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Hernyák Birtok
Kathy Sullivan

Hernyák BirtokSummary: Hernyák, a family winery outside of Budapest in the Etyek wine region, offers a delightful and relaxing atmosphere. In addition to the wine tasting area housed in an old home, the winery has a large greenhouse where numerous events take place.

Hernyák BirtokWe met the owners of Hernyák, Valéria and László Hernyák to learn their story. They are a friendly, congenial couple originally from the former Yugoslavia. When the Hernyáks first arrived in the Etyek region, they discovered an old cellar that they decided to purchase. The cellar had been abandoned and forgotten. They renovated the cellar and sold it for a profit. In 1993 Valéria and László founded the Hernyák winery. The first Hernyák vintage was in 1997. Eventually, the Hernyáks repurposed the house into a tasting room and retail shop. They told us that they wanted to, “Let the world know we exist. We want to open doors and receive guests.”

The couple believes that the winery helps to build up the region. They noted that in the early 1990s, Etyek was not a well-known wine region. Production has increased at Hernyák and last year they needed to hire another person; they now have three people to do everything from the vineyards to the bottling.

Originally, the Hernyáks began by making and pálinka, a brandy. To produce the pálinka, they collected grape must from the region. Eventually they began producing wine. Today Hernyák winery is producing 20,000 to 25,000 bottles of wine and 5,000 bottles of sparkling wine. The pálinka production is a few thousand; deliberately keeping the pálinka productions small so they they can age it. Today the focus is on the Hernyák wines; however, the home next door is currently under renovation and will be used for pálinka production.

Hernyák BirtokTasting Room

The Hernyák tasting room has glass topped tables with comfortable cushioned chairs for wine tastings. Just outside the tasting room there is a large patio, also used for wine tastings, a delightful setting for wine tastings on warm days. The patio overlooks a large greenhouse and the surrounding distant countryside.

In the tasting room near the entrance, there is large art easel that is about 100 years old. Numerous paintings are throughout the tasting room. A selection of wine-related items are also available including locally made wine-infused chocolate bars.

A large metal bell, with László Hernyák inscribed on it, is one of the focal points of the winery. Valéria is a trained goldsmith and a small case showcases her work available for purchase.

In addition to the winery and tasting room, the Hernyáks have added a large greenhouse. They added the greenhouse to the property for the purpose of growing herbs for producing infused brandies. When we stopped at the greenhouse, László carefully checked the seedling herbs that had just sprouted. In the center of the greenhouse a large open space is available for special events.

Hernyák BirtokVineyards

The vineyards are adjacent to the tasting room, winery and greenhouse property. Grape varieties in the vineyard include: Pinto Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Grüner Veltliner. During our March visit, the vines were just beginning to spring forth buds.

Hernyák Wine Tasting

We enjoyed tasting four Hernyák wines with the Hernyáks and Gabriella Gónusz, one of the owners of Wine a’More Travel. The wine tasting was accompanied by a selection of Hungarian cheeses. The cheese types included smoky, cheese with pepper aged for six months, a second smoked cheese and an “old” cheese. We paired the cheese with the wines.

Hernyák BirtokThe first wine we tasted was the 2018 Sauvignon Blanc that had just been bottled. The wine had 12% alcohol. This wine was a light yellow color. The aroma was of tropical fruits and citrus. The taste was of papaya, grapefruit and lemon. The finish was crisp and fruity.

The 2017 Chardonnay was produced in small Hungarian oak barrels for eight months. The wine had 13.5% alcohol. The light yellow colored wine offered an aroma of pear and apple. The mouthfeel was silky. The taste had pear and apple notes. The finish was crisp and fruity. The back label reads: “Ideal for those deep and meaningful conversations.”

Hernyák BirtokThe 2015 Altberg was a blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The wine had 15% alcohol. The wine was aged in oak for one year and in the bottle for one year. The wine had a yellow color with a gold hue. This full-bodied wine offered notes of apple, pear and melon. The finish was fruity and the wine had a long aftertaste.

The 2016 Pinot Noir had 13.5% alcohol. The wine was a translucent ruby color. The aroma was of red cherry and raspberry. The mouthfeel was smooth. The medium/full-bodied wine had red raspberry, red cherry and baking spices with mild tannins. The finish had fruit yielding to spices. This wine was paired with chocolate with lavender, making it a nice pairing.

Located about 45 minutes outside of Budapest, Hernyák winery is a lovely day trip to enjoy on a warm, sunny day. The winery is at the beginning of a wine cellar row. Wine travelers should check ahead to discover who is open and visit different winery tastings rooms. A sign at the entrance of Hernyák lists the other wineries along the cellar row.

Hernyák Birtok
Etyek, Öreghegy présházak, 2091 Hungary




Article written April 2019.



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