South Moravian Winemaking Survey: 2010 - Masaryk University

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MASARYK UNIVERSITY

FACULTY OF SOCIAL ST
UDIES


Department of Sociology






Social Dynamics of Czech Vineyard Communities
after

Land Redistribution


Master’s Thesis



Josie L. Suská,
B.A.

UČO: 325518


Supervisor: Mgr. Benjamin Jeremiah Vail, Ph.D., M.Sc.


May 7, 2010

Brno, Czech Republic



2






















I hereby declare that this thesis I submit for assessment is entirely my own work and has not been
taken from the work of others

save to the extent that such work has been cited and acknowledged
within the text of my work.





Date:








Signature







3


TABLE OF
CONTENTS


1.
INTRODUCTION








6


2
. EMPIRICAL LITERATURE






9


2.1

Winemaking in the Social Sciences




9


2.2
Regional Collective Identities of Winemakers



11


2.3 Czech

Agricultural Land






12



2.3.1
Current Land Situation





13



2.3.2
Historical Land Processes in the Czech Republic

20


3
.
METHODOLOGICAL STRUCTURE





25


3.1
Grounded Th
eory







25


3.2
Limitations and Innovations





26


4.

REAEARCH METHODS







28


4.1

Participant Observation






28


4.2 Qualitative Interviews






29


4.3 Mail Survey







31


5.
FINDINGS









33


5.1 Participant Observation






33


5.2 Qualitative Interviews






36



5.2.1
Winemaking in Czech Republic: Old/New World

36



5.2.2
Formal Learning





37



5.2.3
Informal Learning





40



5.2.4
Vineyard Land






41



5.2.5
Related Changes





42

5.2.6
Identity







43

5.2.7
Summary






43


5.3 Mail Survey







45



5.3.1
The Vineyards






46



5.3.2
The Winemakers






49


6.
DISCUSSION








52

6.1 Overview of All Findings






53

6.1.1

Vineyard Land






53

6.1.2

Education and Generations




54

6.1.3

Identity and Skills





56


6.
2

Systems Theory







57


4


7.
CONCLUSION








62


REFERENCES








64


NAME INDEX








68


APPENDIX A:
Survey: Czech Mailed Version




70

APPENDIX B:
Survey: Original Pre
-
Translated English Version


74

APPENDIX C:
Interview Questions






78

APPENDIX D:
Map of Czech Wine Regions





80

APPENDIX E:
Images of Participant Observation: Winetasting Events

81
























5


ABSTRACT

Winemaking in the social sciences is a recent multi
-
disciplinary sub
-
field which has emerged in
the last 40 years to include contributors from anthropology and human geography. Sociologists
in the strict sense of the word have so far not played
a substanti
al

role. This
study, conducted to
fulfill a master’s thesis
,
attempts a foray into the sociology of winemaking

to answer the
question:
what effects of the agricultural de
-
collectivization process of the 1990s are found
among vineyar
d
-
owners in the Czech Republic?
A

mixed meth
od strategy

based on grounded
theory

was used to triangu
late the topics of education, informal communication
, as well as
generations.
Findings suggest that any
possible
generational gap is not prominent, and that

the
education of winemaking
is centered in
a secondary school, a university, and recently
-
created

civil organizations.

It

was

expected that due to a fragmented form of vineyard plots and
increased face
-
time with one’s winemaking neighbors, the
continued
acquisition of
winemaking
knowledge

would be
largely informal; this was unsupported by the findings. Interpreting the
findings with the use of Niklas Luhmann’s systems theory reveals how the development of civil
organizations has

played
an important role i
n the
community’s

adaptation to the reaching effects
of socialism.
















6


1.
INTRODUCTION

Last year, 2009, witnessed the twentieth

anniversary

of the collapse of the Central
-
Eastern
European Socialist regimes. News and media sources
released

summarie
s of milestones and
reports on “how far we’ve come”
.
In the meantime, a
cademic research has somewhat tapered off
conducting country
-
specific reports on the transition and privatization processes, and have started
creating grand culminations of eve
nts and theories, as well as literature reviews of all that which
was learned in

the 1990s (Rozelle and Swinnen

2004).
S
ince
so much

research has focused

primarily

on economic theories o
f the structural changes (Appel 2000; Bezemer

2000; Divila
and
Sokol
1994; Mertlík

1997), attention to the effects of the transition period on the lives of people
is now more relevant than ever.
While there have been studies on the more
micro level, fewer
studies
however
have highlighted
the
vast
structural changes as manif
ested in the micro dynamics
of social w
orlds (Appel 1995 and Verdery

1999).

In an attempt to add to the body of research
tying together the structural forces surrounding
post
-
socialist transitions and the actors affected,
this study examined how the distin
ct privatization process of the de
-
collectivization of
agricultural land in the Czech Republic affected new land
-
holders on how they communicate and
organize themselves regarding the knowledge of their agricultural production.

As a subset of agricultural a
ctivity, vi
ticu
lture, or wine production,

represents a more
complex process of the post
-
harvest transformation of the raw product, which is dependent on
both the knowledge and skills of the producer as well as the external geo
-
physical attributes
effecting the products


yield and quality. While v
ineyards represent a
very minor part

of t
he
Czech
agricultural land (barely .5 percent

of all agricultural land), they are a significant portion of
the permanent crop land. The tota
l permanent crops
make up

1.1 percent

(40,000 hectares
) of the
total agr
icu
ltural land (Eurostat

2008), and vines are planted on
an estimated

17,419
-

18,554

hectares (ha) of this
(
Vinařský Fond

2009a)
. This means
that roughly
45 percent of permanent
cropland is under vine. T
he number of
grape
vines in
the
Czech Republic is 1,428,218,
which is
second
only to
apples

(
Food and Agricultural Organization 2000)
.
Therefore
,

vineyards are
useful
to study as they represent a
prevalent

permanent form of cultivation, which
necessarily

entails
increased

dedication, not only towards learning and perfecting techniques of grape growing, but
also

for

t
he production process. It is an appropriate

and ideal agricultural sub
-
field in which to
study the formulation of knowledge and communica
tion
between community members.

7


A second reason for the
suitability

of winemakers for the study of communication and
knowledge is based on the uniqueness of this type of agricultural community. A

news article

in
late 2009
highlighted a study which
revealed tha
t South Moravians
,
people from
the dominant
winemaking region of the
13

Czech regions,
are markedly happier with their lives than the rest of
Czech Republic’s inhabitants (Velinger 2009). The journalist questioned the dean of Masaryk
University’s Faculty
of Social Studies,

from

where the study originated, Ladislav Rabušic

as to
possible connections between the vineyards, wine consumption, and this reported bliss. Rabušic
stated that

wine drink
ing was not a part of the study;

however he did note its role wi
thin society:
“wine production creates a special culture; there is also the fact that in those areas people have
deep social roots, another reason they are

happier than others” (Velinger

2009:2).

The significance
permanent agriculture

has

to a community can also be seen in one study
conducted a few years ago on the Mediterranean olive grove landscape. Olive groves, like
vineyards, were planted on the land long before the current cultivators even started to get dirt
under their nails.
In or
der t
o support the olive growth many centuries ago, the earth was altered to
create terraced steps to accommodate the necessary growing conditions. This serves as a
reminder to

present
-
day

inhabitants of the “strength of life in the Mediterranean and the
e
ndurance of the cultivators, who try hard for the earning of their daily bread” (Loumou and
Giourga 2003:88). The actual landscape has been shaped by
a

c
rop

which the people have no
choice but t
o welcome into their existence;
the sight of the groves is a n
atural monument to their
collective ancestries’ struggle and victory over the harsh terrain. These same comparisons can be
made for those living in vineyard regions. The view out the window is a constant reminder of
what ones grandparents left for them and

their future.

