Ronn Wiegand MW to lead IWINETC Wines of Hungary Grand Tasting

We’re thrilled to announce Ronn Wiegand, Master of Wine & Master Sommelier will be teaming up with Agnes Herczeg to lead the IWINETC Wines of Hungary Grand Tasting, part of the 2 day conference programme of talks.

Ronn will present 8 different wines to show the diversity of Hungarian viticulture and some of the best of the country’s reds and whites, dry and dessert wines and Agnes will will give a brief overview of the presented regions, including their tourism potentials and must-see sites. A unique double act not to be missed on Tuesday 10 April.

Conference delegates should expect a colourful, entertaining journey to eight Hungarian wine regions through 8 different wines. Delegates will discover some of hidden treasures of Hungary: its unique wines and its compelling grape escape destinations.

Don’t know your Hungarian Wine Regions? Then start to swat up and read some of the articles written for especially for IWINETC by Robert Smyth:

Eger: a Heady Blend of Bikavér & Baroque Beauty>>
Somló: a small but very beautiful Hungarian wine region>>
Sexy Kadarka, Kékfrankos and Bikavér trio served up by Szekszárd>>
Villány: a very welcoming wine tourism destination>>

 

 

 

Sessions & Speakers Announced for IWINETC 2018

The International Wine Tourism Conference, Exhibition and Workshop (IWINETC) each year is one of the main events in the Wine and Culinary Tourism industry calendar. Attended by approximately 300 wine tourism professionals from more than 50 countries, it involves a 2-day programme of around 30 talks, workshops and symposiums as well as a vibrant social programme. This offers delegates a unique opportunity to meet leading theorists and well travelled experts, and exchange ideas with fellow professionals from all sectors of wine tourism.

View the Conference Sessions

In addition, an exhibition area involving around 20 wine tourism related exhibitors is a one-stop shop to discover grape escape destinations and taste wines from diverse wine regions such as Armenia, Greece, Italy, Serbia, Spain and of course, hosts Hungary. Plus, the IWINETC 1-day Wine Tourism Workshop continues to grow in popularity with more and more trade providers and agents using the Workshop as an opportunity to do business.

Register to attend IWINETC here!

From 1 – 31 January 2018 delegates can benefit from a 50 Euro discount on the current ticket price. Only 50 discounted tickets available. Interested attendees should request a discount code at [email protected]  before purchasing their conference ticket.

Eger: a Heady Blend of Bikavér & Baroque Beauty

The Eger wine region, located in the relatively cool climes of north eastern Hungary, has it all for the curious wine traveller. Winemaking wise, Eger is very well endowed and can swing both ways with equally exciting results in terms of producing both white and red wine. Furthermore, not only is the city of Eger a genuine baroque beauty, it also has an imposing castle that is the stuff of wine legend – it is from here that brave Hungarians are said to have held the fort and repelled invading Ottoman forces. The marauding Turks apparently declared that the mighty Magyars were fuelled for the big fight by drinking the blood of bull’s – hence the name of the region’s signature wine! Incidentally, the southern Hungarian region of Szekszárd also claims to have been the first to make Bikavér (Bull’s Blood).

Nevertheless, Eger is famous, or perhaps even infamous, for its Bikavér but it is slowly taking the bull by the horns and succeeding in distancing itself from the bottom-shelf Bikavérs associated mainly, but unfortunately not exclusively, with the mass production philosophy of the past. The region’s vintners are putting increasingly sophisticated and complex Bikavérs on the table from lower yields that reflect the attributes of its relatively cool northern climate – based on vibrant acidity, as well as restrained alcohol and tannins.

