Be prepared to get maximum value from IWINETC 2018…

The International Wine Tourism Conference, Exhibition and Workshop (IWINETC) uncorks on the 9th April at 19.15 with the IWINETC Welcome Reception and Dinner aboard the Europa Boat sponsored by the Hungarian Tourism Agency, Premium sponsor for the event

To get the very best from IWINETC on the 10 and 11 April you need to plan a bit.

The 10th anniversary of the IWINETC sees new and enhanced features, designed to help you have a great conference experience and here are the absolute must-do’s:

You will find everything you need in the Conference programme so to maximise your time at IWINETC, check out the programme and start planning your IWINETC today.

Interview: IWINETC Founder, Anthony Swift

We recently talked to the man behind the the world’s most important event for the wine and culinary tourism industry.

You are the founder of IWINETC. Why did you create this organization?

IWINETC was born in 2009 and 2018 will see the event head to Hungary for its 10th anniversary. How IWINETC came about is a long story but to summarise the idea was to get wine tourism professionals in one event to simply learn from each other, network and do business. At the time a conference for the wine tourism industry did not exist and over the years the event has become the leading global event for the wine tourism industry being held each year a different country or region.

Who are you waiting for at the conference?

Around 70% of all conference delegates for 2018 will be international,  travelling from diverse countries such as Armenia, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, France, Italy, Moldova, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Uruguay, USA to name just a few – that’s speakers, exhibitors, tour operators, outgoing agents, media, incoming agents, sommeliers, Masters of Wine, guides and many more professionals connected to the wine and food travel industry. The remaining 30% will be from the host country, Hungary. That’s 300 – 400 delegates expected to attend the event.

Why did you choose Budapest as the venue of this year’s conference?

There was a dilemma between hosting the event in Eger (closer to more wine regions) or Budapest. After a meeting with our Premium Sponsor for this year, the Hungarian Tourism Agency, Budapest was chosen otherwise the city would not have been seen by many of the delegates.

What is the main topic of the current event?

There are around 25 talks in the 2 day conference programme.  We have established 5 key content themes (Research, Professional Development, Branding and Marketing, Grape Escape Destinations and Networking) that underpin all of the talks over the 2 day conference. These have been hand picked based on the significance they play in the wine and culinary  tourism market. Some of the talks are particularly specific to the Hungarian Wine Tourism evolution and should not be missed by players in the Hungarian wine and culinary tourism field.

What role does IWINETC play in world wine tourism?

IWINETC is a must attend event for the  Best Education (2 days of conference talks) , Best Networking (pre and post tours and evening activities) and the Best Business (exhibition and B2B Workshop). Hosting an edition of IWINETC puts the country and it’s wine regions on the world tourism map and/or positions it higher up on the “must visit” list creating greater awareness of the destination and an increase in the number of wine tourists mainly thanks to the business that happens in both the Exhibition area and the B2B Workshop between agents specialised in wine tourism and trade providers.

What are your favourite wine regions?

The wine regions that have WOWED me the most would have to be Banyuls, Douro Valley (IWINETC 2011) and Etna, Sicily (IWINETC 2017). In Hungary Somló, albeit very small has to be the most spectacular wine region for me.

What do you think about Hungarian wines?

Well to be honest on my first visit to Hungary I concluded that Hungarian wines were over priced. Since then and having visited several wineries I have realised that  most Hungarian producers are boutique, producing very small quantities and making a Premium wine takes a lot of time and investment so understandably premium wine justifies a premium price.

Do you have a favourite Hungarian wine region, winery, wine?

One of my favourite producers that I have visited is indeed in the Somló region and as I am one of the judges for the annual competition 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World I was particularly impressed with the producers sparkling wine (traditional method) not to mention the white wine made from the Juhfark variety.

Where in the world will IWINETC be in 2019?

Well it’s no longer a secret and I’m delighted to announce that IWINETC will be heading to Spain’s Basque Country – a grape escape destination that demands exploration beyond the delightful main cities of Bilbao, Vitoria and San Sebastian. Cue Rioja Alavesa and Txakolí!

Register to attend IWINETC 2018 here>>

Wining and Dining In Budapest, The Classic Way

Despite Hungary being a small country with under 10 million in population, it’s rich in hundreds-of-year-old food and wine traditions which make exploring here an endlessly delicious adventure. Hungary’s location in the middle of Europe—surrounded by Austria, Romania, Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, and Ukraine (and all of their unrelated tongues)—is the biggest factor in the wide-ranging and diverse culinary and wine culture. There are Turkish influences (from the Ottoman period), remnants from the Austro-Hungarian Empire (the era when the cuisines of many nations became intertwined),Jewish influences (which go so deep that the Jewish origin of many well-known dishes aren’t even considered). But there’s no question that Hungarians are committed to their classics, be they ingredients, dishes, or wines. While Budapest has so many impressive restaurants which do a fine job of putting a contemporary spin on things, here are a few ways attendees at the upcoming International Wine Tourism Conference (IWINETC) can experience the classic side of Hungarian cuisine and wine.

