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Tokaj, Hungary

A typical vineyard house in Tokaj

Tokaj, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is Hungary’s most famous wine region and the first delimited wine region in the world. Viticultural traditions in Tokaj date back at least 1,000 years. It is also one of the most magical parts of the country. Everything about Tokaj—from its mixture of loess and volcanic clay soil and its microclimate (ideal for bringing on the mythical noble rot) to its indigenous grape varieties and its subterranean labyrinth of mold-covered cellars—contributes to the distinctive personality of its wines. Two rivers meet in the heart of the region to provide the right level of humidity for creating the shriveled, raisin-like berries which are essential for producing sweet Tokaj wine. The region is wholly a white wine region, best known for its sweet aszú wines, which are made from botrytized grapes. But over the past decade or so winemakers have increasingly been focusing on dry wines, to much success. If you are a wine lover who has to choose just one Hungarian wine region to visit, we suggest that it be Tokaj.

In Tokaj we offer Private Wine Day Tours, which are customized to suit your interests.

Our weekly Small-Group Tours to Tokaj are offered every Monday and Friday.

The Tokaj region once had a substantial Jewish population. Our Tokaj Jewish Heritage & Wine Tour will introduce you to the history of the region’s Jews, and will explain the vital role that they played in the production, sale, and transport of wine.

If you are interested in tasting and purchasing Tokaj wine, please visit our partner wine shop/tasting room, The Tasting Table, where we have the largest selection of old and rare Tokaj in Budapest, as well as plenty of contemporary bottles.

• Tasting indigenous varietals, such as furmint and hárslevelű, in their many different styles and ranges of sweetness.
• Visiting the network of deep cellars carved underground, which are unique to Tokaj. Some are multi-level, labyrinth-like places. One of the largest cellar systems features 27 cellars connected at different levels. The region also holds many unique cellar rows. Our favorite one is hidden away in a forest.
• Walking in the vineyards to take in the unforgettable landscape of the vineyard-covered slopes, scattered with streams, rivers, farms, and cellar doors protruding from the hills.
• The village of Mád, which is one of the epicenters of winemaking in the region. The village’s streets are lined with grand old houses; a Jewish cemetery (a pilgrimage site) is located on the edge of the village; and there is a gorgeously renovated synagogue.
• Erdőbénye is one of the region’s most charming villages and is known for being the home of most of the region’s traditional coopers.
• The village of Tokaj is a pleasant place to explore between wine tastings.
• This is the place to taste Tokaji Eszencia, a wine so rare that just tiny quantities are made and most producers don’t even sell theirs.
• A region’s wine is closely intertwined with its food, and in this region we know many fantastic cooks! A meal paired with a range of Tokaj wines might just be the highlight of your trip.

The Tokaj wine region consists of 28 villages in the northeastern part of Hungary. It is about a 2.5 hour drive from Budapest, and a 1.5 hour drive from Eger.

Year-round. Harvest time (which ranges from September until as late as November) is the most exciting time to be in Tokaj (though it is also a very busy time for the winemakers). During the spring and autumn there are several festivals and events surrounding the harvest. During the Spring, “Tokaj Spring” is a festival that organizes many concerts, tastings, and other events in the region. In August the “Wine, Shine, Bénye” Festival (Bor, Mámor…Bénye Fesztivál) is held in the village of Erdőbénye and is one of the best wine festivals in the country. Another event worth seeking out is the monthly market (held on the second Sunday of every month) featuring local products and crafts.

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