The Czech Republic is the most western of the two countries in both geography and culture. The roughly rectangular country borders Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and Poland.
Unlike Slovakia, the Czech Republic does not have a centuries old tradition of wine-making. Bohemia and Moravia that form today’s Czech Republic have always been beer drinking territory, perhaps influenced by Germany. The Czechs are the world’s biggest beer drinkers, consuming 160 litres per inhabitant per annum, and for this reason the importance of wine is unlikely to gain much headway at present, although the growth in tourism is creating a market for wine.
The Czech vineyards (34,000 hectares in 1996) are divided between the two halves of the country, with Bohemia to the north west and Moravia to the south. When compared with beer consumption the amount of wine consumed is quite low at just 12 litres per head of population per annum. Despite this almost five times as much wine is imported into the country as is exported. Most Czech wines (two-thirds) are whites, followed by red, and sparkling wines.
The varieties of grapes are modern: Grüner-Veltliner, Gewürztraminer, Müller-Thurgau, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Sylvaner, Traminer, Vlassky Ryzlink (Welsch Riesling), Rynsky Ryzlink (Rhine Riesling), and Zluty Muskat for the whites with Frankovka (Blau Fränkisch, Kekfrankos), Zweigelt, Cabernet Sauvignon, the native Vavrinec, and the old-fashioned St. Laurent for reds.