Hungary’s bumper grape harvest of excellent quality

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HNT secretary general Dávid Brazsil said that due to excellent weather throughout the season harvesting began very early this year and is approaching completion. Grape growers have delivered an excellent crop and vintners are quite optimistic.

While there are some regional variations, overall grape harvesting stands at about 95 percent, some vintners have completed processing and the first batches of the fresh vintage have already hit the market.

This year’s crop is expected to come in just above last year’s 456,000 tons, compared with 401,000 tons in 2016 and 399,000 tons in 2015. But good harvests also have their share of problems – compared with an average price of HUF 100 per kilogram last year, this year the average price is between HUF 80-85 with only a slight premium for extra quality.

The early harvest and simultaneous picking of different grape varieties also meant that vintners’ processing capacities have been bottlenecked and in some wine growing regions harvesting had to be suspended for a few days.

In addition, some grape growers who failed to follow market demand had difficulties selling less popular varieties such as the Leányka (a white variety grown in Moldova, Romania and some Hungarian regions).

Initial tests of the harvested grapes indicate that 2018 vintages will be of outstanding quality, Brazsil said.

Hungarian vintners are proud of the country’s winemaking tradition, but mostly due to deficient marketing and strong competition from other winemaking countries, export prices of bottled wine in 2017 averaged only EUR 1.14, about half the prices fetched by the wines from neighboring Austria.

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