Enotourism, which is the wine tourism – greatly popular in the countries with rich wine traditions – is entering the Polish reality and what is most important – is becoming more and more popular. The attractions include: travelling around the wine regions, visiting vineyards, getting to know the taste of the wine produced there and the participation in various kinds of wine events. Małopolska region has proper conditions to become the leader of the enotourism in Poland.
The vineyards that originated in Małopolska region in recent time, are located in the area of the former ,,Hungarian Trail”. Following its trace, we will visit few towns with wine traditions: Muszyna, Piwniczna-Zdrój, Nowy Sącz, as well as Krynica-Zdrój, Biecz, Limanowa, we will travel on the ,,Bicycle Wine Route” and we will visit ten vineyards in the Nowy Sącz, Limanowa, Sucha, Wadowice and Myślenice counties.
We start our journey in Muszyna located by the border with Slovakia – former area of the Kingdom of Hungary. This is the way, along the Poprad valley, where the old „Hungarian Route” was running. The town was famous for its maturing wines from the cellars under the market square, which was imported from Hungary, Croatia, Crimea and Moldava. Their brilliant taste was praised by Jan Kochanowski in 1582 who stopped in the town few times during his trip to the south of Europe. First verses of his limerick: „O starosto na Muszynie ty się dobrze znasz na winie” [eng. Dear starost in Muszyna, you know a lot about wine] were printed on the etiquette of the wine ,,Harnik” produced in 2012. Because the climate in this region is not favourable for grapevine cultivation, Muszyna – wanting to remind of its wine traditions – ordered wine at a vineyard near Vienna. Its name is also a reference to the history – many centuries ago the castle and the order in the entire so called Muszyna County was guarded by the infantry made of harnik people. Hundred bottles of white and red semi-dry wine in the wooden chests accompanied by regional products: cheese made of sheep's milk and the jar of Muszyna orange-agaric mushrooms, will be given to notable guests. The taste of wine was highly evaluated by the local enterpreneurs who are interested in importing greater amounts of the Muszyna beverage. And Muszyna is already planning the organization of wine festivals which will remind everyone about the wine route which used to run here. Piwniczna – a town in the Nowy Sącz county famous nowadays for its mineral waters, up to the middle of XVII century was a n important point on the wine route leading from the Hungarian, at the time, Koszyce, through Stary Sącz, to Cracow. Casimir III the Great located this town in this place for that reason, to get the profits from the trade. Historic houses with large cellars, where the wine was stored, were preserved until present day. The name of the town is derived from them.
The next stop on the former „Hungarian Route” is Nowy Sącz and Sądecczyzna region.
The town and its surroundings were in the XV-XVII centuries important wine transport centres from the Balkans, Caucasus and Greece. Wine from Hungarian Tokaj or Presov were floated down the Dunajec river to other regions in Poland. There were 23 storage chambers. From there wines were transported down the river to Vistula and further to the handling port in Kazimierz Dolny. Wines, and stored in the Sądecczyzna region, honey were finding their way to Wielkopolska region, Gdańsk, and even to Brandenburg. Even the documents were preserved (among all documents of Stephen Batory and Zigismund III) regulating the transit of wine and prohibiting the sądecki merchants getting involved in its import. Sądecczyzna region is slowly getting back on the wine route. It is true that one cannot talk about making competition for the well-know: Lubuski Wine and Honey Route and the Podkarpacki Vineyard Route yet, but this is just the beginning of the come back to the wine traditions. At the moment there are three vineyards in the Sądecczyzna region - Vineyard and Nursery ,,Eden” in Łazy Brzeskie, Vineyard ,,Tabu” in Jazowsko and Vineyard ,,Fritz” on Paścia Góra [eng. Paścia Mountain] in Chełmiec.
The evidence for the fact that wine and wine making is getting more and more popular is the I Sądecki Wine and Culinary Culture Festival, which was organized in July 2012 and which attracted crowds of gourmets to the Nowy Sącz Galician Town. This year European wines were presented, but next year the local wines produced in Małopolska region, e.g. in the Nowy Sącz vineyards, are supposed to appear as well. It is a new idea for attracting tourists to Sądecczyzna region, because wine and culinary events are popular everywhere. Also the Krynica-Zdrój, until now associated mostly with mineral water, has been associated with wine for the last two years, and this is all thanks to the II International Festival of Wine and Taste, which took place at the end of July this year. This is the next edition of the wine celebration, after the International Vinoforum Wine Contest that took place in the health resort in July 2011. The event was accompanied by the Polish wine-tasting, regional meals tasting, the stalls with devices used for wine production, wine fair and folk manufacturers, the performances of the artistic bands and the concert „Love painted with wine”. The Honorary Patronage over the II Festival of Wine and Taste was taken among all by: Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Marshal of the Małopolskie Voivodeship, Gorlice Staroste, Nowy Sącz Staroste. The landlords of the Krynicy-Zdrój plan to organized the wine events in the successive years as well.
From Nowy Sącz we can go to the medieval town of Biecz in the Gorlice county, through which the trade route from the south of Europe was crossing and which is called „a small Cracow” due to great number of monuments. In 1363 Casimir III the Great allowed the Biecz townsmen to build two cellars for the wine trading. It was very often mentioned in the next centuries that the wine was brought to Biecz from the nearby – located on the other side of the border – Bardejov. Trade in Biecz was developing very well as the road constraint, which was introduced. This meant that there was an obligation for the merchants to drive through the town and of course paying fees for that. Beicz had the right to trade wine and to store Hungarian wines. Until present day there are cellars where barrels with wine were stored and one of them, with the capacity of 9 thousand litres is an exhibit piece of the Museum in Biecz.
Limanowa and the vineyards in the Limanov county. First mentions about Limanova come from the end of the XIV century. The town was located on the side-way, but numerously attended trade route, leading from Nowy Sącz towards the direction of Cracow. This is how merchants passed over the customs house i Czchow, which was located on the real „Hungarian route”. The Limanova county slowly comes back to the former „Wine Route”. The „Smykań” vineyard was established in 2004 and the agro-tourism household is running here. In 2001 in the area of Tymbark a beautifully situated „Paproć” vineyard was established.
A great number of sunlit slopes, suitable for the grapevine cultivation, good climate and soil conditions and first of all, great interest in the wine culture contributed to establishing few other vineyards in the souther part of the Małopolskie voivodship – Sucha county, Wadowice county and Myślenice county. There are two vineyards in the Sucha county: ,,Szawapier” Vineyard in Stryszawa and ,,Winnica Podhalańska” [eng. Podhalańska Vineyard] in Grzechynia. Two vineyards in the Wadowice county has been there for several dozen of years: Experimental Vineyard and ,,Lanckorona” vineyard. Myślenice county has two vineyards as well: Vineyard of Andrzej Gabzdyl in Raciechowice and Vineyard Ryś-Ling in Jasienica.