The History of Tokaj: from Gesta Hungarorum to UNESCO
Today, the Tokaj wine region is internationally famous, but its history begins centuries ago. The earliest mention of Tokaj can be found in Anonymous’ chronicle, Gesta Hungarorum (The Deeds of the Hungarians). The author of this (probably) 12th century work notes that when the conquering Hungarians visited this region, they drank ‘magnum aldumas’, that is, a great blessing. Documents of King Béla IV from 1252 contain a specific allusion to the grapes of Hegyalja, and in 1502, they mention the oldest known vineyard – Hétszőlő – by name. The next turning point in the life of the wine region would be in the 16th century, partly because at the time, they were already producing the famous Aszú wines, and partly because grape and wine experts began to relocate to the region around that time. The first written reference to the Tokaji Aszú wine came soon after, in 1571.