THE CORRELATION OF THE FAME OF WINE REGIONS AND WINE GASTRONOMY FESTIVALS IN THE PANNON WINE REGION

 

Bence Závodi, Géza Szabó

University of Pécs, Faculty of Sciences Doctoral School of Earth Sciences, zavodi@gamma.ttk.pte.hu

University of Pécs, Faculty of Sciences Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences Department of Tourism, fg4t@gamma.ttk.pte.hu

 

DOI: 10.33538/TVT.1904.ksz1-2.2

 

Abstract

Due to the change in consumption trends, the interest in wine gastronomy festivals has continuously increased in the recent years. The basis of the increased demand was the expanding supply of festivals. In our opinion the wine gastronomy festivals may play a significant role in the improvement of the reputation of wine producing areas, but this potential in not used to the same extent in the various wine regions of Hungary. During our research we collected and analysed the findings of surveys conducted in recent years on the reputation of the Hungarian wine producing areas. From different sources we collected the wine gastronomy festivals of Hungary, and then we used the database compiled for the definition of the major, especially geographical and thematic features of the supply. We found several exemplas that well demonstrate the correlation between the fame coming from the reputation of the wine producing areas and the number of the wine gastronomy festivals. The Pannon Wine Region is one of the enological tourism centres of Hungary from both (wine) professional and tourism aspects, but we have to emphasise that the wine producing areas within the wine region have different levels of involvement in enological tourism.

Keywords: wine producing area, fame, wine gastronomy festivals

 

Introduction

The interest in wine gastronomy festivals has continuously increased in the recent decades in Hungary, as a result of which festival tourism has become a dominant segment of today’s tourism sector. Festivals can have several positive impacts on their destinations, such as the preservation of the culture of the local inhabitants (GETZ 2008). By the invigoration of the cultural life of the location the attachment of the local inhabitants to their settlements is also strengthened, in addition to the improved external image of the destination (LEENDERS 2010). The increase of the touristic attractivity will also improve the satisfaction of the guests arriving at the destination, as a result of which the touristic attraction of the settlement will increase (GRAPPI – MONTANARI 2011). A special type of festivals is made by the ones related to wine, enological tourism and wine gastronomy. HALL et al. (2000) say that enological tourism is more than the simple visiting of vineyards and wineries: it is also about different wine-related events and the participation in exhibitions. In Germany, a country very rich in the traditions of enological tourism, the role of wine festivals is seen in the winning of new target groups (RÜDIGER et al. 2015). RÜCK (2013) defined several advantages of wine festivals, manifested for wineries among others in the direct sales of their high prestige products. For the destination management organisation of the respective area it is the growth in the volume of guests, improved reputation and better image that are advantages. Even local residents can feel the favourable impacts in the increased attractivity of their residential areas.

Gastronomy festivals, in the themes of which a central role is played by the preparation, demonstration and tasting of meals, can be organised not only about foods but also beverages (wine, beer, pálinka). One type of this category is wine gastronomy festivals with wine as the central element is, supplemented by different services. According to SZABÓ et al. (2017), wine gastronomy festivals can be classified into four categories:

  • Wine festival: Basically the local, regional and national exhibitions for the wines of the wine regions for the public with a significant wine professional content.
  • Wine gastronomy: A gastronomy event, festival where the foods and drinks are both presented to the audience.
  • Wine culture: The meeting of the wine and the arts, a cultural event, festival where the wines also play a highlighted role in the programme.
  • Harvest festivals: Harvest folk feasts, festivals, balls, where the audience meets the wine culture and the traditions of the wine region with particular concern.

Hungary has significant traditions related to viticulture and wine production, which is also proved by the increase in the number of wine related events year after year. The Hungarian production areas are classified into 22 wine regions whose total territory is almost 62 thousand hectares. The Pannon Wine Region (Figure 1) involves four wine producing areas: the Pécs, the Szekszárd, the Tolna and the Villány Wine Producing Areas. With the exception of one single settlement (Igar – situated in Fejér county) the whole of the Wine Region is located in the region of South Transdanubia, in Tolna and Baranya counties. The enological tourism (MÁTÉ – SZABÓ 2012) and the wine routes (CSIZMADIA et al. 2012, SZABÓ 2012) of the Pannon Wine Region is crucial in the tourism of the region.

 

Figure 1: Wine producing areas of Pannon Wine Region

Source: based on boraszat.kormany.hu edited by ZÁVODI (2019)

 

Several activities promoting enological tourism in the Pannon Wine Region have been implemented, such as the organisation of prestigious programmes, establishment of interactive exhibition rooms and museums (OROSZI et al. 2015). According to GONDA et al. (2017), in the area examined wineries also place a great emphasis on the marketing of wines, in addition to the development of the product supply. The result of this ability of renewal is the capacity of the Wine Region to find innovative solutions, and to reposition and market traditional products, in addition to new products and new brands. These factors can contribute to a large extent to the improved reputation of the wine producing area. According to SZABÓ (2010) and AUBERT – SZABÓ (2012) the marketing activity of this wine region is also outstanding which is an important factor regarding the shaping of its fame.

