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Wine Regions of Hungary
The future of wine in Hungary

Hungary is predominantly a white wine producer. Only 30% is this red, and comes mostly from the south of the country, especially around Villany and the Great Plain. Most reds are quite light in style, and even Bulls Blood is not quite as powerful as the name might suggest. The white wines, when made to the Iocal taste are spicy and often sweetish. There is a sprinkling of noble grape varieties, both white and red - among the latter, Pinot Noir and Merlot have potential - but it would be a great shame if Hungary were to concentrate on these to the detriment of her native grapes. Investigating the qualities of these may take longer, but of the reds Kadarka - hard work to grow, and susceptible to winter frosts, but promising in quality could be interesting. There is Kek-frankos, too, but this seldom makes exciting wine, and some Zweigelt, also found in Austria, where growers like it because it yields heavily.

The most widely planted white grape, indeed the most widely planted of all, is the Olaszrizling, alias Laski Rizling or Welschriesling. There is a lot of the rather neutral Leanyka, plus Furmint, Harslevelu, Tramini (or Traminer), Muscat Ottonel, Juhfark, Rhein Riesling (Rajnai Rizling), Muller Thurgau (Rizlingszilvani) and Pinot Gris (Szurkebarat).

All these grapes, and more, are produced by 22 state wineries and around 10,000 private growers. The latter existed under Communism and continue to farm on an extremely small scale, at least for the moment. Household plots of about half a hectare (one acre) were permitted in the past, and the owners of these, if they grew grapes, either sold them to a state winery or vinified them themselves in their own small cellars. As privatization of both land and wineries proceeds it is likely that wine growers will form private cooperatives to make and sell their wine.

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