The World Heritage Wine Museum of Tokaj is located where the Rivers Tisza and Bodrog meet in northern Hungary, and is about a 2.5-hour drive from Budapest. The building houses an exhibition hall and a museum for the European world heritage wine regions, presenting their history, culture and wines. An old deserted and ruinous ‘beer house’ has been converted into a museum, located next to the building of the former synagogue. The main focus is on the Tokaj-Hegyalja region and its viticulture. The wine region is presented in interactive exhibitions. You can even drive around in a mini car, or fly above Tokaj in a hot air balloon, which in reality would not be possible, but here you can do it with the help of the aerial photos taken of the region. You can explore the only world heritage wine region of Hungary, as well as the specialties of Austrian, French, German, Italian, Portugal and Swiss wine regions. Visit the perfumery, the spice store and the wine pharmacy.
Local grapes and wine specialities
Are you looking for traditional exhibitions? This is your place: part of the Tokaj Museum’s collection, focusing on local history, is also located in the three-storey building, featuring never-before-seen artefacts. So you can get to know not only the wine region, but also the history of the area. You can find out how local wine specialities, like the Aszú, the Máslás, the Fordítás, the Szamorodni or the various Tokaj essences are made. What gives Tokaj wines their characteristic taste? Why is it that local winemakers would never swap the noble rot grapes botrytized by Botrytis cinerea with coffee beans that have passed through a civet?
Which are the six indigenous and officially classified grape varieties permitted to be grown in the region? They are: Furmint (60 per cent of the grape grown here), Hárslevelű (30 per cent of the total), Yellow Muscat, Kövérszőlő, Kabar and Zéta (together making up 10 per cent of the total). Furmint is so typical of the region that the famous Riedel glass factory in Austria has started making special Tokaj Furmint glasses. They think this wine has such a unique character that it requires a shape that is different from the traditional glass. Naturally, there are some smaller plantations of other varieties: Chardonnay, Tramini, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Zenit, Demjén, Purchin, Kadarka, Gohér, Bakator and Rózsaszőlő. However, these are either rare varieties or are used in the process of coupage to create the so-called cuvée wines.