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Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, is located southwestern Slovakia on the borders with Austria and Hungary. It is the only national capital that borders two independent countries. Known as Pressburg to German-speakers or Pozsony to Hungarian-speakers, Bratislava got its present name only since 1919. But the city has a long and proud history that dates back to pre-Roman times.
The city was the capital of the Kingdom of Hungary, a part of the larger Habsburg Monarchy territories and became a coronation town and the seat of kings and all major organisations and offices. Eleven Hungarian kings and queens were crowned at St. Martin's Cathedral including The Queen Maria Theresa.
For many people still known as a part of former Czechoslovakia, Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia becoming more and more popular city, modern and young so called “Partyslava” or “BARtislava”.
Wine shops in Bratislava and Small Carpathian wine route
It is said that wine was brought to territory of Bratislava already by Romans who built vineyerds and cultivated grapes. Quality of delicious wine was famous even in royal court of Austria-Hungary where Frankovka modra from grapery coming from Bratislava urban district named Raca has been drank since 1767.
By good transport connection you can arrive to Bratislava region from Bratislava city. Natural border of the Danube and Morava rivers and Small Carpathian Mountains have created unique locality to spend free time and active relax.
When we say Small Carpathian region and Small Carpathian wine area, we can imagine sunny hillsides of Small Carpathians, the ideal place for grapery already for ages. Thanks to good location of vineyards and specific soil characteristics, the reputation of excellent quality of wine was spread into royal courts and countries around. Wine is life of whole country up to this day.
Vintage feasts, prestigious wine competitions, days of open wine cellars, wine tastings and feasts of wine patron St. Urban is something like a finale of wine makers' effort during whole year. The most significant centres connected to wine are former independent royal cities as Pezinok, Svaty Jur and Modra.
In Pezinok the town fortification and the castle from the 17th century are preserved. In the large ancient park a Barogue chateau has been rebuilt and its a setting used for VIP receptions together with wine tasting. There is also a wine museum in this town.
Small Carpathian Wine Route
Those who have the chance to take Small Carpathian Wine Route, a trip to the small cities and villages under the hills of the Small Carpathian, can encounter their beautiful scenery with vineyards and small towns at their foot similar to a string of pearls.
Life in that region equals wine above all. Wine made local people to cut the woods on the slopes of Small Carpathians, to plant vine, to develop trades and crafts for making and storing wine but also to drinking it in a noble manner. Wine brought well being to the Small Carpathian towns of Pezinok, Modra and Svätý Jur and helped them to be granted the status of privileged royal towns in the beginning of the 17th century.
Slovak wines are not known beyond the borders of the country. Slovakia produce 0.3 % of European wines and Slovaks are able to consume all wine they make. However, small amounts are exported, even to Japan. Some fifteen-twenty years ago Slovak wines were not very famous. Produced industrially in large amounts it were mainly sweet wines mixed of various sorts with high addition of beet sugar. Such wines were popular then and some remain even now, e.g. Nitrianske knieža (Knight of Nitra) or Kláštorné červené (Red from Monastery), which are served in some restaurants or pubs with low respect to wine.
But it can hardly happen in facilities marked with small white boards reading Malokarpatská vínna cesta - Small Carpathian Wine Route. Wine served here is usually a quality dry sort wine grown in region of Small Carpathians, mainly Welschriesling, Riesling, Veltlin, Lemberger or St. Laurent. The best way to taste wine is to visit cellars of private vintners who started their business after the fall of Communism.
The largest cellars in Small Carpathians are to be found in village Častá. Those in the one of the most impressive Slovak Castle Červený Kameň (known in past also as Bibersburg) are empty and one can only admire it and guess how much copper ore was stored here in the turn of Middle and New Ages when Fugger family owned the castle and manors around. The name Fugger is also connected with the wine cellar having the largest sitting capacity in the region. An old Fugger manor house is being reconstructed and the stone cellar is really impressive.
For history lovers there is a chain of castles, ruins and historical reconstructions of old settlements from Bratislava to Smolenice (Devín, Bratislava castle, Biely Kameň in Svätý Jur, Červený Kameň, Molpír and Smolenice chateau) as well as museums in Pezinok, Modra and Svätý Jur. Svätý Jur itself is the best preserved town on the Small Carpathian Wine Route. Its centre was listed as Municipal Historical Memorial Preserve List in 1990.
Day of Open Cellars Doors
Wine served here is usually a quality dry sort wine grown in region of Small Carpathians, mainly Welschriesling, Riesling, Veltlin, Lemberger or St. Laurent. The best way to taste wine is to visit cellars of private vintners who started their business after the fall of Communism.
A unique event in Slovakia is held in the mid November – Day of Open Cellars’ Doors - when dozens of wine cellars throughout along the entire route stretching for 40 km in the region from Bratislava to Trnava are accessible for public on Friday and Saturday afternoon. For 30 EUR a visitor receives a map, a glass, a badge entitling to entry to the cellars and a voucher for bonus and can start the trip.
For Slovak wines try the wineshop Trunk (Zupne namestie, near Michalska), St. Michael's (at Michalska street) or Vinoteka Sv. Urbana (on Klobucnicka street, near the City Hall). Around the corner on Laurinska, you will find the wine shop Kodrianka (specialising in Moldavian and French wines).
It is worth to visit Matysak Hotel as there is an ancient cellar with room for 45000 bottles. A large selection is available for tasting at the store and buy them in Wine shop. We recomend to visit this cellar and whay not to have a dinner in their cellar restaurant.