A country well known for its unique wines, the white Tokaji aszú dessert wines and the red Bull’s Blood of Eger, Hungary is not only a major producer in Central Europe but also a wine importer thanks to its many wine bars and centuries-old wine tradition.
With at least 22 historic wine regions extending to all four corners of the country, Hungary is a major wine exporter to neighboring countries and a lot of its production also covers internal demand.
A history throughout a millennium
Hungary was once one of the most important wine-producing regions in Europe and there are speculations that the tradition of winemaking began even before the invasion of the Roman Empire.
The country’s most famous wine, Tokaji, first mentioned in the late 1400s, was subsequently lauded by the kings and queens of Europe and was popular at the Russian Court as well. During the world wars, vineyards were neglected or destroyed. Collectivization followed in the 1950s, creating state-controlled mass production of wine that encouraged mechanization and the abandonment of quality vineyards for low quality, high-yielding plantations.
It wasn’t until the 1990s, after the fall of Communism, that the wine industry began to modernize and slowly recover. Like most wine-producing countries in Central and Eastern Europe, the restructuring of the wine industry is still in progress.
Exports vs. Imports
Even if Hungary is known as a major exporter of wine, especially in Europe, the country still imports a wide range of brands and wine varieties, the majority coming from France and Italy. Budapest’s booming tourism, coupled with the city’s vibrant nightlife fuel most of the wine imports and the majority of the Hungarian wine importers and distributors are also operating in the country’s capital.
The value of imports in 2019 reached US$29 million, a value that saw an impressive increase of up to 25% compared to 2018. It’s still a relatively small number compared to the country’s potential and analysts expect wine imports to grow, fueled by the young urban population’s desire to discover global wines and also to try high-end international brands.
Hungary’s main wine imports are coming from Italy, with a share of 40% (US$10.2 million), France -19,1% (US$4,8 million) and Germany, with 14,3% (US$3,60 million).
The most popular wines in Hungary are the whites and sparkling varieties. Red wines are less frequently consumed and this can be mainly traced back to the local production.
Wine Importers from Hungary
Address: Hegyalja Utca 51, Fot
Address: Kamaraerdei Út. 9/b, Budaors
Address: Tartu Utca 3, Veszprem
Producers interested in the Hungarian market can find a database with top wine importers, distributors and retailers from Hungary here.