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Small Wine Region, Big Prize: Winery of the Year Award Goes to Pannonhalma Abbey

Hungary Today 2023.08.28.

This year, the winery of Pannonhalma Abbey in western Hungary was awarded the title of Winery of the Year by the three major wine professional organizations: the Hungarian Wine Academy, the National Council of Mountain Communities, and the Association of Hungarian Grape and Wine Producers, reports Magyar Nemzet.

Pannonhalma, with 52 hectares, is one of the smallest wine regions in Hungary and has been a wine-growing region for decades. Twenty-three years ago, the management of the abbey asked the late Tibor Gál, an internationally known winemaker from Eger, to lay the foundation for a quality winery of Pannonhalma Abbey. Despite the early death of the winemaker, the winery continued to develop and reached its peak under the leadership of chief winemaker Zsolt Liptai.

The winery has now received the Winery of the Year award for the second time since 2010.

Photo via pannonhalmifoapatsag.hu

According to the head winemaker, it was the right decision to grow two-thirds white grapes and one-third blue. “We have created a product pyramid with a broad base of base wines, followed by varietal wines destined for the gastronomic market, and our top wines that are bought by collectors, connoisseurs, or as gifts,” explained the head winemaker.

Chief winemaker Zsolt Liptai and Archabbot of Pannonhalma T. Cirill Hortobágyi in front of the challenge trophy “Winemaker” by sculptor István Madarassy. Photo via pannonhalmifoapatsag.hu


The Abbey of Pannonhalma is one of the oldest sacred Christian sites in Hungary and was founded by Prince Géza in 996, with King St. Stephen donating wine lands to the Benedictines as early as 1001 in his founding charter. Throughout the centuries, the Benedictine monks have always been closely associated with viticulture and winemaking. They grew the highest quality grapes and wines of their time.

At the beginning of the 19th century, the abbey owned about 100 hectares of land in the immediate vicinity of Pannonhalma, but also in Somló (western Hungary) and Tokaj-Hegyalja (northeastern Hungary). Even then they were selling bottled white and red wines, sold beyond the historic borders.

Today, the Pannonhalma Archabbey Winery, with a production of 400,000 bottles per year, has reached the upper limit of its wine production capacity planned at the time of its reestablishment.

The Archabbey of Pannonhalma. Photo via Facebook/Pannonhalmi Főapátság

Besides Pannonhalma, the Takler Winery from the Szekszárd wine region and the Attila Gere Winery from Villány (both are in southern Hungary) were also nominated for the award.

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Via Magyar Nemzet, Featured image via Facebook/Pannonhalmi Főapátság pincészete

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