Hungarian wine gets lift with Presidential role of EU
on 10/01/11 at 12:06 pmWine
Hungary took over the rotating presidency of the European Union on January 1. The six-month role comes with a host of weighty – and sometimes tedious – responsibilities. But for the EU’s smaller and newer members it is also a great opportunity to advertise themselves and their virtues to a wider audience.
One set of Hungarian business people are especially excited about the chance: wine producers. Hungary will host over 200 professional and 20 ministerial EU events and Hungarian wine will be served at the livelier ones, a great opportunity for producers to promote their wares to unfamiliar drinkers.
The wine industry produced around 3m hectolitres a year in the three years up to 2009, according to statistics from the Wine Institute and the European Commission. In 2008, the Wine Institute ranked Hungary as the world’s 16th largest producer by volume.
But Hungary’s wine makers need to improve their international reputations. Jancis Robinson, the FT’s wine expert, wrote last year:
Ask wine buyers how they view Hungarian wine and most would be inclined to put it in the category of cheap and not that cheerful from the former Soviet bloc countries. But Hungarian wines should most properly be compared to its old Habsburg neighbour Austria.