Rudolf Jelinek Brandy Factory in Vizovice
A must see and visit is the Rudolf Jelinek Brandy Factory in the town of Vizovice. This town lies in a valley and upon entering it looks much like you would expect from a grape-growing vineyard area much like in Italy or California. But this town doesn’t produce wine, instead plums are grown here, for this is the capital of Plum Brandy as first started in the late 1800’s. The brand is called Slivovitz (the Czech word for plums) and is famous around the world. Here you can go take a tour of the distillery, watch how Brandy and Whiskey are made, and taste a variety of flavored brandy you might not ever have imagined trying. I know because I tried several flavors since I was on an adventure.
As we drove onto the vast orchard grounds we stopped in the midst of acres of beautiful plum trees and plucked a few right off to taste! Sweet and delicious fresh blue-purple plums now made me curious as to how the brandy would taste.
Variety of Brandy Flavors
After a brief introduction film we were given shot glasses to try of the famous brandy. Whew! It was almost 100 degrees outside, so we were already hot and thirsty, but this isn’t something you want to chug down in the heat. Sips were just fine.
Gold Cock Whiskey
We were given a private tour of the Whiskey distillery and shown 100 lockers in a room that are held by private members of the Jelinek club. It is rumored that the 100th locker is owned by Vaclav Havel. There was a special story as to how the name of the whiskey came about but I will leave it to you to find out when you visit there.
Even the Jelinek production line is fascinating to watch
A Quiet Town Named Holesov
After we got our afternoon buzz we headed off to the town of Holesov which is on the boundary line of Hana and Wallachia, trade routes from medieval times. Stopping at Holesov Chateau (Castle) we viewed the expansive, yet peaceful and serene gardens of this ancient castle.
Around the corner from the Holesov Chateau is one of the oldest Jewish Orthodox Synagogue and Cemeteries. While other Jewish buildings in Holesov were destroyed during WWII this building stayed untouched due to what some believed was the Rabbi Shach influence.
We were there when a big tourist bus full of American Jewish people was there holding a service thus we were not allowed to enter until they left. But we were given a behind-the-scenes look at the room of the Rabbi complete with ancient Torahs and manuscripts. The ceiling had the original decorative painting on it still from the 16th century. Amazing!
The small church itself was a sight to behold with its ancient decorations on an arched entryway. Walking across the street to the cemetery we were amazed at how old some of the tombstones looked to be. It was hard to tell since most were written in the Czech language or in Hebrew. There are around 1500 graves here. This cemetery was built in the mid-15th century and survived through the holocaust despite the Nazi occupation and the killing of 253 Jews in this city alone. Rabbi Sach is entombed here. We didn't get photos as there was a ceremony taking place but it was amazing to see this piece of important history has been kept alive and is still used to this day.
Share the knowledge