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Pannonhalma: Hungary’s Smallest Wine Region

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Pannonhalma is the smallest Hungarian wine region. It has a unique place in Hungarian wine culture and Hungarian history because of the Benedictine Abbey which stands proudly on the top of the region’s tallest hill. About a thousand years ago, when the foundations of Hungary were laid down, the Benedictine monks sensed that something magical was going on here and founded the monastery. Ever since then they have been focusing on higher education, wine growing, maintaining their renowned arboretum, growing herbs, making medicinal oils, brewing beer, and compiling their world famous library (which you can still visit today). Don’t miss this if you happen to be traveling in the area.

These days the Abbey is a professionally-run winery, and the largest in the region. For the longest time, the winemaking was dominated by the abbey, and their state-of-the-art winery. These days, there are plenty of ,locals who make wine for their own personal use, and there are a handful of smaller, family-run operations (most notably, the Cseri Pince).

The region is not much bigger than 600 hectares, and it has a typical continental climate: hot summers, cool springs and falls, and cold winters. The region produces almost exclusively white wine, with a few very good exceptions, such as Pinot Noir, Kékfrankos, and Merlot. This is the time to discover this region’s potential through the locals who are experimenting with what they can achieve here.