While it would be a far leap to actually assert a causal relationship between Moravian
wine and happiness, it is, however, accepted that wine production has been an integral part of
culture in this region for centuries. The National Wine Ce
ntre estimates the first vines took root
in the Moravian lands between the 9
th

and the 11
th

cent
uries (Vinařský Fond
2009
b
). The nature
of wine production has been, and continues,
changing

on a global scale. Wine making methods
and ideological sentiments t
owards wine are spl
it across, what many term

Old World
and
New

W
orld

paradigms
.
This binary is often conceived by consumers in terms of geography (New
World
wines
includes
those

from Nor
th and South America, Australia,
New Zealand, and South
Africa. Old World is predominately wine from Europe, but also North Africa or the Middle
8


East
). However
in the wine community

the distinction goes deeper: “the term

is used to describe
general differences in viticulture and winemak
ing philosophies between the Old World regions
where tradition and the role of terroir lead versus the New World where
science

and the role of
the winemaker are more often emphasized” (Wikipedia 2010)
.

As the
perspectives

among
winemakers shift, there can be telling signs of this within the culture of winemaking regions. An
extreme example is the worryingly high suicide rate in the Languedoc
-
Roussillon winegrowing
region in France (Thomas 2008). It has even compelled a reg
ional winegrowers’ action
comm
ittee (CRAV) to pressure the Fre
nch president, Nicolas Sarkozy, to help the winegrowers,
or else they pledge to take a more direct action approach.

As in France, wine
making in the Czech Republic may also be
undergoing
transfo
rmations, which could not only risk the jovialness of the South Moravian people, but also
alter the social landscape of the region.

Thus the primary subject of study will be wine
-
producers
in South Moravia
,
the
principal

wine
-
growing region in the Czech Republic
.

The overall aim is to
explore the dynamics of communication within communities, how and where knowl
edge of wine
-
making is learned, and how this might be influenced by the uniqueness of the vineyard
land
structure

as result of post
-
socialist redistribution policies.
In order to fulfill this aim, two goals
have been identified.

The first goal
is
to explore and uncover the nature of formal and informal
education

of winemaking in South Moravia
.

The e
ducation of
winemakers is a primary focus
,

as
research has shown this to

be a strong marker of the New/Old W
orld split among winemakers
(Ulin 2002).This

research question is two
-
fold: what role do educational institutions see
themselves in within society, and
is there

a set of

characteristics of their clients? As per the latter
question, it is expected that a generational difference will manifest in the form of higher interest
in formal training displayed by younger winemakers.


The second
goal

of this research is

to situate the manner of winemaking education
and
communication
within the
distinctive

context of the physical

Moravian

vineyard landscape.
Due
to the restitution procedures during the 1990s
which

de
-
collectivi
zed the state
-
operated

collective
farms, Czec
h individually
-
operated agriculture as currently practiced bears the distinctive stamp
of land fragmentation of many small parcels located in a patchwork fashion, interspersed with
those of other landowners. For
individual

farmers, the time spent working i
n the field is
therefore

not private, but is done in close proximity with other farmers. From casual experiences in one
Moravian
vineyard community, it has
been

observed that this physical proximity seems to
9


correspond with

a social organization which is m
ore
cooperative

in
terms of sharing
wine
production

techniques

than observed in, for example, France or New Zealand.
It seems that
p
roblems are solved and knowledge is shared within
a

local and informal social network.
It is
expected that because of the
fragm
ented and interspersed nature of
vineyard plots

resulting from

Czech Republic’s political history and land redistribution programs
, winemakers will
display

a
high level of informal information sharing regarding the techniques of winemaking.

Ultimately

this research
hopes to

provide a view into the social life of Czech winemakers
to understand how the country’s landscape, both physical and historical,
might contextualize the
social dynamics, and any related changes of this, found among winemakers.


2.
EMPIRICAL LITERATURE


2.1
Winemaking in the Social Sciences

When stepping out of the realm of the science and technology of winemaking, and into
the social sciences of wine research, the amount of empirical research falls away to a smattering
of publications bordering academia and “pop social science”. Within this
grey area,
anthropologists and
human
geographers dominate the social research of wine. Additionally, given
that many of the areas under vine are in non
-
English speaking regions, and studies are often
conducted by local researchers and published in the nati
ve language, the available information

is
at this point further limited. Nevertheless, the information gathered

here

provides a depth of
quality, which may be attributed to the
only somewhat
recent entrance of winemaking into social
science research and a
developing
fever for this niche shown by some
social scientists
.

The
following studies to be described are rare finds in the research surrounding winemaking.

One extensive case study in France has recently exposed one
of the s
ocial
changes which
winemakers

may face



a generational division of winem
aking practices and sentiments.
Robert
Ulin (2002)

revealed

the differences in winemaking education and training between generations
of winemakers in the Medoc
-
Dordogne regions
. Many older members (mid
-
40s and up
) of the
community didn’t attend any formal training and learned the trade from their parents or in
-
laws.
The younger members often enroll in one of the agricultural schools of higher education. Ulin
points out that this mirrors, or even contributes to, th
e division among winemakers. There are
those who adher
e to traditional techniques of Old World

production, and those who
favor

the
10


scientific perspective of the New World

in winemaking. Not surprisingly, it is the younger
generation espousing the merits of

a scientific approach. However, the picture is not so black and
white; there is still a common ground. Both generations reportedly see the significance of place,
or
terroir
, as paramount to learning the cra
ft (Ulin

2002). Students at the agricultural scho
ols say
that the obligatory internships are one of the most important components of learning. Ulin
concludes then, that the generational division isn’t so much across views of winemaking, but
rather across lifestyle preferences.

The wine
research in the f
ield of geography
had focused on the physical geography of
wine until recently.
For instance,
Dan Stanislawski’s 1970 book,
Landscapes of Bacchus: Vine in
Portugal
, was a relatively early sc
holarly work in this sub
-
field
, which aimed to provide a
cultural
and historical geography of Portugal’s wine regions. Yet
, according to one reviewer,

it
focused primarily on how the
physical

landscape of vineyards has “served man during the last
5000 years”, and not a relationshi
p of mutual exchange

involving cultural o
r social elements

(Sterling
1971:418).

Another text held in esteem by geogra
phers appeared in 1983 by H.J. D
e Blij,
Wine: A
Geographic Appreciation
, which continued to provide summations strictly of physical
geography, om
itting any human element (Unwin

1996). Noting these absences in
D
e Blij and
Stanislawski’s works, Tim Unwin (1996) published a thorough 440 page historical account of
winemaking. While the title identifies itself as a historical geography,
Wine and the Vine: An
Historical Geography of V
iticulture and the Wine Trade,
it is indeed much more. In the
beginning of the book, Unwin posits that in order to understand viticulture historically, currently,
and its growth, the relationship between people and place and the cultural identity that is
d
eveloped as a by
-
product of this interaction must be understood. Four contributing factors are
identified as influencing the position of wine in society: ideology, politics, economics and social
roles. Giddens’ structuration theory is used to frame this d
iscussion, and ultimately Unwin
concludes that while ideology was a dominating structural force keeping wine in a high and firm
position in society, in the last two centuries economics has come to display a stronger influence.


