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Wine culture and wine routes in Hungary

Category: Vineyards | Date: 21.07.2014.

There are more and more people who are eager to taste the delicious and juicy domestic wines. We are happy to sip at family gatherings and corporate events alike the long standing proven varieties, but also we keenly discover new, lesser-known wines. We can get acquinted best with the luscious wines near the vines and in wine cellars full with old wine barrels, during a charming and adventurous excursion with a delicious wine dinner.

The grape and wine culture in Hungary is nearly two thousand years old. The geographically diverse nature of the Carpathian Basin, and the shaping effects of its history that make the Hungarian wine culture unique, diversified. One might discover that Hungary's wine regions have a lot in common in their historical development, but all of our wine regions have its own unique characteristic and unique image.

In Hungary in the past decades folk entertainments, parades in connection with the cultivation of the wine were mostly associated with the autumn harvest period. These days however, this period may have been extended: from early spring to late autumn various the wine festivals are organized which are closely linked with other wine tourism-related sectors and local traditions. In the last period of Hungary's 22 wine regions three dozen historic Wine Road Association have been formed, which set up a larger alliance, the Association of Hungarian Wine Tours.

Now the market of wine tourism has become very wide, wineries and service providers offer several wine tourism programs and facilities for wine lovers. A nationwide network has been formed of wine-related events, and a series of events emerged throughout the country. More and more winemakers emphasize the view that today, the wine tours, wine tastings are about getting acquinted with the culture and the promotion of the wine itself, not as it used to be, about the immoderate consumption of the wine.

The first wine routes have been established in Western Europe, from there they have been imported to Hungary and we took them over. The winegrowers, primarily the small wineries, sell a substantial part of their production through wine tourism. Saving a good deal on transportation, storage, bottling costs this way.

The wine route associations in Hungary are increasingly conscious about organizing their activities and these different associations only accept small and large wineries to join in which observe the strict rules laid down. A prerequisite, among others, is the establishment of winery premises, which is suitable for receiving guests, individual visitors and tour groups alike. Another criterion is that if hot food is provided, it shall be done in accordance with the relevant EU regulations. Good quality wine is essential. In Hungary, especially the smaller wineries are those who sell an increasing part of their production in their wineries for the wine tourists visiting them. Although a lot of imported wines arrive into the country, wineries related to wine tourism have nothing to be concerned about in connection with these.

Recently the following trend can be observed in the domestic wine tourism: those wineries, which recognized the potential of joint programs, opportunities in the wine road associations, and managed to develop themselves, expand the wineries their tourism offerings in time, now they focus more on their own business, participate less in the life of associations, in joint marketing and in organizing the work. Relying, primarily, on their reputation, their market power they wish to survive and succeed by themselves in the market and in the tourism industry alike.

The wine, the culture associated with it and the wine region are all major tourist attractions. If the wine region combines the introduction, the demonstration with tastings for sales promotion then the wine can be classified as an agri-tourism product. If the wine and the grape cultivaton in settlements of an area, of a particular wine region, professionals working in the production of wine are collectively considered as a tourism product that does not only deal with introducing wines, but entails traditions and cultural attractions of communities and municipalities then it is recognized as a thematic basis for a regional road.

However, the service is only complete if besides the sales package of wine tasting and hospitality accommodation may be available for the wine tourist. Thus, the wine tourism is closely linked to rural tourism, mutually stimulating each other. It is therefore not surprising that the rural tourism and the Wine Route Association are organizationally linked. Their goals meet when organizing various events and the festivals. The harvest festivals are usually organized during the autumn period. In Villany, in the Villany wine region, at the first weekend of October tens of thousands of people visit annually. In November on St. Martin's day, the new wine feast, the feast of goose dinner is held, in relation to which there are dozens of events held in many different settlements.

At the beginning of the year, the day of Vincent is opening the doors of cellars, which also attracts visitors to the wine region. At Easter, but especially at Pentecost a series of events expect the wine enthusiasts in the spirit of open cellars in the wine regions of the country. The settlements join up in many festivals like: in Boly, at the festival of cabbage, the white wines of the area, while in the Mecseknádasd, at the roosterstew cooking festival the red wines are introduced. In summer, domestic and foreign guests can taste the offerings of the wine regions of Lake Balaton.