Polámané: leading example for future winemaking

How can we embrace the landscape and the old mines of the Polámané brownfield to create a sustainable and thriving community area that enhances the identity of Kyjov? That question was the focus of the first PLUS Change co-creation session for the region South Moravia in the Czech Republic. 

South Moravia is part of PLUS Change for a reason: climate change is having an increasing impact on the land, people, animals, and plants living there. For the first co-creation session, the focus was on Polámané, a former lignite mine in the Kyjovsko region.

Why Polámané? 
This so-called brownfield, of which South Moravia has many more, is located just outside the town of Kyjov and covers an area of 4.5 hectares, slightly more than 6 football fields. However, a large part of the area is not used and is now a sizeable black dump up to 15 meters high. The area also includes a former shooting range, small parts of private land now covered with spoil, and a small vineyard. On the southwest side, there are attempts to rehabilitate the landfill by leveling it and partially planting greenery. A garden colony surrounds the area itself.

Vice mayor Čmelík stated that the Polámané site is still unused. For the future, the city has only theoretically considered two options: 

  • Construct a multifunctional hall
  • Create a multifunctional cultural space and sports ground

In the past the municipality organized community involvement by asking residents to respond to city plans already made for a piece of land. However, within the framework of PLUS Change in collaboration with JINAG, vice mayor Čmelík chose a different approach. The co-creation session was the first time the city invited people to collaboratively think about plans for a piece of land from the very beginning. Bottom-up, in other words. A good move, as several city residents mentioned afterward that they felt truly heard for the first time.

Together with partner Jinag, a South Moravian Agency for Public Innovation, a group of people was assembled consisting of international experts in climate adaptation, local people, architects, a student, and members of the local government. Together, they discussed the question: How can we embrace the landscape and the old mines of the Polámané brownfield to create a sustainable and thriving community area that enhances the identity of Kyjov?

Cultural identity

So, what exactly is the identity of Kyjov, a town with about 11,000 inhabitants? The participants quickly agreed on one aspect: it has a strong and unique regional cultural identity. Kyjov is thé site of the Slovácko folk festival. This festival has been held every four years since 1921, during which Kyjov hosts 20,000 visitors a day for four days. Traditions are passed on from generation to generation in authentic form, be it folk costumes, folk songs or ceremonies. A wide range of musicians and ensembles perform here, and there is also a rich menu of cultural events. Next to the festival, the historic town centre is well preserved and is protected by law as an urban monument zone.

Landscape identity 
Another aspect of the identity is formed by the landscape. Due to its terrain and warm and dry climate, the region is also well-known for its vineyards, and to a lesser extent for its orchards, which are unfortunately gradually disappearing. Green infrastructure is mainly represented by large woodland complexes in the north and south, some remnants of dry grasslands and the unique but quickly disappearing mosaic of smallholdings. Approximately 20 percent of the region is covered by protected areas in the form of NATURA 2000 sites, significant landscape elements or small protected areas.

Multifunctional amphitheatre
With the identity of Kyjov in mind the co-creation session took off at a slow start. At first, the ideas for Polámané aligned quite well with the theoretical options that the city had already considered. To combine future and tradition, de participants came up with an amphitheatre and ‘Creative Free Zone’. A large and energy self-sufficient amphitheatre in Polámané could be used for multiple purposes, has no noise pollution towards the town, and could accommodate large crowds. Next to that it could function as a creative meeting space where, for example, students could organize festivals and events, locals could organize workshops and nearby schools would use the auditorium space.

(Re)Wild Park

It is especially the Kyjov residents who would like green recreational spaces for all generations to come together and spend the day without travelling too far. They would like to turn Polámané into a cooperatively led community park with shared gardens, relax zones, picnic areas and a weekly market. A rewilded area with beekeepers, sheep and local wild horses and cows. The hill could be used for kids to play on: climbing, sliding and sledding. The maze of old mining tunnels could be used to connect Polámané to town and other nearby areas and could even be a fun tourist attraction. 

Sustainable energy
The two experts in renewable energy have somewhat more extreme ideas for Polámané. ‘Make it green, make it eco, make it minimum maintenance’, said one of them. And the other one: ‘Cover all Polámané with solar panels to supply Kyjov with sustainable energy and make the city energy self-sufficient.’ 


All these ideas ultimately lead to the question: where in this area is climate change most visible? This brings the conversation to wine. After all, the community identity is also defined by wine and winemaking. Climate change has caused problems with both production and storage. Crops are damaged by heat and sudden cold. And the temperature in the wine cellars, which used to be a steady 12 degrees Celsius, has risen to 17 degrees Celsius due to climate change. In order to preserve the wine, the cellars are now cooled by air conditioning. Not very sustainable indeed. 

Living lab
One of the participants suggests to create sales houses where wine farmers can organize wine tastings and sell their products. But most other participants are not interested in the idea to help the wine makers sell their products in Polámané – obviously there are no farmers at the table. 

Then what? How can you, for example, introduce modern high and low-tech technology into traditional winemaking? One of the participants mentions that some parts of the old mines contain a lot of cold water that could perfectly be used to cool the wine cellars. A brilliant low-tech solution.

A French wine expert adds that in France they have the same issues with crops being damaged by the heat. They are conducting experiments with placing solar panels over vineyards.

And so, during the session, the idea to create “a living lab for innovative local solutions in winemaking” was evolving. A place where research, workshops, and tastings for tourists and experimental vineyards are combined. By engaging local experts and winemakers, “Polámané Winery” could also become the regional knowledge hub for future-proof traditional winemaking. This idea, of Polámané becoming a leading example for sustainable future winemaking definitively energized the majority of the participants.

In the third and last round of the co-creation session, the participants were asked to merge all these ideas into one concrete plan. The participants state that the area is large enough to accommodate all of the main ideas: the amphitheater, the park and the living lab. By realizing these plans, Polámané can serve as an example for all the other brownfields in South Moravia, and maybe in the world. 

However, at the end of the session, the sentiment is somewhat skeptical: what will actually come of these plans? But vice mayor Čmelík is determined to organize a follow-up to this session, preferably with the same group of people and supplemented by other experts. And Jinag, the South Moravian Agency for Public Innovation, promises to closely monitor the developments. 

Made by Biobased Creations for Pluschange.eu. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No 101081464.