Hungary: History

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Vine-growing and winemaking have been practised in what is modern Hungary since at least Roman times, when it was part of the Roman province of Pannonia. The Magyar tribes who arrived here at the end of the 9th century found flourishing vineyards and familiarity with winemaking techniques. Under Bela IV (1235–70), the king who rebuilt Hungary after the Mongol invasion of 1241, wine production was given such priority that immigrants from areas with particular expertise in vine-growing and winemaking were deliberately invited to rebuild the devastated areas, and by the end of his reign wines from the two towns of sopron and eger were being exported in relatively large quantities. Hungary’s most famous wine, tokaji, is first mentioned in records in the late 15th century, although it was almost certainly dry at this time.