The international wine competition Vinoforum, which was founded by wine cognoscenti, Professor Fedor Malík of Slovakia and the former agriculture minister of Slovenia, Jože Protner, is organised in a different central European country every year. This year's edition - the 16th - took place between 5th-7th July in the Golden Pike hotel (Zlatá štika) in Pardubice under the patronage of the president of the Czech Republic. And as the director of the hotel and co-organiser of the competition, Oldrich Bujnoch, says: "It ties together wines, not only from the Czech and Slovak Republics, but also Slovenia, Croatia and Austria. Its aim is to elevate wine culture and to promote or deepen the production, business and social relationship among winemakers, merchants, sommeliers, journalists and individual consumers".
On the afternoon of Wednesday 4th July the international tasters began arriving in Pardubice not just from the Czech lands, Moravia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Austria and Croatia, but also from the Netherlands, Switzerland, Hungary, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Great Britain and Chile, who would form the specialised committees judging almost 700 samples from 24 countries from around the world during the following two days. The opening ceremony of Vinoforum 2007 was inaugurated by the mayor of Pardubice, Jaroslav Deml, on the day of the nation's patrons saints, Cyril and Methodius. During both days, eight committees of five members including a president sat in judgement over around 40 samples each. Marking was in the 100-point system as recognised by O.I.V. (Organisation de la Vigne et du Vin - the international organisation for vines and wine based in Paris) and the Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic. After lunch a social and cultural programme was organised, specially tailored for the local and foreign tasters and their escorts.
One of the excursions was the visit and tour of the château Kuks with its famous hospital, Count Sporck's crypt and one of the oldest pharmacies in Europe, together with a tasting of wines from the Czech (Bohemian) region, which was prepared by the Rudolfský clan. This family runs the castle's wine gallery and looks after the recently-planted Kuks vineyard, which forms part of the wonderful view to be had while walking along the front of the château, lined as it is with the statues of the renowned Matthias Braun. On subsequent days the visitors were able to sample the wines from the Vinoforum competition, either in the hotel or in the main square, where a merry programme was underway.
The climax of Vinoforum 2007 took place in Pardubice château, with the announcement of the seven champions from the six specific wine categories. These were as follows:
Champion in the category of dry white wines ex-aequo
Sauvignon Blanc 2006 New Zealand, Tesco Stores Ltd.
Pinot Gris 2006 late harvest, Slovakia, Mrva & Stanko
Champion in the category of other white wines
Pinot Gris 2005 ice wine, Czech Republic, Znovín Znojmo a.s.
Most successful wine in the category of rosé wines
Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 straw wine, Slovakia, Vitis Pezinok
Champion in the category of red wines
Alibernet 2006 late harvest, Slovakia, Mrva & Stanko
Most successful wine in the category of sparkling wines
Gourmet Bru 2000, Slovenia, Winery Istenic
Champion in the category of liqueur wines and wines matured under flor (veil)
Commandaria Alasia 1986, Cyprus, Loel Ltd.
Complete results from Vinoforum 2007 can be found on http://www.zlatastika.cz.
This was followed by the enthronement of 10 new members of the order Confrérie du Sabre d'Or (Brotherhood of the Golden Sabre), which brought to Pardubice a French delegation from the Champagne region: Philippe Brugnon from the eponymous champagne house in Rilly-la-Montagne along with Moďsette Lafeuille from Reims together with the ambassador of the order to the Czech Republic, Milan Prucha from the town of Franzenbad (Františkovy Lázne).
Finally the announcement that next year's edition of Vinoforum will take place in Slovenia.