Yesterday I visited the International Wine festival of Budapest at the Castle hill and I had a great time together with my friend with whom I went there. Unfortunately it rained for the first time in several months (with the exception of a 10 minute rain about a week ago), but that did not destroy our mood or appetite for food and wine.

We walked to the Castle area on foot from Clark Adam square and got to the entrance where we bought our entrance ticket for one day costing 2700 HUF. Included in the price is a wine glass, a holder to the wine glass and on a rainy day a big rain coat to keep the water away. I did not expect the last so it was a great surprise as I was handed a big „rain coat”; thanks a lot!

Some weeks ago I visited the Buda Castle Beer Festival and they had a system where you filled money on an electronic card, and with that you could pay everywhere inside the area. At the wine festival they also have a moneyless system, but still a bit different. You can buy paper tickets with a value of 100 or 1000 HUF at several places in the area, and you need to pay with these at the several stands inside the area. Works very fine and quite a lot quicker than the system at the beer festival. Still, with lots of paper tickets in your pockets, wallet and elsewhere on a rainy day, it can feel a bit messy, but that is probably because I did not really have a system on where I kept the tickets.

At the festival there are more than 200 stands you can visit and more than 5000 wine types you can taste. The guest of honor is Croatia, so if you want to get to know more about Croatian wine and gastronomy, you can find both food and wine from the country at this years festival. We did not find this to interesting, so we went to the Lion courtyard and started exploring the festival from there. My friend ate some traditional Hungarian festival food and had a rose wine from Szekszárd to the food. He later bought a bottle of bubble water and added some water to the rose, and thus he made the traditional Hungarian easy drink named Fröccs.

After our stay in the Lion courtyard we walked to the Hunyadi courtyard where we started our walk along the stands presenting Villány, often known as the best area in Hungary for producing red wines. The most famous wine makers were represented here, for example Gere, Bock and Polgár. After walking there it was time for me to eat a Töki pompos (Bread langos), and then we tasted some dry white wine from Pannonhalma (monastery and World Heritage site in Hungary not far from Györ).

In the end we returned to the Savoyan terrace where we spoke to some winemakers, tasted some more wine, listened to some folk music on stage (with a few enthusiastic people listening), and then we ended our stay at the wine festival walking around in the Tokaj area of the festival. Tokaj is the best known Hungarian wine region, and they are especially famous for their sweet white wines. We tasted some dry white wines first before my friend ended our stay at the festival with a Tokaj Aszu 4 puttonyos from Tokaj Kereskedő ház, and I ended with a late harvest wine from the same region and wine maker. My pick was the best!

All in all we really enjoyed our stay, and though it was a pity about the rain, our mood was super and at least we did not have to stand in line anywhere at all. As we left I started comparing the festival to the beer festival in my head and asked myself the question which was the best of the two festivals in 2012. What was my conclusion?

Beer festival or wine festival?
If the question is whether you should visit the Buda Castle Beer Festival or the International Wine Festival in 2013, you should probably consider the following:

The wine festival is really a wine festival. This is a place to taste lots of wine and you can really get to know the wine makers and their wines at a very high and professional level. At the festival you will therefore not find the big, hot concerts and events and only one large stage, and if you want something else to drink than water, wine and Palinka, you will have a hard time finding such things (can not remember seeing anywhere at all where I could have bought a Coke or similar). So, the wine festival is ideal for wine lovers, but if you are not a big fan of wine, then this is not the best festival.

The beer festival is a beer festival, but at the same time much more. At the beer festival they had three large stages located around in the festival area, there were bigger variety in the food stands and much more to drinks and options for those not into beer at all. So, Budablogger recommends the wine festival to those into wine and who like to taste and enjoy a good conversation while drinking 5-6 glasses of it. The beer festival is best for those who want to party, drink, eat and listen to music from several stages. Of course the best thing is not to pick the beer festival or the wine festival, but to visit both!

What do you guys/girls think?

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