Hungary’s warmest and sunniest wine region has a reputation for full-bodied ruby red wines. Hills around Villány, the eponym for the region, with stripes of vineyards together with the street of cellars make the town a lovely place to visit. Take your time to drop in the cellars of famous wine makers, such as Tiffán, Bock, Gere, or Wunderlich and taste their great wines.
Wine with history within
Archaeological evidence shows that this area of sub-Mediterranean climate had excelled in wine growing and wine making even back in the times of Ancient Romans. Villány Region is the southernmost tip of Hungary with the most annual sunny hours. Long and dry summers with particularly warm air allow grapes to ripen especially long while loess top soil on limestone bedrock also contributes to ideal circumstances.
Hungarians occupying the Carpathian Basin inherited wine growing practices from the Romans. When Turkish troops invaded this part of the country vineyards completely perished. Vine species grown currently were introduced by Rascian (Serbian) immigrants while the cellars were built by Swabians, who also developed wine making processes and perfected wine types. Later more and more experts arrived and wine making grew to large-scale. Today Villány wine region covers an area over 2000 hectares with cutting edge wineries. Typical wines include Blue Frankish, Blauer Portugieser, Cabernet sauvignon, Cabernet franc, Merlot, Zweigel and Pinot noir. These full-bodied red wines are accompanied by high alcohol and tannin content.
In 1987, Villány was awarded with the “town of grapes and wines” title. A year later the Order of Villány Wine Guards was founded. In 1994, 8 settlements teamed up to establish the first wine route in Hungary.
Cellar visit, wine tasting, museum, festival
The protected cellars in Villány is a row of adjacent buildings Baross Gábor Street with more than 50 wineries and restaurants, although there are some other less signature cellars in the southern part of the town separately. Programmes include wine tours into old and new buildings with wine tasting, dinner or lunch and even folklore performance. Visit the Wine Museum at 8 Bem Street, the former Teleki Cellar. Zsigmond Teleki played a considerable role in fighting the phylloxera epidemic by breeding resistant vine species making an invaluable contribution to the revival of viticulture in Europe.
It was the Villány Wine Region that pioneered in introducing up-to-date practices of wine growing and making in Hungary. As a result, wines of Villány have been internationally recognised.
In October, do not miss the Festival of Red Wines (Vörösborfesztivál) with harvest march, concerts, programmes for children, handicraft demonstrations and fair, wine tasting, etc.