The last decade has witnessed the increase in wine related social science, admittedly
drifting towards a wider audience of general readers and risking the label of pop
social science.
Most recently, g
eographer Brian Sommers (2008) published
The Geography o
f Wine: How
Landscapes, Cultures, Terroir, and the Weather Make a good Drop
. This readable text focuses
11


mostly on the physical, but includes social aspects such as identity. Prior to this,
there
was Steve
Charter’s (2006)
Wine and Society: The Cultural and

Social Context of Drink
. Despite the title’s
focus on society, the book thematically resembles more of a marketing tutorial for those working
in the wine industry. This is perhaps explained by the author’s background in the business world
as a lawyer befo
re transitioning into a wine lecturer.

The last decade has also seen the explosion of the localism movement, and many texts on
local food
include a mention of winemaking, and cite the importance of the continuing presence
of
terroir

as vital to the image
of this consumable product. One

cultural

anthropologist

looking at
the localism movement
, Amy Trubek,
made

the observation that although
terroir

is a term
commonly used

in almost any type of winemaking discussion, people often use it with two
different meanings. For some,
terroir

is the influence of the land on the wine, and for others, it is
that of the land
and the people

on the wine. The author agrees with the latter
definition, “Terroir,
I think, is the notion that attempts to capture, in a sense, to bottle, this interaction between nature
and culture for those involved with wine“
(Trubek 2008:
62
).

I
n 2004,
g
eologists Jonathan P. Swinchatt and David G. Howell put for
th the poetically
titled
The Winemaker’s Dance: Exploring Terroir in the Napa Valley
. Despite its veneer
attracting the general reader (particularly those having first
-
hand experience of Napa Valley), this
book has real value as one of the first to positio
n the
winemaker

as a vital component in the
relationship between place and wine quality. In fact, the authors interviewed over 90 winemakers
in California in order to assert that it is the winemaker’s “observation, information, and intuition”
which meld to
gether to transmit the soil qualities onto the wine. “The involvement [of the
winemaker] is intense, fueled by information, passion, and the ability to integrate diverse modes
of knowing. Imagine for a moment the array of information that flows through ev
ery
winemaker’s life


analytical reports, technical data, conversations with vineyard managers and
winemaking assistants, sensory input from vineyard and winery, intuitive insights, opinions in the
media” (Swinchatt and Howell, 2004:3). It is with this re
quest, to imagine the wealth of
information contributing to the winemakers’ knowledge, which
this

present research will address.


2.2
Regional Collective Identities of Winemakers

Within the Czech Republic there are thirteen regions, or
kraj

in Czech; each is known to
their countrymen for some regional characteristic. None is as romanticized as South Moravia, the
12


region containing the four winemaking sub
-
regions. “The noble beverage, landscape interlaced
by vineyards, folk festivals and myste
rious atmospheres of wine cellars make South Moravia one
of the most attractive places in the Czech Republic” (
Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.

2009
b
:2).
While living in the country for the last two years I have had the position to be included in both
South Moravian winemaking social groups, and their counterpart in Bohemia. I have noted that in
Bohemia many inhabitants talk about the South Moravian pe
ople and region differently than the
rest of the country. One woman said, “Ah, I have visited that area, and I felt like I was in France
with all those hilly vineyards!” It is the landscape of the southern Czech region which solidifies a
collective identif
y of South Moravians, as constructed in the eyes of others.

However within the region, people are more likely to define themselves and their wine
making craft according to the four sub
-
regions. To explain why this is so, a comparison can be
made between C
zech and French vineyard communities, as the lat
t
er have been studied in the
social scienc
es most often
. These two locations are similar in the sense of having

a history of

many cooper
ative winemaking organizations.
Wine cooperatives began in France
during

the
1930s


40s (Ulin

2002), and in
the Czech Republic they became the
central

form of wine
production during
socialism; cooperatives continue to exist in both countries today
. The presence
of cooperatives in wine making entails a division of labor


the
vineyard workers (members who
lay claim to the land) and the wine
makers (
employees). This begets a separation of knowledge
and skills concerning the winemaking process, and a mutual dependency on the other. One
operating in a Marxist framework would specu
late this power dynamic might infringe upon the
level of connection between worker and his product, and thus in turn limit the formation of a
work identity around the product
. Research in France wine cooperatives

has shown this is not the
case. The members

retain ownership of the land, and this is a powerful source of instilling an
identity based on wine making. Also, the
cooperative

members reported they have a high level of
control over the wine making process through their daily work: “My informants, som
e of whom
had worked in industry, frequently cited control over the work process, ‘being their own boss’, as
one of the pleasures of being
a full
-
time wine
-
grower” (Ulin
2002: 696).


2.3
Czech Agricultural Land


In order to understand
the winemakers and their community, it is vital to turn our gaze
towards the unique physical environment of the Moravian vineyards, which have been shaped
13


and reshaped during the changing political regimes of the country. To do this, it

is necessary to
loo
k at agricultural land as a whole in the C
zech Republic
. While it is true that there
is

much
more
information
available
on the

current status and

historical transformation
s

of agricultural
land
in general

than on
vineyard

land, but there is a more important purpose to looking at
agricultural land in general. Namely
, even though

winemaking communities
are unique
among
other agricultural
sectors
,

the
structure
s

of the vineyard
plots

and the forces changing these have
affecte
d all agricultural land in general within the country.

Therefore

the information to follow
details the changes affecting Czech agricultural land in general.


2.3.1
Current Land Situation


Many people have had the experience of sitting on an airplane and witnessing
the aerial
view of a grand patch
-
work quilt of mismatched land parcels dedicated to different uses. This
view holds particular
ly strong if one is landing in a few of the

Central or Eastern European
countr
ies

(CEEC). The land patches of this quilt are much smaller
1
, and are more interspersed
with those of other land owners. While this
reflection

may be a flickering thought before landing,
it is nevertheless the result of
d
istinct

historical processes throughout the
twentieth

century in
CEECs, concluding with a big

bang after the end of communist rule
.
This
observation

was noted
with g
reat clarity by the Welsh
-
born s
oci
al a
nthropologist Chris Hann, who compared his
experie
nc
es with

English agricultural parcels to those in East and West Germany, Poland, and the
Ukraine. He discovered
while

working i
n Germany and travelling e
ast that the size of plots
changed suddenly across the
border
, and determined that

i
t is not a different ecology but a
different political history, in particular the experience of socialist collectivization…the puzzles
presented by the landscape can be solved only by a careful historical investigation of land tenure
systems.” (Hann 2003:
2
-
3)
Even though CEECs’

land patterns are as diverse as the cultures
, and

the focus
here is

on

the Czech land
transformation,

parallels will be drawn to other countries
which experienced

similar politically
-
determined land transformations.




1

According to calculations based on country level agricultural censuses gathered by the Food and Agricultural
Organization (FAO 2009), the average agricultural holding size (which includes vineyard land holdings) for 29
European countries is 31.2ha, and
of

these countries
, the average size for
the
12 post
-
socialist countries is 19ha per
holding. Becau
se of existing outliers median figures

may be more useful: 22ha per holding for European level data,
and 16ha for post
-
socialist country data. The range includ
es an

average of 1(Malta) to 94
(Sweden)

average hectares

per holding for all
-
Europe data and 3ha (both Romania and Croatia) to 64ha (Czech Republic) for post
-
socialist
country data.

14



At the moment,

the Czech Republic is characterized by a large number of land
-
holders,
many of whom own small parcels of land.

