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Project stories 35. Carpathian taste of wine

30 / 12 / 2022
Category: Project News


The projects implemented under the Cross-border Cooperation Programme Poland-Belarus-Ukraine 2014-2020 are not just indicators, budgets, reports and payments. Although these are inseparable elements, above all each project hides the specific ideas, values and dreams of people implementing it, as well as the stories of those who benefited from their implementation.

We want to bring some of them closer to you by the "Project stories" – the cycle which presents their more human (but also animal – as in the 1st, 13th and 14th episodes) dimension of our selected projects. We invite you to read!

It is a peer of man. Planted in one place and tended by his hand, it can live and bear fruit for up to 100 years. The oldest finds relating to its cultivation and use are ... 8,000 years old. It likes the sun, for which it repays with sweetness and a drink that has been praised by poets, historians, artists and lovers of fine cuisine for centuries. Its fields, which cover the sunny slopes of mountains and hills in characteristic rows, provide a livelihood for families for several generations and have already become firmly established in the European landscape. Grapevine.

The establishment of vineyards, the cultivation of grapes and the production of wine is part not only of the culinary heritage, but also of the traditions and history of the Carpathians. This can be seen, among other things, in the names of places: Vynohradiv (UA), Winna Góra, Winnica, Winne (PL).

New values have emerged in my hitherto 'hectic' life, such as the beauty of communing with nature and humility towards it. Being a winegrower obliges you to constantly take care of the plant, its needs at the various stages of growth, and especially the grapes so that they concentrate what is most valuable to be enclosed in a bottle of wine, writes Mr Maciej Sowiński, a participant in the WineAcademy project.

There is evidence that in the Zakarpattya Oblast (UA), grape growing and wine making began as early as the 2nd century AD, i.e. almost 2,000 years ago. In the Polish part of the Carpathian Mountains, the history of viticulture dates back to the Middle Ages, and the first vineyards were established by monasteries, producing wine for liturgical purposes. Winegrowing in this part of Europe today is favoured by a warming climate. Today, vineyards in the Zakarpattya Oblast cover an area of more than 4,500 hectares and are mainly concentrated in five districts: Berehovo, Irshava, Vynohradiv, Mukachevo and Uzhhorod. More than 160 vineyards have been established in the Podkarpackie Voivodeship, mainly in the area of Jasło, Krosno, Przeworsk and Jarosław, and even the voivodeship's capital, Rzeszów.

It all started with the first trip to Moravia in 2010 together with the Association of Winemakers of the Podkarpacie Region. The visits to the vineyards, the tastings, the wonderful and varied wines and the excellent atmosphere accompanying these new experiences had a great impact on my later decisions. My wife and I decided to leave the city life behind. We found a place near Rzeszów that could fulfil our dreams: building a house made of larch logs with a wine cellar underneath and creating a small vineyard next to it. We succeeded in this venture and are successfully living from it, recalls Mr Maciej.

In the world, however, French or Italian wines are known above all. Wines from the Carpathian Mountains still need to be promoted and appreciated.

The Carpathian Wine Route is a unique and modern tourist product. The aim of this trail is to promote and develop enotourism[1] in the Carpathian Mountains, in particular in the Polish-Slovakian-Ukrainian border region. (...) Guests and tourists visiting the region or individual localities are given the opportunity to discover not only its richness through wooden architecture, monuments, nature or the culinary potential of the restaurants, but also through wine, through the aroma, taste, smell, which reflects the "Carpathian" character of the region, emphasises Ms. Ewelina Nycz from the Association for Development and Promotion of Podkarpacie "Pro Carpathia", the Polish partner of the project.

Project participants, including Mr. Maciej, shared their experiences of vineyard establishment and viticulture. The resulting videos instructing and promoting this part of the intangible heritage of the Carpathians attract more visitors, lovers of good cuisine and traditional cultivation, who may one day also decide "to abandon urban life" for a new passion....

Details of the project can be found here.

[1] Enotourism - a form of tourism focused mainly on visiting places connected with grapevine growing and wine production.

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