The 12th Pannon Wine Challenge 2011

Pannon Bormustra At the 12th Pannon Wine Challenge, the most prestigious Hungarian wine contest, top Hungarian wines are facing their greatest challenge ever. They will be put in front of a jury of an unprecedented high level that’s composed of some of the best-known judges in international wine and leading Hungarian experts. The Challenge, commissioned by the Pannon Wine Producers Guild, which is to be organised by Sziget Szervezőiroda from now on, will have many of its elements revamped this year. Sziget Szervezőiroda, the event management company that is well-known for organising festivals for younger people, has taken over the organisational duties of the Budai Gourmet gastronomy festival from this year. As the next step in opening up in the direction of gastronomy, it will organise the most important Hungarian wine contest, traditionally held in Pannonhalma. Wines can be entered into the challenge until April 20.
At the 12th Pannon Wine Challenge, the most prestigious Hungarian wine contest, top Hungarian wines are facing their greatest challenge ever. They will be put in front of a jury of an unprecedented high level that’s composed of some of the best-known judges in international wine and leading Hungarian experts. The Challenge, commissioned by the Pannon Wine Producers Guild, which is to be organised by Sziget Szervezőiroda from now on, will have many of its elements revamped this year. Sziget Szervezőiroda, the event management company that is well-known for organising festivals for younger people, has taken over the organisational duties of the Budai Gourmet gastronomy festival from this year. As the next step in opening up in the direction of gastronomy, it will organise the most important Hungarian wine contest, traditionally held in Pannonhalma. Wines can be entered into the challenge until April 20.“Retaining the values of the previous year’s events, but with the introduction of significant innovations, the 12th Pannon Wine Challenge will be held with the participation of the highest standard of international experts,” announced István Szepsy, president of Pannon Wine Producers Guild. “The highest level wine contest in Hungary will also benefit from new organisational and professional changes behind the scenes.”

Owing to an initiative by winemakers Tibor Gál and Zoltán Heimann, the Pannon Wine Producers Guild launched the Pannon Wine Challenge in 1999, with the primary goal of providing the opportunity for outstanding Hungarian wines to compete on an international level. For that reason, they invited foreign experts to be part of the jury even from the beginning. Thus, international and Hungarian connoisseurs have evaluated the leading products of Hungarian commercial winemaking. Throughout the last decade, the Pannon Wine Challenge, held within the walls of the 1,000-year-old Pannonhalma Archabbey, has become a central event in the Hungarian winemaking calendar. “Re-evaluating the event’s earlier success and taking its future possibilities and prospects into consideration, the Guild decided to rejuvenate the Wine Challenge. In doing so, it sought new organisational and professional partners. Thus, the management of the Guild consigned the organization to Sziget Kft, which has achieved outstanding success in event planning, and the fulfilment of the professional tasks to the In Vino Consulting company”, said the president of the Guild, adding that the location of the Wine Challenge will still be provided by the Pannonhalma Archabbey.

In the name of renewal and professional development, this year’s jury will include six international connoisseurs, as well as two acknowledged Hungarian experts (András Kató and Gabriella Mészáros). The organisers managed to lure several of the world’s best-known and renowned wine judges to Hungary. Such experts accepted invitations to join the jury (Caroline Gilby MW, Isabelle Legeron MW, John Szabo MS, Ronn Wiegand MW & MS) who are members of an elite wine club which requires its members to have successfully gained the world’s highest ranking wine qualifications – the Master of Wine or Master Sommelier. “Only 288 people in the world have managed to become a Master of Wine and only 180 a Master Sommelier. In May, four of them will be here at the Pannon Wine Challenge to taste and judge the best Hungarian wines. Besides the ‘great masters’, the jury also includes World Champion Sommelier Andreas Larsson and Matt Kramer, star writer of Wine Spectator, the world’s best known wine magazine,” said Richard Nemes from In Vino Consulting, the company commissioned with the professional supervision of the Wine Challenge. According to István Szepsy: “The Pannon Wine Challenge is more than just a wine contest, as the carefully selected members of the jury are important opinion formers on the international wine market. Through their publicity and professional connections, the jury can convey the good name of Hungarian wine all around the world.”
In addition to inviting the high-level international jury, the rejuvenation of the challenge is also indicated by a new and special element: re-tasting. With the aim of providing authenticity and guaranteed quality, the prize-nominated wines will be market tested and re-tasted, for which the organisers have invited Hungarian wine writers. A further novelty is the introduction of the best price to quality ratio wines with the addition of the “Best Buy” category, as well as awarding the best white wine made from a Carpathian Basin grape variety.

The announcement of the results and the awards ceremony will be held on June 2, 2011 at Budapest’s Millenáris Park on the professional day of the Budai Gourmet Festival, which will exhibit the best in Hungarian gastronomy. The winning wines will be introduced to the public for the first time between June 3 and 5, where the prize-winning wines will be placed in a separate tasting zone as part of the Budai Gourmet festival’s colourful offerings. Károly Gerendai, head of Sziget Szervezőiroda, who is also a true believer in spreading top gastronomy in Hungary and takes an active role in running his restaurant (the first Hungarian restaurant to gain a Michelin star), said: “Our aim is to make the Pannon Wine Challenge an even more well-known and acknowledged event both within professional circles and among wine lovers. It is our intention that the winning wines should be associated with absolute trust and spark interest among Hungarian wine consumers. We also want to acknowledge the top Hungarian wines that can be taken seriously even on an international level.

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The most important dates and locations of the 12th Pannon Wine Challenge:

– Entry deadline: April 20
– Sending samples: April 4 – 29
– Competition days: Pannonhalma, May 11 – 13
– Re-tasting of award nominated wines: Budapest, May 26
– Award ceremony: Budai Gourmet Festival professional day (Budapest, Millenáris Park), June 2
– Introduction of award winning wines: Budai Gourmet Festival public days (Budapest, Millenáris Park), from June 3-5.

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Sziget Management
For more information: http://www.sziget.hu/budaigourmet
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