reach 643, it added in a report on the sector. The ministry estimates that ecological farms now account for 10 percent of cultivated land with producers accounting for 1.0 percent of consumer food. Those percentages could rise to 15 percent and five percent over the next five years, the ministry predicts.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas has told flood stricken farmers that payments to them will be speeded up in a bid to help them recover. Speaking at an international farmers’ fair in the south Bohemian city of České Budějovice on Saturday, the prime minister said that state payments to farmers would be prioritised. He also said demands for rental payments by the state land office could be postponed for up to a year. The Ministry of Agriculture already made a similar pledge concerning payments for land bought from the state.
Czech President Václav Klaus opened the 38th International Agricultural Fair, Země Živitelka, or Bread Basket, in České Budějovice on Thursday. More than 740 domestic and foreign firms are participating in the fair which this year focused on regionally produced foods. At the opening ceremony, President Klaus said that in the current period of economic crisis and restrained government spending, farmers needed to work more effectively as they could not look to the state for assistance. The Czech agriculture minister, Ivan Fuksa, who also attended the fair on Thursday, told reporters he was not considering the privatization of the Budvar brewery. Mr Fuksa said the time was not right for the sale of the state-owned firm but did not rule out the sale of some five to seven percent of the company in the future.
A family of three are in critical condition after consuming poisonous wild mushrooms. Kromeříž hospital, where they were admitted with symptoms of severe food poisoning, had them transferred by helicopter to Brno where there is a unit specializing in such cases. Mushroom picking is a national pastime which thousands of Czechs engage in during the summer months. People are repeatedly warned not to pick mushrooms they do not recognize.
On Thursday evening the Czech Republic’s main awards for wine producers were presented at a ceremony in Prague, with the main prize going to Josef Valihrach, whose winery is located in a small town in south Moravia. The head of the jury was Ivo Dvořák, a founding member of the association of Czech sommeliers. We caught up with him the morning after to find out about the winner, what challenges wine production in the country is facing, and if the quality of Czech wine has improved in recent years.
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