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Vendage and burčák

photo:  (czechtourism.cz)

Vendage is a traditional wine making celebration, which is deeply rooted in the history of the Czech Republic. To a greater degree, vendage has only become widespread in recent decades.” The traditional vendage celebrations are chiefly retained in the main wine making region – South Moravia.

Vendage celebrations take place in autumn, namely in September, after the grape harvest has commenced and the first grapes from the new harvest have been pressed. The event is usually accompanied by a magnificent historical parade, as well as an abundant cultural programme (including performances of puppet and travelling theatres, folklore ensembles, rock bands, demonstrations of traditional crafts, etc.), culminating in traditional folk feasts. It goes without saying that the main purpose of vendage is wine tasting and especially the tasting of burčák.

The town of Znojmo (map) hosts what is probably the largest vendage. Apart from this celebration, grape harvest celebrations also take place in large wine making areas in Mikulov (map), Valtice (map) or X4 Velké Pavlovice X4 (map). V Vendage celebrations are also held in Bohemia in Mělník (map), Litoměřice (map), Velké Žernoseče (map) or in Roudnice (map).

  • Burčák
Is a fermented wine juice in the phase of “furious” fermentation, during which sugar, i.e. glucose, is broken down into alcohol and carbon dioxide. It originates as an intermediary product during winemaking, several days after fermentation begins. Grape juice can only be called burčák for two to three days, when the sugar and alcohol is approximately balanced.

The importance of this beverage is defined in the Vintner and Winemaking Act, which precisely specifies when burčák may be offered for direct consumption. This partially fermented grape juice may be distributed for consumption only if it is made exclusively from grapes, which were harvested and processed in the Czech Republic. The act also specifies that it may only be sold between the 1st August and 30th November of the current year.

Burčák is most often made from white grapes. First-class burčák has a yellowish cloudy colour with a 4-6% alcohol content and tastes of sweet grape juice, with a yeasty flavour and bubbles. It is drunk at room temperature. There is also burčák made from red grapes, but this is practically never sold.


Author: Ivana Jenerálová
Added: 29.08.2011

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