This may be difficult to see from a statistical point of
view
due to the unique form of land
-
holding patterns in the Czech Republic
.
Another
asp
ect that
further skews the picture is the lack of inclusion of sustenance farming in many statistics.
Eurostat has excellent figu
res, but only on holdings over one

European Size Unit (ESU). This
unit is an economic unit of at least a 1200 Eu
ro gross margin

(Eurostat 2009), which means many
small
-
scale
and sustenance
producers are

not included in their reports. Lastly, there are very few
aggregate data sources on land holdings of vineyards that provide the information needed for this
study. This was confirme
d by the director of the National Wine Centre, who stated that most of
this information is held at the village level, and not compiled at any higher level or made public.

To
fully

illustrate the misleading nature of statistics on Czech agriculture, more detail
must be given.
A recent publication
shows

that of the EU
-
25 member states, 46 percent of a
ll
agricultural holdings above one ESU are less than five

hectares. In the Czech Rep
ublic, only 33
percent of all holdings above
one

E
SU are less than five

hectares (Eurostat 2007:

34).
This could
indicate

one of

two things, (1) Czech land holdings are typically larger in size than other
European holdings in general, or (2) many of the Cz
ech holdings under five hectares do not gross
1
,
200 Euro to be

included in the data. Additional

Eurostat

data
supports this first option,
(
although this paper will detail why this is also misleading
)
.

According to Eurostat, th
e Czech
Republic
is

the number one country in terms of the average size of utilized agricultural area
(UAA) per holding (
there are
84 hectares per average holding

in the Czech Republic
, while the
EU
-
27 average is only 12 hectares per holding) (Eurostat 2008: 26).

Data from
the

United Nation’s

Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) somewhat
confirms the Eurostat conclusions. The data does not limit cases to those earning over 1,200
Euro, but

rather

includes all cases counted by
individual

countries


agricultural census coll
ection
standards (e.g. in the Czech Republic land is counted if it is over 1ha of farming, or over .15ha of
vineyards.) As stated about in the footnote
on
page 13
, calculations

from this data reveal that
European countries have a median

of 22ha per

agricultural

holding, while Czech land holders
have 64ha on average

(a ranking of fifth in the list of average holding size, behind Sweden,
Norway, Finland, and the United Kingdom)

(FAO 2009)
. Just like the Eurostat data, t
his would
lead one to believe th
at agricultural land
-
holders in the Czech Republic tend to have
significantly
bigger plots than Europe
ans

overall; the story however isn’t this clear.

15



Some light starts to be shed on why the Czech Republic appears to have
such
large

land
holdings when the numbers are disaggregated according to individual or commercial holdings. In
2005, the EU
-
27 countries had an average UAA
of 20 hectares
per commercial

holding
, and
in

comparison, the Czech Republic had an average commercial holding

of

132 hectares, second only
to Slovakia (143 ha), which shares a similar land history as
the
Czech Republic (Eurostat
2008:29). It can be seen here that most of the land acreage is not in the hands of the people, and
since the average agricultural area f
or all holders (commercial and individual) in the Czech
Republic is an average of 84 ha,
from which the commercial holders lay claim to a
disproportionately high amount of 132 ha

per holding
,
we can infer that individual owners have
much smaller plots.

Mor
eover, data from the Czech Chamber of Agriculture in 2001 confirm that
a very few large farms control the vast majority of land (Yakova 2007). Eighty percent of
agricultural land is on large farm
s (500ha
or more), and this represents only 7.5 percent o
f al
l
farms. All this data show

that aggregate statistics may give the impression that Czech farmers
have large land
parcels as compared
to

their European neighbors, however when broken down, it
can be seen that there are a very few large land owners controlling the bulk of the land.

Information
from the
FAO

confirms this and further illuminates
who these large land
holders are in the
Czech R
epublic. The World Programme for the Census of Agriculture gathers
data from other countries’ decennial agriculture census, while at the same time attempting to
unify concepts and units of measurement to make meaningful comparisons. The most recent
publica
tion with country level data was
based on the

2000

census
es
. It is here we discover that 95
percent of all agricultural land holdings in the Czech Republic

are held by civilians (FAO 2009
).
What is notable, however, is that these 95 percent are in control
of only a quarter of the
agricultural land. Nearly half of the

total agricultural

land is held by a few corporations (which
are less than 4 percent of the holders), and another quarter of the land is owned by

various
cooperatives (FAO 2009
).

While
it would

be useful to know how this disproportion of ownership
type and the amount of land owned compares to Europe overall, unfortunately data of this nature
is not available on an aggregate level. There are, however, a few countries
that

collected this data
on t
heir
census
,
and these include three
Mediterranean

countries, which don’t have a communist
history, and

thus

the land changes which went along with this political history
,

and six countries
with a socialist history.

Table 1

compares the land ownership proportions with those found in
Spain, Italy and Portugal
. These countries

have a similar proporti
on of individual land
-
holders as
16


does the

Czech Republic (between 96 and 98 percent), however they lay claim to much more of
the
total agricultural land area


54, 69, and 79 percent respectively. Also,

for purposes of general
comparisons, it was found that in the United States

90 percent of land
-
holders are civilians
,

who
oversee

two
-
thirds of the agricultural land (FAO 2009).




T
able 1
.

Land Ownership Types and the Area of Land Held

Mediterranean

Countries

Type of
Ownership

Percent of total

Holdings or Area

Czech

Spain

Italy

Portugal

Civilian

% of total holdings

95%

96%

98%

98%


% of total area

26%

54%

69%

79%

Corporation

%
of total holdings

4%

1%

1%

1%


% of total area

43%

8%

10%

17%

Cooperative

% of total holdings

1%

< 1%

< 1%

< 1%


% of total area

29%

1%

2%

2%

Government

% of total holdings

< 1%

1%

< 1%

< 1%


% of total area

1%

25%

18%

1%

Other

% of total holdings

<

1%

2%

< 1%

< 1%


% of total area

< 1%

12%

1%

1%

Source:
(
Food and Agricultural Organizati
on (FAO) of the United Nations 2009)
.




In comparison
with

Mediterranean

countries,
the
Czech Republic shows a low level of
land management by individuals
. Table

2 compares the Czech Republic to post
-
soviet countries
which have available data to show that
,

again, Czech farmers have a low level of control over the
land. A recent study on post
-
Soviet individual farming confirms this and calls collective farming
“res
ilient” despite
de
-
collectivization

(Sutherland 2009). According to Sutherland’s sources, it is
specifically the 12 Soviet republics
, excluding the Baltics and other Eastern Bloc countries,
which display the strongest collectivist

sentiments. Of these 12 p
revious republics
,
only
21
percent of land is

currently

under individual management. On the other hand, out of all CEECs, a
category which is unfortunately left undefined

in this study (
as the term can vary
)
, 66 percent of
agricultural land is held by indi
viduals. Czech Republic then, at 26 percent of individually held
land mass, aligns itself with countries of previously strong Soviet ties.



17






Table 2
. Land Ownership Types and the Area of Land Held



Post
-
Socialist Countries

Type of
Ownership

Lithuania

Croatia

Estonia

Romania

Czech

Latvia

Albania









Civilian

% of total holdings

99.8%

99.7%

98%

99.5%

95%

95%

99.9%

% of total area

87%

84%

76%

55%

26%

< 1%

< 1%

Corporation

% of total holdings

< 1%

.3%

---

---

4%

---

---

% of total area

9%

16%

---

---

43%

---

---

Cooperative

% of total holdings

< 1%

---

---

---

1%

---

---

% of total area

< 1%

---

---

---

29%

---

---

Government

% of total holdings

< 1%

---

---

--

< 1%

< 1%

---

% of total area

4%

---

---

---

1%

91%

---

Other

% of total holdings

---

---

2%

< 1%

< 1%

5%

---

% of total area

---

---

24%

45%

< 1%

9%

---

Public

% of total holdings

---

---

---




< 1%

% of total area

---

---

---




99.9%

Source:
(
Food and Agricultural Organizati
on (FAO) of the United Nations 2009).


