Working out of Sopron in the very north-western corner of Hungary is one of the nations leading lights in minimal intervention winemaking. The city of Sopron, once capital of Burgenland is an area steeped in winemaking traditions, with many of Burgenland’s stars coming from Hungarian heritage.
With the dominating geographical influence of the region being Lake Ferto (aka Lake Neusiedlersee of Burgenland), the area is well protected from extreme weather while also encouraging botrytis in select exposures. Sopron is known for producing wonderful examples of red and dessert wines, with the once predominant white Furmint grape nearly all but gone since Phylloxera set in. Peter’s passion for both both Furmint and Kekfrankos (Blaufrankisch) is clear. He now farms three different Furmint sites across western Hungary exposing the different and unique terroir that it can express. He has painstakingly resurected one of the only local Sopron furmint vineyards as well as farming on an extinct volcano named Sag. In the summer of 2015 he added a small site 1.3 acre site from Tokaji which we have been eagerly anticipating. He has just over 2.5 hectares of Kekfrankos across seven different sites all located close to Sopron with some small holdings in famous local vineyards such as Silverberg, Leithaberg and Spern Stiener.
Peter is the 5th generation living in his house with a 120+ year old attached cellar. In 2007 he purched 2.5 hectares and has steadily grown to the now 3.5 hectares he farms spread over 8 different terroirs. Peter says it was a long hunt for healthy soils that hadn’t been affected from the industrial farming that was commonplace during Communism. He found sites that were alive with flora and fauna, healthy cover crops and with exposures that only require 1-2 sprays of sulphur per season. Everything is done by hand in the vineyard, while all sites are picked and fermented separately. The 120+ year old cellar is ripe with of native microbiological flora and the grapes arrive with extremely healthy yeast populations, allowing for fermentation to take place with only native yeasts and no additives. Wines are fermented in open topped containers before being barrelled down into old Hungarian oak barrels. Wines are neither fined nor filtered and bottled by gravity with minimal sulphur levels.
Peter Wetzer is considered by many as one of Hungary’s leading minimal intervention winemakers and a champion of native varietals and olden day techniques. His wines are extremely limited and are an exceptional example of what often under-appreciated Hungarian wines can achieve.