The 1533 hectar large historical wine region of Sopron is one of the eldest in Hungary. Our forefathers had discovered already more thousand years ago the special givens coming from the sunbeams reflecting from the water of Lake Fertő, the rising up mist, the excellent content of the ground.
The natural and cultural values of the Lake Fertő and its settlements became part of the UNESCO’s World Heritage in 2001.
Sopron is the City of Grape & Wine. This title granted by the Internatonal Office of Grape and Wine got a town, thats age-long history has been interwoven with the history of grape- and wine-growing.
The land of the Lake Fertő has been populated since the neolith era. Likely about 2300 years ago had the Celtics founded the town Scrabant, which was named Scarabantia by the Romans. That was a very important commercial-center, whereover the Romans’ famous “Amber Road” ran.
At the beginning of the 14th century there was an international wine-commerce in Sopron, in the 15-16th century become the town one of the Europian wine-trade centers. In the first part of the 17th century laws ruled the wine-commerce of Sopron to protect the high wine-growing culture of the town. Theese laws forbade the wine-import from other regions, and allowed the foreign wines through the town by paying a high toll. At the beginning of the 1700′s, more thousand hectoliter wine was carried from Sopron to Silesia. The first printed book about the wine-growing is Lajos Komáromi’s Ph.D thesis published in 1715. He writes about the wines of Sopron, about the “aszú” (“Ausbruch”) and he explains the special value of theese wines with their medicinal power. The wine-commerce privilege of the town was cancelled in 1850. The only liberty what left is the wine-grower citizens’ right to sell their self produced wine in the so called “Buschenschanks” with fixed orders, direct to the consumers.
Till the 19th century the poncihters, german-speaking farmers put the wine of Sopron on the map. Contrary to other wine regions they built their cellars not in the wineyards, but under their own houses in the town. That way was safer, their wealth was under cover.
The phylloxera (wine-pest) reared its head in the last decades of the century and extirpated the wineyards. The grapes were replanted by the help of American grafts. Most of the german-speaking wine growers were relocated in 1946 after the II. World War. To cultivate the lands in abeyance was organised state farms and farmers’ co-operatives. Between 1950 and 1980 the small parcels was changed to large plantations suited to machine-cultivation.
When the Sopron Wine Region seemed getting to rest, came the policital changes with the so called “compensation”. The large-scale fields was cut into small pieces and a lot of persons got also land who isn’t able to cultivate them. Now there are untilled areas around the town. We need long years spent with work to win back the old fame of the Sopron Wine Region.
Red wines of Sopron
During the monarchy the wine-growing area belonged together under the name of Sopron-Rust-Bratislava Wine Region. The wineyards had been disrupted by grape-diseases, epidemics and wars. Today Rust is famous for the “aszú” (Ausbuch), while Sopron is the home of red wines, above all the Kékfrankos. Zweigelt, Cabernet, Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir are also typical and important. In the first part of the 20th century prevailed the blue grape-types, most of the wineyards (75%) were blue grapes.
Kékfrankos is an original type in Sopron. Probably during the times of Napoleon the here garrisoned French soldiers met this red wine which reminds of French wines – this way stuck to it the name referring to burgunder derivation. Cabernet, Pinot, Merlot are the types of the western occidentalis gall, subconvar gallica, so the French regions’ types.
White wines of Sopron
In the historical past were white wines grown here. A donation-contract from the year 1230, mentions Furmint, Fehérfoltos (Whitespotted), Barnaszőlő (Browngrape), Gyöngyfehér (Pearlwhite) and Sárfehér (Mudwhite) types. The Society of Sopron Winegrowers ordered propagating-matter from the Hungarian Economical Society’s National Grape-school in Buda. Among the 60 types there was only one giving red wine, all the other were white- and delicacy-grapes. The best quality gave the Furmint, which was suitable for preparing late vintage “aszú” wine by good weather.
Besides the red wines of Sopron the Tramini, Early Red Veltelini, Green Veltelini are also typical sort here. Tramini is intensive, very delicious, full bodied, harmonious, soft wine with a littlebit grape-smell and spicy taste. Early Red Veltelini has characteristic smell and taste, full-bodied, soft. Green Veltelini is fragrant, harmonious, has intensive flavour and fine acids.
Written according to the study of Dr. Lajos Székely