Built on the soil of volcanoes that lived thousands of years ago, the history of winemaking in Hungary (and its best known region, Tokaj) is often just as volatile and almost as old!

It may surprise you that, despite the authoritative reputations of France and other central European countries in the wine world, Hungary is among the oldest winemaking origins of all. Tokaj was one of the world’s first established wine regions, decreed by Emperor Charles VI. However, there is even evidence from a petrifies grape leaf that viticulture existed in this region as early as the Celtic times.

Despite such a rich heritage, the history of domestic conflict is also very extensive. Frequent war, land disputes and alternating government rule severely held back the wine industry over the course of centuries.

Now, however, Hungary are hungry for a big comeback. We asked Caroline Gilby, MW for her thoughts on the country’s future;

Personally I think that Eastern Europe’s time has come. There are so many fascinating wines, unique grapes and exciting stories. And these are all built on a long history with wine being reinvented for today’s drinkers. Huge value here too, not necessarily cheap but a lot of wine for the price.

No one sums up the excitement and originality of Tokaj more than our friend László Szilágyi of Gizella winery. Their wines have had a lot of press and custom of late. Their selection of elegant and authentically Hungarian whites (and newly added sweet) are small parcels though, so don’t hang about if you want to list these wines.