Meet: Petr Dolezal Sommelier

Petr Doležal during a visit to the cult place of world viticulture at the famous Romanée Conti vineyard

Petr Doležal encounters great world wines in his practice almost daily.

The number of guided tastings, which Petr Doležal accompanies with a selection of wines and an accompanying word, is in the thousands.

Petr Doležal is a pioneer of the so-called "Czech sommelier school" and thousands of students from all over the Czech Republic went through his sommelier courses and competitions.

Petr Doležal on his "gran cru" vineyard in Smrkový Týnec

With a backpack and a notebook on his wanderings for wine.

The lexicon of Czech viticulture and its two sequels dedicated to Moravian viticulture are the most extensive wine publications ever published in the Czech Republic.

Petr Doležal is the author of two audiovisual wine editions: Admirable World of Wines and Wine France with Petr Doležal.

The vineyard in Smrkový Týnec is truly a place where many visitors leave their hearts.

Pather Noster's "grand vin petit pays" by Petr Doležal is an extraordinary experience. His company at the table is the arrival of a mysterious beauty, its opening with the thorn of a wild rose in its heart, its drinking with the kiss of hope on his lips and the birth of a beautiful dream of his own bliss.

Petr Doležal's relationship to viticulture work and later also to wine was built by working on his grandfather's vineyards on the border of Slovakia and Hungary. He farmed 20 hectares of vineyards (some in the Tokaj wine region) and was the best and strictest teacher. At that time, no one knew that little Peter would be the one with whom his grandfather's efforts would have a significant effect in the future.

... I clearly remember that my grandfather did not bring anything to drink in the vineyard but a demijohn of his wine ...


When digging endless rows of vines, it would not have occurred to him that it would be he who would carry the family tradition further and more, elevate it and be allowed to visit foreign countries and see hundreds of cellars across Europe. But let's start from the beginning. 

When deciding where to go to primary school, a fishing school was considered, because Petr was an avid fisherman. But later he decided not to study himself for reasons (today we could write idealistic), mistreatment of fish. And so the gastronomy that the newly born rocker (the peak of the rock era in the world) had a special interest won. Of course, he met wines many times during his studies and especially remembers one experience.

... once hunters from France came to the hotel and, with the help of our disciples, they gave everyone a bottle of red wine from Burgundy. I remember how respectfully I looked at it and how reluctant it was to open it at home ...

The real turning point came later, when running his own restaurant. Petr Doležal was one of the first private entrepreneurs in the Czech Republic. He opened his restaurant on June 13, 1990. Because his previous experience gave him a lot of experience with foreign clients, he built his company on "high" gastronomy and as it turned out, the choice was definitely the right one.

... I remember that at one time more ministers, deputies and artists came to us than guests from our city came ...

The CEO of Komerční banka even came in person to celebrate the loan repayment at his bank and admitted that he did not believe in it too much. Because Petr Doležal's restaurant was located in a small town near Hradec Králové.

Of course, all these customers drank wine, so it didn't take long and a special drink list was born. Guests could choose from a selection of wines from dozens of European countries. And among them, of course, France dominated. Here he first became acquainted with great French wines when they were included in a specialized drink list. The menu also included wines of the highest classifications, which were sold for tens of thousands.

... when they brought them in, I clearly remember that I had the feeling of special respect and a kind of regret to sell the beautiful wines to someone at all ...

Viticulture has become a hobby and Petr Doležal is slowly becoming known for his interest among winemakers at home and abroad. As he gathered, compiled information, sifted through wines and bought them, interest in viticulture slowly grew into an obsession. The auction at Brno's Vinex became legendary when his little daughter Markétka auctioned, at the age of six, an archive wine from the year 1956.


... I have no illusion that Margaret knew what it was. But it was written about in many newspapers, so the advertisement fully replaced the 6,500 CZK that I paid for the wine ...

Petr Doležal started his successful career as an external teacher at the hotel school in Chrudim, with the participation of the master of Czech gastronomy Gustav Salač (he was his class teacher and later maintained a rare friendship) and went, with lectures and courses, literally the whole country. It was just a jump from teaching to writing his first wine book. And here, of course, he devoted himself to wine-growing France.


... I clearly remember carrying the whole book into my printer's bag. Page by page the typewriter was typed by hand from lead letters. I haven't seen anything like it since ...

The first part of the European wines in the conditions of Czech gastronomy was published in 1992 and became one of the first books devoted in detail to French viticulture. Petr Doležal further improved it with the stated pronunciation of all French names in the text, advice on how to penetrate the psychology of the customer or a test of readers' knowledge of interesting prices.


... it was pioneering times and books were published and sold at a cost we can only dream of today ...

