Tradition and 70 years of experience: that’s Bohemia Sekt!

Every Czech is familiar with the gentle golden sparkle of Bohemia Sekt. This brand awareness, however, is built on hard work and 70 years of experience. Take a look at how the Bohemia Sekt brand developed. Get to know the history of the most popular sparkling wine in the Czech Republic.

Lots of people know that the most popular bubbly in the Czech Republic hails from the town of Starý Plzenec. But did you know that the present-day cellars filled with bottles of maturing sparkling wine used to be a brewery? The brewery was established by local people back in 1873 and produced various beers over the years. Their flavours reflected the economic crisis of the second half of the 19th century, and there was a high turnover of both tenants and brewers. The best-known – and also the last – beer to be produced at the brewery was Plzenecký Zlatozdroj (Alt-Pilsenetzer Goldquell), which was brewed in Starý Plzenec from 1897 onwards. It enjoyed a good reputation at home and abroad. The beer was brewed there until 1929, when the brewery was closed down after merging with Měšťanský Pivovar in Pilsen. The premises fell into disuse and disrepair.

THE OLD BEER CELLARS – THE BASIS FOR THE PRODUCTION OF SPARKLING WINE

The Prague-based company Českomoravské vinné sklepy rented out the vacant premises in 1942 and set about converting the old cellars, which were unique in terms of their large floor area and constant temperature, into a facility for the production of sparkling wine. The work started in 1943 with the putting down of concrete floors and the preparation of the first transport and storage barrels. The next year, the plant took delivery of 3,000 litres of wine to be turned into sparkling wine. Production of the first bottles of sparkling wine was launched by company secretary Josef Chmelař, who brought in his experience from Klosterneuburg in Austria, and cellarman Miloš Jermář, a graduate of the college of wine-making in the Czech town of Mělník.

RED BLACK WIDOW AND CHATEAU RADYNĚ

In 1945, by which time the company had 10 employees, most of them women, the first batch of Black Widow sparkling red wine was produced. The first bottles were opened by US troops to celebrate the liberation of Starý Plzenec. The liberators reportedly drank 37,000 bottles of Black Widow during the festivities. Soon afterwards, another sparkling wine first saw the light of day. Called Chateau Radyně, it is today the oldest continuously produced sparkling wine in the Czech Republic.

Louis Girardot

The French oenologist Louis Girardot, a native of the Champagne region of France, played a fundamental role in wine-making in Starý Plzenec. He brought to Bohemia not only a superb knowledge of sparkling wine production technology, but also his own strain of yeast from his native Champagne. In Starý Plzenec he began to realise his dream of establishing his own "Champagne de Bohéme". He taught the local oenologists the right techniques for making the noblest of all drinks.
Besides being an extraordinary teacher and expert in the production of sparkling wine, Girardot was also a great bon viveur who did not like to deny himself any worldly pleasures. As a charming Frenchman working in a business employing mostly women, he enjoyed those pleasures to the full. Women were reportedly also the main reason why Louis Girardot preferred sparkling wine to still wine. Of his favourite "Champagne de Bohéme" he liked to say, "It is close to women, and women are then closer to you".

BOHEMIA SEKT NOW

With spontaneous brand recognition of almost 100% and a long-term market share of around 70%, Bohemia Sekt is now the most popular brand of sparkling wine in the Czech Republic. World-famous model Tereza Maxová has been the face and ambassador of the brand since 2011.

The most popular sparkling wine in the BOHEMIA SEKT portfolio is Bohemia Sekt demi sec. The varietal Bohemia Sekt Chardonnay is also gaining in popularity. The unique alcohol-free Bohemia Sekt is winning more and more friends as well. The Bohemia Sekt Prestige range is very successful in other countries.

BOHEMIA SEKT sells almost 10 million bottles of sparkling wine a year.