We’re going to start by assuming that you didn’t know that the Tokaj viticultural area extends into Slovakia, something that triggered a dispute between the Slovaks and Hungarians a few years ago that was settled in 2012 at the General Court of the European Union. As this part of Slovakia was once a part of Hungary, the Slovak story about Tokaj was often overlooked. Regardless of the geography and agricultural policies, the most typical product of this famous wine region are the Tokaj sweet dessert wines, obtained from grapes attacked by Botrytis cinerea and thereby causing the fermentation to occur at low temperatures. King Louis XIV of France once said that this is ‘the wine of Kings and King of wines’.
In cultivating the grapes they use a special microflora and a necrotrophic fungus, Botrytis cinerea, that causes a “noble” rotting of the grapes. From such overripe and mildew infected grapes they then hand pick the ripest berries and put them in 32-litre grape baskets. From these berries they get the must that is the main reason for the famous Tokaj and because of the high sugar content is very poorly fermented.
There are many possibilities for accommodation for smaller incentive groups, one of which is staying with the lovely, hospitable Macik family. Their welcoming Bed & Breakfast in the village of Mala Trna can accommodate up to 23 guests. In addition to overnight accommodation they also offer fine cuisine in the heart of the wine region. Also popular among incentive groups is the Zlarna Putna boarding house, with its wholesome hotel and culinary offer.
If you are visiting this part of Slovakia as a part of a larger group, we suggest finding congress accommodation in Košice, Slovakia’s second largest city that is only an hour away. There are many options for congress hotels, from Yasmin and Double Tree by Hilton to smaller boutique hotels. Most wineries can accommodate groups of up to 100 people.
MEET IN STYLE
We familiarized ourselves with the whole process of wine production in the Macik Winery, one of the more reputed Slovak wine cellars. It is considered a part of the Tokaj wine region, which on the Slovak side comprises of 908 hectares, or 17% of the total famed wine region. The fifth generation of winemakers continues the family tradition, which has been frequently awarded at different European wine festivals. At this special and magical place some of the best tipples to be had are with their Mono, Axism Tokaj Selection and Tokaj Classic wines.
The highlight of the wine adventure is a candlelit walk through the wine cellars, where new corners appear before your eyes with wine vintages of a venerable old age. Erika Macik is an excellent oenologist who adds an interesting and insightful story or two about Tokaj spiced with tales from the times when the winery was also used as hiding places before the Turkish raids.
TOP 3 INCENTIVE IDEAS
2004: AN ARGUMENT lasting almost 40 years between Slovakia and Hungary regarding the Tokaj wine trademark is finally coming to an end. The Agriculture Ministers of both countries signed an agreement on June 3 by which Hungary officially recognised that the Tokaj vineyard area is also located on Slovak territory.