The backbone for Bikavér comes from the local Kékfrankos grape, which is the most planted red wine variety in Hungary and is the same grape as Austria’s Blaufränkish. The Bikavér blend is fleshed out with and beefed up by other grape varieties, including the Bordeaux varietals, with a minimum of three grapes required for the entry-level Classic category and a minimum of five for the more yield-restricted Superior category – with no one grape supposed to dominate. Grand Superior is a single vineyard Bikavér from low yields. A recent development is that the spicy but hard to cultivate Kadarka grape, which was grubbed up during the former system, is making a comeback in Eger and many winemakers have started to use a few per cent of the grape to liven up the Bikavér blend.

In 2010, Egri Csillag (Star of Eger) became the white equivalent of Bikavér. Local flavour is guaranteed by the requirement that Egri Csillag must be composed of at least 50% of the Carpathian basin grape varieties, such as Olaszrizling, Hárslevelű, Leányka, Királyleányka, Zengő and Zenit. The aromatic varieties like Cserszegi Fűszeres, Zefír, Irsai Olivér, Tramini and Muscat Ottonel are limited to a maximum of 30% in the Egri Csillag blend. The same categories apply to Egri Csillag as to Bikavér.

While in Eger, look out for the impressive Nagy Eged Hill, which has the highest vineyards in Hungary and is a pure limestone outcrop in an otherwise sea of volcanic rhyolitic tuff topped off by brown forest soils.

Eger will be one of excursions that will be part of the 10th International Wine Tourism Conference (IWINETC), which will be held April 10-11 in Budapest.

Robert Smyth

Robert Smyth is a Budapest-based wine journalist, writer and communicator. He is the author of Hungarian Wine: A Tasting Trip to the New Old World (Blue Guides, 2015). He has been been covering wine for more than 15 years and writes on Hungarian and international wine for the Budapest Business Journal (BBJ), Winesofa.eu, VinCE Magazin and Wine Connoisseur,  among others. He’s also served as deputy editor of the Circle of Wine Writer’s Update and edited David Copp’s Wines of Hungary and contributed to the same author’s Tokaj: a companion for the bibulous traveller. He holds the WSET Diploma and Advanced certificates from London’s Wine and Spirit Education Trust, run tastings for Tasting Table and also guide tours for Taste Hungary. He regularly judges at Hungarian and international competitions and also translates wine text from Hungarian to English.

Get Acquainted with Vigadó – Venue for IWINETC B2B Workshop

Located on the Danube embankment in the heart of the capital city of Hungary, with its imposing building and magnificence, the newly-opened Vigadó Concert Hall is a real eye-catcher among Budapest based event venues. Built in 1865 and designed by Frigyes Feszl, Vigadó used to house decisive cultural and social events of its age.

In 1867 Emperor Franz Joseph attended the banquet hosted by the Vigadó in honour of his coronation, and it was also here that Budapest was born by the merger of the old cities of Pest, Buda and Óbuda (old Buda).

The Vigadó also developed a rich concert life. Ferenc Liszt was soon to return to its concert hall, when he was invited to conduct his oratorio, The Legend of Saint Elisabeth on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Pest-Buda Conservatory. The five-hundred-strong choir came together from various Pest and rural choral societies. The Vigadó hosted the first all-Liszt concert in Hungary in 1869, and it was here that he conducted the premier of the orchestral versions of Mihály Vörösmarty’s great poem “Appeal” and the Hungarian National Anthem, Ferenc Kölcsey’s “Hymn”. At the Vigadó celebration of his half-century artistic career, Liszt was presented with a gold laurel wreath and a number of foreign awards, including honorary membership of the St. Petersburg Academy of Music. In 1875 Liszt and Wagner co-organized a concert to raise funds for the construction of the Bayreuth Theatre (Festspielhaus).

The ceremonious opening of the refurbished building with its newly constructed interior spaces was held by Hungary’s public body of arts, the Hungarian Academy of Arts on 14 March 2014. The newly opened Vigadó nowadays houses temporary exhibitions as well as musical and theatrical programmes and on Thursday 12 April 2018 it will be the venue for the International Wine Tourism B2B Workshop where buyers specialised in wine and culinary tourism will meet wine tourism experience providers from not only Hungary but also from grape escape destinations from around the world such as Armenia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, Moldova, Portugal, Spain and Uruguay.

