26 April 2024 / Edit Szabó / Photos: Hungarian Wine Marketing Agency / Translated by Vera Szűcs-Balás Copy actual URL Facebook share Twitter share

The Hungarian Wine Summit, the largest international wine event in Hungary, has drawn to a close

Between April 21st and 25th, 2024, nearly a hundred international wine professionals visited Hungary. The guests had the opportunity to explore the beauty of Hungarian wine through masterclasses, walking tastings, and wine tours. The organizers hope that the event will contribute to promoting the high quality of Hungarian wines internationally.

The inaugural Hungarian Wine Summit held in March 2022 proved to be a resounding success, prompting the Hungarian Wine Marketing Agency to continue the tradition. It's imperative that the exceptional products of Hungary's finest wineries, alongside the winemakers themselves, make their way to various international wine shows and fairs, spanning from Germany to China and from Italy to France. Equally crucial is the exposure of foreign experts to Hungary's offerings, allowing them to experience firsthand the beauty of locales such as Lake Balaton, the panoramic vistas of Tokaj vineyards, the aromatic loess lowlands of Szekszárd, and the personal interactions with winemakers.

 

The four-day event attracted key figures from the global wine scene, with nearly 100 professionals in attendance, including well-known personalities like Caroline Gilby MW, Elizabeth Gabay MW from the UK, Wojciech Bońkowski MW from Poland, and Master Sommelier John Szabo from Canada.

Wojciech Bońkowski MW

 

The event kicked off with a welcoming party upon arrival on Sunday, followed by a Budapest conference day and a walking tasting on Monday. Over the course of nine masterclasses, traders, writers, Masters of Wine, and importers from international markets received comprehensive insights into Hungarian wine regions and their diverse products.

 

Masterclasses

 

The series of masterclasses commenced with lectures by Dr. Gabriella Mészáros DipWSET and András Horkay DipWSET, esteemed experts who delved into the characteristics and signature wines of Hungarian wine regions. Attendees were treated to a diverse array of wines, ranging from Tokaj sparkling wine to Villány Franc, accompanied by discussions on climate, soil, grape varieties, and winemaking techniques.

 

The allure of Tokaj's sweet wines was unveiled by László Mészáros, estate manager of Disznókő, and Péter Molnár PhD, estate manager of Patricius Winery, who showcased a selection of seven wines, including late harvests and iconic Aszú wines. Insights into the unique Tokaj aszú harvest process and its evolving role in gastronomy were shared, highlighting its versatility beyond traditional pairings.

 

The volcanic wine realm was explored by John Szabo, the first Canadian Master Sommelier, and Robert Gilvesy winemaker from the Badacsony Wine District. Their presentation illuminated the influence of volcanic soils on grape cultivation and resulting wine flavors, peppered with engaging anecdotes that captivated the audience.

 

Csilla Sebestyén DipWSET and sommelier from Szekszárd, and Tibor Gál, Eger winemaker guided participants through the world of Kékfrankos and Bikavér, shedding light on the longstanding rivalry between Eger and Szekszárd over the claim of being the first to produce Bikavér.

 

The significance of sparkling wines in Hungary's wine producing areas was underscored by sommelier champions Péter Tüű and Sebastian Giraldo Makovej, who showcased elegant bubbles from various regions, affirming Hungary's prowess in producing sophisticated sparkling wines.

 

Andrea Gere, a Villány wine producer, and Kristian Kielmayer DipWSET focused their presentation on wines crafted from indigenous Hungarian and adopted grape varieties. Dr. Barnabás Kovács and Gergely Makai discussed sustainable winemaking practices, while Dr. Ágnes Csiba-Herczeg and Mátyás Szik showcased easy-to-drink and affordable wines. Additionally, Fanni Piskor wine specialist and Zoltán Heimann Jr. winemaker from Szekszárd presented insights into how the young generation of winemakers is embracing bold, innovative techniques and a revolutionary approach to winemaking.

 

B2B matchmaking and walking tasting

 

In parallel with the masterclasses, representatives from nearly 100 Hungarian wineries set up stands for the afternoon tasting session, offering attendees a chance to sample nearly 500 Hungarian wines. Personal meetings facilitated by pre-registration streamlined interactions, fostering meaningful connections between professionals and wineries.

 

 

Study tours in the wine regions

 

The summit continued with wine country tours, allowing participants to explore the wine regions of Balatonboglár, Balatonfüred-Csopak, Eger, Etyek-Buda, Szekszárd, Tokaj, and Villány. Cellar visits, vineyard tours, and tastings further deepened connections and understanding of Hungary's diverse wine offerings.

 

While the tangible outcomes of the summit remain to be seen, it undoubtedly strengthened ties between Hungary's wine sector and the global wine community. The event served as a platform to showcase Hungary's exceptional wines and foster international trade relations, paving the way for greater recognition and appreciation of Hungarian wines on the world stage.

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