passed from generation to generation
we care for each grape like of a piece of our own soul
we grow our varieties ecologically, without unnecessary chemicals
Let me introduce myself. My name is Michal Hladký and I am the Chief Cellarmaster of Hladký Winery. The vineyard tradition in our family extends back to my parents and grandparents. And perhaps even further... My father owned a family vineyard in the "abyss" area beneath Vintoperk Hill in Skalica. In the vicinity of Skalica there are many small vineyards which have been run for generations in the classic family way, focusing mainly on the production of wine for home consumption.
The history of our vineyards began in 2007. At that time, we decided to buy land suitable for setting up our own vineyard in the area of Vysoké Pole in the town of Skalica. We purchased approximately two hectares which had not been used for almost 30 years. We gradually re-cultivated them so that they could be used for growing grapevines and fruit. Together with the decision to plant a new vineyard was the question of how to avoid "classic" cultivation under the classic protection of chemical and systemic products – the herbicides and pesticides which affect the quality of grapes, wine, soil and, last but not least, our health and lives. That is why we focused solely on growing PIWI varieties. Until 2016, our vineyard was not treated with any chemical or other products. In 2017, we began to use treatment with clean sulphur and copper, along with leaf fertilisers. We only use products which are approved for organic production in Slovakia.
Work in the cellar follows work in the vineyard; and therefore we try to produce wines by a traditional natural method, also referred to as authentic or crafted wines. This comprises hand-picking and sorting of grapes, pressing on a classic wine press and storing mature wine in oak and acacia barrels, ceramic or glass containers. We do not use any additives such as yeast, enzymes, flavourings, stabilisers or filtering agents. Wine made of high-quality raw material is naturally stable after adequate ageing; it is not filtered and contains only natural ingredients. It is processed as it was done by our ancestors for centuries.
The PIWI variety designate originates from the German "Pilzwiderstandsfähige Rebsorten", which can be translated as "fungal-resistant grape varieties". This is the acronym for groups of grapevine varieties resistant to fungal diseases and, for example, frost. In general, we can also mention interspecific varieties, e.g. the varieties resulting from inter-variety crossing, such as the type of Vitis Vinifera and wild types such as Vitis Labrusca, Vitis Riparia, Vitis Rupestris and others. The purpose of this crossing is to achieve the high quality of the grapes and consequently of the traditional European varieties of wine, with the cultivation properties of varieties originating in America or Asia.
Only compounds based on sulphur and copper are used in limited quantities to protect PIWI varieties, along with supplementary substances which naturally improve plant immunity. All these varieties can be used mainly in the bio-economic or biodynamic modes.
We were producing wine using raw materials purchased from local winemakers, as well as from other regions of Slovakia and Moravia. The wine was used primarily for our own consumption.
We bought the land in the area of Vysoké Pole in Skalice. Then we started building a winery and planting the first PIWI varieties. The area of 2 hectares is the ideal size to cultivate, because it had not been affected by agricultural production for the past 30 years – no artificial fertilisers, pesticides or herbicides had been used here. This is the site where the first vineyards in Skalica were created. At this time, we also planted an orchard of 200 trees of predominantly original and local species.
We gradually planted approximately 2 000 roots of interspecific varieties of grapevine. We managed to obtain some of them in this area and some from breeding stations in the Czech Republic, Austria and Germany. Altogether, we grow approximately 20 blue grape varieties and 30 table wine varieties for our wine production.
Based on the almost ten-year observation of the resilience and quality of varieties, we decided to plant specific species in larger production quantities. We also reviewed the knowledge of maintaining and growing vines. We decided to keep all our vineyards in the dense spacing of outplanting with dimensions of 0.6 x 1.25 metres.
This year, the official company with the trademark of Víno Hladký was established as a family business in the town of Skalica. We focus exclusively on interspecific varieties of grapevine (Vitis Vinifera).