A thorough knowledge of Hungary’s gastronomic culture is an integral part of the image formed about our country. Hungarian legislation plays a crucialrole in building this image and hasbeen working hard for centuries to create the necessary legal environment to facilitate high quality wine production and boost the wine trade. It is also thanks to these efforts that recent years have seen the flourishing of Hungarian viti- and viniculture across the Carpathian Basin.
As Speaker of the National Assembly of Hungary, I believe it is important that Hungarian and foreign guests to the House of Parliament are able to taste our best quality wines. To this effect, this year I announced the second Wine of the Parliament competition. I am extremely pleased that virtually all our wine regions entered this noble contest.
Besides being proud holders of the Wine of the Parliament 2018 title, awarded based on the decision of a jury of experts, the winning winemakers have also become parliamentary representatives in a certain sense, since this year they represent viniculture here, in the House of Parliament.
May God bless them with a good harvest this year too.
Speaker of the Hungarian National Assembly
Being one of Hungary’s trademarks, high quality Hungarian wine has been a worthy emissary for our country for centuries now. Tokaji Wine Region, which was the world’s first enclosed wine-producing region, was mentioned in a royal decree as early as in 1737, and old drink menus included the nectars of the famous Hungarian wine regions, such as the Balaton-felvidék and the South Transdanubian Region.
The main focus of the House of Parliament Wine Competition were native or long-naturalised unique grape varieties and wine styles that encapsulate the spirit and attributes of the given region.
Accordingly, the best Hungarian wineries competed for the prestigious title in eight categories: Olaszrizling (’Italian Riesling’), Furmint, Other whites (Hárslevelű, Juhfark, Ezerjó [Biella] and Kéknyelű – native grape varieties), Tokaji Aszú, Kadarka, Kékfrankos, Bikavér (Bull’s Blood cuvée), Cabernet Franc.
The wines were evaluated based on the positive evaluation method of 100 points that was developed by U.I.O.E. and O.I.V. and recommended by the Les Grands Concours Internationaux de Vins et Spiritueux. The jury consisted of Hungarian and foreign experts with expansive experience in tasting and evaluation; most of them are DipWSET-certified, having earned their diploma from the London Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET).
The statuette awarded to the grand prix winner of The Wine of the Hungarian Parliament competition features one of the female figures of the sculptural ensemble of viticulture found in the old Upper House lounge. The three-figural composition made in Vilmos Zsolnay’s workshop was placed in such a distinguished location for good reason: Imre Steindl, the designer of the Parliament building, intended to draw the attention of the parliamentary representatives of the time to the prominence of Hungarian viniculture. The MPs did their job well since Hungarian legislators created a solid foundation for the country’s viniculture and oenology in the modern history of Hungary, which even the darkest periods of dictatorship could not dismantle.
The Speaker of the Hungarian National Assembly established the prize to honour those who win this prominent title with their excellent wines.
During the 19th century, the Hungarian National Assembly passed two pieces of legislation that laid the legal foundation for traditional wine production. Act XXIII of 1893 was the first regulation by which the state protected the interests of Hungarian winemakers against wine doctoring. Then, stipulated by Act XII of 1894, the national council of hill communities was formed and then became the cornerstone of high quality wine production in Hungary. Thanks to these legislative measures, the Hungarian state consolidated domestic viniculture.