Two hundred Hungarian winemakers from the country’s Great Plain region have staged a demonstration in front of the Italian embassy in Budapest to put an end to the import of cheap Italian wines and establish a new body representing grape-growers’ interest.
According to participants of the demonstration, organised by the Advocacy Alliance of Grape Growers, the import of cheap Italian wines is putting winemakers in Hungary’s largest Kunság wine region out of business because they are unable to compete with them. Speaking for the vintners, László Budavári told the crowd of around two hundred winemakers from Hungary’s Great Plain region that selling wine to Hungary for 24 euro cents, or 72 forints, is impossible unless the produce is counterfeited.
The wine that comes to Hungary from Italy is supposedly a chemical product because it is impossible to produce genuine wine at such a low price as the price of sale does not even cover the cost price of the grapes produced, Mr. Budavári said, calling on Tamás Tornai, the head of the National Council of Wine Villages to resign for failing to protect the interests of Hungarian winemakers. He also asked the Hungarian government to build a “wall” around Hungary to protect domestic produces, including wine, and prevent counterfeited goods from entering the Hungarian market from abroad.
The demonstrators handed over a petition to the Italian ambassador to Budapest, which was received by the envoy personally. The document calls upon the Italian government to comply with European standards and prevent counterfeiting wine.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Jobbik MP Zoltán Magyar gave his party’s support to the winemakers’ initiative. He indicated that his party has already called attention to the problem of the country’s failure to prevent cheap wine flooding the country from abroad.
photo: MTI/Szilárd Koszticsák