There are few vineyards in Hungary, and probably nowhere else in Central Eastern Europe, which can boast two sibling vineyards, what’s more one in Argentina and the other in California. The Haraszthy Winery in Etyek fulfils all these criteria, but given its name, this is not so surprising. Ágoston Haraszthy was one of the famous polymaths and businessmen of his age. He was born in Hungary and then settled in the United States in the mid-1800s. In 1850, he was elected as the first prefect of San Diego, but we should also revere him as the father of Californian oenology. He founded the still functioning Buena Vista winery in the Sonoma Valley and later moved to South America where he began producing rum, finally dying there. The vineyard in Etyek has nothing to do with the family, they just took the name out of respect; however, taking a look at the winery, restaurant and the pool in the garden, if the adventurous Count Haraszthy were alive now, it’s not certain he would ever leave this beautiful place! Irsai Olivér (aromatic variety crossed in Hungary), Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir are the most important varieties within their range, with an annual production of around 90,000 bottles. Most of these are drunk within Hungary; however year after year, there is one wine, usually barrique Chardonnay, which is also successful in California. They buy in most of the grapes, but they have three hectares of their own productive vines under cultivation and plan to extend by a further two. The business policy of the vineyard is demonstrated by the fact that the vineyard right next to the winery building contains their greatest treasure; this is where they planted the Pinot Noir. Their restaurant, Cinnamon, is only open seasonally, but at that time, it’s worth booking in advance, especially at weekends when there is a kind of pilgrimage to the vineyards of Etyek. Just like the grill terrace and the pool, wines also could mean a major attraction, as they sell 10-15,000 bottles here annually. For those who don’t rush to get in their swimming costumes, but want to cool down, there is a so-called Knights’ Hall, a multi-storey tasting room created in the cellar, where visitors can admire an original ‘wine library’. The only danger for wine tourists is that the vineyard is situated on the top of Öreg Hill, so they have to walk by the other wineries in order to reach it. If we may make a suggestion, have a bit of stamina! It’s worth it.
Just like the grill terrace and the pool, wines also could mean a major attraction, as they sell 10-15,000 bottles here annually.