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Hungary's coming of age

Published:  23 July, 2008

Hungary lays claim to possibly the worst evening of my wine-buying career on a visit to a newly privatised winery back in the early 1990s. In spite of memories of spectacularly nasty wine and even grimmer food, it was clear then that the country's great strength was, and is, its people.

To succeed, Hungary needs to offer very good-quality, fair-value and wines with a sense of place and identity. It needs its bigger producers to help create a presence and a category for the country in its own right, and its high-flyers to create a buzz of excitement. There's no doubt the industry is getting there on both counts, and it now needs to get out there and start talking, opening bottles and promoting. It will take time and money to achieve results, but at long last it seems prepared to take action rather than getting mired in politics.