Visit a Market Hall
Budapest’s 19th-century Central Market Hall is not only architecturally spectacular, but it’s also one of Europe’s greatest markets. The brick structure, topped with Zsolnay roof tiles, is full of iron, glass, and open space. The basement holds butchers, fishmongers, and colorful pickle stalls with barrels of sauerkraut and more pickles than you may have ever seen in one place. The main level is where most of the action is, with three aisles of fruit, vegetables, and butchers. When it comes to meat, every part is put to good use (as you’ll discover on restaurant menus), bacon is considered vital, and cracklings are sold by the kilogram. Grab alángos (fry bread with sour cream and cheese) upstairs (and perhaps a shot of Unicum to wash it down). Another really special thing about Budapest is that most districts have their own smaller-scale markets, so good ingredients are abundant.

Eat Like a Local
You can start at breakfast by swapping out your bowl of cereal for a hard-core traditional Hungarian village-style breakfast of cheese, charcuterie, fresh vegetables, and thick slices of bread. As you’ll see at the market, the assortment of salami, sausage, bacon, and cured hams is impressive, so breakfast is another chance to taste it! A Hungarian lunch is not really complete without starting with soup. This is your chance to taste an iconic goulash (gulyás), a paprika-rich soup made with beef and potatoes. Like so many Hungarian dishes, it is simple and complex at the same time—elegant enough to be served at Michelin-starred restaurants, yet humble enough to be served at every red-checkered tablecloth eatery. Or go for a lighter vegetable soup or húsleves (consommé). For a main, try a classic chicken paprikás, foiegras, or one of the many stews (pörkölt) that are likely to be on the menu.

Make Time For Coffee and Cake
If you have nowhere pressing to be, find a seat at a great kávéház (such as Centrál) order a strong eszpresszó, and settle in. Try to picture what Budapest’s grand coffeehouses were like in their golden age back around the turn of the 19thcentury when there were nearly 600 of them in Budapest and they were centers of intellectual and social life, with writers and artists treating them as second-homes. Be sure to order cake. Hungary has one of Europe’s great baking traditions, and coffeehouses serve fancy layered cakes like Dobostorta (multiple thin cake layers with chocolate buttercream topped by a shiny solid caramel top) and Esterházytorta (layers of walnut cake and walnut cream). A RigóJancsi (a rich square of chocolate mousse sandwiched between two layers of chocolate cake and topped with a chocolate glaze) or Rákóczi-túrós (short crust and baked curd cheese topped with a lattice of meringue and apricot jam) are also fine choices.

And Drink Local, Too
Hungary is truly a country of wine-lovers where wine is part of the lifestyle. No meal is complete without it!Wine is produced in nearly all parts of the country, and the range (from sparkling, white and rosé, through orange, red, and amber-colored sweet wine) perfectly complements Hungarian cuisine. In the past few decades most of the country’s 22 wine regions have been getting back to focusing on growing indigenous regional grapes, and these often unpronounceable varieties are especially worth seeking out while you are here. Furmint, Juhfark, Hárslevelű, Kadarka, and Kékfrankosare some of the best known and successfultypes, which you’ll find all over. And there are so many other unique wines that can be experienced only here, such as Ezerjó, Kéknyelű, Zéta, IrsaiOlivér, cserszegifűszeres, and cirfandli. Be sure to devote some time to exploring Hungary’s sweet wines—after all, Tokajiaszú is a national treasure, hand-harvested (grape by grape), and only made in years when botrytis invades the vineyards, turning the healthy grapes into shriveled raisin-like berries.

Carolyn Bánfalvi is co-founder Taste Hungary (an award-winning food and wine tour company) and The Tasting Table Budapest (a wine tasting room and independent wine shop in central Budapest). She is also a food and travel writer who has written the culinary guidebooks Food Wine Budapest (Little Bookroom) and The Food and Wine Lover’s Guide to Hungary (Park Kiadó). Carolyn has written about Hungarian food, wine, and travel for publications including Saveur, Explore Parts Unknown, Afar, Gastronomica, Olive, Gourmet,, and Frommer’s. She holds an advanced WSET certificate (and is just one exam away from her diploma). Visit The Tasting Table Budapest (BródySándorutca 9, Budapest 1088) to taste from its selection of unique Hungarian wines.

