Land of Wine: Connecting Osijek-Baranja Wine Region with Villány, Hungary

Daniela Rogulj

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Romulicc & Stojcic

It is part of an EU project, “Wine tourism without borders – a unique wine tourism destination,” carried out by the Croatian Agency for Agriculture and Food (HAPIH). The partners are the Osijek-Baranja County Tourist Board and the non-profit winery company from Villány, Hungary, “Tenkes Nonprofit Kft.” The project focuses on developing wine and gastronomic tourism in part of the Croatian Danube region and part of Hungarian Baranja and positioning the destination on the wine and tourist market, reports HRturizam.

The Osijek-Baranja County Tourist Board is in charge of developing the wine and tourist offer. At the same time, the Croatian Agency for Agriculture and Food is developing and better positioning Graševina as one of the most important wine varieties in Croatia. Villány, on the other hand, is further promoting their most important variety – Cabernet Franca.


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The project is important because it connects one of the most visited wine regions in Hungary – Villány and the vineyards of Baranja and Erdut, and aims to promote the cross-border region in both regional and international markets.

A study trip took place last week, and members of the expedition, which consisted of wine journalists, wine distributors, and travel agencies, discovered part of the adventure mosaic offered by the new wine tourism destination. The trip was organized by the Osijek-Baranja County Tourist Board in cooperation with Villány winemakers.

“Slavonia and Baranja have extremely high resources for the development of wine tourism; it is an area with the most planted vineyards in the whole of Croatia. Another important rarity offered by Slavonia and Baranja is the presence of historical, old “noble” wineries, from Ilok, through Belje, Erdut, Đakovo, Feričani, all the way to Kutjevo,” said Ivana Jurić, director of the county tourist board. The activities carried out by the Croatian Agency for Agriculture and Food in the wine field will certainly contribute to the ‘Land of Wine’ promotion.

“As the holder of the project, through numerous activities, it will focus on the development and better positioning of Graševina as one of the most important wine cultivars in Croatia. With this aim, we are also working on developing a specification of a protected geographical indication for the wine-growing area of ​​Slavonia and the Croatian Danube region, i.e., wines produced from Graševina. Graševina, along with Istrian Malvasia and Plavac mali crni, is certainly the flagship of Croatia’s wine offer, and it is in this area that it gives its best results,” said Darja Sokolić, director of HAPIH.

Small family wineries are increasingly raising the level of wine quality in recent years and changing the perception of Slavonia and Baranja. He adds that the surduci and gatori offered by Baranja, and on the other side, the views of the vineyards along the Danube in Erdut, are especially attractive for tourists. But the most important thing in the story of wine tourism, he points out, is an excellent basic product: wine, in which a lot has been invested.


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“Oenology and gastronomy are our strong tourist trump cards that, in addition to natural beauty, attract tourists who enjoy indigenous food and excellent wines. The wines of our four vineyards are widely known globally, and not a year goes by without one of the winemakers from Osijek-Baranja County winning one of the most prestigious world awards, such as Decanter. Nevertheless, there is a lot of room for improvement, especially in the promotional sense, and the experiences from Villány speak of the direction in which wine tourism can develop in the long run,” said Prefect Ivan Anušić. The study trip participants were delighted with the creation of a new destination and a multi-day stay in the Croatian and Hungarian wine regions.

“When we mention Croatia, everyone mostly thinks of the sea. But Croatia has a wonderful continent, which we have been happy to discover in the last few days. In addition, we discovered another part of Croatia, the northeast. We traveled through beautiful landscapes along the Danube and enjoyed beautiful views, historical sights, vineyards, and of course, wine. I was impressed by nature, and I think that a special adventure is to meet the wine east of Croatia by bicycle,” says Anne-Wies van Oosten, a Dutch journalist.

By creating a joint wine story with Villány, we can expand the tourist offer, so guests who stay with us for two or three days will extend their stay and go on a day trip to Villány, 45 minutes away or vice versa. The guiding thought of the whole project is simple and logical, especially since each region is branded with special wine varieties. While Villány is recognized by the Cabernet Franc variety – the Villány Franc brand, Srijem, and Slavonia are certainly recognized by the top Graševina.

“I will definitely recommend both destinations we visited as a unique tourist destination. I am thrilled with what we have seen, from the beautiful scenery to the excellent wines and especially the interesting gastronomy. The similarity between our two countries is reflected in the production of Graševina, and I must emphasize that Croatian Graševina is excellent. I am glad that you will brand it more strongly through this project,” said Eszter Borbely from Hungary.

Through this project, it is planned to create a database and a mobile application on the wine tourism offer in the cross-border area. Furthermore, the organization of a large international conference on Graševina and the development of wine tourism in Osijek is also scheduled, with a tour of Baranja and Erdut and the development of regulations for branding and marketing Graševina for Slavonia and the Danube region.

Villány has two thousand inhabitants and achieves around 60,000 tourist nights a year. And all thanks to wine tourism. More than 200 winemakers in Villány have a license to bottle and sell wine, while about thirty more serious producers with a higher reputation. They produce about 12 million bottles of wine a year, named Villány, reports Večernji List. Also, their wines achieve great prices in the market. The first line does not go below five euros, the premium cabernet franc is up to 30 euros and more, while the super-premium ranges from 50 to 60 euros.

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