The IWINETC talk Programme stretches across the two-day day-long event covering five topical content themes all aimed at inspiring and educating delegates with sessions that tangibly add value to their business life and personal development.

Register for IWINETC 2018 Hungary here>> 

Robin Shaw confirmed as fourth headliner for IWINETC 2018

We’re delighted to announce and welcome back the dynamic and entertaining presenter, Robin Shaw from down under as our fourth confirmed keynote speaker at the International Wine Tourism Conference, Exhibition & Workshop (IWINETC) 10 – 11 April 2018.

Robin is passionate about all things wine and tourism and is widely regarded as Australia’s leading wine tourism development specialist.  Her experience extends across sales, marketing, business development and operational roles with companies such as Pernod Ricard, South Australian Tourism and Winemakers’ Federation of Australia.  Awarded a prestigious Winston Churchill Fellowship in 2004 to study wine tourism innovation, Robin used the information gained to develop a series of workshops and resources which she has successfully delivered in Australia, South Africa and Chile.  Robin’s company, Wine Tourism Australia, works with wineries, tourism operators and regions to maximise their destination appeal and deliver memorable visitor experiences.  She also hosts wine tourism study tours for industry professionals to locations in South Africa and Australia that epitomise best practice and service excellence and develops leisure packages to some of the world’s best wine regions.

Robin, back by popular demand is one of 6 keynote speakers and will be delivering two talks within the packed conference talk programme as follows:

Don’t go West, go Direct! – keynote

  • Direct to consumer (DTC) is the new catchcry in the wine industry. Fuelled by low margins offered by retailers and distributors, wineries increasingly rely on direct sales to generate full-tote revenue.  This means converting cellar door visitors to wine club members, developing long term relationships and maximising lifetime value.  Discover how to implement a successful DTC strategy by mapping the customer journey and activating touchpoints to generate sales.  While primarily using wine industry case studies, the principles presented apply just as well to tour operators, travel agents and others in the tourism supply chain.

Take your Kids to Wine Country – Workshop

  • Families that play together, stay together, and many modern parents are reluctant to change their imbibing and travel habits once the nippers arrive.  Savvy wineries and wine regions have realised that the family market is good for business – both now and in the future – and created innovative products and experiences to cater for this growing market (which can also include the grandparents). Explore the family-friendly trails that traverse wine country and be inspired to create your own innovative experiences, or extend your client base and put together packages that appeal to this lucrative market.

The IWINETC talk Programme stretches across the two-day day-long event covering five topical content themes all aimed at inspiring and educating delegates with sessions that tangibly add value to their business life and personal development.

Register for IWINETC 2018 Hungary here>> 

Judith Lewis, CEO of deCabbit Consultancy is confirmed as third headliner for IWINETC 2018

We’re jubilent to announce and welcome back Judith Lewis, founder of the deCabbit Consultancy specialising in integrated digital marketing consultancy and execution as our third confirmed keynote speaker at the International Wine Tourism Conference, Exhibition & Workshop (IWINETC) 10 – 11 April 2018.

Judith is a specialist integrated online marketer with skills in SEO, PPC, and Social Media Marketing as well as other digital marketing techniques. She has been doing SEO since before it had a name and has worked both in-house and agency-side.

She has judged both UK & EU Search Awards, is a founding everywoman Modern Muse and is the coordinator for London Girl Geek Dinners.  Having both an in-house and agency background, her clients have included Google, Virgin, NSPCC, Zopa, Slendertone, the Guggenheim, SAP, Amadeus, Blue Cross, & ShareThis.

