Hungary for World-class Wines
Despite being a relatively small country,
Hungary contains 22 distinctive wine
growing regions and is the world’s 11th
largest wine producer, with a wine history dating back to before the Roman
Empire. In the 1720s, its Tokaj region
became the world’s first vineyard classification, and its signature Furmint grapes
date back to at least 1611.
Most Americans, however, have never
tasted a Furmint wine. That is about
to change now that Furmint USA is
working to bring the dry white wine
varietal to the U.S. A collection of 15
dry Furmints and two sweet, from nine
producers, was introduced recently at
an event at the Consulate General of
Hungary in New York.
“There have been dry Furmint wines in the U.S. for proba-
bly seven years, but we’ve never had a comprehensive port-
folio like this one. All of these wines are new to the market,”
says Athena Bochanis, a principal at Palinkerie, an importer
of Hungarian products, based in Brooklyn, N. Y. “Our goal by
the end of the year is to have distribution in five to eight
states, including New York, New Jersey and California. Next
year we hope to be in 20 to 30 markets.”
American retailers can expect to see more Hungarian
imports in their future.
“We changed our horticultural strategy two years ago to
set our emphasis more on the trade relations,” says Ferenc
Kumin, Ph.D., Ambassador, Consul General to the U.S. “You
will hear more about us when it comes to food and wine,
and as a tourist destination.”
However, Hungarian imports will be rather limited com-
pared to other countries, like Italy and France.
“We’re not a massive producer from an American perspective, but we can fill in some niche markets with certain
goodies that are special. For example, we have our own
species of pork, and it has a different taste and is a very special quality,” he says.
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