The Bacchus Report: Secrets of the depths

Once upon a time, an original idea occurred to the owners of the Lechovice wine cellars. The resulting tradition is the stuff of fairy tales.

věroslav sixt

One of the enterprise’s leading personalities, Jiří Kalaš, who has a degree in engineering, is a passionate diver. So it’s no secret to him that at a certain depth the light and temperature remains consistently low year round, an ideal environment for aging wine. So it came to him that it would be a good idea to store bottles of the winery’s signature sparkling white wine down deep in a pond to age for a certain time. At several atmospheres, such an environment also has the advantage of a pressure more or less equal to the pressure inside the bottles.
Not far from the firm’s seat is the Vranovská reservoir, with pure water, sufficient size, and above all, depth. In 2000 they stored 900 bottles of bubbly in special cages for the first time and waited for a year to see what would happen. The number of bottles corresponded to the number of years since the first historical mention of Vranov nad Dyjí. When in 2001 they had a celebration and fished them out from a depth of forty meters, they discovered that storing the wine at that depth had been unusually beneficial. The wine was pleasantly fresh and fruity, with lots of persistent, small bubbles. At the tasting it was even better than the same wine that had been aged under the supervision of the cellar master in their own cellars. Only the tops of the corks had been deformed by the pressure, and the bottles had a corresponding “depth” patina.
But this sound marketing idea has been further developed. People who are interested can bid for individual bottles throughout the year over the internet, at the address stated below. This year the auction brought in CZK 170,000. Revenues from the entire event go to benefit charity. In September, divers stored three cages with the fourth batch of Lechovice bubbly on the bottom of the Vranovská reservoir. An online auction of the “sunken treasure” will be held at, or 777 1SE KTY. This year the starting price was set at CZK 599 per bottle.
The author is the editor of Hospodářské noviny’s IN magazine.


A champagne opener can assume many guises. Because this massive, heavy metal opener for real Champagne or Czech sekt is shaped like a beatle, it is called Scarabeus. Designed by Ad Hoc. Price: CZK 755.

Available at: Albertina, Revoluční 24, Praha 1

Upcoming tastings

Cellarius, Budečská 29, Praha 2.
7. 10. – South-African wines Boland Kelder.
14. 10. – Australian wines 3 Corners and Bushman’s Gully (new on the Czech market).
21. 10. – wine of Čejkovice Temple cellars.
Begins at 19:00, entrance fee CZK 200-250.


If you buy a bottle from the bottom of the Vranovská reservoir in the auction, you can compare its contents with competing Czech sparkling wines.

Sekt Lechovice
This sample is a well-balanced blend of 2001 vintage Veltlínské zelené, Ryzlink rýnský, and Muškát moravský. Following classic fermentation in the bottles, the corks were sealed with wax and the bottles were sunk to the bottom of the reservoir. A good ratio of ripened grapes of the three varietals that were used, resulting in a fresh aroma and a pleasant flavor.
Available by auction at: or 777 1SEKTY.
Starting bid: 599 Kč

Prestige brut, Bohemia sekt Starý Plzenec
The line of Prestige sparkling wines has received many awards at domestic and foreign competitions, most recently at Ljubljana, where it won the champion’s title. They are well balanced and harmonious on the palate, with a pleasant nose and flowery bouquet, thanks to the Ryzlink.
Price: 195-230 Kč

Chateau Radyně brut, Bohemia sekt Starý Plzenec
This sparkling wine has been produced longer without interruption than any other in the Czech Republic. This is a fine, pleasant, mature sparkling wine with a hint of linden blossoms.
Suggested price: 132-146 Kč

Chardonnay sekt brut Mucha exklusive, Caves de Wissembourg Francie, vyrobeno pro Soare sekt Jablonec nad Nisou
Abundant, fine bubbles and the fresh flavor of 100% Chardonnay.
Price: 200 Kč
Available at a specialized network of grocery and wine stores.






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