we commemorate 100 years of currant wine from Devín.
In 1921, the merchant Alois Sonntag began to distribute the first "branded" currant wine, which became very popular.
Of course, Sonntag did not invent currant wine, people usually made wine at home from currants, apples, sour cherries and the like. However, he took advantage of the situation when the people of Devín after the creation of the Czechoslovak Republic lost a market for their currants, which they grew on Devínská kobyla..
In 2007, with the THEBENER brand, we revived the almost dead, now century-old tradition of the legendary Devín currant wine and we were happy to inspire other producers as well.
Read more about the history of viticulture and winemaking in Devín, which dates back to the 2nd century BC.
In the past, Devín was not only one of the "capitals of Great Moravia", but perhaps also the "capital" of winemaking in our region. Archaeological finds of wine vessels and tools for growing vines date back to the time of the Celts (2nd century BC). The most evidence of viticulture is from the period of Old Slavic settlement in the 9th-10th centuries, when the settlement was called Dowina.
In later times, Devín (today's Karlova Ves also belonged to the farm) was more important from the viewpoint of winemaking than the nearby Bratislava. This is how Devín has always been depicted in engravings and paintings - a small town with a castle and a church under the vast slopes of vineyards. At the beginning of the 20th century, the modern Devin winemaking tradition was added - currant wine. It is said that currants were planted in Devín on a larger scale after the late 19th century phylloxera (vine disease, plague) destroyed extensive vineyards throughout Europe. There were extensive fruit orchards in Devín, especially currants and apricots, which were transported daily by ship to Vienna until the collapse of Austria-Hungary in 1918, when the borders were closed. There was no one to buy the rich crop of currants, so the peasants left them to dry on the roots.
Until 1920 National treasure
In the past, viticulture was one of the main activities of the people of Devín, Devín wine was said to be exceptionally good and well-known, so in 1688 Emperor Leopold allowed it to be sold in barrels under a trademark. This was mainly due to the excellent natural conditions - very suitable subsoil and the ideal orientation of the slopes of Devínská Kobyla to the southwest. Such locations are considered, for example, in France or Germany, literally as a "national treasure", which they will not allow any "developers" to touch.
1920 - 1949 Mass production
In 1922, local resident Mr. Alois Sonntag founded a large-scale production of currant wine. He also had his own currant orchards, but he mainly bought currants from local growers, for whom it was again worthwhile to cultivate them. In Slovakia, he had dozens of customers - restaurants and pubs, he allegedly also exported currant wine abroad. In addition to currant wine, he also produced currant vermouth, which won a gold medal at an exhibition in Paris. Since then, the Devín currant has become a phenomenon known far and wide. Short memories of these times were written by Rudolfína Solíková, Alois Sonntag's granddaughter.
1938 - 1945 Decline of viticulture
Both world wars were a disaster for the vineyards, especially the period 1938-1945, when Devín belonged to the German Empire. The decline of viticulture also occurred here after the expulsion of the Germans in 1945, when only 22 of 859 Germans remained here.
1949 - 1989 Restoration of vineyardsThe partial restoration of viticulture took place only after 1949, when the Devín Agricultural Cooperative (JRD Karlová Ves – Devín) was established, but it can be said that with collectivization, the last local winemakers and winegrowers de facto died out. JRD took over the baton of Devin currant production and sold it in its stores in Karlová Ves and on Obchodna Street. These are certainly remembered mainly by STU students, who liked to go there to spend their free time between lectures. Currant wine had such a famous name at one time that one of the original labels was even designed by Ľudovít Fulla himself.
1989 - 2007 Production only for own consumptionSince the 1990s, the production of currant wine has declined (along with the decline of viticulture), a few people from Devín produced it only in small quantities for their own use.
2007 Devín association of winemakers and wineyarders
In order not to lose this tradition, we renewed the production of Devín currant wine in 2007 in cooperation with Mr. Otto Zmelík, who has been making it for many years.
Symbolically, on the feast of St. Urban, the Devín Association of Winemakers and Vineyarders was founded in 2007. The members of the association set themselves the goal of restoring the winemaking and viticultural traditions in the region. Their intention is to save and revive the vineyards and wine cellars in Devín, to make Devín visible and to preserve it as a wine town. One of the first successes was the inclusion of Devín in the Small Carpathian Wine Route, documenting and making available the history of viticulture in Devín.
2007 - ... We continue the 100-year tradition
Our dry and semi-dry wines, as well as the unique barrique wine made from black currants, have won several prestigious international awards. We have also enriched the offer of our products with syrups and jams.