Farmers markets will celebrate St Martin’s Day wine

The first of the new vintage of Czech and Moravian wines are served Nov. 11 at 11:11 am

For several years now, St Martin’s Day, on Nov. 11, has been when new Czech and Moravian wines are served for the first time, often with a goose dinner. There are several public celebrations in Prague at the sites of farmers markets and a vineyard, plus many restaurants and pubs have special menus.

The new wine, called Svatomartinské víno, cannot be served until 11:11 am on Nov. 11. This is actual bottled wine, the first of the new vintage, and not burčák, which is partly fermented juice sold at late summer and early fall harvest festivals.

In a sign of national pride in local wine, celebrations of France’s Beaujolais Nouveau on the third Thursday of November are growing fewer and fewer every year as the St Martin event grows more popular.

Not any new wine can use the name Svatomartinské víno or the standardized logos, as they have been registered trademarks of the Wine Fund (Vinařský fond) since 1995.

The Wine Fund samples new wines and awards the right to use the trademarks to those that meet the standards. The number of wines submitted to trademark approval was also up from last year and surpassed 450.

The new wines are best consumed right away. Makers recommend using them by the spring. The crop this year was 10 percent higher than last year’s, and experts say growing conditions were generally good, giving wine more sugar and less acid.

There will be big public celebrations at náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad and Náplavka at Rašínovo nábřeží on Nov. 11. Wine can be bought by the glass or by the bottle, and meals of goose with dumplings and cabbage are available. The vineyard at the Botanical Gardens in Troja will have a wine tasting.

Náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad will be celebrating the event for the eighth time with an outdoor party lasting from just before 11 am until 8 pm. More than 20 Bohemian and Moravian wineries will be present, and the goose served is of Czech origin.

This event is family friendly. An actor playing St Martin will come to a white horse to see what the winter will bring. There are several Czech sayings about how the weather on St Martin’s day can predict the coming winter: “If St Martin arrives on a white horse, snowflakes will be plentiful,” “If there are still leaves on trees and vines on St Martin’s Day, the winter will surely be harsh,” and “If it’s cloudy on St. Martin’s Day, the winter will be fair; If it’s clear, the winter will be harsh” are just a few.

A priest will from the square’s church bless the wine. There will be Moravian folk music, and workshops and puppetry for kids.

At Náplavka, the festivities last from 10 am to 9 pm, with 25 wineries participating. Goose meals and cheese appetizers will be available and six bands are scheduled to play including Jonas & the Whale and Sense of Fire.

The St Klara vineyard at the Botanical Gardens in Prague 7 has a celebration from 11 am to 5 pm called a St Martin’s toast (Svatomartinský přípitek), though this seems to focus solely on wine without the goose meals and other festivities.

These are just the big outdoor festivals. For those who want to be indoors for a sit-down meal, the odds are that one of your local eateries will also have some special menu as the event has grown bigger every year.

Náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad: or

Náplavka : or

Botanical Gardens:

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