The Vltava river became magical as the sun went down. We had escaped the crowded streets and cruised along the river at a leisurely pace. We sipped on Czech wines and took in the historical sights along the riverbanks. A Wine Boat cruise was the ideal way to begin our summer in Prague and introduce ourselves to this beautiful city.
The Wine Boat is the genius idea of Emma and Andrej, a charming young Czech couple who combined their skills to create an ideal way to see the city and learn about the local wines at the same time. Emma had the boat and has been cruising on the Vltava River for more than 5 years as a Prague Boats Captain. Andrej is an experienced Sommelier who designs a tasting of five wines from Bohemian and Moravian wine regions of the Czech Republic.
We met Emma and Andrej at their pontoon boat on the North bank of the river between the Čechův Bridge and the Štefánikův Bridge. We had scheduled a private cruise for our group of four friends at 8pm to take advantage of the setting sun. The tasting began with a Méthode Champenoise sparkling wine from Vinařství Pod Chlumem (Pod Chlumem Winery) in the Litoměřice wine growing sub-region of Bohemia.
The entire area of the river within Prague city is a no wake zone, so even though the river is full of tour boats they are all moving at a comfortable pace. We cruised along the historical city center, passing under the 14th century Charles Bridge. Throughout the cruise, Emma was our tour guide, pointing out landmarks and answering questions about the city. Of course, the Prague Castle was always there watching over us in the background.
The sparkling wine was followed by two more delicious white wines from the Znoimo and Mikulov sub-regions of Moravia. While tasting and talking about the wines, we traveled through the Čertovka canal, also called Devil’s Stream. This canal is often considered to be Prague’s Little Venice. It’s construction in the 12th century created Kampa Island.
Andre opened a dry Rosé from the Mělník sub-region of Bohemia around dusk, as sky changed to shades of peach and purple. It was the perfect transition from day to night. We were enjoying ourselves so much that we extended the cruise for an extra hour – an option available for an extra fee if they don’t have another cruise scheduled.
It was enchanting to see how the river and the city changed as night fell. By Kampa Island, a group of Yellow Penguins made of recycled plastic bottles marching next to the riverbank began to glow. It was getting dark by the time we made it to the last of the wines, a Pinot Noir from the Velké Pavlovice sub-region of Moravia.
By the end of the cruise, Andrej had provided us five great examples of high quality wine from the wine makers of the Czech Republic: a sparkling blanc noir in the style of Champagne, a fresh dry white of Gruner Ventliner, a delicious full bodied white blend of Palava and Reilsling, a dry rose made from Pinot Noir, and a rich peppery red made from Pinot Noir.
With the boat gently rocking and our heads slightly buzzing, we glided along the Vtlava with Prague lighting up the night like a fairy tale. It truly was an evening that we didn’t want to end.
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