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Comprehensive description of all European growing areas, their grape varieties, traditions and legal rules with maps.

Description to Hungary

Hungary has a very old winegrowing culture, because wines from Sopron and Eger were already known in the 13th century. The Greeks introduced viticulture in Hungary from the south-east along the Danube and its tributary the Tisza upwards and the Romans from the west across the Pannonian plain to Lake Balaton. Despite Hun, Vandal, Goths, Tatars and Ottoman invasions over many centuries, wine was always grown in this area. Even the Ottomans, who occupied the largest part of the country for about 160 years, did not suppress wine growing despite the ban on alcohol and were happy to collect taxes for it, but development was inhibited during this time. According to a rather legendary tradition, Emperor Charlemagne (742-814) was so enthusiastic about "Avar wine" that he had some vines brought to Germany.

From the Hungarian king Matthias Corvinus (1440-1490), who in the last five years of his life was Vienna (Austria), the statement is handed down "that all the people should have wine and the winegrowers should be highly respected". In the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church played a leading role in Hungary, as in almost all other countries, in spreading viticulture and wine culture. The famous Tokajer is decisively connected with Hungary's wine history. After the phylloxera catastrophe and the two world wars, the focus was shifted to the production of mass wines. Since the political upheavals of 1989 and a re-foundation of the winegrowers' association, however, viticulture has been on a steep upward trend again.

It has a central European, continental climate with hot summers and cold winters. The geographical latitude corresponds to French Burgundy, which produces aromatic white wines. However, about 2,000 hours of sunshine per year also favour the production of red wines. The Danube, which flows from north to south, divides the country into about two large halves. With the 1997 wine law, 22 wine growing areas were defined. Transdanubia lies in the west, stretching from the borders with Austria, Slovenia and Croatia in the west to the Danube. In the centre is Lake Balaton (Balaton), the largest lake in Central Europe with 591 km². Together with Neusiedlersee and the Danube, it has a positive climatic influence on viticulture. Transdanubia consists of four wine-growing regions with 15 wine regions:

Balaton (Lake Balaton)

Észak Dunantul (Northern Transdanubia)

Pannon (Pannonia)

Sopron (Ödenburg)

In the south-east between the Danube and the Tisza rivers lies the large Pannonian lowlands with sandy, steppe-like soil, called Alföld in Hungarian. The vineyards here exert a consolidating influence on the soil. In summer there is often drought that endangers the harvest and in winter there is frost. The Duna region has three wine growing areas:

Duna (Danube)

The Northern Massif is located in the north in the foothills of the Mátra Mountains near the border with Slovakia. The two regions with their wine growing areas:

Cheb (Eger)

Tokaj-Hegyalja

Hungary is predominantly a white wine country with almost 70% of production, although the red wine variety Kékfrankos (Blaufränkisch) clearly dominates. The Tokajer variety Furmint only ranks third after the Olasz Rizling (Welschriesling). In 2012, the area under vines covered 52,000 hectares, which is more than halved since 2000 (when it was 126,000 hectares). Of this, 1.818 million hectolitres of wine were produced (see also under Wine Production Quantities). The 2010 grape variety table (statistics Kym Anderson):

