Harvest in Austria & Hungary

September 20-30, 2018


The Austrian-Hungarian Empire was one of the world’s greatest powers for centuries. Ruled by the Hapsburg Monarchy, this dynasty controlled central Europe from the 16th to the early 20th century. This area has been making wine for over fifteen hundred years. While borders and politics have shifted, Austria and Hungary are now moving to the forefront in a different arena. Both countries are producing world-class wines. Many in-the-know-oenophiles have fallen in love with Austria’s darling white varietal, Gruner Veltliner. Even some wine experts, however, might not be privy to the fact that a Hungarian red recently beat out Bordeaux’s illustrious Chateau Petrus in a blind-tasting. If you think of Hungarian wines as sweet or insipid, you’re two decades too late.

From a culinary point of view, Austria & Hungary offer a fascinating gastronomy reflecting their earlier vast Kingdom. Hungary’s cuisine is especially interesting due to Turkish influences such as paprika and phyllo. Austrian pastries rival the best of France. (In fact, the croissant is originally from Austria.) For foodies, Austria offers an interesting mélange of its neighbors---Italy, Switzerland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Germany.

The time of year for this tour has been carefully chosen to coincide with the grape harvest, the majestic early autumn colors, the reduced number of tourists, and the favorable temperatures of idyllic September. The trip will begin in Budapest and end in Vienna. You should consider arriving early, or staying after the trip has finished to experience these two wonderful cities.

Trip Highlights

  • Private tours & tastings at la crème de la crème wineries (including the one that out-performed Chateau Petrus in the famous blind-tasting)
  • Visits to 4 of Austria’s most important wine districts, and 4 of Hungary’s most regarded wine regions
  • Lodging in a romantic castle-hotel, a 15th century monastery right on the banks of the Danube River, a Napa Valley-esque modern wine resort, and a gorgeous Bed & Breakfast
September 20: Welcome to Time-Capsule Hungary


Morning: The trip begins in downtown Budapest, however, we’ll leave the city immediately and head east toward one of the country’s most famous wine areas, Tokaj. Once known exclusively for its sweet wines, Tokaj has reinvented itself and is now also producing brilliant dry wines.

Afternoon: In route, we’ll stop at a jewel-box of a town, Eger, where time has seemingly stood still for centuries. There will be time to explore its beautifully preserved baroque buildings, walk to its hilltop fortress, or shop for reasonably priced local items. As this is a wine-making town, there will also be plenty of wines to sample. Continuing our journey easterly, we‘ll check into our castle-hotel in the Tokaj countryside.

Evening: There’s not a better way to kick off this tour than a visit to the vineyard of one of Hungary’s rock-star producers who has been making wine since 1502. From its hilltop location, you’ll quickly glean many elements related to the uniqueness of Tokaj’s terroir. Dinner tonight will be fit for royalty. In fact, this very special setting is where a King of Hungary was crowned.

September 21: “Mad” About Wine & Food


Morning: Free time. Get a head start on the day by a workout in the castle’s fitness center, take a walk through the gardens or surrounding vineyards, enjoy a swim, or simply chill out. Late this morning, we’ll visit the cellars of our castle for a private tasting. Producing one of the best sparkling wines in the area, the castle also produces still dry as well as sweet wines.

Afternoon: Today we’ll venture to the nearby town of “Mad,” one of the epicenters of the district’s fine wine production. Boasting a hill with premium sun exposure, great drainage & volcanic soils, Mad is giving nearby Tokaj a run for its money in making both drop-dead gorgeous bone-dry as well as sweet wines.

Evening: Dinner will be at one of this wine district’s gastronomic shrines. Owned by a genius winemaking family, this uber-modern culinary workshop should turn your perception of Hungarian cooking on its ear.

September 22: UNESCO World Heritage Vineyards


Morning: Late morning we’ll visit one of the few female winemakers in the country…and she is from France. Bordeaux trained, this wine guru and her husband have won countless awards from the international press for their dry whites & reds, along with some jaw-dropping sweets.

Afternoon: Now, on to the town of Tokaj where there will be free time to explore the wine-centric village. Then, a private tasting at another illustrious winemaker—this tasting will be in the garden of his home.

Evening: Tonight we’ll dine in the countryside at one of the area’s top wineries.

September 23: Killer Reds


Morning: Off we’ll head toward Hungary’s southern border.

