02 April 2024 / Borbála Kalmár / Translated by Sue Tolson DipWSET Copy actual URL Facebook share Twitter share

Hungarian wine ambassadors: influencer evolution

Wine portals are no longer the only source of wine-related news: YouTube or Instagram can inspire you about what wine to buy next or help you expand your wine knowledge. From the emergence of a wine language to wine blogs as well as Instagram and YouTube appearances, we look at the most influential influencers in the Hungarian wine world.

The regime change brought not only an improvement in wine quality and the re-emergence of family wine estates, but also the dawn of a new Hungarian wine culture. The name of Gábor Rohály is certainly familiar to those who closely follow the Hungarian wine scene. He was the first Hungarian to attend the Austrian Wine Academy, to establish the first Hungarian wine school, Borkollégium, and above all, to establish a Hungarian wine language. It is because of him that we Hungarians can express the nuances of a wine or describe what exactly balance in a glass of wine means. He created a language which – although it was hardly possible to talk about it like this in the 1990s – made him the first and still essential influencer on the Hungarian wine scene. The Borkalauz (Wine Guide) was published for the first time in 1995. It lists the best producers in each Hungarian wine region and their most memorable wines. This legacy is now being carried on by Gábor’s wine, Gabriella Mészáros – the latest edition of the book was published in 2022.

 

First pioneers in the online space

 

In the 2000s, as the digital world took off and online journalism became easier, more and more bloggers entered the media market, with some of them specialising specifically in wine. In 2005, Gergely Ripka started writing his Művelt Alkoholista (Sophisticated Alcoholic) and in 2008, Táncoló Medve (Dancing Bear) wine blogs. Then we started to follow Borrajongó (Wine Enthusiast) to get first-hand knowledge about the best value for money wines or the latest news and top wines in the Hungarian wine world. This became easier and easier as Facebook entered our lives, with our favourite wine bloggers posting about their latest tasting experiences in the online news. And things also got unveiled there, as nomen est omen, Furmintfan slowly made its appearance on Facebook, Dagadtos became a reality and Alföldi Merlot was no longer hidden – and technology continued to roll on, unstoppably.

 

YouTube introduced its first users to the world of online video content in 2006, and anyone who remembers the early days, will never forget the first creations, which were often amateurish and evoked the golden age of home videos. However, users quickly adapted to the new tool, so much so that in recent years, there have been rumours that Instagram’s long image-only dominance is being overtaken by video, and that’s without even mentioning TikTok. Easy-to-consume visual content opened up a whole new world for wine bloggers: what we see in the picture has become more important than the text. The first users who are now officially called influencers appeared, and instead of using pseudonyms, they now put their own faces to their opinions.

 

They not only entertain, they also educate

 

Hungarianwineguy has nearly 6,000 followers on Instagram and works as a tour guide and interpreter in his spare time. He posts about mid-range and top Hungarian wines, with great tasting notes available in Hungarian, and now also in English. And in the last few months, his repertoire has expanded: together with Dávid Novák Sommelier, they also run a video blog. Most of the time, they taste a wine blind in front of the camera, describe it and then try to guess what’s in the glass – and at the end of the video, they unveil it. Yet they are not afraid of social media challenges either: for example, they tested whether using a milk frother really aerates a red wine faster.

 

Of course, the duo is not only active on Instagram, but also on TikTok, even more so as Dávid – also due to his age – is trying to find his way into the hearts of the younger generation in their 20s and 30s. He promotes wines which he’s happy to put his name to, and is also happy when, after watching the videos, that you’ll also go away with some information that will help you choose the right wine. And the fact that someone might become a sommelier as a result is just the icing on the cake.

László Jakus can be found on Instagram under the name barbarianwinedrinker, and he probably has the highest number of followers in Hungary, with over 20,000 people reading his regular posts. He started his Instagram blog at the suggestion of his wife who works in marketing as, although he doesn’t work in wine, he tastes a lot of wine and thought there should be some use for it too. He mainly shares his wine tasting experiences with the public, but he’s also worth following if you don’t want to miss the trendiest Hungarian wine events, as he usually writes about them too.

 

Dániel Ercsey is also a regular contributor to winesofhungary.hu, and besides his interesting interviews, he often explores questions of wine history, such as what kind of wine our beloved writers and poets drank, or discusses with noble simplicity what Hungarian wine culture means today. For those of you who like to linger over Dani’s articles, we have good news: you can also follow our guest author’s wine adventures mainly on YouTube under the name Lecsengés (Aftertaste). Of course, as Dani says, he’s aware that this area of his interest is more for a niche audience, but for him, identity is more important than having millions of followers.

 

Hungarian wines abroad

 

Of course, Hungarian wine ambassadors are not only those addressing the natives of our small homeland. Fortunately, there are already some others who are spreading the good name of Hungarian wines abroad. Enikő Dub, aka wine_encsy, lives in Austria and shares information with her followers in English posts, such as where to find the Mátra wine region and who, or what is Irsai Olivér.

 

Dr Matthew Horkey is currently writing from the United States, but before that, he travelled all over the world, including in our region. Besides Santa Barbara and the Caucasus, he has written a book on the wines of Croatia and now runs a substantial YouTube channel with over 36,000 subscribers, as well as his Instagram page. Fortunately for us, he talks to his followers in perfect English and, even more luckily for us, as he is a great lover of Hungarian wine, he often has a Hungarian wine in his glass. In his videos, he not only tastes but also explains, for example, why Tokaj Aszú is the best wine in the world.

 

As we can see, there can never be enough education, and wine trends or not, there is now a small army of wine ambassadors and influencers fighting for the favour of consumers and readers. Gone is the rudimentary mid-2000s’ world of YouTube, today Masters of Wine are producing both professional and entertaining, expertly lit and edited material with seemingly effortless ease. Like for example Konstantin Baum, who, by his own admission, does nothing else but sit in a cellar and taste wines. Yet, it’s hard to get tired of the videos he uploads to his YouTube channel. He looks at the top wines from wine magazines, tries to distinguish blind between a cheap and very expensive red, or tries to guess which hidden corner of the world the wine his colleague has poured into his glass comes from. However, you’ll also find some videos where he offers practical advice that is useful for anyone: like how to choose wine in the supermarket.

 

Of course, you can also follow Konstantin on Instagram, where he regularly reports on his tasting experiences and where he is in the world.

 

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