Variety name Synonyms / Hungarian name Colour Hectare
Kékfrankos red 7.998
Olasz Rizling white 4.664
Furmint - white 4.165
Cserszegi Füszeres - white 3.609
Bianca Egri Csillagok 40 white 2.922
Cabernet sauvignon - red 2.863
Chardonnay - white 2.757
Müller-Thurgau Rizlingszilváni white 2.098
Zweigelt - red 2.050
Merlot - red 1.907
Chasselas Chasselas Piros, Fehér Chasselas, Saszla white 1.892
Zala Gyöngye - white 1.755
Hárslevelü - white 1.659
Pinot gris Szürkebarát white 1.624
Green Veltliner Teddy Veltelini white 1.533
Cabernet franc - red 1.352
Riesling Rajnai Rizling white 1.304
Nutmeg Ottonel Ottonel Muskotály white 1.232
Blue Portuguese Kék Oportó, Kék Portugizi red 1.216
Kunleány - white 1.211
Arany Sárfehér Izsáki Sárfehér white 1.133
Pinot noir Kék Burgundi, Kisburgundi red 1.091
Irsai Olive - white 1.090
Ezerjó Budai Fehér white 1.074
Kövidinka Ruzsitza white 1.020
Blanc sauvignon - white 907
Királyleányka - white 855
Leányka - white 838
Gewürztraminer / Traminer Füszeres Tramini, Piros Tramini / Tramini white 772
Aletta Egri Csillagok 18 white 723
Muscat Blanc / Muscat Plate Muskotály white 709
Zenith - white 559
Kadarka Kék Kadarka red 532
Blauburger - red 435
Ezerfürtü Kecskemét 5 white 377
Lakhegyi Mézes - white 306
Zengö Badachon, Zengo white 264
Pinot blanc Fehér Burgundi white 237
Jubilee 75 Jubilejne 75, Kecskemét 11, Miklostelep 11 white 194
Villard Blanc - white 192
Victoria Gyöngye - white 190
Juhfark - white 186
Syrah - red 177
Turán Agria red 175
Medina Egri Csillagok 7, Medea red 151
Bíborkadarka Bíbor Kadarka red 136
Zéta Oremus white 118
Generosa Kecskemét 15 white 103
Turkey Muskotaly - white 103
Csaba Gyöngye - white 89
Mátrai Muskotály - white 67
Menoir formerly Kékmedoc or Médoc Noir red 65
Duna Gyöngye - red 63
Karát Kecskemét 6 white 50
Sémillon - white 50
Nero - red 50
Zefír Zephyr white 49
Kéknyelü - white 43
Grasă de Cotnari Kövérszölö white 37
- rotß 36
Zeusz Zeus white 28
Gyöngyrizling - white 23
Csillám - white 20
Decorative Fandler Cirfandli white 20
Rubintos Cirfandli red 18
Pannon Frankos - red 16
Kunbarat - white 9
Budai mercenary - white 6
Palatina - white 6
Regent - red 3
Csókaszölö - red 2
Mézes Fehér - white 2
Nosztori Rizling - white 1
Taltos - white 1
Krisztaly - white ?
Magyar Franco's - red ?
Pannonia - red ?
Szirén Kecskemét 30 white ?


The information on the label is usually short and concise. The place name with the ending "i" (which corresponds to the German "er") is usually followed by the grape variety, for example Soproni Kékfrankos (Blaufränkischer from Sopron).

Wine categories: In August 2009, the EU wine market regulation became valid for all member countries with fundamental changes in wine designations and quality levels. There are the following new designations or quality levels (see also detailed under quality system):

  • Boron (formerly Asztali Bor or ) = wine
  • OFJ = Tájbor or local wine
  • OEM = Minöségi Bor / Különleges Minöségi Bor = quality wine / premium wine
  • OEM DHC (Districtus Hungaricus Controllatus) with levels DHC-Classicus and DHC-Premium

OFJ (Oltalom alatt álló Földrajzi Jelzés Bor):
There are 13 ranges of country wine, which are marked by a blue and yellow seal on the label.

OEM (Oltalom alatt álló Eredetmegjelölésü Bor):
There are 33 quality wine areas, which are marked by an orange-red seal on the label. The first DHC area was Villány in 2006, followed by Eger, Tihany, Somló and Izsák.

Predicate wines

Specific wine descriptions/types

  • Fehérbor = white wine, Vörösbor = red wine, Rozé = rosé
  • Pezsgő = Sparkling wine, Francia Pezsgő = Champagne
  • száraz = dry, félszáraz = medium dry, édes = sweet, félédes = medium sweet
  • Barrique Érlelésü Bor = wine matured in barrique
  • Bikavér = bull's blood (Eger and Szekszárd PDO only)
  • FN (Földrajzi Jelzés Nélküli Bor) wine without geographical indication
  • FNF (Földrajzi Jelzés Nélküli Fajtabor) Varietal wine without geographical indication
  • Muzeális Bor = wine with at least 5 years bottle maturity
  • Siller = light pressed red wine
  • Újbor or Fiatal Bor = new wine or young wine

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