Kismarjai, Balázs

Keywords: wine region; social factor, natural factor, terroir JEL: Q11, Q13, R12

The subject of the study is terroir and its interpretation from the point of view of Hungarian winemakers. Terroir research is an important element of international vine and wine business processes. The two main directions are the Anglo-Saxon research – which focus primarily on the natural components of the terroir – and the French line – which now mainly examines the social background of the terroir. From the point of view of geography, it is important to include terroir in the conceptual system of geography and to place it in the countryside-landscape relation. The first half of the study contains these elements. Currently, the Hungarian terroir research focus primarily on natural factors and examine climatic or hydrographic components. At the same time, we have not yet succeeded in creating the concept of Hungarian terroir and we are not even close to being able to interpret it uniformly. It would help to do this if we also asked the players in the sector. However, based on the author's knowledge such questionnaire surveys have not yet been conducted in Hungary. The second half of the study is the interpretation of a questionnaire survey, with which 179 Hungarian winemakers and business owners were asked what they think about terroir. The questionnaire covered the interpretation of terroir according to the respondents, the territorial delimits ability of the concept. Separate questions related to the natural and social components of terroir: which natural components are the most defining elements of terroir, and which social factors can modify them. Since several of the wine regions in Hungary are struggling with identity and operational problems, the winemakers had to answer to what extent they consider terroir to be interpretable in their own wine regions. During the processing of the questionnaires, attention was paid to which respondents came from which wine regions, since according to our original preconceptions, the wine region environment determines the natural and social interpretation of terroir. This was confirmed in some cases (e.g., answers received from the Csongrád wine region), but surprisingly not in others (e.g., Tokaj wine region). In summary, it can be said that Hungarian winemakers imagine terroir mainly on a natural basis, to which the social role and component only add complementary elements. All this despite the fact that, in their opinion, much more attention should be paid to the presentation of terroir in the wine industry or in regulation and public discourse. The rather confusing protection of origin system also makes difficult the constructive use and interpretation of terroir. It would be worthwhile to revise the system and make it more applicable to the current conditions.
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