The village of Etyek just south of Budapest is famous for two things: film and wine. Its film studios have provided the backdrop for numerous foreign films and television products, including The World without End and The Borgias. However, more importantly (at least for us!), it is one of the main producing areas of the Etyek-Buda wine region.  Surrounded by vineyards, it is known primarily for its white wines (particularly Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc), sparkling wines, rosé and increasingly rather decent Pinot Noir, too.

Etyek is home to many small family-owned wineries, indeed most of the people in the village are connected to wine in one way or another. The village has been hosting the Etyeki Piknik since 2013, a series of quarterly events with a seasonal focus, aiming to continue the traditions of its popular Pincefesztival (Cellar Festival) formerly held in June and ’Kezes-lábos’ held at the end of September. You can try out gourmet treats and wines once each season, along with cultural programmes and artisanal products.

Etyek will throw open its doors this Saturday, 23 January, for the winter edition of the Piknik. As Etyek is within easy striking distance of the capital, it’s a good reason to leave the city for the day and drink in some fresh country air, along with the wine.

The Piknik will take place in 18 locations around the Újhegy and Szépvölgy areas of the village. You will have the chance to sample wines not only from Etyek, but also from Szekszárd, Badacsony and Szigliget. As the forecast currently shows sub-zero temperatures, you may also like to warm up a little by trying some pálinka, the Hungarian fruit brandy or drinking a spiced mulled wine.

The focus of the January event will be a traditional pig roast and feast, along with plenty of good wines, of course. You can try various sausage specialities, pastries, fruit cordials and other artisanal products. In addition, there will be a mulled wine contest, a craft market and various other music and dance programmes.

Other 2016 Piknik dates for your diary
The spring Piknik on 9-10 April will take sparkling wine and ham (traditional in Hungary at Easter) as its focus. Visitors can sample the newly bottled wine as well as taste some artisanal sparkling wine, for which Etyek is becoming better and better known.
The summer Piknik on 4-5 June will offer you the chance to sample Hungarian ’lecsó’, a kind of ratatouille made predominantly from peppers, but be careful vegetarians, pork fat often lurks within. Some fresh summery rosé will help to wash it down.
The harvest event on 3-4 September will remind many of the Kezes-lábos festival, which previously took place around this time.  The focus here will be on must and cheese, harvest festivals, artisanal products and folk musicians.

Some practicalities
Entrance to the event is free; but if you want to taste some wine, and I’m quite sure you will, you’ll need to buy a tasting glass for 1000 HUF or alternatively bring one with you.
You could of course drive to Etyek, as it is only a short ride from Budapest, but then one of you will be unable to drink or will need to spit out the wine! I would recommend taking bus 760 from Kélenföld railway station. It normally leaves every hour, but additional buses may be laid on according to demand. Return ticket costs 1,120 HUF. You can check the schedule here.

You can check out the full programme of events and participating wineries on the Etyeki Piknik website.