The
information for the Czech Republic

in Tables 1 and 2 was gathered from 2000
census,

still however

a more recent study confirms that these figures remain the same, despite one
or two percentage po
int differences (Yakova 2007
). Ultimately
it

can
be
see
n

that

in the Czech
Republic
the

proportion of land individually owned is quite low
as
compared

to countries
lacking
a communist history and redistribution policies
, and similar to the style of land management of
those countries formerly part of the Soviet
Union
.
The Czech land which isn’t held by
individuals is reported to be

predominantly

in the hands of corporations
,

and
to a slightly lesser
extent in
cooperatives.
Thus the land has been
privatized
, but not entirely de
-
collectivized.


Specific information

on vineyards, as shown in Figure 1, concurs with the general
agricultural picture.
The orange bars represent the area of vineyard land, and it can be seen that
18


l
arge vineyard plots over five hectares on the far right of the image are held by v
ery few owne
rs,
the yellow bar. Conversely, most vineyard
owners

are grouped in the left of the image, many of
which hold plots of less than .1ha, and even more

owners have vineyards in
the .1
-
1ha range.
This shows the high level of sustenance or hobby vineyards, ofte
n missing from statistics. In fact,
even the FAO data based on the Czech agricultural census only counts vi
neyards over .15ha,
overlooking

a third of vineyard owners according to this figure

(FAO 2009)
.


Figure 1. Structure of Winemaking Businesses


(Legend: Yellow = Count [
Počet
] Orange = Area [
Plocha
])

(X axis: Categories of the Businesses)

(Y axis: Number of Businesses and their Area in Hectares).

Source:
(
Národní vinařské centrum

2009c).


The data thus shows the small size of land plots
owned by the people. The historical
information provided in the next section
will
account for

this, and it will also
explain the process
which led to one of the

most unique traits on the Czech landscape


the non
-
contiguous nature of
the small individually
-
owned land parcels.

Fragmentation of agricultural land is found in many
countries
, particularly those with a socialist past

(Hann 2003
;
Toresello

2003
)
. T
he ta
sk here is to
determine if parcel fragmentation of vineyards

in the Czech Republic

is more than usual. To
define

what is usual,

or set a benchmark of sorts, data from the FAO is available for a few
19


countries regarding how many separate parcel
s are held per

holding. Figure 2

shows

the number
of parcels on average an agricultural holding consists of in other European countries
.

Totaled
together, these six countries, chosen on the basis that they are the only European countries with
this type of available
data
, show 28

percent of agricultural holdings

are not fragmented and

have

only

1 parcel, 46 percent of holdings
show some fragmentation, with

a few

parcels

per holding
,
and
26 percent of holdings are very fragmented (
5 or 6, or more,
different parcels)
.
Data

for the
Czech Republic is unable to be located; however the information presented here provides us with
the knowledge that a holding with five or more parcels does indicate a higher level of
land
fragmentation, which is displayed by approximately 15
-
40 per
cent of land holders of the six
countries in figure 2.

Having five or more parcels

will
thus
be used

as a benchmark

during
the
analysis
of the

number of
vineyard
parcels

reported by a sample of Czech vineyard owners.


Figure 2
.
Fragmentation of Land


Percent of
Land
Holdings with
One
,
a Few
, or Many Parcels
2


Source: (
Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations

2009
).



2

Information on the table is based on all data available for European c
ountries
. H
owever
,

because the data are
gathered by individual countries’
census
es
, the parcel categories’ levels of measurement are sometimes incongruous.
For this reason, Norway and Ireland have categories of 1 parcel, 2
-
4 parcels, and 5 or more. The rem
aining countries
measured in terms of 1 parcel, 2
-
5, and 6 or more. The key is provided in the manner it is to create some cohesion,
not to construe the levels of measurement.

0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
80%
90%
100%
Norway
Ireland
Italy
Serbia
Portugal
Spain
Many Parcels (5/6 or more)
A Few Parcels (2-5/6)
One Parcel
20




The effects of fragmentation are
found in

the
daily
life of Czechs involved in
agriculture
.
Given this land pattern, a

family may have to drive to many different places surrounding their
village to access small strips of earth, only a stone’s throw from that of their neighbors. This
feature of agricultural practice may have both community and i
ndividual
-
level
effects

on the life
worlds of Czech farming
and vineyard
communities
, specifically regarding the prevalence of
informal communication.


2.3.2
Historical Land Processes in the Czech Republic


In the last 20 years,

a

considerable

amount

of the focus on Czech land patterns has been
on the restitution procedures during the 1990s for the de
-
collectivization of collective farms.
Much of the literature on this examines the neo
-
liberal theories of how the process was expected
to flow, and how
it actually came about (Bezemer 2002; Rozelle, Scott and Swinnen 2004;
Mer
tlík 1997; Appel 1995).
One point which many experts in this field can agree on was aptly
stated that “relations between productive systems and property during and after socialism ar
e
more complicated than is commonly supposed” (Hann 2003: 3).
Adding to these complicated
relations

is the
long history of politically driven land changes in these countries. T
he land
changes that took place during the transition period
did not come about
suddenly with the change
in political structure, but rather
continued

from

a series of events previously set in motion.

In a 1953
Journal of Farm Economics

report, it is stated that during the first
Czechoslovak Republic, early 1900s, many large agricultural estates were broken up and re
-
assigned to individual peasants in 2
-
5 ha parcels (Meissner 1953). This land pattern remained
throughout WWII, showing a h
igh level of individual ownership. After the war, land from the
exiled German and Hungarian residents was divided and further given to the people. A large
Communist campaign promoted small
-
scale farming and “the land would be owned only by
people who work
it” (Meissner 1953: 89), overtly discouraging land
-
holders in the city
from
renting to farmers. However within a few years, the Communist party began the collectivization
process under the guise of increased efficiency. Many of the new farmers who were rec
ently
given the German and Hungarian plots were declared unfit to meet the production goals of the
Five Year Plan. Thus began the inception of the Unified Agricultural Cooperatives (JZD


Jednotné Zemědělské Družstvo
). Slowly, or

even

rapidly in a few case
s, the cooperatives
21


advanced on the farmers’ rights,
passing through the four stages

from Type I (only slightly
cooperative) to Type IV JZD, the ultimate Russian model (Meissner 1953).
It has been said that
this process took place throughout the 1950s and
faced much resistance from the rural
agricultural population
, but by 1960 was
effectively
collectivized

(Toresello

2003
).


