The Moravia wine region of the Czech Republic has a rich history going back centuries, but the era of Communist rule following World War II all but drained the Czechs of their passion for the craft. Now, winemakers in the region are working to rebuild the area's terroir, and the country's enthusiasm for vino with it.
Communists, both consciously and unconsciously, were not big wine fans.
The small border town of Valtice—which was once occupied by the Iron Curtain—now draws hoards of tourists and wine lovers to its hilly vineyards to get a taste of the region's offerings. Though Valtice's reputation for fine wine dates stretches back to the 19th century, when the House of Liechtenstein, who were notorious wine lovers, created a network of cellars below the city, the town's production was all but halted at the conclusion of the second World War.
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According to The New York Times, following the war Communist rule required all vineyards to be given over to the state. Because the Communists emphasized quantity and speed, rather than quality, they eliminated more flavorful and complex grapes in favor of ones that would ripen faster. "Communists, both consciously and unconsciously, were not big wine fans," winemaker Petr Ocenasek told the Times. According to Ocenasek, having opposing preferences and opinions on a particular wine "was in stark contrast with their ideology appealing to uniformity."