The town of Levice covers 61 square kilometres. However, no one can probably count how many secret passages and cellars are in Levice underground. One of such spots is almost directly on the Heroes’ Square in the town centre.
When visitors carefully descend via steep stairs, they immediately know where they are. The smell of wine and wine yeasts gently tickles the nose. Today, the cellar is stylishly illuminated so that visitors can fully enjoy the view of the period stone walls and vinicultural tools.
Heavy wooden barrels, presses, mills, baskets for straining pressed grapes, iron scissors and many other tools remind us how hard it is to change grapes into wine.
At present, it is possible to arrange a tour of Levice Town Cellars with a professional guide commentary. It is also possible to visit them as a part of traditional cultural-gastronomic programmes or wine tastings.
When visitors come out after spending time in the town cellars’ premises again, they are disorientated for a while. The thing is, time in the underground passes differently, as it is a time of centuries of vinicultural work and a time of wine.
Víno Svetík. Wine Archive and a Secret Cellar in the Centre of Levice
If you are a lover of natural, unfiltered wines, maybe you know Víno Svetík. If not, let me introduce you.
You can find Víno Svetík in Levice on Bátovská cesta street. Unexpectedly, only few meters away from the Levice Polyclinics, behind a small door, there is a spacious and deep cellar carved in stone. It is not just a cellar, it is also wine archive, with more than 40 samples of wine of traditional local varieties since 1992.
“Around fifteen years ago, a thing happened in our region – almost all winemakers became infatuated with new technologies and took against traditional, old handicraft procedures. Their wines suddenly became intense, fruity, but all had to be drunk fast. They didn’t mature over time and told nothing about the quality of given years. In our winery, however, we wanted to observe how “slow wines! behave over time, we wanted to discover the character of the individual years, so we had to create our own archive full of traditional regional varieties such as Blaufränkisch, Alibernet, Grüner Veltliner or Pinot Blanc”, Ján Svetík told us.
Visiting the Cellar
The cellar is a world of its own. It has its own unique micro-climate consisting of darkness, humidity, stable temperature and time. Wine yeasts smell in the air and wine matures in barrels. The Svetík cellar is extensive, surprised visitors discover room after room. In the light of a headlamp, they slowly move through the corridors as on an adventurous expedition. Bottles full of wine rest in niches and wait for their time. They are in no rush and visitors shouldn’t be either.
The visit of the Svetík cellar is an excellent idea for visitors with a sense of romance and adventure. One should prepare for adventure not only mentally, but also by proper clothing – firm shoes and warm clothes. After a while, the visitors forget that they are in a town in the 21st century. As if they moved through space-time to a completely different dimension with a different, wine reality. In the flickering light they inadvertently lower their voices and smell the aroma of wine from a glass through the nose. They first familiarize themselves with it through smell and slowly proceed to take the first sip.
Tasting in this unique environment is different from the somewhat rushed wine tours. The wines don’t compete, they complement each other, as the guide explains. Drinking glasses cheerfully glitter in hands, blood starts flowing faster and even speech is more dynamic and more cheerful. The host willingly answers all curious questions. Time flows, but you have no idea how fast.
The variety is the mother of wine,
the soil is its father
and the year its destiny.
The price for the mystical atmosphere is subjective discomfort, therefore we recommend the visit of the cellar to visitors looking for unusual experiences. If you suffer from claustrophobia or anxiety, you should rather taste the wines produced by Víno Svetlík in the nearby Rotunda in the Levice Castle. If you have no conditions, don’t miss the opportunity during your visit of Levice and enter the mysterious space-time and breath in the atmosphere of the living cellar. An unforgettable experience and quality wine await you.