Less than three decades ago, there were only a dozen vineyards in Poland, today their number may exceed 400. Polish vineyards are not only places where wine is produced but following the example of France, Spain or Italy they offer tastings, feasts with wine, joint picking of grapes, oenological and Somellier courses. Polish winemakers are more and more often appreciated at professional oenological competitions.
Some history behind polish vineyards
The beginning of Polish winemaking dates back to the 12th century. The first vineyards, most often near monasteries and manors, were established in the vicinity of Krakow, Krosno, Sandomierz and Lublin, as well as in Silesia and in the vicinity of Plock and Wloclawek. Wine prosperity continued until the end of the 16th century, when wine exports from southern Europe increased. Numerous wars and destruction in the following centuries contributed to the collapse of many vineyards. As a result, although before 1939 there were many small vineyards in Poland, only a few remained after 1945. The new post-war regime resulted in the nationalization of wine farms in the former German territories around Zielona Gora and Lower Silesia, effectively promoting cheap and easily available fruit alcohols, known under the name of the so-called “cheap wines”.
The first post-war professional vineyards were established in Podkarpacie, later they appeared in other regions, thanks to which the wine culture, lost centuries ago, returned to the southern part of Poland. It flourished only in the 21st century, when it was possible to receive EU and local government subsidies, and people became more and more demanding.
The most important Polish wine routes:
- The Subcarpathian Wine Trail
- The Lesser Poland Wine Route
- The wine route near the Vistula River
- Sandomierz Wine Trail
- Lower Silesian Wine Trail
- Lubuski Wine Trail around Zielona Gora.
The most interesting vineyards, where it is worth taking guests or organizing a tasting:
- Mierzecin Palace Wellness & Wine Resort (Lubuskie Province)
- Kinga Vineyard (Stara Wies near Zielona Gora)
- Stara Winna Gora (Gorzykowo near Zielona Gora)
- Jaworek Vineyard (Miekinia near Wroclaw)
- Sztukowka (Podkarpackie Province)
- Koziarnia (Podkarpackie Province)
- Sandomierska Vineyard (Dwikozy near Sandomierz)
- Plochocki Vineyard (near Sandomierz)
- Turnau Vineyard (Baniewice near Szczecin)
The best time to visit vineyards is the second half of May, as well as the end of August and the beginning of September – just before or during the harvest. The end of summer is also a good time for the largest industry events, such as:
- International Wine Days in Jaslo
- Wine Festival in Lublin
- Grape harvest in Kazimierz Dolny
- Swietokrzyski Wine Festival
- The Grape Harvest Festival in Zielona Gora
In mid-November, some vineyards offer tastings of fermented young wine, known in other parts of the continent as beaujolais nouveau, burčák or Neuer or Junger Wein.