Judith writes for the SEO Chicks and Mostly About Chocolate as well as the Huffington Post.  She speaks at various conferences around the world and is passionate about teaching and helping businesses large and small (as well as chocolate)

Judith, back by popular demand is one of 6 keynote speakers and will be delivering two talks within the packed conference talk programme as follows:

Getting Seriously Social – How social network platforms can be used for customer acquisition and retention. Case studies and take away ideas from around the globe. While the case studies are not specifically travel-oriented, these best-of-breed studies and examples will be woven with examples of how to adapt the techniques for your wine tourism business. Specific attention will be given to how to implement these ideas economically as well as how to run an effective Facebook campaign.

Integrate or Die – Your optimal digital communication mix for a campaign to improve customer acquisition and retention. At every stage of the pre- and post- purchase journey, people touch multiple digital touch points even when not consciously looking for a wine tasting tour holiday. In this session we will walk through the stages and touch points you can utilise to both acquire and retain wine lovers through integrated digital channels.

The IWINETC talk Programme stretches across the two-day day-long event covering five topical content themes all aimed at inspiring and educating delegates with sessions that tangibly add value to their business life and personal development.

Register for IWINETC 2018 Hungary here>> 

Somló: a small but very beautiful Hungarian wine region

Somló, the smallest of Hungary’s 22 wine regions, is a giant on the Hungarian wine scene. Its uniqueness is immediately apparent as you approach the 435-metre-high Somló Hill; a sawn-off, flat-top volcanic peak that rises dramatically out of the surrounding plain, which is topped off by the ruins of a castle.

Somló Hill was created when the surrounding land was carried away by erosion while the igneous basalt tuff stood firm. The region also comprises two other hills: named Kissomló (lit. Small Somló) and Ság Hill. The soils are predominantly based on that prized volcanic basalt and tuff bedrock which sometimes goes all the way to the surface.  Loess, Pannonian sand, ferrous clay and black ‘nyirok’ soils make up the topsoil.

Somló is densely planted with vines on 550 hectares of bijou plots that yield powerful acid-driven age-worthy wines from indigenous varieties on perfectly situated vineyards, which often ensure ripe fruit. Somló is highly fragmented in terms of ownership of those plots. For example, the Kreinbacher winery – which is also noted for making outstanding traditional method sparkling wine and even award-winning Syrah in a white wine region – has 43 of those hectares spread across a remarkable 200 parcels.

While Somló, located in Hungary’s northwest about half an hour’s drive from the basalt Balaton lakeside location of Badacsony, has the Furmint and Hárslevelű grapes in common with Tokaj, there’s also Olaszrizling which on its day can certainly match the usually more illustrious aforementioned pair for quality in this terrific terroir. However, it is the untamed, uber acidic yet highly unique Juhfark grape that is pretty much exclusive to Somló and is as distinctive as it rare.

Juhfark (literally translated as Sheep’s Tail), which currently accounts for around 12% of Somló’s total plantings, was also once prized for its supposed knack of aiding its female imbibers in the pursuit of conceiving male offspring, with Queen Victoria a great fan and frequent Juhfark drinker. When underripe Juhfark can be rustic beyond belief and aggressively acidic. At its best and when it is able to ripen fully on the best sites to bring sufficient fruit to counterbalance the grape’s searing acidity, Juhfark has impressive body, structure (built on that erect acidic backbone) and substance, revealing distinctive notes of rhubarb, banana and pineapple, and a stony character.

It is a delight to walk up Somló Hill with its funky basaltic rock formations to check out. These include the Barát Szikla (Monk’s Rock), which is actually resembles a monk. Uphill, to the right of it, the Kőkonyha (Stone kitchen) is where the local hill dwellers used to cook. 

Somló will be one of excursions that will be part of the 10th International Wine Tourism Conference (IWINETC), which will be held April 10-11 in Budapest.

