Perhaps the most famous wine region around Lake Balaton is Badacsony, where Cistercian monks planted the first vines on the slopes in 1375. Thanks to the volcanic mountains, Mediterranean and sub-Mediterranean lake effects, white grapes dominate, and wines produced here are full-bodied with high acidity. The main component is Pinot Gris, the grape Hungarians call Szürkebarát, which means "grey monk". In Badacsony the quality of the wines is accompanied by the beauty of the scenery.
Olaszrizling (Italian Riesling) is the most planted variety and Szürkebarát (Pinot Gris) is the most famous. Chardonnay is also grown here. Badacsony is also home to an indigenous variety called Kéknyelű. This white gives a strong, masculine touch, emphasizing the minerals of the volcanic soil.
Pinot Gris, Olaszrizling
A trip to Badacsony, the iconic symbol of Lake Balaton, is fun any time of the year. Still, one of the best times to visit is during the 'Badacsony Wine Weeks' (Badacsonyi Borhetek), held in Badacsonytomaj every July. Many small, family owned wineries participate in the program and it's a great opportunity to taste the local varieties.
Getting there from Budapest
Lake Balaton is about an hour's drive from Budapest. Highway M7 is the quickest. To get to the north shore take the exit from highway M7 to route 71 and towards Balatonfüred. Trains run from Budapest's Déli Railway Station to all main resort destinations. Buses leave from the Népliget bus terminal.