How to create a "Wines of Hungary" Brand

by Eve Resnick on November 7, 2008

in General

When people think Hungary, they see Tokaji. But Hungary has many other wines and, until very recently, no professional body to represent them on the international markets. Wine producers now have a promotional body: Wines of Hungary. “In terms of international promotion, our major strategic goal is to build up the Wines of Hungary brand,” says managing director Richard Nemes to Caroline Gilby, MW for Wine Business International. “We are in the initial phase, branding Wines of Hungary, creating the website and related publications.”

Branding “Wines of Hungary” is certainly a difficult task: who knows Hungarian wines? I started my search on Google and hopefully typed “Wines of Hungary”. I got an interesting answer under the URL winesofhungary.com: a blank screen with an email address. I don’t want to sound too critical but… common sense brings a basic thought to mind: don’t put a press release out before all your PR is ready. An other link on Google sent me to a 10-year old site published by the Hungarian Wine Society. It took a few clicks to get to a recent site where I was able to learn a little more about Hungarian wines.

I’m afraid the “Wines of Hungary” are still far from being branded in wine consumers’ mind – a pity when you know how wonderful the wines are and how wonderful it would be to have a wider access to them. Keep working and keep us posted on what you’re doing.

{ 4 comments }

1 Alex November 8, 2008 at 8:15 am

I think it’s going to be important to get a wider range of Hungarian wines in front of consumers. I recently bought a very cheap Hungarian red from our local supermarket, as I had been advised it was not bad value for money.

It was OK value but not a particularly great wine: I’d be happy to take it along to a BBQ or party but not serve it with dinner.

The problem is that given that’s the only Hungarian offering I’ve seen I’m likely to take away the impression that the wines are situated at the very cheap end of the market …

2 Frank December 5, 2008 at 8:13 pm

Hello,
This is Frank of Blue Danube Wine Co. here. We are importing Hungarian wines to the U.S. and thus have a vested interest in this topic. Thank you for writing about recent efforts to market Hungarian wines internationally. I fully agree with you that there are very nice wines being produced in Hungary today. (@ Alex: the better ones are certainly not cheap.) Not many of the top wines are exported and are hard to find even in European countries such as neighboring Austria or Germany.
In the past the marketing by the Ministry of Agriculture has been sporadic if not pathetic. Hungarian producers would be well advised to investigate and learn from the model of the Austrian Wine Marketing which has been very successful to foster the image, reputation, and sales of Austrian wine world-wide. For sure it takes co-operation, competence, and a budget. All of this can only work if it is supported by material contributions from the wine industry itself and not left to political appointees. Would be nice if the Hungarian wine makers would improve their marketing so that the high quality of their wines can be better appreciated.

3 Anonymous January 28, 2009 at 5:08 pm

Have you tried any Monarchia wines, like NJK, Pinot noir? If so, please let me know your comments!

4 Anonymous May 18, 2009 at 10:12 am

There is an interesting report available on Hungarian wines (written in a business perspective):

http://www.bormarketing.hu/media/
HungarianReport_TheDB_090504.pdf

Also, Wines of Hungary became an official supporter of the Institute of Masters of Wines, more here:
http://www.mastersofwine.org/en/our-supporters/wines-of-hungary.cfm

Finally, for UK distribution (both trade and private customers) I’m familiar with 2 companies:

1.
Mephisto Wine Merchants, specialised in Hungarian fine wines, exclusively represent The Malatinszky Winery, The Bock Winery (Villány), The Takler Winery (Szekszárd) and from Tokaj, The Samuel Tinon Winery.
http://www.mephistowines.co.uk

2.
Malux Hungarian Food and Wine
http://www.hungarianfoodandwine.com

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