Afternoon: Our lunch stop is perfectly timed for one of the Hungary’s most ambitious wineries. Located near the Croatian border, this wine region owes its terroir in part to warm winds coming from the Adriatic Sea. Red clay soil and perfectly situated hillsides complete an idyllic terroir for the company’s award-winning reds. Next, we continue south to Villany, Hungary’s southern-most wine region. Soaked with sun, this is mega red country…think Bordeaux blends.

Evening:Tonight we’ll dine at the winery that scored higher than Bordeaux’s Chateau Petrus in a blind- tasting.

September 24: Volcanoes & Sparkling Wine


Morning: Free time to explore the village of Villany before the throngs of tourists from Budapest arrive for the harvest’s three-day weekend. We’ll also sneak in a late morning visit to another super-star producer.

Afternoon: We begin our journey toward Austria heading to our last wine area of Hungary. This one is tiny but very special. Ten million years ago it was an underwater volcano in a very shallow inland sea. The volcano erupted and today provides mineral-rich soil spewed deep from the earth’s strata. These soils contribute interesting minerality to the wine, as well as near-perfect drainage.

Evening: We’ll dine tonight with a spectacular vista of the vine-draped volcano.

September 25: Austria’s Burgenland Wine Region


Morning: We’re off to Austria, but just a stone’s throw across the border.

Afternoon: The trip’s first sip of Austrian wine will be at one of one of the country’s finest vintners. Voted as Austria’s best, this winemaker was the first to plant international grape varietals, and to then age them in French barrels. Our second tasting in the late afternoon will be at another stellar producer who is a Burgundy lover.

Evening: Dinner tonight will be regional specialties prepared in an atmospheric restaurant located on the charming town’s center square.

September 26: Time to Relax, Explore, or Sip


Morning/Afternoon: Most of the day is free. How about a walk? Rent a bike? Or, a visit to the lake that’s < a mile away? The town also offers a plethora of small wineries that you can visit at your leisure. Late today, however, we’ll enjoy a private tasting in the garden of the winemaker’s home, a Baroque 16th century mansion. BTW…these wines are remarkable.

Evening: Tonight we’ll dine in a beautiful setting with a specially prepared meal for Wine-Knows.

September 27: World-Class Whites


Morning: Next, we head to Austria’s most notable wine area, the Wachau. Located along the spectacular Danube River, this is dry, complex, white wine country…home to ethereal Gruner Veltliners and some earth-shaking dry Rieslings.

Afternoon: Our lunch stop will be at a boutique winery where the entire family is involved in the business. From the winery’s hilltop location, we’ll begin to learn about how over millions of years the Danube gorged its winding waterway through granite creating an extremely diverse geological terrain. Next, we’ll check into our historic hotel located right on the Danube.

Evening: It’s only fitting that our introductory dinner to this glorious wine region will be at one of its culinary gems. Recently opened, this gastronomic star is owned by a mover-and-shaker winemaking family.

September 28: Castle & Monastery


Morning: Free time. There’s an invigorating walk uphill to a castle above our village where views of the Danube are mesmerizing.

Afternoon: Today we visit the Wachau Valley’s most renowned cultural site. A UNESCO World Heritage property, Gottweig Monastery was established in 1094. After the tour, we’ll lunch on the terrace with spell-binding views of the Danube and vine-clad hills in every direction. A late afternoon tasting will be held at a producer whose family has been producing wines since the 19th century. Get ready for the earth to move.

Evening: Tonight is free. Trip participants will receive recommendations of Wine-Knows’ favorite spots.

September 29: Culinary Wonders of the Hapsburg Dynasty


Morning : Free.

Noon: We’ve saved some of our favorite wineries for the last. We’ll start off with a tasting at a winery whose family has been producing wines for >200 years. Their vineyards are world-famous, and are their wines are beloved by wine critics around the globe.

Afternoon: Free time for lunch in the story-book Danube village of Krems. Then, a tasting at another legend in the wine industry whose family had been in the wine business for four generations. Their dramatic vertical vineyards are some the priciest real estate around… and their wines are dazzling.

Evening: Our farewell dining event will be held in a private castle that produces stellar wines.

September 30: Auf Wiedershen…and Farewell


Morning: The trip ends officially after breakfast. The town in which we are finishing is located <50 miles west of Vienna. Transport to downtown Vienna (or to the Vienna airport) can be arranged.


