© photo: Halek Mira

The wine region of Villány

Viticulture has been present in the southernmost wine region of Hungary since the Roman times. The arrival and settling down of Svabian farmers in the 18th century brought serious development in viticulture and wine making. This is the period when the emblematic cellar rows were built. The grape-breeding efforts of count Zsigmond Teleki following the ravages of the vine-pest phylloxera proved to be an important milestone in the history of Villány and brought international fame to the region. Villány was buzzing. The centuries old viticulture and family farming tradition was finally completed by the activity of merchants and negociants and the wines of Villány reached many places of the world.

During the period of forced collectivization family holdings were taken by the state and artizan, quality oriented wine making practically disappeared. After the political changes, from the beginning of the 90’s the family enterprises re-appeared again in Villány. These farmers – for example Attila Gere – made collective efforts to recreate the old traditions and managed to elevate the quality of Villány wine to the level of the leading wine regions in the world again.

Today there are 2500 hectares under vine in the hills surrounding Villány and Siklós. In Villány blue grapes are typical, whereas Siklós is more of a white grape area. But generally speaking the wine region is famous for its full bodied red wines.

Climate

Continental climate with sub-mediterranean effects. The weather is hot and quite dry, the growing season is relatively long. Both in terms of temperature and hours of sunshine Villány is the leading wine region in Hungary. The hot air from the Mediterranean Sea enhances the heat of the slopes protected from many sides and creates a totally unique, sub-mediterranean micro-climate.

Soil

The basis is limestone. Mainly loess and red-clay are general. In certain areas Triad age dolomite, limestone and Jurassic limestone can be found together with loess. One characteristics of the wine region is the presence of geothermic heat. In contrast with the normal rate – which is 1oC at each 33 meters on average – the temperature of the soil here increases every 10-12 meters by 1oC toward the Earth’s centre. The whole wine region is rich in heat sources and swallets.

Varieties

White grapes: Olaszrizling, Chardonnay, Hárslevelű, Rajnai rizling, Pinot blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Tramini, Ottonel muskotály, Királyleányka, Rizlingszilváni, Zengő, Szürkebarát, Sárga muskotály, Zöld veltelini, Leányka, Cserszegi fűszeres.

Blue grapes: Portugieser, Kékfrankos, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Kadarka, Zweigelt, Syrah, Medoc Noir.

This post is also available in: Hungarian, German