During the de
-
collectivization of farms after the dissolution of communism, again
increased productivity was given as the reason for
altering the land structure


this time however
in the cap
italist model (Bezemer 2002
). While neoliberal theories
espoused

a distinct model of
privatization, what happened in the
former Czechoslovakia

did not follow. Rather, the form,
function, and legal s
tatus of the collective farms changed, but many farmers remained operating
within a collective framework.
Davide Toresello
(2003) states that “one paradoxical result of
restitution has been that villagers today are readier to hold onto the cooperative, the transformed
heir to the socialist institution, than to support private farming”
(p.113).
He gives several reasons
for this

based on his field work in Slovakia:


First, since 1992 people have had to deal with their restituted land. The weakness of the
land market and the high fragmentation of plots make the sale of land a less than desirable
option. At the same time, because m
any
villagers

are not interested in farming or cannot
farm their plots, the cooperative remains the best solution for the management of these
assets. Second, the low degree of trust in non
-
village private enterprises contribute to
strengthening the coopera
tive as the preferred option, to which villagers resort in their
economic choices. Third, personal networks and trust link villagers to the cooperative
through the mediation of individuals who work for or
are members of the institution.
Villagers feel the
need to keep these networks active because they perceive the
importance of dealing with the cooperative in daily practices such as farming, gardening,
and raising animals. (Toresello 2003:113)


In other words,
because the cooperative was always embedded in the village, and merely
transformed to a private company, the residents felt their best option to manage land which they
had recently received was to rent it to the local cooperative. The low level of trust
Da
vide
Toresello
(2003)
speaks of was previously explained
by him
to have been a result of socialist
-
era
differences between public and private trust, and the failure to foster trust between people and
institutions
. Thus
despite all efforts to develop a private farming economy, the effects of
socialist
-
style management are far reaching and inhibit the type of farming
found in the West and
attempted to be developed in these countries.

In the Czech Republic, t
he restitution

law enacted in 1991
-
1992 had two different, but
both primary, goals. One was to somewhat ameliorate the sense of injustice felt by the people,
22


and the other was the more tangible goal, “to eliminate the distorting effects of state ownership”
(Divila and S
okol 1994: 51). This latter goal entailed two differe
nt scenarios
. Firstly, land that
had been confiscated during communism had to be given back to the original owners. The idea
behind this invoked Czechoslovakia’s pre
-
1948 tradition of primogeniture, whic
h allows
agricultural land to be passed down to the next generation within a family
(
Bezemer 2002
).
Achieving this first
task

was relatively simple, and most claims were addressed by 1998.
However, t
his concerned only 29 percent of all agricultural land. T
he remaining claims were
involved in the second, and more complicated, scenario. About 50 percent of the land had been
collectively managed before communism,

and even if the land had been individually owned but
belonged to a collective

(via renting)
,

the l
and
could not be, and
was not
,

given t
o individuals, but
remained in the

collective form of the JZDs.
The individuals became owner
-
members of
intangible shares which did not have a fixed location of parcels. T
he status of the JZDs was thus
transformed from public to
private
corporate entities (Bezemer 2002).

The in
dividual farmer members of the
new
ly

privat
iz
e
d

ZDs (they dropped the ‘J’ from
the name during this process) could keep their membership, and rent th
eir portion of the land to
the ZD, or they could opt out of the collective with a portion of the land and farm it themselves.
If a member

wanted their allotment of land, but
didn’t plan on using it for agricultural purposes
,

they had to wait seven years,
w
hile

renting it to the ZD

in the meantime

(Bezemer 2002
). The
choice between the three options (
to
keep the membership; opt out and farm a portion of land; or
opt out after seven years and use the land for other purposes) was not an easy choice for many to
make. During the collective JZDs of communism, members contributed with specialized tasks
and func
tions.
Therefor
e many farmers did not have the skills or knowledge to manage the land
themselves. Nor did they often have the tools, as the tractors and other expensive equipment was
still the property of the ZD. The idea of becoming independent from the Z
D was a very risky
pursuit.

The Czech state didn’t make this transition easier, as it tightly held the purse strings of
agricultural subsidies during the early 1990s. In 1995, the Minister of Agriculture admitted a
mistake in withholding so much, as many
farmers suffered on the ex
panded market (Bezemer
2002
). Even though more subsidies were given in 1995, they totaled to a modest amount, and in
1997 EU
countries on average
gave over 7 times as much per hectare as the Czech Republic.
23


Even the Slovak Republi
c, having recently split from the Czech land, had been giving over twice
as much per hectare throughout the 1990s (Bezem
e
r 2002
).

Another difficulty of the restitution law was the manner in which land from the ZD was
given to those who wanted out.
Informa
tion on the details of the Czech restitution process
doesn’t

seem to be available in English language publications. However, something can be learned from
the
similarly
-
structured

restitution process in Romania,
where

calculations of each member’s
contribu
tion

during socialism

(time and any donated resources)
were
used to determine the
proportion of land they were due. However, the collective was free to give back any

pieces

land
they pleased,
and not the
members’ original

land plot,
and it did not have to
be in one place
(Verdery 1999).

One theory for the small area of individual land holdings is that during the
restitution process, many land parcels were now the right of ancestors who lived in cities,
who

had little interest in reclaiming the land, and thu
s either rented or sold it the ZD organizations.
Also, it
has been

said that the Czech Republic historically didn’t have an agricultural focus, nor
appreciation of farming, as did other CEECs, and many were not interested in maintaining land
they were rece
ntly given. (Bezemer, 2000 and Divila et al., 1994).

Lastly,

additional

research in
Romania reveals that most of the recipients of the redistribution policies were elderly,
who

could
not manage the land, and whose family had no interest in taking the land

on
either (Cartwright
2003).

Personal conversations with members of a Czech vineyard community

during participant
observation

lead me to believe this
manner of distribution
was

also

the case in the Czech
Republic, as many of those independent of the ZD have multiple small plots spread around the
village perimeters. Some of these belonged to their ancestors and some to the collective for as
long as can be remembered.
Although, I have
been told by winemakers that the ZD often tried to
give back the exact plot you had, but many times it wasn’t possible. According to one older
winemaker, sometimes the purpose of the land had changed, and a member
received

a vineyard
when previously he had

had none on his land, or vice versa, someone could
receive

a barren plot
if the collective had removed the vines years back.

While it may not have been the intention, the result of the restitution law clearly favored
the continuation of
collective farmin
g. In 2002, 62 percent

of agricultural land was
still being
collect
ively managed (Bezemer 2002
).
The same is true in Slovakia, which had the same JZD
organizations during socialism; 60 percent of land is under control of the private ZDs (Torsello
24


2003).
Thi
s confirms the previously stated data which identified individuals as owning only a
quarter of the land.
T
he land has been privatized

according to the law
,
but
much of it into the
hands of the

ZDs or other c
ommercial bodies
.
3

It’s difficult to ascertain
from existing data
whether vineyards have had much more success being independently operated.
The results from
th
is research will show that

most
South Moravian vineyard owners
are family
-
based individual
ownership, yet they own a much lower proportion of
the land than private companies and
cooperatives.

As
can be seen
, there are ample studies
from a macro, and often economic, view
on the de
-
collectivization process of agricultural land in post
-
socialist states.
However,
there is one recent
study

which

link
s

the structural
forces with the agents, both those affected and those creating the
affects
.

This notable work,
conducted by Katherine Verdery

(1999),
studied

the lifeworlds of the
people
to illustrate policy changes
by focusing on the
implications of

restitution

in Romania
. The
substantive

focus was on
a public good, a
granary
, in one village. The privatization process gave
many people ownership of their previously
-
owned
agricultural
land, but due to a
paradoxical

legal
situation, they were still deepl
y tied to
the collective organization
. One individual,
one of
the rare few
not
a member of
the local agricultural organization, attempted to buy the
granary

in
an auction, and as a result of unfair play of the village auctioneers, illegally lost it to the
collective organization. Despite the obvious illegality, the courts ruled in the organization’s
favor
,
as it was in the greater good of the people for the
agricultural organization
to own it than
complete
privatization
. Verdery states:

[Property] is also
more than just the surrounding political economy; it entails complex
meanings, often revolving around ideas about labor, persons, community, and
kinship…Postsocialist property regimes will gradually develop from repeated interactions
between macrosystemic
fields of force and the meanings, behaviors, and values of the
people caught up in them. (p.65)


It is in this vein that the
currents
research hopes to follow, by examining the property regime of
the Czech Republic as
affecting

the behaviors of the people
on the receiving end of restituted
land.



