Top 5 things to do in Hungary for Food & Wine Lovers

Outstanding wines, stunning vineyard views, delicious culinary delights and steaming thermal natural spas are Hungary’s major attractions for food and wine lovers.

Visit stunning wine regions

Perhaps the best known wine and region in Hungary is Tokaj – a picturesque town of old buildings, nesting storks and wineries offering the famed honey gold sweet Tokaj. The road from Tokaj to the village of Mád offers stunning views and a wealth of family run wineries well worth popping into. Between Tokaj and Budapest is the Upper Hungary wine region. Baroque influenced Eger is the perfect base to discover bold reds known as Bull’s Blood produced in wineries dug inside old quarries.

Another spectacular grape escape in Hungary is Balaton. Lake Balaton or Hungary’s Sea is Europe’s largest lake (also Europe’s largest thermal lake) and it is largely flanked on all sides by wineries producing bold reds and crisp whites. Close by to the north-east is Somló, a single extinct volcano producing two of the many unpronounceable grape varieties in Hungary –  Hárslevelú and Juhfark.

Head South- East to the hilly wine region of Szekszárd. The premier grape here is Kadarka and red wines tend to be softer and less complex than in Eger and further south in Villány.

Close to the border of Hungary with Serbia is the Villány wine region with producers working with international grape varieties such as Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot and Pinot Noir. An evening ramble along Baross Gábor utca is a great way to sample wines of the region and a trip to the cellars at nearby Villánykövesd is a sight not to miss – rows of wine cellars cut directly into the loess soil.

Tipple on Pálinka

Every wine region has it’s potent brew and Hungary is no exception. Pálinka is the name given to fruit flavoured brandy with alcohol content of anything between 40 and 70%. Taken both as an aperitif or as an after meal chaser. Another liqueur with a punch is the bitter Unicum which has a chocolate brown colour.

Eat like a Magyar

Dining in Hungary is not unlike dining in Georgia (venue for IWINETC 2014) – huge and heavy meaty meals big on flavour. But it is not all beef, pork, goose and chicken. Fish, such as Catfish, Pike and Carp caught in Lake Balaton make for a lighter alternative . Vegetarians should not be put off. Fresh salads and Hungary’s unique twice cooked vegetable dishes will more than satisfy. To finish, heavy desserts such as pastries, strudel or sponge cake are the norm. Pálinka to end with – probably the best way to get the digestive system working!

Chill out in a Thermal Bath

Thermal hot springs abound across Hungary. For centuries people have been bathing in the waters to treat specific complaints. The thermal baths  such as Rudas (pictured below) , Kiraly in Budapest and part of the Turkish bath in Eger are centuries old. Spa and wine tourism go hand in hand and are popular with wine lovers who, after a hard day of winery visits, tastings and huge lunches want to unwind and relax before it’s time for more wine and food at dinner.

The 2018 and 10th edition of the International Wine Tourism Conference will take place in Budapest at the 5* Budapest Marriot Hotel on  the 10th and 11th April 2018. It’s the perfect setting to gain knowledge, improve business connections, network and discover Hungarian wines and Hungary as a grape escape destination.


IWINETC 2018 Early Bird Registration Open!

That’s right…you can now register to attend the International Wine Tourism Conference (IWINETC 2018), the leading global event for the wine and culinary tourism industry, taking place from the 10th  – 11th April on the flanks of the Danube in Hungary’s capital city, Budapest.

Register here and benefit from the early bird rate.

We have so much to offer this year and there are some exciting new enhancements too… all to be revealed soon! As well as networking face-to-face with over 300 wine and culinary tourism professionals from across the world, the IWINETC conference programme will be bursting with inspiration and ideas to help you enhance your career and transform your business.

Call for Speakers

If you would like to submit a proposal for the International Wine Tourism Conference. This should include a title and short abstract (max. 250 words) outlining the main aspects of your presentation and its relevance to the field of wine and/or culinary tourism. Submit a talk proposal here

Invited Buyer applications are open

The tailored programmes offered to agents earlier this year in Sicily received high praise for their focus on buyer’s needs and encouraged quality appointments with exhibitors and Workshop participants. For 2018, these programmes will offer buyers even more flexibility on their attendance and key education and networking opportunities relevant to their role and business.

Find out more about attending as a Buyer>> 

Find out about attending the B2B Workshop as a Wine Tourism Experience Provider>>

Exhibit at IWINETC & Show your grape escape destination to the World

For IWINETC 2018 there will an exhibition area for conference delegates to discover grape escape destination and wines from around the world. Participating as an exhibitor will ensure you reach the 300+ delegates expected to attend as well as connecting with tour operators and travel agents from around the world. Exhibitor info here>>

As the team work hard to make next year’s IWINETC the best yet, make sure you keep up to date with the latest news and important information. Why not join our LinkedIn group, follow us on Twitter or like our Facebook page.

