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Hungarian Wine History

Hungary WineHungarian winemaking techniques can be traced from Central Asia, the Caucasus region and the Romans. Ultimately there was a blend of winemaking styles over the centuries that shaped winemaking in Hungary. Winemaking styles that influenced winemaking practices were from Benedictine missionaries, other teaching orders, Italian, Anjou, Rhine Valley and Burgundy winemakers.

According to the Hungarian Consulate in New York, early archaeological finds have wine and grapes dating to the 1st century BC. There is data showing that the region has been growing grapevines and making wine since Roman times.



Some Important Wine Dates

1235 to 1270 Bela IV made winemaking a priority
1541 to 1699 Winemaking continued but not prolifically.
1552 The Eger regional legend surrounding the “Bull’s Blood” wine was tied to the 1552 siege of Eger.
By 1700 Tokaj was the first vineyard classification established to emphasize quality. For 173 vineyards, Prince Rákóczi established a system of classification.
1836 The first Hungarian wine journal was written. The year was also important because of a committee established to “hinder adulteration.”
1870s Phylloxera began destroying the vineyards.
By 1892 Taxes were implemented for wine consumption, although grape growers were provided with tax benefits. The Hillside Village Act was approved to improve the protection of appellation
1896 Hungary’s first viticulture research institute was established.
Late 1930s until 1948 Wine production grew quickly. Under the Soviet dictatorship the wine industry was encouraged to produce quantities of wine rather than quality wine.
1969 State farms and cooperatives were able to develop the Hungarian wine production.
1990 to 1994 A new Hungarian wine era began with privatization.


Grape Varieties

Hungary has several international varietal grapes. Some of these include the white grapes: Chardonnay, the Muscat family of grapes and Sauvignon Blanc. For international red grape varieties, there are plantings of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. In addition to the international grape varieties, there are unique grapes to Hungary.

Unique White Grape Varieties

Grape Variety Region Also Known As
Budai Zöld Etyek  
Cserszegi Fűszeres Throughout Hungary except Tokaj  
Ezerjó Mór  
Furmint Tokaj  
Generosa Kunság, Hajós–Baja and Mór  
Hárslevelű Tokaj  
Irsai Olivér Balaton, Etyek  
Juhfark Somló  
Kabar Tokaj  
Kéknyelű Badacsony, Balaton  
Királyleányka Throughout Hungary  
Muscat Lunel or Yellow Muscat Tokaj Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains
Muscat Ottonel  Mátra, Eger, Kunság, Balaton Ottonel Muskotály
Olaszrizling Balaton, Eger and throughout Hungary Graševina, Welschriesling
Szürkebarát Mátra  

Unique Red Grape Varieties

Grape Variety Region Also Known As
Kadarka Eger, Szekszárd and throughout Hungary  
Kékfrankos Eger, Szekszárd Blaufränkisch (Austria), Lemberger (Germany)
Portugieser Villány Kékoportó


Wine Regions

Hungary is divided into six wine regions and 22 sub-regions within the six larger regions. Sub-regions marked with an * were visited in march 2019.

Large Region Sub-Region
Tokaj Tokaj*
Eger Bükkalja
North Transdanubia Region Etyek-Buda*
Balaton Region Badacsony*
Pannon Region Pécs
Duna Region Csongrád

Hungarian Wine Regions

Map courtesy of hungarianwines.eu



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