3

In other CEECs, the continuation of
collective farming is less prevalent. The
percent of non
-
individually owned
land is as follows: Bulgaria 48%, Hungary 46%, Estonia 37%, Romania and Lithuania 33%, and Latvia 5%.
However, even higher than in the Czech Republic (62%) is the Slovak Republic, which still had 89% of agricultural
land u
nder non
-
indiv
idual control (Bezemer 2002
).

25


The significance of these changes in land
-
ownership is one wide in scope. On one hand,
there are the obvious difficulties of declaring independence from the ZDs and managing the land
on one’s own. On the other hand
, there is the less visible concern of what is happening to th
e
nature of traditional village communities

who once shared the commonality of their land.
These
concerns include questions like
: are the practices of the individuals who opted out of the ZD still
embedded within the community, or have they completely separated themselves as individual
land owners? Is it possible that when land was given in the non
-
contiguous manner that it creates

more face time between community members when working the land, and thus retains
community bonds?
While this research focuses on the latter question, t
hese are big
concerns

which have been coming to the surface as early as 1996 when Cepl and Gillis pointe
d out that,
“Norms evolve, but gradually. They do not change overnight. Laws can impose change on
political and economic systems, but you cannot legislate new attitudes” (p. 119). We may see the
physical
changes on the Czech landscape of its history, but t
he habits, traditions and values of the
people may or may not have changed with it.


3.
METHODOLOGICAL STRUCTURE



3.1
Grounded Theory


Given that the research topic
at hand
is a relatively recent
pursuit in the social sciences
and not many studies have been published, the approach taken here was mostly exploratory in
nature. Thus an inductive path was followed, starting with empirical research, and allowing the
analysis and findings to point to relevant theories to make sense
of

and frame t
he observations.

Grounded t
heory provided the

guiding structure and starting point when
designing

the research.
Particularly

of use
was

the text
Constructing Grounded Theory: a Practical Guide
through

Qualitative Analysis
(
Charmaz 2006).

Rather than accessing the ori
ginal 1967 text by the
theory’s
originators, Barney G. Glaser and Anselm L. Strauss, this recent text offered a cohesive
approach undeterred by the split that grew between adherents of Glaser or those of Strauss, and
the autho
r maintains that “my version of grounded theory returns to the classic statements of the
past century and reexamines them through a methodological lens of the present century”
(Charmaz 2006: xi).

26


The two research
questions
, (1) what is the role of formal/i
nformal winemaking education
and (2) how does this fit with the geographic specificity of the region, were approached with a
concurrent triangulation of methods. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used to
explore multiple facets of the subject
and gain as much insight as possible into this recently
emerging field. This mixed
-
method approach drew upon published national data, mail surveys,
in
-
depth interviews and participant observation. The published data

which was accessed

has been
used mostly to highlight the structure of the Czech agricultural land, which
,

serving as a back
drop
for the research questions
,

will not be detailed in this section but only cited where needed
elsewhere.


Grounded theory offers a set of guidelin
es to add some rigor to qualitative research
analysis and increase its acceptance into a field with a historically positivistic orientation. Kathy
Charmaz maintains t
hat although grounded theory is used

for mostly qualitative strategies, it is
also appropr
iate for quantitative methods as well. This made it an appropriate choice
to guide this
study. Also, a primary tenant of grounded theory is to analyze

incoming data

as the research
progresses, and to allow insights from early data
collection
(whether it
be

quantitative digits or
qualitative transcripts) to shape further data collection and analysis. This notion was closely
adhered to

during the research. The notes from an initial participant observation session were
coded to identify pertinent themes among
respondents, and these
topics

were
added

to the list of
interview q
uestions which would be used to guide semi
-
structured interviews. The transcripts of
these were also coded in turn, and information identified her was used to create a mail survey for
winem
akers. All the while, participant observation continued in different winemaking villages
building on information gained from various elements of the research.


The population o
f interest for all three methodological approaches

(survey, interviews,
and participant observation) was
winemakers in the four
South Moravia
n winemaking sub
-
regions, i.e. Velké

Pavlovice, Mikulov, Znojmo, and
Slovácko.

Because of the singularity of the
target population, the generalizations stemming from

the observations will be made with respect
only to

Czech winemaking communities (n
ote
, however,

that this does include winemaking in
Bohemia, which was not included in the sample, but went through similar structural changes as
Moravia and thus includes sh
ared characteristics in terms of geography and educational
opportunities
)
. On the other hand, in terms of possible future comparative research, it does seem
reasonable to extend any generalizations

made here

to other countries with a shared post
-
socialist
27


history that altered the physical landscape such that the result bears a pattern similar to that seen
in the Czech Republic (e.g.
Slovakia or
Romani
a
)
.


3.2
Limitations and Innovations


All research stages were completed
over

a period of four months, commencing mid
-
December 2009 and concluding mid
-
April 2010. Of course, the research design and preparation
began long before this period. Also, for full disclosure and reflexivity, it must be said that casual
observations in the S
outh Moravian winemaking community began much earlier, as early as late
2007
. The reason for this is that
the researcher, myself,
had newly forged family connections with
one winemaking family
, and my involvement with
this
one family in one village was the

root of
many early observations and questions, specifically regarding the geographic placement of
vineyards and the seemingly high level of informal communication about winemaking.
The status

of being a foreigner married to a Czech f
rom the winemaking com
munity had

helped me to gain
access to winemakers during participant observation,
particularly

as my
Czech partner

was
always present at these times to
assist

with the language
barrier
.


Having an outsider status was somewhat mitigated by the marital
status;

however
language was perceived to be
an

obstacle
.
As I speak only enough Czech to allow for pleasant
introductions and small talk (which at least provided a symbolic gesture of my long
-
term interest
in the community), an interpreter was always necessary, except during one interview, where the
respondent s
poke English.
D
uring participant observation and an interview

my
partner

acted as
the interpreter
. He also translated all written communication, including the survey and emails.
After the translation, t
he survey was also looked over by a colleague who stud
ies psychology and
who is familiar with survey language

in both Czech and English
, to ensure the meaning was
translated
accurately

into
the
survey
instrument
.

Although

selecting my
partner as the interpreter and translator

can be seen as

a choice

of
conve
nience
, the
pertinent

benefit was his familiarity
with

the research topic. He fully understood
the nature of the research so that
he could ask questions or direct the conversation to stay on
topic.
This last task, staying on topic,

was difficult at times, as most winemakers are so used to
talking

about the science of the wine that
the conversations often drifted towards t
his. I
t

sometimes required some effort
to direct the talk back to how they learn,
and

when they talk with
their n
eighbors
,

and so on.

28


Another slight difficulty was the nature of the locations of the
participa
nt observation.
Public wine tastings
are events where

people are busy socializing, and a little drunk, and thus did
not want to wait for
the interpreter

to
repo
rt

to me in English what they had just told him. Mostly,
I coached him on what to say to
the
winemakers,

then

the conversation ensued with minor
prompting on

my part, and immediately afterwards
everything
was translated and

notes

were
taken
. Many

of the early
informal
observations framing the research were gathered in one village,
Němčičky, where I had established some level of ‘
in
-
status’ from my

family ties and involvement
in village social life and winemaking events.

