Budapest, Hungary – FurmintUSA, a marketing initiative helping to promote Hungarian wines made from the grape Furmint, experienced further successes with its efforts over recent months. Chief among the initiatives was a sponsored hospitality suite at the annual TEXSOM Conference in August, followed by a trade visits to Washington DC, Annapolis, and Chicago. In addition, two wineries in the group of FurmintUSA producers received special recognition from the San Francisco International Wine Competition and Wines & Spirits Magazine.
Over the course of the past year, the FurmintUSA marketing campaign has generated a considerable recognition for the unique quality of dry wines made from the indigenous Furmint grape. “We are pleasantly surprised at how warmly these wines have been received in the U.S.,” said László Bálint, AIWS, Director of Operations and educator for FurmintUSA. “From the most enthusiastic consumer to the most skeptical critic, we continue to make a positive impression on everyone we meet.”
In August, participants at the 2016 TEXSOM Conference had an opportunity to sample wines from the FurmintUSA portfolio in one of the event’s few hospitality suites. TEXSOM draws more than 1,200 attendees, of whom more than 800 are sommeliers and other beverage industry professionals, and helps promote professional wine service standards, outline paths for further wine education and certification, and raise public awareness about the professional standards and certifications for sommeliers.
Following TEXSOM, accompanied by Mr. Bálint, a group of winemakers, Natália Demkó (owner, Holdvölgy Winery), László Kvaszinger (owner, Kvaszinger Winery), and Tamás Kovács (owner, St. Donat Winery) called on trade accounts in the Washington DC Metro area as well as conducting an exclusive trade tasting at the Consulate General of Hungary in Chicago. The visits led directly to additional wine orders, as well as media attention.
Efforts to further introduce these wines to key influencers included a hosted visit to Hungary during harvest time. The travelers included Master of Wine Christy Canterbury, Master Sommelier James Tidwell, Master Sommelier Sara Floyd, Master Sommelier Keith Goldston, and Michael Wangbickler, CEO of Balzac Communications and marketing and wine educator. The group visited several wineries each day and experienced the cultural riches of the country and its wine regions, Tokaj, Somló, Badacsony and Csopak.
Two key organizations singled out a duo of FurmintUSA producers for being particularly remarkable. The San Francisco International Wine Competition judged Erzsebet Cellar the “Best Premium Hungarian Winery” and “Best of Class” for their Zafir Vineyard Selection Furmint. In addition, Wine & Spirits Magazine selected the Béres Winery Lőcse Vineyard Selection Furmint 2011 for their prestigious 100 Best Buys in their Winter Edition 30th Anniversary Buying Guide.
Because of the growing success of the wines in the U.S. an additional shipment of 570 cases of dry Furmint wines from Hungarian wineries arrived in October on the West Coast. The wineries included Gróf Degenfeld Winery, Béres Estate, and Szent Donát Estate. In addition, another shipment is expected to arrive on the East Coast in November.
Excitement for dry Furmint wines will continue to build through the rest of this year and into 2017. Attendees at the 2016 SOMMCon and the San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival in San Diego on November 16-19, will have the opportunity to taste the wines for the first time. Festival-goers will experience the different styles and taste the varied flavors of the dry Furmint wines. In addition, Master Sommelier Tim Gaiser will introduce dry Furmint during a presentation of “Hungarian Furmint: Ancient Grape, Modern Wines” at SOMMCon.
East Coast distribution is through Palinkerie Fine Hungarian Imports, a New York-based company specializing in fine wines from Hungary. West Coast distribution for three wineries in the FurmintUSA portfolio, Béres, Grof Degenfeld and Szent Donát, is through San Francisco-based Swirl Wine Brokers. More information about FurmintUSA is available at furmintusa.com
Founded in 2014, FurmintUSA is an educational campaign to promote dry Furmint wines from the Tokaj region. FurmintUSA strongly believes that dry Furmints are Hungary’s flagship dry white wines. More information about FurmintUSA and their 2016 USA East Coast Tour is available on YouTube at www.youtube.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com and on their website at furmintusa.com.