Electric Etyek: So Much More than Just Close to the Capital 

The charming, sleepy town of Etyek, which lies just some 30km west of the capital, is not only a winemaking town, but also a filmmaking one. It isn’t a winery that you’re likely to spot first coming up in the distance as you approach from Budapest, but rather the gigantic Sándor Korda Film Park. With its remarkably convincing paper mache film sets depicting the medieval Italy of the Borgias, among other locations, and its enormous indoor studios in which part of Bladerunner 2049 was shot, ‘Etyekwood’ may seem an odd place to introduce a wine region. However, it is from there that you can see a cross-section of the white calcareous soil that dominates the Etyek-Buda regions and its wines and get a feel of the rolling countryside.

Another key vantage point, where several of the leading wineries are located, is Öreghegy. While up here, look out for the tall communal press, located next to the Báthori dűlő (vineyard), which is named after Tibor Báthori, who was voted only the second Winemaker of the Year by the Hungarian Wine Academy, back in 1992. A memorial plaque to him on the vineyard itself notes that ‘he channelled the birdsong into wine’.

There’s usually a strong breeze blowing in Etyek and add on the white calcareous soil, which is mixed with loess and chernozem, then the conditions are ripe for making vibrant (mainly white) wines with tongue tingling, almost electric acidity and fresh aromas. It comes as no surprise that the Etyek-Buda region has a strong sparkling wine tradition. Törley makes a huge amount of sparkling wine from Etyek-Buda, while smaller producers are gradually adding sparklers to their range, some of which are made in the traditional method.

When it comes to the still stuff, Etyek has long been associated with Sauvignon Blanc, even though Chardonnay appears to be beginning to eclipse its fellow French varietal as the flagship grape with some taut and focussed expressions of the French grape. Nevertheless, it would be great to see more of the Austrian Grüner Veltliner grape (Zöldveltelini in Hungarian), not only because it can almost be considered local but also due to the varietally pure citrusy and peppery notes, as well as the balance between freshness and intensity that can come through here. In the red corner, it is Pinot Noir that thrives in Etyek’s terroir and Etyeki Kúria’s is one of the best, if not the best examples of the grape in Hungary.

Swabian German settlers started winemaking in Etyek, or Edeck to give it its Germanic name which still is still signposted next to its Hungarian equivalent as you enter the town, but the German population was expelled in the wake of World War II. Their legacy is still there to see with some fine old presses dotted around, and old stone cellar rows such as Kecskegödör and the circular Körpince.

Etyek will be one of the excursions of the 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),, 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.

Zsombor Gál to Open IWINETC 2018 – Hungary as a Grape Escape Destination

Zsombor Gál, economist, is the leading expert of wine marketing at the Hungarian Tourism Agency and he will be opening the 10th anniversary of the International Wine Tourism Conference, Exhibition & Workshop (IWINETC) in the Budapest Marriott Ballroom at 09.30 on Tuesday 10th April 2018 with a plenary talk on Hungary as a Grape Escape Destination.

Outstanding wines, stunning vineyard views, delicious culinary delights and steaming thermal natural spas are Hungary’s major attractions for food and wine lovers. But there’s more…stunning architecture, vital folk art and Europe’s most exciting capital both during the day and after dark.

The IWINETC Conference talk programme stretches across two days (10 & 11 April) 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.

In addition, an exhibition area involving around 25 wine tourism destinations and trade providers and a one day B2B Workshop is a one-stop shop to discover the latest in wine tourism not only in Hungary but also from around the world. And.. delegates can discover Hungary as a grape escape destination for themselves thanks to the numerous evening and pre and post conference tours

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.

IWINETC 2018 works closely with the Premium Sponsor, The Hungarian Tourism Agency,

To register for IWINETC 2018 visit:


Lake Balaton: a Sea Within a Sea of Hungarian Wine

Lake Balaton, Central Europe’s largest lake, offers much to the curious wine traveller with its stunning panoramas, lively lakeside action in summer, ever-improving gastronomy scene, as well as exciting and remarkably varied white, red, rosé, and even a few sweet wines, coming from some top terroir.

The huge body of water of Lake Balaton, which is 77 kilometres long stretching from east to west with a width of 14 kilometres at it’s widest point, exerts a moderating influence and also reflects sun back onto the vines to ensure full ripening, although some grapes can catch a few too many rays! Balaton has four wine regions (Balatonfüred-Csopak, Balatonfelvidék, Badacsony on the northern side and Balatonboglár on the southern side) that brush it shores and another two (Somló and Zala) that can be considered part of its environs.