The European Wines edition quickly found a large readership, continued and was also behind Petr Doležal's internship in the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer wine region and later friendship with Joachim Binz, executive president of the world's largest ProWine wine festival in Düsseldorf). He called Petr Doležal's book on German viticulture the best foreign publication devoted to the topic of German wines.


.. by the way, when we are with those presidents, the Czech one was the author of the introductory words in my Lexicon of Moravian viticulture ...

He served and recommended wines to ministers, state visits or artists, moved among Prague experts, organized sommelier competitions for Czech and Slovak gastronomic education and established his Academy of Sommelier, became an accredited sommelier in the program of the Ministry of Education and received a trademark for his Academy .

... I remember how much it cost to arouse the interest in wines among students from neglected integrated schools. Some of them, just before the final exams, did not even know what aperitifs are used in gastronomy ...

It was this effort that brought Petr Doležal to the French embassy. Here he not only gained the background to support his activities, but also met the Ambassador of France, who later visited his Academy on the occasion of the grand opening of the Exposition of French Viticulture.


.. I remember that the regional newspapers published a sentence in the text ... in the exposition we also exhibit, among other things, wine worth one million crowns. The next day, the television caught on, but even this "journalistic duck" did not discourage them from filming

A turning point in his "wine understanding" was several years of work on the Lexicons, during which he traveled through the Czech and Moravian wine-growing regions, villages, vineyards, book archives and visited more than one cellar and got to know many winemakers.


... I remember that it was quite a shock, after all those visits to renowned foreign wineries, many tastings of the best that "at least from France or Germany" can be tasted, to join the "poor" Czech winemakers


Czech winemakers and their brave struggle for the interest of Petr Doležal's customers were very significantly influenced. The originally intended smaller book became a representative publication. On the occasion of its ceremonial launch, the Festival of Czech Viticulture and the baptism, which was undertaken by the Minister of Agriculture, took place at the National Wine Bank.


... I was most moved by the Lexicon at the time when the old wine masters thanked me for allowing me to introduce their wines to the Minister of Agriculture, which they considered to be the peak of their wine career ...


The elite of Czech viticulture met at the baptism and the Lexikon thus began its triumphant journey to its readers. And the interest in the book was strong. The book was talked about on television, radio, and its sales made it one of the best-selling "big" publications in the year of its publication. Later, Petr Doležal wrote two more sequels, which he dedicated to wine-growing Moravia, and despite the "tricks" with the editorial staff of Vinařský obzor, these are the most extensive wine-growing publications that were dedicated to Moravian and Czech winemakers and their wines in the 20th century.

... when we were in Italy, where I was gathering material for publications on Italian viticulture, one of the wine directors took me on as a guide. When asked how much is the "unknown" Czech wine region, I answered 400 and he stated with respect. "Four hundred thousand hectares, that's right" ...


Petr Doležal is currently working on his next project, which is his vineyard in the foothills of the Iron Mountains in the small village of Smrkový Týnec. And it wouldn't be him if he didn't add something extra again. The vineyard in Smrkový Týnec has become, in a short time, a popular place for hundreds of tourists and visitors. Petr Doležal is behind the preparation of the organization of many "traditional" wine events, which enjoy special interest (Burčák festivities, Lavender Day, wine tasting, examples of the traditions of medieval Czech viticulture). At the last mentioned event, he cooperates with the Department of Culture of the town of Chrudim.


... when my grandfather and I had to go to the vineyard, it never occurred to me that one day I would have my own. And I will bring hundreds of tons of fine sand into it so that it is as similar as possible to the one on which we spent our school holidays ...



It was obvious that the moment when Petr Doležal started producing his own wine was only a matter of time. And it wouldn't be him not to go against the flow again. The wine is pampered and lovingly treated without interfering with its development. No chemicals are used in the production and the vineyard is run in the same "primitive" style. And the result of his efforts is his "wine of wines"....


... there were also times when we thought I understood French wines and he even let himself be referred to in the press and on television as their expert. But I remember that one French winemaker led me out of this delusion with the phrase "understanding France means having French blood in your heart and veins" ...

Pater Noster is a great wine, an extraordinary wine, an inimitable wine and also a very expensive wine. Behind everything is the personality of its creator and the wine has an excellent perspective. It is proof that love "not only carries the mountains" and so we are at the birth of a big brand that will return the Czech wine region's deserved interest and respect.


... the time is not far when Pater Noster will become an icon of European viticulture and people will have the same respect for it as I once did for French wines. I wish everyone that uplifting feeling to experience ...


 Great wines have the same fate as great people, as Petr Doležal often says with popularity and enthusiasm when he presents rare foreign and domestic wines to the public. There is no doubt that Pater Noster will become that "grand vin petit pays.


..man is happy according to how unfulfillable he sets his own goals in life ...