Robert Smyth

Robert Smyth is a Budapest-based wine journalist, writer and communicator. He is the author of Hungarian Wine: A Tasting Trip to the New Old World (Blue Guides, 2015). He has been been covering wine for more than 15 years and writes on Hungarian and international wine for the Budapest Business Journal (BBJ), Winesofa.eu, VinCE Magazin and Wine Connoisseur,  among others. He’s also served as deputy editor of the Circle of Wine Writer’s Update and edited David Copp’s Wines of Hungary and contributed to the same author’s Tokaj: a companion for the bibulous traveller. He holds the WSET Diploma and Advanced certificates from London’s Wine and Spirit Education Trust, run tastings for Tasting Table and also guide tours for Taste Hungary. He regularly judges at Hungarian and international competitions and also translates wine text from Hungarian to English.

Felicity Carter confirmed as the second headliner for IWINETC 2018

We’re thrilled to announce Felicity Carter, editor-in-chief of Meininger’s Wine Business International as our second confirmed keynote speaker at the International Wine Tourism Conference, Exhibition and Workshop (IWINETC), 10-11 April 2018.

Felicity is a regular speaker at international wine events from ProWein to Wine2Wine, and she has spoken on wine tourism at a number of international conferences, including in South Africa and Portugal. A wine judge, Felicity has judged in Portugal, Germany, Bordeaux, Brussels and Georgia, and in 2015 formed part of the ‘empowerment of women in wine’ panel for Wines of Argentina. She is an international judge of the Australian Gourmet Traveller Wine Wine List of the Year, and the China Wine List of the Year, and has been the international judge of the nationally televised German Wine Queen finals.

Within the IWINETC Conference talk programme Felicity will deliver a talk titled:

How to thrive in the new tourism economy

Wine tourism is moving out of the cellar door and into the world of experiential tourism, where people want to be surprised and delighted by authentic experiences. This talk looks at international trends in tourism and what they mean specifically for the wine tourism industry, and how they can be built into even the smallest wine tourism venture draw.

The IWINETC talk Programme stretches across the two day day-long event covering five topical content themes all aimed at inspiring and educating delegates with sessions that tangibly add value to their business life and personal development.

Register for IWINETC 2018 Hungary here>> 

Sexy Kadarka, Kékfrankos and Bikavér trio served up by Szekszárd

Once considered a cheap and cheerful but less polished alternative to its more coveted southern neighbour of Villány, Szekszárd has confidently set sail off on its own course with its increasingly sophisticated and complex reds. Long loved by consumers for its excellent value for money, Szekszárd’s vintners are now also succeeding in making more varietally pure Kékfrankos and Kadarka, which also play a key role in the region’s flagship Bikavér blend.

Szekszárd is wisely focussing on a three-pronged approach of single varietal Kadarka (including exploring different clones) and Kékfrankos, and the Bikavér blend, which come in their own Burgundy style bottles. The way the word Szekszárd is embossed under the neck of the bottle a la Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a nice reference to the spice of the Rhône, which is also a feature of Szekszárd reds.

Szekszárd is the Hungarian epicentre of the Kadarka grape (the same grape as Bulgaria’s Gamza) which came to Hungary from the Balkans, supposedly brought by Serbs fleeing Ottoman invaders. However, for so long its wine has all too often either been watery and insipid on the one hand, or overdone and covered in an oaky, overripe and tannic cloak and trying to be something it’s not, on the other. Now plenty deliciously spicy and playfully light Kadarkas are coming through, typically exuding a distinctive rose hip note.

Bikavér is typically based on a Kékfrankos backbone and is fleshed out with international varieties, especially the Bordeaux grapes, and enables such grapes to play an important role without hogging the local limelight. The finishing touch is the spice and aromatics added by a few percent of Kadarka. A few percent is all that’s needed or else its pronounced aromas can start to take over, something not desired in a wine in which the aim is for no grape to dominate.