We hope to see you at IWINETC 2018 Hungary for another successful year.

Hungary to host 10th Anniversary of IWINETC

Budapest, Hungary will host the 10th Anniversary and 2018 edition of the International Wine Tourism Conference and Exhibition on the 10 & 11 April with the one day Wine Tourism Workshop to be held on the 12 April 2018. The event will be held in the 5* Budapest Marriort Hotel.

IWINETC first opened in 2009 and has been committed to delivering inspiring educational talks, vital business and networking opportunities for the wine and culinary tourism industry ever since

The 3 day event will be held in Budapest with several 3 day post conference tours heading to some of the wine regions of Hungary such as Tokaj, Upper Pannonia and Upper Hungary. The event is expected to attract around 400 wine and travel professionals from more than 50 different conutries.

The Hungarian Tourism Agency will be the Premium Sponsor and host event partner. Dr András Torok, Director of the Directorate of Gastronomy and Wine Marketing at the Hungarian Tourism Agency commented. We are honoured to have the chance to  welcome the 10th International Wine Tourism Conference in Hungary in 2018. We are persuaded that the capital, Budapest is a remarkably lively and fizzy point of the globe worth visiting not only for its amazing values, such as its thermal spas and unique cultural heritage, but also for its cool, inspiring atmosphere. We are prepared to host an event which will see a rebirth of IWINETC both in terms of the conference and the exciting accompanying programmes showing the best of the country.

IWINETC Director, Anthony Swift stated. The commitment, collaboration and passion shown by the Hungarian Tourism Agency and their partners to work with us to create and deliver a world-class experience in Budapest is in itself, world-class.  There is an incredibly positive ethos to ensure that we deliver the best and most memorable IWINETC experience for wine tourism professionals from around the world

To find out more about IWINETC 2018 Budapest, Hungary visit

Closing IWINETC 2017 Sicily, Italy on a massive high….

….the wine & culinary tourism world connected in Viagrande at the Hotel Villa Itría (Catania) 27th March to 2nd April.

Riding a growth wave, the 9th International Wine Tourism Conference, Exhibition & Workshop closed on Thursday 28th March in the Catania province where the global wine tourism industry showed that it was in good shape.
Knowledge, Business & Networking was the IWINETC theme this year for almost 250 delegates from 32 different countries attending with significant attendance from grape escape destinations such as Italy, Spain, USA and host region, Sicily. The Wine Tourism Workshop with more than 800 appointments scheduled before the start of IWINETC proved to be the business highlight of the event with many more meetings conducted at the exhibition area during the 2 day conference programme of 24 talks.

“The wine tourism industry is clearly on the rise and can no longer be called a small niche market with so many wine regions around the world investing significantly in this kind of tourism. The future is bright for all who understand that wine tourism is a sustainable business opportunity” said Anthony Swift, Director of IWINETC.

The announcement that IWINETC will be heading to Budapest, Hungary in 2018 was met with a great reaction by IWINETC attendees with Dr. András TÖRÖK, Director, Hungarian Tourism Agency, Directrorate of Gastronomy and Wine Marketing closing the 2 day IWINETC Conference of talks.

This year saw a heavy emphasis on networking events. Evenings were enjoyed with visits to Etna wine producers Tenute Mannino di Plachi, Benanti and Tornatore. Several wine tasting events within the talk programme provided a chance to discover diverse grape escape destinations and wines from Franciacorta, Greece, Georgia Slovenia, & Hungary as well as Wines from Etna in the IWINETC Grand Cava Tasting led by Valeria Carastro and Giampietro Nadali

44 Tour operators divided up into 3 groups discovered the Etna from South to North and the Siracusa and Ragusa as a grape escape destination with visits programmed to a variety of wine tourism experience providers such as wineries, high end accommodation, agroturismos and cultural highlights of Noto and Ragusa. Fam Trips came to a conclusion on the 2nd April.

The whole event was executed in collaboration with the Regione Siciliana Assessorato Turismo Sport e Spettacolo and the support of the Sicilia Convention Bureau and Etna Wine Lab.

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Summing up IWINETC 2017 Anthony Swift added, “Our objectives for IWINETC every year is to provide the stage for wine and culinary tourism professionals from around the world to gain knowledge and ideas, for agents and wine tourism experience providers to meet, do business and connect through networking. This year the buzz was obvious from the moment the Welcome Reception began with a feast of culinary delights created by Chef Giovanni Torrente and sponsored by the Distretto Turistico Vini e Sapori di Sicilia. The opening announcements and the opening plenary session delivered by Robin Shaw were well supported where some 250 people attended along with Sicilian media. As a team, we focus on delivering a quality experience because at the end of the event there is only one thing that matters – satisfied participants who leave taking away positive results for their careers and/or business.”

