As depressing as the harsh reality of climate change can be, there's always a silver lining somewhere, or you might say a burgundy one in this case. As the Polish climate has become increasingly mild with less frosts and shorter winters, the Polish wine industry has bloomed, with Małopolska emerging as Poland's wine country.
Tarnów, as it happens, is known as the 'Polish hotspot' ('Polski biegun ciepła') not simply because that was the best catchphrase the suits on the tourist board could come up with, but also because Tarnów has the warmest average temperature in Poland, the country's most sunny days, the longest summers and the least number of windy days. This is especially true of the Pogórze region just south of Tarnów, which possesses a microclimate ideal for the cultivation of grapes used for winemaking. Essentially the Polish Napa Valley, the region features some lovely countryside and enough vineyards offering tours and tastings to put together a nice ruddy road trip.
Although Poland isn't necessarily known for its wine yet, the Tarnów Tourist Bureau is working to change that and has initiated a campaign to coordinate the promotion of wine tourism in the area. The result is EnoTarnowskie, a growing association of like-minded vineyards and local producers, and it has recently been awarded the title of an official Polish tourist brand. They organise events like Tarnowskie Dionizje (showcasing small vineyards in the area) and Pleśńienski Bachus, a festival merrily celebrating local wine producers.
If you're an oenophile (or even know what that word means) we really do recommend hiring a car and heading south from Tarnów to discover the scenic countryside and some of the best wines Poland has to offer. The region is also full of cycling trails, and the new Enovelo initiative is paving the way for even more. The new routes created as well as upgrades to exisiting infrastructure connect nicely with the Eurovelo's international cycling network. If you've got the energy, time and inclination – what's stopping you?
Wineries Near Tarnów
Below we list four of the best wineries in close proximity to Tarnów, but there are actually up to a dozen small wineries all within 35km of each other, and Tarnów, with many more across Małopolska. For more info about enotourism in southern Poland, including a handy map of all the wineries in the area, visit enotarnowskie.pl (Polish-only). You can pick up a physical map of Małopolska wineries in person at the Tarnów Tourist Information Office and participating vineyards.
If you can't make it out of Tarnów, but still want to taste the best local wines available, try dining in Cristalino Kuchnia i Wino, which certainly boasts the city's best wine list.
Szczepanowice 215, Rzuchowa
(+48) 502 71 46 96 | winnica-zadora.pl
The closest winery to Tarnów, this rather excellent local winery produces red, rose and white dry wines and offers English-language tours, tastings and lectures on winemaking, plus presentations on how to be a true connoisseur - if you give them a heads-up that you're coming first (prices determined by phone). It's also just a few fields away from the Local Products Centre, also in Rzuchowa, which is a great place to stop and pick up locally-produced delicacies including wine, mead, honey, organic fruits and vegetables and more. Twelve kilometres from Tarnów, if you don't have a vehicle, you can take a 15min ride on bus 94 from the 'Sikorskiego' stop to 'Szczepanowice Tracze' (3.20zł). Open by prior arrangement.
ul. Wołowa 60A, Tuchów
(+48) 728 49 18 64 | winnicarodzinystecow.pl
Just a scenic 15min drive south of Tarnów, this picturesque family winery is perfectly placed between forests and mountains, creating a unique microclimate ideal for winemaking. Since 2013 the family has been racking up awards as it plays a major role in the popularisation of viticulture in Poland and its reputation abroad. Stec patriarch Rafał is President of the Polish Federation of Winemakers, and his wife Agnieszka, and their sons Michał and Bartosz, are all wine lovers and cultivators of the family business. Of the 20 hectare property, 4.5 hectares is planted with almost two dozen varieties of grapes, producing a wide range of various vintages. Two-hour guided tours of the vineyard and cultivation process are available in Polish and English, and free, or follow it up with a wine tasting for 30zł; simply call ahead to arrange your visit (2nd tel. 792 640 955). Open by prior arrangement.
Dąbrówka Szczepanowska 108
(+48) 534 030 430 | winnicadabrowka.pl
Started in 2010, this family winery has been racking up awards and diplomas ever since. Located just 12km from Tarnów, and very close to several other wineries (namely Janowice and Zadora), Dąbrówka Winery occupies south-facing slopes that feature outstanding panoramic views directly over the Dunajec River Valley and the Tatra Mountains in the distance. With its amazing location, availability and offer for tourists, Dąbrówka Winery won an award in 2019 as a 'Tourist Treasure of Małopolska.' The winery produces red, white and pink vintages, with perhaps the most popular being their red Regent and white Solaris wines. A tour and tasting (including some snacks) starts at 25zł per person, but for English you'd be best served by calling ahead (German also available in advance).
Open 16:00-21:00, Sat-Sun 09:00-21:00, or by prior arrangement.
(+48) 604 413 265 | winnicajanowice.pl
Certainly in the running for the most beautiful winery in Poland, this small, family-run vineyard is located on a picturesque south-west facing hillside overlooking the Dunajec River Gorge near Zakliczyn and Lusławice. From its gorgeous viewpoint you can see the Krzysztof Penderecki Centre for Music and also the Tatra Mountains in the distance, while on the other side of the hill is the handsome 19th century Janowice Palace, not to mention several other wineries in the near vicinity. 23km south from Tarnów (and just past Dąbrówka Winery), 2hr tours can be arranged for groups (4-20 people) in Polish, English, French and German, including a tasting of 5 wines (40zł/person). If you're really organised, you can rent out their hillside wooden chateau with its large gazebo, and explore the surrounding countryside at your leisure.
Open by prior arrangement.