On the road towards big wines. Hold that rain until November!

This September the 25th Wine Festival took place in Buda Castle, Budapest. Whilst connoisseurs of Hungarian wine were busy tasting earlier vintages, the Hungary’s most prominent wine makers are approaching the upcoming Harvest time hoping that autumn remains mild. If it does, they believe 2016 will produce an outstanding vintage with velvety wines from many famous wine regions. Let’s discover what leading Hungary wineries are hoping for.

“During spring wine makers were fighting frost, rain, and in some regions, hail,” Akos Kamocsay, Hiltop’s 1999 Wine Maker of the Year, explains. In Neszmélyi however Kamocsay is hopeful. “Although spring frosts have caused mild damage, thankfully we didn’t suffer hail. We have had to invest resources into fighting parasites which may affect yield, but in terms of quality, this vintage should turn out to be excellent.”

Careful optimism is also evident in the Kunság region. Soltvadkert already reaped its first harvest of the indigenous Irsai Olivér, and 2007 Wine Maker of the Year, János Frittmann, states that quantities of new grapes are acceptable and that quality is turning out to be particularly good. As with others he notes that “this summer’s plant protection procedures had to be done with extra care this year”. Kekfrankos in the Kunság region has been particularly affected this year due to frost, botrytis and mildew.

Unfavourable late frost affected some in Villány.  In Siklós between May and August there were only nine days without sunshine however there was some rain on forty four consecutive days, with three days measuring more than seventeen mm. Nevertheless, a good vintage is expected from  Villány, with good, fruity wines with nice acidity and velvety tannins. It is noted that this can only be confirmed in October once the red grapes are harvested.

József Bock, Wine Maker of the Year 1997, remains cautious for later harvests. The great news is that this year’s rosé is already harvested and the fresh, new wine will extend to eleven degrees.” However he believes that it would favour Hungary’s wine makers, and other areas of agriculture if there were much less rain for the next 6 to 8 weeks.

Nimród Kovács, who won Gastro Wine Maker of the Year 2015, says “Overall, the 2016 vintage is looking very promising. If autumn is as favourable as it is forecast, then both quality and quantity will be pleasing. Eger’s best terroirs, where our vineyards are, were spared the frost and hail. We predict that the slopes of Nagy-Egyed Hill will produce beautiful white and red wines”.

These conclusions are all confirmed by the director and 2009 Wine Maker of the Year from St. Andrea, Dr. Lőrincz György. From his vineyard in Egerszalók he says that, despite this year’s challenges “Yields are as expected. Serious hail has spared us, for which we are grateful. We had some vine healthcare issues, but we have dealt with those successfully.”
Each and every wine maker in Hungary will agree with his final conclusion: “God willing, good weather will remain till the end Harvest!”