More info: Anthony Swift
E. [email protected]

IWINETC 2017 It’s been all about knowledge, business & networking

The IWINETC Conference, Exhibition and Workshop 2017 has now closed. A whole year of planning resulted in a truly memorable event for all involved. We wanted to thank delegates for taking the time to attend, and a special mention goes to all of our partners and sponsors for their continuous support.

The Wine Tourism Workshop saw a packed full day programme of one to one meetings with tour operators and travel agents specialized in wine and/or culinary tourism meeting with wine tourism experience providers from around the world to discuss business possibilities for the FIT, Group and MICE markets. Some 800 meetings were held during the Workshop schedule.

Lunch time provided the opportunity for agents to try some of the varied red wine styles from Nemea Pelopomese, Greece made with the Agiorgitiko grape courtesy of the Venikos. Bubbly was courtesy of the Franciacorta Wine Route (Satèn & Rose) and were quickly appreciated by Workshop delegates.

Meanwhile, some of the Conference delegates stayed on to participate in a one day wine tasting tour to discover some of the beautiful Etna wine region of Sicily with visits to Tenute Mannino di PlachiAziende Agricole Emanuele Scammacca del Murgo winery (Murgo for short!), Museo Miele di Sicilia & La Gelsomina Amphitheatre of Vines.

We look forward to sharing speaker notes and more show highlights, photos and videos with you in the coming weeks.

We look forward to seeing you at IWINETC 2018 Hungary!

It’s been just great – see you all next year in Budapest, Hungary!

Here are a few highlights from the final day of the Conference talk programme at IWINETC 2017….

We had some fantastic sessions taking place in the both the Auditorium Etna and the Ciclopi rooms at the Grand Hotel Villa Itría, giving delegates plenty of food for thought not only for professional development but also valuable business ideas and tips. Judith Lewis fresh in from Atlanta and armed with chocolate gave two sessions to inspire us to get to grips with digital marketing and use the numerous tools to get the wine tourist’s attention to home in to a specific grape escape destination, winery, hotel, restaurant….

The Grape Escape themed talks provided tour operators and agents with several diverse grape escape destinations to consider such as Moldova, Slovenia, Greece and Hungary. Several mini tastings of wines from several countries was well received.

The exhibition area proved once again a popular spot to discover grape escape options while simultaneously networking with fellow professionals

The closing plenary session saw Hungary revealed as the 2018 destination for IWINETC and this was immediately applauded by the audience.

Top Etna wine producer, Benanti received 40 delegates at their property in Viagrande for a vineyard and palmento visit followed by fine Etna Rossos and 3 course dinner.

And finally…

We wanted to say a personal thank you for attending IWINETC this year, and to key supporters: Regione Sicilia, the Sicilia Convention Bureau, Etna Wine Lab, Grand Hotel Villa Itría and to the numerous supporters for filling in the gaps where others failed. If you are leaving us today, have a safe journey home and we look forward to sharing our full IWINETC highlights, photos and videos with you in the coming weeks – so keep an eye out!

IWINETC continues tomorrow with the eagerly awaited Wine Tourism Workshop where 40 tour operators will hold B2B meetings with wine tourism experience providers from around the world and of course with host destination Sicily.

Also going on tomorrow is the wine tasting tour for conference delegates to enjoy to the Etna Wine Region South and East.

See you in Budapest, Hungary in 2018!


Highlights from Day 1 of IWINETC 2017

The IWINETC Conference Talk programme began shortly after the doors opened. Conference delegates flocked to the opening plenary session for the official welcomes and Robin Shaw’s food for thought plenary session Beyond the Cellar Door: Creating a Destination in your own right!

The Exhibition area was well visited and many wines from around Europe were available to taste.

The Official IWINETC Grand Wine Tasting: Wines of Etna expertly led by Valeria Carastro and Giampiero Nadali revealed through the tasting of 8 volcanic wines just how impressive Etna wines are.

New business connections were made throughout the day and the day ended with a tapas style dinner at the Tenuta del Gelso.

Here’s what conference delegates can look forward to tomorrow…

There is plenty to look forward to tomorrow, so be ready for a packed day of conference talks, tastings and networking events.

  • Digital Integration in Wine Travel & Tourism: Strategies for Success with & Connecting your Tourism Brand to the Consumer key note speaker Judith ‘deCabbit’ Lewis and more lessons from down under with Robin Shaw.
  • Over a varied buffet lunch we’ll be treated to wines of Greece
  • Panel discussion What makes a Successful Winery visit
  • Closing plenary session & official announcement of the IWINETC 2018 destination.
  • Networking dinner at Benanti


IWINETC 2017 got off with a boom!

