Etyek—An Oenological Excursion

Etyek covered in icy frost

20 miles out of Budapest is a small village of about 4,000 people. The village’s website proudly proclaims that they are ‘Budapest’s Vineyard’, reflecting their centuries old tradition of winemaking in the region.

Particularly well-suited to growing grapes for white wine, the soil and climate conditions are similar to the Champagne in France, and the wines of Etyeki origin are well-respected across Hungary.

In the middle of January, the ice decorated the trees for the Etyeki Piknik, a quarterly festival of wine, where the village showcases the best that it has to offer, primarily in terms of wine.

A mulled white wine from Lucza Borászat started off a boozy afternoon walking through the offerings from the various vineyards, wine manors, and estates, all offering drinks by the decilitre for reasonable prices.

TheRókusfalvy Estate is perhaps the most developed of the wine estates on the main street where the event takes place, and the interior is comprised of a beautiful modern upper hall with glass, wood, and exposed stonework, as well as a smaller, more rustic bar down the stairs towards the south.

Pál Rokusfálvy

As part of the Etyeki Piknik event, the Rókusfalvy Estate offers a guided wine tour through the winemakers’ cellars. The Rókusfalvy family opened their wine estate in 2000, and it is run by father and son (both confusingly named Pál Rókusfalvy) as well as other family members.

The tour gives an insight into the wine-making process, the Rokusfálvys’ challenges and successes over the last 20 years, and at least for us, was led by Pál Rókusfalvy the younger, who was knowledgeable and interesting to listen to, and kept our glasses topped up for the hour-long tour.

Rokusfálvy wine cellar

Unfortunately, by the time the tour had finished, it was dark, and the crowds had thinned.

We walked up and down the main drag, and were disappointed to discover that by 5.30pm, there was almost no food left to be had at any of the various eateries which had been plying their sausages and sandwiches earlier in the day.

The good news is that the Rókusfalvy also own a guest house a fifteen minute walk away from the wine estate. Obviously, they serve their own wines alongside a selection of hearty dishes, ranging from farm-reared chicken breast with cheesy mash to venison pörkölt.

The food isn’t cheap, but the service is excellent and the portions are big, and it was a welcome way to soak up the wine from the day in what is as close to a British inn as I think I’ve ever found in Hungary.

If you fancy a short break from Budapest, you could do worse than hopping on the bus from Kelenföld and wandering through the vineyards of Etyek, drinking the excellent wines, and topping it off with dinner at the Rókusfalvy Fogadó.

There are several guesthouses in Etyek if you want to make a weekend of it, but with the last bus back to Budapest leaving at 21:49, and taking about 50 minutes to get you home, it’s ideal for a day trip too.