A visual tour of the Budapest Wine Festival

My decision to go to the wine festival was based as much out of a desire to spend a nice afternoon in the Buda castle as it was to learn a bit more about Hungarian wines.  This small country has a rich history and variety of wine from its 22 different wine districts, but I have to admit that despite my superficial acknowledgement of the famous Villany district reds and the classic Tokaj dessert wines, I was (and remain) relatively clueless.

All ready to get my Merlot lipstick on I headed up to the Castle District.  We got into the festival and received a commemorative wine glass and what my friend dubbed “wine babies,” a fun bib to hold them in.  Treats, yay!  That was the easy part.

Next we were confronted with what seemed like an endless collection of stalls featuring a few wines each and suddenly everything was not so easy.  The wines themselves were sorted by region, giving us the faintest direction — but rather dauntingly, a glance through the program revealed that there were over 209 wineries represented.

Hungary is one of the only two European countries whose word for wine doesn’t derive from Latin — meaning the twosome have a history over a century years old.  Traditional Hungarian wine culture is represented in folk designs, harvest season traditions, and general Hungarikums.  Because what’s better than a nice bottle of red, and a wood plate full of cold cuts?

A quick look around was followed by the decision to throw strategy out the window, and dash for the first tent — which actually contained fine French bubbly.  Unperturbed by the un-Hungarianness of it all, we downed a glass, thereby accomplishing two things — learning how the whole system worked, and getting one drink past the stressing.

Next up, real wine.  We walked through the place seeing if anything tickled our fancy, and soon started shopping for wines by the label branding.  Which is a testament to how differently the wineries focused on their brand….Here are some of the designs that were particularly clever and attractive.



Bolyki’s wines shunned traditional branding with mono-colored labels that cleverly reflected their unconventional names. Kiralyleanyka, or “Princess,” saw a little miss riding a zebra across the fragrant red. His “Indian Summer” red is cloaked in a fire red label with black graphics recalling the last sweet days of blazing twilight. Bolyki’s retro print style labels were tasteful and modern, a difficult combination to execute properly in such an age-old niche.




Another favorite was from Duzsi Tamas’ branding, which was a double delight to me, as I did recognize this winery. Duzsi bottles are always my go to gift to someone who might know what’s up in the wine world.  I am a huge fan of his award-winning rosé, with its light, crisp taste.  His labels reflect the rosé’s bouquet, with a very light, pointillated map of Hungary and his home region, Szekszard, highlighted elegantly in pink.



Etyeki Kuria got props from me for inundating folk style motifs into their minimal branding. Their elegant, geometric font choice beautifully mirrored the pared down interpretations of a folk style embroidered man and woman.


Finally, Lelovits Tamas took it to another level with a label that involved boiling down his name to almost designed obscurity. A sucker for puzzles I immediately took a shine to this simply clever name game, that rounded out my wino adventures of the day.








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  1. […] really dig how these wine enthusiasts at Bold Color Glass from Budapest covered and captured the wines of the Budapest Wine Festival 2014. Can’t wait […]

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