It’s been a great day for IWINETC attendees today, here are just a few of the highlights…

The IWINETC Welcome Reception took place last night with a few words from Daniela Marino, Direttore Operativo Sicilia Convention Bureau and Gregorio Sparacino, President of the Distretto Turistico Vini e Sapori di Sicilia and this was followed by a Sicilian feast of local dishes. Some of the culinary delights created by top chefs Giovanni Torrente, Rocco Pace and Rocco Cusenza on offer were:


  • Dall’orto di Sicilia – Isola rustica vegetariana Parmigiana, Caponata, Involtini di melanzane, Ortaggi di stagione gratinati,Zucca gialla all’agrodolce, Macco di fave
  • L’isola della «tavola calda» Arancinettiassortiti Pizzettineall’origano, Crocchettinedi patate al sésamo, Verdurine in pastella, Cipolline mignon Panellinedi ceci al finocchietto
  • L’isola degli chef Casarecce alla Norma con melanzane fritte e ricotta salata ,Cous cous di pesce alla Sanvitese con verdurine croccanti

Anybody with any room would have had one of the delicious deserts on offer such as

Isola del Pasticcere Cassata siciliana Cannolicchi assortiti Babà mignon Torta al pistacchio di Bronte Torta al limone Tagliata di frutta 

All of which was savoured with one or two or more of the great wines provided courtesy of Casa Vinicola Fazio and the Strada del Vino Erice DOC

Here’s what delegates can look forward to tomorrow…

At 09.30 Welcome and Opening AnnouncementsAnthony Barbagallo,  Assessore al Turismo, Sport e Spettacolo della Regione Sicilia, Daniela Marino, Direttore Operativo Sicilia Convention Bureau and this is immediately followed by the Opening plenary session Beyond the Cellar Door. Creating a Destination in your own right! with Robin Shaw from Wine Tourism Australia.

At 11.30 Wine Tourism and Staff Training in a Novice Wine Region: the Case of Northern Virginia Speaker: Laurence Cogan-Marie, School of Wine & Spirits Business, Burgundy School of Business, France

At 12.30 Panel discussion: Branding & Marketing your Territory – How well are you doing? With Carlo Pietrasanta, National President of the Movimento del Turismo del Vino (MTV) Italy, Elisabet Vidal, Sales Director, Champagne-Marne Tourism Office, France & Daniela Marino, Director of Operations of Sicilia Convention Bureau, Italy. 

At 16.00 Official IWINETC Grand Wine Tasting: Wines of Etna with Valeria Carastro and Giampiero Nadali


IWINETC Grand Wine Tasting: Wines of Etna

Sicily’s volcanic wines from Belpasso on Etna’s South slope through Milo on the east slope to Randazzo on the north, are definitely booming as are the wine and culinary tourism possibilities on offer at many of the wineries.

Barone Viagrande and Cantine Russo have deep roots in Etna wine making with Benanti adding to the flow of wine in the early 1990s. Since 2000 new blood came from Firriato and Planeta with many local families quick to reclaim their passion for the terroir such as Graci and Tornatore.

Attendees at the IWINETC Official Grand Tasting of Wines of Etna will discover the magic on the mountain thanks to a team up of two authorities on Etna’s varying terrorirs, wines and tourism. Valeria Carastro will take the audience around the horseshoe-shaped Etna wine region highlighting the distinctive local grape varieties, the myriad soil types, the history and the wine tourism possibilities. Giampiero Nadali will guide us through a tasting of 8 vibrant wines produced on the slopes of Europe’s most active volcano.

The following wines have been selected for the Grand Tasting:

  • Murgo – Murgo Extra Brut 2009 – Nerello Mascalese
  • Palmento Costanzo – Bianco di Sei Etna Doc Bianco2015 – Carricante(70); Catarratto(28); Minella e Trebbiano(2)
  • Planeta – Etna Bianco 2015 – Carricante
  • Barone di Villagrande – Etna Bianco Superiore Contrada Villagrande 2013 – Carricante
  • Tornatore – Etna Rosso Trimarchisa 2014 – NerelloMascalese(90); Nerello Cappuccio(10)
  • Tenuta di Fessina – Laeneo IGT Sicilia 2014 – Nerello Cappuccio
  • Benanti – Rovittello 2012 – Nerello Mascalese; Nerello Cappuccio
  • Cantine Russo – Etna Rosso Rampante 2010 – Nerello Mascalese(80); Nerello Cappuccio(20)

Explore a representative sample of the terroir driven wines of Etna at the 9th edition of the annual International Wine Tourism Conference.


#SicilyisAwesome at #IWINETC17

#SicilyisAwesome at #IWINETC17! is the new social media campaign launched by conference organises Wine Pleasures.

Attendees are encouraged to join in on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, have a bit of fun and post lots of photos of Sicily and selfies taken in Sicily and at IWINETC.

There will be some special surprises onsite for the most creative ideas! Join in #SicilyisAwesome at #IWINETC17 Tweet them to @IWINETC