The tour begins in downtown Budapest approximately 9am on September 20, 2018. Pickup will be at a hotel in the center. It is strongly advised that all participants arrive in Budapest at least the day before to avoid any missed connections with the group. Wine-Knows will be happy to arrange early arrival accommodations.

Group airfare has purposefully not been included to allow maximum flexibility in arrival & departure options. This means that travelers may go both early as well as stay over after the trip concludes. Wine-Knows Travel, Inc. provides land only arrangements and does not provide airfare.

One of the hallmarks of Wine-Knows’ brand is seeking out those oh-so-special places to stay. We look for historical properties that not only offer Old World charm but the latest in 21st century creature comforts and excellent service. Lodging on this trip will include a castle, wine-spa inn, beautifully appointed B&B, former monastery on the banks of the Danube, as well as a Napa Valley-like modern wine resort. Details are as follows:

  • Renovated 4 star castle set in a 250 acre Hungarian vineyard. Evoking the splendor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Venetian chandeliers drip from the ceiling and oil paintings drape the walls. Once the Wine Academy of Tokaj, this unique 20 room hotel offers a beautiful terrace and gardens, as well as a large swimming pool surrounded by vines.
  • Recently built wine-spa hotel with vino-therapy.Boasting 30 modern rooms, this 4 star property is located in Hungary’s southern-most wine area. Their Wellness Center offers treatments using products made from grapes & wines, as well as an indoor pool and traditional spa services such as massage, Jacuzzi, and sauna.
  • Advant-garde architecture meets wine resort.You’ll think you’re in Napa Valley but you’ll know you’re not because of the absence of crowds. Stainless steel walls, mammoth floor-to-ceiling windows, & iconic custom furniture decorate this sleek 15 room jewel. Located in the peaceful countryside, the property is a popular site for weddings & special events.
  • Charming boutique B&B owned by a Food Sylist Artist.In a historic group of buildings dating from 1537, the property is built around a flower-filled courtyard and rose garden. This inn is a splendid work of art. Each room, completely different from the other, has been lovingly decorated by the careful eye of this extraordinarily talented woman. There’s also a swimming pool to complete this perfect retreat.
  • Monastery on the banks of the Danube converted to a 4 star hotel. Surrounded by medieval convent walls and decorated with antiques and works of art from the region, this hotel offers a peaceful haven for our last stop. There’s a gorgeous cloister garden overlooking the river, as well as a swimming pool. The spacious and comfortable bedrooms are traditionally furnished.

Dining experiences have been mindfully selected. Meals will be special culinary events, ranging from sophisticated restaurants to country inns. Several will be private dining experiences in spots such as an exclusive wine cellar and a private castle. Foods will offer a depth and breadth of Hungary & Austria’s gastronomic offerings ranging from haute cuisine to home-style cooking.

Participants must be in good physical health and be able to keep up with the pace of the group. The tour often requires climbing two or more flights of stairs in wineries, walking distances of up to 3/4 mile (1200 meters) at a moderate gait, and negotiating cobble-stone streets and other irregular surfaces including dirt, gravel and/or wet surfaces.

Participants will be required to carry their own hand luggage and personal items. Concerns over any aspect of the tour’s physical requirements should be addressed with Wine Knows before placing the trip deposit.

The tour will be business casual. Men need to bring a sport coat (tie optional) for the more formal evenings, & women should plan a similar level of attire (cocktail dress or fancy pantsuit). Bring non-skid shoes for visits to wineries…floors may be wet & filled with a variety of equipment which can cause safety hazards. Pack a sweater or light jacket for cool days or evenings. Also, pack a swimsuit as several of our hotels have a pool and/or a spa.

The price is based upon double occupancy. Should you wish a single room there will be a supplement of $1054 US.

Mid-late September averages in the high 60’s during the day. That being said, daytime temperatures can fluctuate upward to nearly 80 degrees. Nights can be cooler as we get closer to October. While rain is not normal at this time of year, it is always a good idea to pack an umbrella or rain jacket.

We have provided free time as detailed in the itinerary. It is not mandatory that you attend all of the planned experiences, although most of our clients do. This is your trip—if you would rather sleep in, shop, or simply chill out, then do so.

Yes. We accept payment through PayPal (PayPal.com). Since PayPal charges us a fee, this fee must be added to the cost of the trip.

Tour Prices
Tour Dates*
Book Before 7/1/2017
Book After 7/1/2017
Sep 20-30, 2018