From time immemorial, people have realized that underground cellars aptly minimize temperature and humidity swings throughout the day and year, creating an ideal atmosphere to store wine. While in many places people started building cellars under their houses, the people of Vrbice in Czechia took this a step further. They decided to excavate the slopes surrounding the village, and the result is a mesmerizing landscape of cellars carved out of the land.
Vrbice, with a population of just over 1,000, is located in the Břeclav District in the southeast Czechia. Vineyards abounds in the district, and the wine produced in this region is among the best in the whole of eastern Europe. The village itself stands as an island among a sea of vineyards. Unsurprisingly, village life revolves around wine production, either at large scale to cater for the large domestic and international demand, or at family level for local consumption and socializing.
The village has a long tradition of wine production and during the later part of the 17th century, people began building vaulted cellars under single-floor buildings that served as processing units. These are now part of the older Na Sklepech section of cellars.
The more famous Stráž cellars were built by digging into the village’s sandstone hillside in the 18th and 19th centuries. Long corridors stocked with wine can be accessed through the pretty stone entrances, which look like tiny houses, and are decorated with Gothic arches. Many times, multiple levels of cellars were stacked one above the other. The cellars’ walls are covered with a type of mold, which helps create a suitable environment for the wine to mature. The biggest of Vrbice’s cellars, U Jezírka, goes seven stories deep.
Know Before You Go
The coordinates listed are for the U Jezírka cellar.