Based on the initiative of winemakers Tibor Gál and Zoltán Heimann, the Pannon Bormíves Céh (Pannon Wine Producers Guild) launched the wine contest named the Pannon Wine Challenge in 1999. The primary goal behind this establishment was to provide the opportunity for outstanding Hungarian wines to compete on an international level. The Pannon Wine Challenge’s ongoing mission is to contribute to the development of Hungarian winemaking and wine consumption, via communicating the results of the challenge on both a national and an international level. Furthermore, it seeks to acknowledge and enhance the reputation of the country’s most renowned wines, wine regions, grape varieties and winemaking styles.
Over the last 13 years, the Pannon Wine Challenge has become a central event on the Hungarian wine calendar. It is held within the 1,000-year-old walls of the Arch Abbey of Pannonhalma where international and Hungarian experts come together to evaluate the most highly rated products of Hungarian commercial winemaking. Re-evaluating the event’s earlier success and taking its future possibilities and prospects into consideration, the Guild took the decision to revamp the Wine Challenge. In doing so, it sought new organizational and professional partners. Thus, the management of the Guild consigned the organization of the event to Sziget Kft, which has achieved great success in event planning, and the professional tasks to the In Vino Consulting company. The venue for the Pannon Wine Challenge continues to be provided by the Arch Abbey of Pannonhalma.
In the name of the renewal of the event, since 2011 we have been selecting a new jury that consists mainly of international experts, the composition of which we refresh and expand every year. Further developments implemented are the introduction of the category for best price-quality ratio wines and the award for the best wines made from grape varieties originating from the Carpathian Basin.
Finally, it’s important to note that we consider the Pannon Wine Challenge to be more than merely a wine competition, as the consciously selected members of the jury are also important opinion formers on the international wine market. Through their publicity and professional connections, the jury can convey the good reputation of Hungarian wine all around the world.
We believe the Pannon Wine Challenge should not follow the model of international organisations’ accredited, uniform, and often gigantic competitions. Instead, it should convey the intellectuality represented by the Pannon Winemaking Guild and it ought to serve, if you like ‘in a customized way’ the development of quality production, the uniqueness of Hungarian winemaking and the complete restoration of high-end and widespread wine culture in Hungary.
Sziget Kulturális Menedzser Iroda / Sziget Cultural Management Office