The hillier northern side produces predominantly white wine, including some of the finest examples of Olaszrizling in Hungary. These wines, which typically have impressive and refreshing acidity that helps to flesh out the flavours and build complexity, can be found in the mixed (marl, limestone) soils of Balatonfüred-Csopak and the black basalt-based volcanic soils of Badacsony and the Káli Basin, the latter where some limestone mixes with the basalt. Although Riesling is entirely unrelated to Olaszrizling, Badacsony is probably the national epicentre of the German-Alsation grape. This stunningly beautiful region with its sawn off volcanic mesas that were formed as the basalt stood firm and the non-volcanic land around it eroded is also home to the indigenous Kéknyelű grape. This sharply acidic grape makes unique white wine that can be neutral when young but needs time for its true, rich character to be unveiled, and has to be pollinated by the Budai Zöld grape, which itself occasionally produces delightfully airy and floral wines. Rózsakő, a crossing of the two grapes, is now also producing exciting white wines  of its own.

Round and fruity whites and big, bold Bordeaux style blends ooze forth from the loess-based soils of the vineyards of the Balatonboglár region on the southern side of the lake which are a touch warmer than the north, while riper single varietal Cabernet Franc, indigenous Kékfrankos and Pinot Noir is also to be found. While the southern side is much flatter than its northern counterpart, the vineyards of the south are nicely undulating with excellent exposure to the sun. Furthermore, the views of the northern side from the south are breathtaking. Red wine is by no means confined to Balatonboglár, with the likes of Pinot Noir and Syrah, as well as the odd Kékfrankos can be very classy indeed as some recent releases are proving.

Lake Balaton will be one of the excursions of the 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),, 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: Hungarian Tourism Agency

Elizabeth Gabay MW to Chair Wine Festivals of Hungary Discussion at IWINETC

We are delighted to announce Elizabeth Gabay, Master of Wine and author of ‘Rosé: Understanding the Pink Wine Revolution’ as the latest headliner for the International Wine Tourism Conference (IWINETC) 10 & 11 April 2018.

Elizabeth will be chairing a panel discussion on the wine festivals of Hungary with panel members Pál Rókusfalvy, winemaker, marketeer and organiser of many gastronomic festivals in Etyek and Florian Zaruba, on lake Balaton with an event and concert venue, a restaurant, cinema and hotel at his winery.

The panel discussion will look at how Hungarian Wine Festivals have evolved and what elements have proved to be successful. The discussion will cover the various aspects of festival organisation including the logistics (travel, access, costs, venue suitability, audience reach, time of year…). What type of festival is successful (arts, gastronomic, history, cultural, education…)? How can festivals be planned to benefit both the vineyard and region (walks between vineyards, several vineyards hosting joint festivals?)

An important part of the discussion will be considering what comes next in the development of this form of marketing. How can festivals retain their attraction with an increasing amount of competition? Conference delegates will be able to apply conclusions and ideas to their own country and regional wine fairs.

View the Conference Sessions here!

The 2018 and 10th edition of the International Wine Tourism Conference will take place in Budapest at the 5* Budapest Marriott Hotel on the 10th and 11th April 2018 working closely with our premium sponsor, the Hungarian Tourism Agency (Directorate for Gastronomy and Wine Marketing) . It’s the perfect setting to gain knowledge, improve business connections, network and discover Hungarian wines and Hungary as a grape escape destination.

Discover all about the Global Wine & Culinary Tourism Industry in Budapest

It’s now just 3 months until the 10th annual edition of the International Wine Tourism Conference, Exhibition and Workshop (IWINETC) opens its doors.

This year Hungary is hosting the 2 day conference of around 25 cutting edge talks covering topics key to enhancing business and professional development in the growing niche wine and culinary tourism industry.

You won’t want to miss out on discovering grape escape destinations and wines at the exhibition area including Armenia, Greece, Italy, Serbia, Spain and of course hosts Hungary.

There’s also a 1-day Wine Tourism B2B Workshop where trade providers and agents use the event as an opportunity to do business.

Networking is an essential and crucial part of IWINETC. There are a number of varied functions in both Budapest and in nearby wine regions such as Etyek or Eger, providing the perfect opportunity to make connections with new contacts, strengthen existing relationships and meet with friends and colleagues in a relaxed atmosphere.

Follow the link below to find out what else IWINETC Hungary 2018 can offer and register in advance to discover the latest in wine tourism.

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.