Remembering Petr Nejedlík of Dobrá Vinice
💔 A dear friend, mentor and someone who deeply influenced my life: with the passing of Petr Nejedlík, we lost a God-gifted winemaker.
I first met Petr in February 2005. I was not even seventeen, studying at the local wine high school, and together with a bunch of my classmates we went to visit him in Dobrá Vinice in Znojmo. The visit, originally scheduled for 2 hours, turned into a two-day stay, and I had an epiphany. Nothing has influenced me more when it comes to wine than this encounter; a visit I will never forget.
It's hard to explain today, but the kind of work that I now consider as the ideal of wine, that we're currently focusing on, Petr was already doing back then. It was a complete revelation, as if his wines came from another galaxy. Not just the wines, but also Petr as a person. We were 17 years old and he was treating us as equals, not pushing any views or convictions on us, he just kept opening one fantastic bottle after another while constantly telling jokes and stories. I didn't understand, and I still quite don't, tbh, almost 20 years later. Petr was two decades ahead of his time, at least.
After a few years, when I started making wine myself, we became friends. For several vintages, I had the opportunity to swap our red grapes for his whites, but I never achieved the same flavour, elegance, and distinction as he could. I happened to visit his cellar maybe 20 times over the years (e.g. during the hot 2015 vintage when this blurry photo of us two was taken) and I was always speechless at the ease and grace with which the wines emerged under his hands. Petr Nejedlík knew what he wanted, didn't get distracted, had a clear vision of what his wine should look like, and was consistent about it.
I have experienced countless trips abroad with this and quite a few fun moments that I still remember, and always will. When I started dating Mira, my now wife, I took her to Peter's cellar. Andrea, Peter's wonderful wife, was there too. Mira was chewing gum during the tasting. Petr was amazed that my girlfriend wouldn't know this was a no-no in the cellar. He held out his palm, Mira spat the gum into it, and from then on they were friends. He was that kind of guy; these are the moments I associate with him. More than all our wine debates. He loved life. Maybe he didn't even know that he was indirectly showing this love to all of us who had the luck to call him a friend.
Petr had a tremendous feeling for wine. He put his positive energy into it, as well as into his relationships. Petr showed the way to many of us. He wasn't afraid of controversy and he wasn't afraid of humanity either. For me, this country didn't have a better winemaker. He will be missed.
I wondered if it was even appropriate to share such an emotional confession, but I had to, as a tribute to Peter. A thank you to a man and a winemaker who has been an essential part of my journey. As I believe he was for many others.
RIP Petr. For me, you were and will always be a winemaker gifted by God.