Do you know Małopolska wines? If not, it is time to catch up and become a purebred enotourist. It is best to start this exciting and beautiful adventure in Kraków itself, which not only lies in the immediate vicinity of many well-functioning vineyards, but also boasts good vine cultivation.
It is in Kraków that the Srebrna Góra Vineyard, the largest in Małopolska and one of the largest in the country, is located. From the hill filled with grapevines spreads a view of the city and the entire surrounding area, and its top houses the famous Monastery of the Camaldolese monks. It is worth making a little trip into the past there, to the times when Polish winemaking was born, whose history dates back to the mid-10th century. As the journalist and wine critic Wojciech Bosak writes in the “Guide to Małopolska Vineyards” published by the Gorce Tourist Organization, “In the past, Kraków has never been a wine power such as Zielona Góra or even Sandomierz, but this is where the history of winemaking in Poland begins. Al-Idrisi, an Arab-Sicilian geographer, who in the mid-12th century compiled the first preserved description of Kraków, mentions numerous vineyards among the splendour of the city. Archaeologists have provided us with evidence of an even older record of the local winemaking: thanks to their research, we know that the grapevine grew on the southwestern slopes of Wawel as soon as in the middle of the 10th century.” Today we have the 21st century, and the Wawel vineyard is symbolically memorialized by grapevines planted at the entrance to the reconstructed garden of Queen Bona Sforza. It is worth taking this journey back in time to whet your appetite for wine and set off on wine routes in Małopolska.
Stop at a vineyard
The first and the closest stop to Kraków are the vineyards in the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland. They are located around the extremely charming Ojców National Park. It is worth visiting, among others, Winnica Słońce i Wiatr (Sun and Wind Vineyard), Winnica Amonit (Ammonite Vineyard), Winnica Zagardle (Zagardle Vineyard), Winnica Goja (Goja Vineyard), Winnica Kresy (Kresy Vineyard), Winnica Jura (Jura) Vineyard and Winnica Przybysławice (Przybysławice Vineyard).
If you move away from Ojców and start going to Wieliczka, after an hour’s drive (it is only 30 minutes from Kraków) you will reach biodynamic Wieliczka Vineyard. Situated on a slope in Pawlikowice, above the Wieliczka Salt Mine, it offers a beautiful view of the surroundings and the mountains. When the weather is good, you can see the Tatra Mountains, panorama from there. In the ecologically operated vineyard, you can try wines from the noble varieties Vitis vinifera, i.e. chardonnay, riesling or pinot noir.
Gems of the region
It should be noted that winemakers in Małopolska grow both noble grape varieties and hybrid varieties resistant to cold and diseases. Among these hybrid varieties, you can come across white wines, e.g.: solaris, seyval blanc, johanniter, hibernal, and as far as red vine is concerned: rondo, regent, leon millot, marechal foch, cabernet cortis. If you want to try, for example, bubblies, sparkling wines produced applying the champagne method, you must visit Chodorowa Vineyard, located in Chodorowa near Grybów.
It is about a 90-minute drive from Kraków. Interestingly, at Chodorowa Vineyard, you will try not only sparkling wines, but also ciders and quality apple wine (both still and sparkling). Ciders are made from apples of old varieties, coming from an orchard that is over 70 years old. From there, it is close to the Polish heat pole, i.e. Tarnów. It is here that another Małopolska wine region under the ENOTarnowskie brand is dynamically developing.
A toast to Małopolska winemakers
It is unbelievable how much work has been done by winemakers in Poland. We are a generation that has witnessed the incredible flourishing of Polish winemaking. Currently, 64 out of 330 producers registered in Poland come from Małopolska, making is the national leader. The number of vineyards and the growing interest in Polish wine are visible in the menus of Małopolska restaurants. It is also worth participating in wine events, which are abundant in the region, such as Open Vineyards Days, organized as part of the Małopolska Wine Route, the idea of which is the discovery of our region and heritage, as well as personal meetings with winemakers.
In Kraków and the entire Poland, the events organized in November and related to young wine, i.e. St. Martin’s wine, have been very popular in the last few years. Goose meat and young wine make a good couple. ENOTarnowskie, on the other hand, tempts with a wide range of wine events, such as Pleśnieński Bacchus, Wielkie Tarnowskie Dionizje, Wianki na Winnicy or Tuchovinifest. More and more often, it is possible to participate in the traditional grape harvest.
Become an enotourist
The enotourism trips can be planned in various ways. The individual routes are described in detail in the guide “Enoturystyczne Trasy Małopolski – Małopolski Szlak Winny” (Enotourism Trails in Małopolska – Małopolski Wine Trail) (publisher Gorczańska Organizacja Turystyczna), e.g. “For fish and wine in the heart of Ojców”, “Vitis Musica in the Dunajec Valley” or “The route to the Polish heat pole”. The latest enotourism idea is the possibility of visiting the vineyards in the Tarnów region by bike, thanks to the EnoVelo project.
The great tourist potential in winemaking is also appreciated by Małopolskie voivodeship that organized the promotional campaign “Małopolska. Let’s get to know each other”, which praises the region’s tourist attractions, including culinary and wine-related attractions. See you in vineyards in Małopolska.
Where to find information?