Incidentally, Bikavér is not often referred to by its English form of Bull’s Blood any more, due to the wine’s not entirely former association with the bottom shelf of supermarkets. Szekszárd and Eger lock horns over which region coined the term Bikavér first but while the northern Hungarian region of Eger battles with different levels of quality, Szekszárdi tends to be a higher end wine. In Eger, where the Kadarka grape was grubbed up during communism in favour of higher yielding varieties as opposed to Szekszárd where it survived, winemakers are increasingly planting Kadarka to add it to their Bikavér blends.

Szekszárd is strongly associated with its loess soils and as such is sometimes wrongly dismissed as incapable of making truly great wine. It should not be forgotten that some excellent wines come from loess. These include Wagram and parts of Wachau and Kremstal in Austria, where it is prized for its ability to make fuller Grüner Veltliner; many top German vineyards; and eastern Washington, USA. Indeed, some of Tokaj’s and Hungary most elegant wine comes from loess-dominated vineyards. However, there’s other soil and rock types lurking under the loess in Szekszárd with lots of red clay and chunks of limestone in the Szekszárdian mix, with the red clay (terra rossa) clearly visible and poking through as you drive around this undulating region.

Szekszárd will be one of excursions that will be part of the 10th International Wine Tourism Conference (IWINETC), which will be held April 10-11 in Budapest in collaboration with Premium Sponsor, The Hungarian Tourism Agency.

Robert Smyth

Robert Smyth is a Budapest-based wine journalist, writer and communicator. He is the author of Hungarian Wine: A Tasting Trip to the New Old World (Blue Guides, 2015). He has been been covering wine for more than 15 years and writes on Hungarian and international wine for the Budapest Business Journal (BBJ), Winesofa.eu, VinCE Magazin and Wine Connoisseur,  among others. He’s also served as deputy editor of the Circle of Wine Writer’s Update and edited David Copp’s Wines of Hungary and contributed to the same author’s Tokaj: a companion for the bibulous traveller. He holds the WSET Diploma and Advanced certificates from London’s Wine and Spirit Education Trust, run tastings for Tasting Table and also guide tours for Taste Hungary. He regularly judges at Hungarian and international competitions and also translates wine text from Hungarian to English.

Photos: Zsófia Pályi, Balázs Szabó and Krisztina Kovács

Paul Richer confirmed as the first headliner for IWINETC 2018

We are thrilled to announce Paul Richer, founder of Genesys Digital Transformation, a management consultancy specialising in providing strategic advice on all matters relating to the application of technology to the travel, tourism and hospitality industries as our first confirmed keynote speaker at the 10th edition of the International Wine Tourism Conference, Exhibition and Workshop (IWINETC), which will be held April 10-11 in Budapest in collaboration with Premium Sponsor, The Hungarian Tourism Agency.

Paul will draw on his 20+ year long experience of travel industry strategy and operations to deliver a talk titled: Travel in a Digital World:

Your customer base is evolving.  Digital immigrants – those who were born prior to the Internet era – are giving way to the digital natives of Generations Y and Z.  They now have the earning power to be an increasing proportion of your future customer base.  Digital natives have only ever known communication without borders, instant access to any information that might interest them this particular second in time, building wide but perhaps shallow circles of online friends, making their own news through social media.  Yet, in the wine and culinary tourism industry, the majority of our businesses are still run by digital immigrants.  How do we need to adapt and change to embrace the digital world?  What are the characteristics of digital natives that need to be understood to drive our digital marketing?  How can our businesses remain relevant and attractive?  In this session you will learn about the future digital marketplace and what your business needs to do to continue to thrive in an increasingly digitally-driven world.

The IWINETC Conference talk programme stretches across two days covering five topical content themes all aimed at inspiring and educating delegates with sessions that tangibly add value to their business life and personal development.

Paul Richer’s session will take place on 10 April 2018

IWINETC is the most important global event for the wine and culinary tourism industry and is expected to attract around 400 delegates from around the world.

To register for IWINETC 2018 visit: https://www.iwinetc.com/2018hungary/iwinetcattendance