Design and development of touristic products Main author: Gábor Michalkó Szilvia Boros, János Csapó, Éva Happ, Pál Horváth, Anikó Husz, Mónika Jónás-Beri, Katalin Lőrinc, Andrea Máté, Gábor Michalkó, Erzsébet Printz-Markó, Krisztina Priszinger, Tamara

Characteristics and touristic types of Hungarian wine routes

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Characteristics and touristic types of Hungarian wine routes

Knowing the individual features of the Hungarian wine producing areas, it is hard to imagine that each wine route of all wine producing areas the create offers of similar character. The differences among the wine producing areas in the landscapes, production places and tourism should be featured with adequate touristic supplies and the designation of unique wine routes. Fortunately there are several examples for this to be followed in the European wine routes.

The council of European Wine Regions (CERV) operating as the professional organisation of AREV, with regard to the wine routes with several decades of experiences in Europe (Rhine-Pfalz, Alsace), and the wine routes developed since 1992 with the Dionysos programme of the European Union (including the Alentejó and Porto regions, Sicily, Styria, Catalonia, Lombardy), differentiates the following types of wine routes:

1. Open wine route, a loose network of wine tasting facilities. Units prepared for wine tasting and catering in a touristic region.

2. Thematic wine route. Wine tasting facilities are complemented by special programmes. Most frequently related products are culture, nature (protected areas with special values), and gastronomy.

3. Classic wine route. A designated, manageable route, “wine circuit” with qualified wine tasting and sales facilities, restaurants, accommodations, sights of interest and programmes for the guests. Visitors are directed to the service in demand by information signposts.

Adapting this classification to the Hungarian circumstances (G. Szabó – E. Sarkadi 2006), wine routes in Hungary can be of the following categories:

Open wine route: wine tourism offer of wine producing areas consisting of separate production places located relatively far away from each other. In open wine routes, the possibility of development is the creation of rural tourism network which, through the demonstration of the area and the wines, can bring about the improvement of the recognition of the wines. Besides the specific programmes of wine tourism, these wine routes can offer rural tourism, agrotourism and cultural programmes whose development can be the key to success by the activation of local inhabitants and their integration into the wine route.

In South Transdanubia such an open wine route is the Tolna Wine Route, but several wine routes of North Hungary are also moving into this direction of development. This can definitely be a development “way” for the wine routes in the Great Hungarian Plain.

Thematic wine routes require more concentrated enological and touristic supply, including major tourist attractions to which wine tourism services are worth connecting.

Wine producing areas suitable for the establishment of thematic wine routes can integrate the wine route services to the already existing and popular attractions, mutually reinforcing each other. In these wine producing areas the fame of the wines, wine production culture and the related catering services are still in need of development, in which touristic programmes can be of great value. This category includes the recently established South Balaton Wine Route with its developing supply or the Bóly-Mohács “White Wine Route”. Besides the existing and cooperating touristic supplies recognised by the market we also find in these wine routes wines of good quality, with considerable development potential. By the integration of these both fields, i.e. tourism and wine production can win.

The third type of wine routes are classic wine routes or wine circuits. This category can be found in renowned but geographically small wine producing areas with an established tourism offer like the Villány-Siklós Wine Route, the Hungarian archetype of wine routes, or the Badacsony Region Wine Route and the wine route of the Somló Hill. The facilities and settlements in the geographical proximity of each other allow the systematic managing (walking) of the area. The tourism developments in the Szekszárd and the Sopron wine producing areas will result in the birth of such “wine circuits”. This development direction is a realistic possibility for wine producing areas that have a high quality enological sector and wines of international recognition, for wine producing areas where wine producers have realised the possibility lying in wine tourism and have joined the wine routes as service providers themselves. Several of these producers have crated their supply, in addition to wine tasting and sales, in gastronomy and even in accommodation services (by the establishment of family-run boarding houses) (Szabó, G. 2006, 2003a, b, 2002, 2001, 1995).

[1] Magyar Borutak Szövetsége, MABOSZ

1.2. The foundations of Hungarian wine culture

Viticulture and wine culture of Hungary go back to two thousand years (Kollega Tarsoly, I. 2000). The varied environmental conditions of the Carpathian Basin and the impacts that Hungary received during history make Hungarian wine culture diverse, which, on the basis of its endowments, could be a competitor of French wine culture (Appendix 1). There are common features in the development of the Hungarian wine regions, but each wine region has their own special development features as well (Tables 1 and 2).  

Table 1. Main periods in the historical development of Hungarian wine culture until World War Iű

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