Winemaking and drinking in Poland started with the introduction of Christianity around the fourth century A D.
Vineyards were planted around Krakow in the south hugging the Karpat Mountains.
Eleven centuries later as the climate turned cold, many people switched to vodka and beer.
While Russians claim to have invented vodka, Polish researchers are adamant in claiming credit for its invention.
Vineyards existed up to World War II around Silesia, and Zielona Gora.
After 1990 with the economic “freedom” growth of the economy the population became more prosperous, drinking wine was made fashionable by newspaper articles, TV programs, word-of-mouth, and winery advertising. The government also encourage wine drinking perceiving it to be healthier than consuming vodka that contains much more alcohol.
Wine is perceived to be healthier alcoholic beverage than hard liquor.
Presently, most of the vineyards are located around Krakow ( latitude 50 north) close to Slovakia.
In Canada, Winnipeg lies on 50 latitude north, and as everyone knows, grapes do not grow in Manitoba.
In Poland, with Atlantic Ocean’s vicinity, and the climatic influence of the Gulf Stream, hardy hybrid grapes grow pending on conditions of the growing season.
In total approximately 1000 hectares are under vines, yielding approximately four million bottles, although most wineries are small family holdings; only four are relatively large.
There are tentatively five (unofficial) wine regions `Lubuskie (around Zielona gora), Dolny Slask, Malopolska, Podkarpacie, and Malopolski Przelow Wisly.
White grapes are preferred due to the cool climate, and are – jutrzenka (seyve villard x pinot blanc), frumaoasa, albae, kristaly, muskat letni, perta zali, prim, regina, V 64035, bianca, wostorg, Ontario, adalmiina, hibernal, johanniter, arkadia, la crescent, muskat odeski, prairie star, seyval blanc, serena, solaris, sibera, ortega, traminer, siegerrebe and traminer zeint.
Grape growers are still trying to determine the most suitable verities for their terroir.
For reds, the following are planted – medina, golubok, dolnaj, agni, cascade, frontenac, heridan, Leon-Millot, Marechal Foch, regent, sabrevois, zweigely, pinot noir precoce, wisznowy rannij, Swenson red, schyler, Victoria 5. V 68021, allwood, concord, fredonia, agat donski, ajwaz, alden linset, kodrianka, muskat bleu, and kryzownivowyj.
Polish wines are generally pale in colour, acid driven, and light to medium bodied. Most have to be chaptalized to achieve desirable alcohol levels, and should be consumed with food.
White grapes are more suitable for sparkling wine production due to their high acid content.
Global warming may help improve ripening, sugar content and colour.