In terms of ethics, all co
mponents of research were conducted with full disclosure of the
research intent. During interviews, permission was requested and gained to record the
conversations. The mailed survey included a brief summary the research, and stated that all
responses were

confidential. The survey database does not include identification markers such as
name or address. Also, during participant observation, I briefly identified myself as a student
researching winemaking to everyone I
held
in
-
depth

conversations
with
. Also,
i
t must be noted
that gender in relation to winemaking communication and education was not part of the research.
While this could potentially be a useful addition, the number of respondents involved in the
research was not
of
sufficient
number
to
warrant

q
uestions relating to gender, as there were very
few women winemakers present at participant observation events. Although, this
fact
in
and of
itself does call for the future inclusion of gender into any similar study on winemaking
communities.


The abilit
y

to o
vercome

some of the limitations
will
ideally lead to

this studies’
primary
innovation
-

allowing an outsider
to witness and learn about such intimate social relations in the
traditional region of South Moravia. Further innovations will be the illumina
tion of the effects of
the structural forces of the restitution

policies

following the revolution
. As the dust has settled a
bit among the research conducted on the CEECs and their transition process, it is now time to
reveal
its

impacts

on the
lifeworlds

of the people.


4.
RESEARCH METHODS


4.1
Participant Observation

29



The first research strategy employed was observing and speaking with winemakers at
social community events. This was decided to be an apt beginning as it would provide a forum
for very
exploratory conversation
s

from which questions could be formed for later interviews and
surveys. To find these events, the national wine website was accessed, as it includes a listing of
wine
-
related events across the Czech Republic.
4

These range from wine
making and sommelier
seminars
,

to wine tasting
social
events combined with music and dance. This latter type of event
was chosen as the venue as it would attract winemakers who had their wine displayed
there
, and
who would be inclined to talk about their w
ine and their winery for the aim of self
-
promotion. As
stated above, I attended all events with an interpreter who was familiar with these types of event
s
and was thus able to keep me well
-
informed of insider information, e.g.

that winemakers

often

identif
y themselves
by wearing
a special label,
wine cork,
or even
a
unified
traditional dress of
cellar aprons. At times
these markers were

used as an indicator to approach them and ask them if
they make wine. When an event didn’t include any such indicators, I
simply spoke with people at
random at the tasting table until I found a winemaker. Once introductions had been made, I called
over my interpreter to manage the conve
rsation. None of the winemakers approached
spoke
enough English to enable the conversation
independently.


The first winetasting event took place in December 2009, and the last in April 2010. A
total of four winetastings were attended, all in different villages in the sub
-
region Velké
Pavlovice

(due to its

proximity

to Brno

and travel considerations).
As stated above in the
discussion on limitations, the language barrier was overcome by note
-
taking immediately
following the conversation held in Czech. I found the language difference actually
a benefit
, as
most winemakers see
med pleased with my attempts of Czech and by an
outsider’s

interest in their
winery. Approximately five to ten conversations were held per event.

The events ranged from
small (75 attendees) to large (approximately 300) and were always located in the villag
es


public
meeting space

(for images see Appendix E)
. Events typically started between 10:00 and 12:00
and lasted all day. I always arrived early in the afternoon to speak to as many as possible before
atten
dees became overly intoxicated, which made conver
sations possibly amusing, but difficult in
terms of clarity.


4.2
Qualitative Interviews



4

http://www.wineofczechrepublic.cz/8
-
3
-
kalendar
-
vinarskych
-
akci
-
cz.html


30



The second research component of
consist
ed

of qualitative interviews with representatives
of winemaking organizations

that offer
some type of formal education in South Moravia. The
selection criterion for the organizations chosen and contacted
was

based on a purposive sample of
highly visible groups. Considering the small size of the South Moravian region, only a few
formal educatio
nal organizations are in existence. This is the just
ification for a purposive sample
,

as the limited size allowed for
the identification of

key informants,
without resorting to a few
randomly selected for

representation. The
national website, maintained by

The National Wine
Centre (NVC),
organizes resources and lists notable groups i
n Czech winemaking. From all
South Moravian groups
listed on the NVC website (
in
2009), four organizations were identified
as providing

some type of

formal education:



Winery
Academy (in Valtice)



The National Wine Centre (NVC)

(in Valtice)



Horticulture Faculty at Mendel University (in Lednice)



Secondary school of Viticulture (in Valtice)

All organizations received an email in December 2009 in English and Czech requesting an
int
erview with a student of Masaryk Universities’ Sociology faculty, with an interpreter. The
research topic was specified as an exploratory study on the education of winemaking. By early
January 2010, the Winery Academy and the NVC had replied with o
ffers to

set an interview date;
b
oth interviews were completed
that month
.
No reply was
received

from the secondary school

of
viticulture

or
Mendel

U
niversity
’s

Horticulture Faculty.


The interview
s

were

semi
-
structured, consisting of nineteen
prepared
questions
(Appendix
C
), and loosely adhered to concerning wording and order of questions. Initial
questions focused on the general situation of winemaking in the Czech Republic, to serve as a
warm
-
up

and to provide some basic fact checking of information

p
reviously

g
athered in print on
the topic.
Q
uestions

to follow

targeted the nature of education provided

by their organization

and
the types of students attending. The respondent was asked to compare the situation now to that of
20 years ago, as well as his

observatio
ns on generational gaps. Q
uestions
were

also
asked
concerning their opinions on the types of informal learning which takes place among winemakers
outside of the
ir organization.


Analysis w
as also qualitative in nature.
Following grounded
theory,

the t
ranscripts

were
created

from the recordings (
and also translated fr
om Czech to English in one case)
and examined
31


for themes and codes were identified. These coded transcripts were then

compared between
respondents to search for similarities an
d unique perspectives
.
It was also hoped that the findings
would illuminate to what extent formal educators are involved with winemaking training in the
Czech Republic, and if

the nature of their participants followed the

general trend of a
generational sc
hism among winemakers across the globe. One

unexpected

advantage
was

that of
all the four possible respondents, the one who responded
first was the
ideal starting point, as he
manages
the

primary
winemaking civil
organization

(NVC)
,
which was
created to fa
cilitate
communication between Czech Republic’s wine
-
making groups of all types,
including both civil
organizations
and

governmental bodies.


4.3
Mail
Survey

A survey was included in the research design to provide information on characteristics of
vineyard plot size and history of land ownership, as well as information
on
how the winemakers
learned the trade and their plans for the future of the vineyard. The survey was
three pages long
,
24 questions,
incl
uded a note explaining the study, and a stamped return envelope.
The survey
was conceptua
lized in English (see Appendix
B
) and trans
lated into Czech (see Appendix A
) for
the mailed version.
One hundred surveys were mailed to a stratified random sample of South
Moravian vineyards. The population

for the survey sample was

South Moravian vineyards
registered with the National
Wine Centre
as

made
public on the national website
5
.

According to the National Wine Centre (NVC), there are 19,256 vineyard holdings in
South Moravia. However, the only list or database available that includes winemakers at a
regional level is
the one

maintained by the NVC, which keeps a list of vineyards across the
country, 490 of which are registered to be in South Moravia (as of February 2010). For this
reason, the survey sample is based on the population of the 490

vineyards

which
are
register
ed

with the NVC. Thus the respondents may bear characteristics uncommon to the population of
vine
yard owners

as a whole, such as increased embeddedness in the official winemaking
community, or greater internet connectivity, since this list is geared towards
online publication.
The
average vineyard size
of the sample will be compared to the average size of vineyards as a
whole

in South Moravia, to further illuminate any
limitations of
the sample
.




5

ht
tp://www.wineofczechrepublic.cz

32


The NVCs registered list of vineyards is separated into the fou
r
South Moravian
vineyard

regions (Znojmo, Mikulov, Slová
cko, and Velké

Pavlovice), and also those in Bohemia

(see