Moravian winemaker awarded gold medal for world's best Chardonnay

A big win for a small Czech winery could mean a boost for domestic viniculture during the current economic downturn

Katrina Modrá

Written by Katrina Modrá
Published on 07.04.2020 10:02 (updated on 07.04.2020)

The prestigious annual Chardonnay du Monde, a competition recognizing the world’s best Chardonnay wines, was held in early March at Château des Ravatys, the wine estate of the Pasteur Institute at Saint Lager in the Burgundy wine region of France. 

This year the absolute winner of the world competition hails from the Moravian village of Krumvíř.

The Josef Valihrach 2013 Chardonnay took home gold-medal honors, competing among 658 wines from 37 countries, among them Hungary and Slovakia, two other Central European countries with a strong showing on the Chardonnay overall top-ten ranking.

In addition the winery picked up a silver medal for its Chardonnay Barrique 2015.

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In recent years, the winery has consistently performed well in the competition. In 2018 its Chardonnay placed third, and the year prior it won 2 silver medals; in 2016, Valihrach winery took home two gold medals. It won the highest award for the first time in 2014.

“The Chardonnay du Monde has very strict conditions and every award is hard-won,” winemaker Josef Valihrach said in a statement released by the Association of Winemakers of the Czech Republic.

“All the more unbelievable is the fact that we have managed to repeat the overall first place in 2014 in this competition. It is a great feeling when you see our flag over the other superpowers,” he said.

The Chardonnay du Monde is the oldest wine competition dedicated to wines of one variety. This event is considered unique in terms of its scope, method, and ambition. It is currently in its 27th year.

According to Tibor Nyitray, president of the association, the current restrictive measures meant to protect the public from the coronavirus have also hit Moravian and Czech winemakers, especially those whose wines are not distributed via a larger retail network.

He says significant drops have been recorded mainly by smaller Moravian and Czech winemakers.

“The possibilities of selling ready-made, bottled wine have deteriorated especially for small and medium-sized winemakers, who do their business mainly in gastronomy and direct sales. The restaurants are completely closed, private clients have greatly reduced their purchases,” said Nyitray.

Another significant blow to winemakers is the ban on tastings and festivals which serve an important marketing function for supporting and promoting viniculture.

Customers can do their part to support smaller winemakers by purchasing through e-shops; many winemakers are looking to state support to ensure production, landscape management, and employment in the coming years.

Jaroslav Machovec, director of the Wine Fund, commented: “I am convinced that Moravian and Czech wineries will manage the current situation and months ahead. The first-class products it produces have the prerequisites to thrive at all times.”