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The history of good wine: Learn about it in Hungary's wine regions

Tokaj and Nyíregyháza

Wine is not just a drink: it embodies nature, tradition and craftsmanship too. If you go on a wine tour you can find out about all of these things and discover the hidden secrets of grapes and wine.

No matter which part of Hungary you visit, you are sure to be close to an area where good wine is made. And it’s not just about tasting the wine. You can also admire the vineyards, talk to winemakers and learn the history of wine and the secrets of wine-making. Going on a Hungarian wine tour is definitely a worthwhile.

Tokaj classics

If you’re in Hungary, then Tokaj is a must. If you’re in Tokaj, then it has to be Tokaj-Hegyalja. In addition to aszú, a specialty known around the world, it is also worth tasting Furmint, Yellow Muscat and the world-famous Szamorodni, when visiting the rows of cellars. In Hercegkút, you can walk through the “hobbit houses" of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed cellars and taste the locally grown wines, while the winemakers will introduce you to the secrets of winemaking. In addition to the wineries in Mád, visiting the memorial sites of the former Jewish community and the wonder rabbis is also a great experience.

Specialties from Badacsony

The Badacsony wine region, where the Kéknyelű grape is king, is a perfect destination for wine lovers relaxing at Lake Balaton. The special feature of Kéknyelű, which is an ancient Hungarian variety, is that it only grows on the local volcanic soil, and it cannot be found anywhere else in the world outside this roughly 30-hectare area. You should also taste the locally produced Pinot Gris (Szürkebarát) and Welschriesling in the local cellars and exclusive wine hotels. And don't miss out on tasting some Balaton fish dishes.

Red wines from Villány

The Villány wine region is the home of bold red wines. The local stalwarts are Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Portugieser, but visitors also love the intense colour and flavour of Blauer Portugieser, Kadarka, Blaufränkisch and Zweigelt. However, in addition to full-bodied red wines, white wines are also produced in the region, albeit in smaller quantities. You can taste all of them along the row of whitewashed historical cellars next to the main street in Villány, as well as in local hotels or on a bicycle adventure tour between Villány and Siklós. And once you are there, visit Siklós Castle, where you can learn about an important piece of Hungarian history.

Mediterranean flavours from Szekszárd

Visitors to the Szekszárd wine region can taste Mediterranean-style white wines and light rosés. They can also enjoy velvety red wines such as Blaufränkisch and Kadarka, which are often also combined to make Szekszárd bull’s blood. The descendants of the winemaking families who settled here in the 18th century carry on the traditions of the past: you can experience the respect they have for the past if you visit the local wineries in Szekszárd's last joined-up row of cellars in Istifán-gödör. Of course, Szekszárd has more to offer than just this, including a wine fountain in the garden of the old county hall, which might remind you of the local wine traditions. In the building itself you can visit the ruins of a former abbey. In the Gingerbread Museum you can see how gingerbread is made. Here, instead of wine, you can taste a spicy, sweet drink called márc. From the top of the Kálvária lookout, you can view both the city and the vineyards that surround it.

Memories of Eger

The local specialty, Eger Bull’s Blood, is made from several red grape varieties grown in the Eger wine region, on the rhyolite tufa soil of the southern slopes of the Bükk hills. In the local cellars you will also find barrels of Egri leányka (Feteasca Alba), Debrői hárslevelű, Verpelét Welschriesling and Egri csillag. You can taste all of them if you visit the wineries of the region. Connoisseurs can also enjoy thematic wine routes like the Hárslevelű route, the Welschriesling route, the Bull’s Blood route, the Leányka route, the Kőporos (Stone Powder) route and the Kaptárkövek (Beehive Stone) route. The short wine route, called Pohárral Egerben (Eger with a glass in hand) also offers a variety of experiences. In Szépasszony Valley you can see a multitude of cellars: the oldest one is the Istenes Cellar, which functioned as a secret church during the Turkish occupation. And speaking of the Ottoman times: Eger castle, which resisted a siege by the Ottoman armies, the minaret and the Turkish bath are must sees, while lovers of natural beauty should make a trip to the salt hill in Egerszalók, to Szilvásvárad and to the beehive stones in Szomolya.