The fame of a wine producing area is influenced by several factors. One of the bases is terroir, i.e. the natural and farming endowments and the human-traditional-heritage factors of the production area (AUBERT– SZABÓ 2008), but the impacts of this can only increase the reputation of a wine region to a certain extent. Human contribution, the labour invested by the stakeholders and the extent of cooperation are also significant influencing factors (HIRA – SWARTZ 2014). In addition to the terroir related factors, the reputation of wine producing areas can play important role in the pricing of the wines (CROSS et al. 2011). SHAW et al. (2011) too emphasise that besides the high quality products it is the reputation of a wine producing area that plays an important role on the international market. The research by YANG et al. (2012) concerned some wine producing areas in the United States. According toe authors, in the wine producing areas of certain states (Washington and California) where wineries are situated close to each other, it is more typical to produce higher quality wines that can be marketed at higher prices. Due to the geographical proximity, in these wine producing areas self-identity, attachments to the territory is stronger, which in turn may play significant role in the improvement of the reputation. GALLOWAY et al. (2008) examined sensationalist consumer behaviour, during which several findings concerning the reputation of wine producing areas were made. Besides the reputation of the wine producing area the reputation of the winery also plays a significant role, as does the fact whether consumers find the respective wine producing area popular or not. An important finding by GETZ and BROWN (2004) is the detection of very strong correlation between enological tourism and wine consumption. Wine consumers are the potential demand for enological tourism. Consequently, wine producing areas with better reputation are more likely to attract tourists, especially the ones for whom the reputation of a wine producing area plays an important role when making the travel decision.

 

Objectives

The primary objective of the research is the detection of the correlation between the reputation of wine regions and wine gastronomy festivals in the Pannon Wine Region. In order to reach this goal we must examine the two factors separately, furthermore demonstrate the characteristic features of both the Hungarian wine regions in general and the Pannon Wine Region in particular.

 

Methodology applied

A dominant element determining the reputation of wine producing areas is the market demand for the respective wine producing areas also in Hungary (SZOLNOKI – TOTTH 2017). Several factors can contribute to the reputation and fame of an area, from historical traditions (see the historical wine producing area of Tokaj) through renowned and successful producers, famous terroirs, and awards in wine competitions right to the good position achieved in enological tourism and the related wine festivals.

Another complex possibility for comparison could be offered by the examination of awards in Hungarian and international wine competitions, however, despite the prestigious awards, this is less evaluated by consumers in their purchases (SZOLNOKI – TOTTH 2017).

A more effective method in our opinion is the evaluation of the role of enological tourism, and within that wine festivals, attracting the visitors to the production area and allowing the contact with the wines of the production area and the producers. The focus of our examination is thus on the correlations between the wine gastronomy festivals and the reputation of the wine producing areas. During the research several methods were applied so that we could analyse the issue in-depth and from several approaches.

When determining the fame of the wine regions, the reputation of the wine producing areas can be seen as the basis. During the research we collected and analysed population surveys of the last decade and a half made on the reputation of wine producing areas, the consumers’ judgements and the concomitant fame. The oldest national survey was conducted in 2005; the other six analysed surveys were made in a yearly sequence from 2012 to 2017. These researches were made with various methodologies and diverse sizes of samples, and their comparison results in a quasi representative rank. Two main methodology approaches could be seen at the surveys in question (Table 1):

a) sample of 1,000 or 1,500 respondents, compiled by the Hungarian Central Statistical Office, which is representative in several parameters for the population aged over18;

b) questionings of smaller samples (a few hundreds of respondents) or very large ones (thousands of respondents), and internet-based sampling in which the representativeness of the sample is compared to the characteristic features of the respondents.

 

Table 1: The collected surveys about the fame of wine producing areas

DateOrganizationn=MethodologySource
Survey 12005Magyar Turizmus Zrt.1000aszakmai.itthon.hu
Survey 22012Borászportál5744bboraszportal.hu
Survey 32013Bormarketing Műhely Nonprofit Kft.1550bturizmusonline.hu
Survey 42014Agrárgazdasági Kutatóintézet1015adocplayer.hu
Survey 52015Corvinus Egyetem309aMOLNÁR – TEMESI (2015)
Survey 62016Nagy Bor Teszt27452bvinoport.hu
Survey 72017Hegyközségek Nemzeti Tanácsa988aSZOLNOKI – TOTTH (2017)

Source: based on collected measurements own editing

We collected the wine gastronomy festivals of Hungary from different sources. The collection of festivals and the related information was done by the analysis of the websites of the wine producing areas and the wine routes, their web 2.0 sites, and the sites of programme promoters of national recognition. These programmes were analysed on the basis of their supply, and then categorised into the thematic types previously created (SZABÓ et al. 2017). The database compiled allowed us to define the major, especially geographical features of the supply.

 

1. Studies on the reputation of wine producing areas made between 2005 and 2017

The findings of the seven collected surveys were summarised in order to get as accurate as possible information about the reputation of the respective wine producing areas. On the basis of the surveys we made an order of the wine producing areas and scored each of them. The wine producing area in rank one was given 22 points, whereas the last one was given one point. The seven sums gained this way were averaged and thereby we got a final rank that can be seen in Figure 2.

 

 

The wine producing areas of the Pannon Wine Region can be put into two categories by the overall ranking of the wine producing areas. The first group involves the wine producing areas of Villány and Szekszárd, in position 3 and 5, respectively. The second group involves the wine producing areas of Pécs and Tolna at position 15 and 20, respectively. The main reason for the difference is the disparities in the professional side of wine production: while the wine makers of Villány and Szekszárd were awarded the title “Wine producer of the year” nine times (from the wine producing area of Villány 4 such awards and 5 from Szekszárd), no wine maker of the wine producing areas of Pécs and Tolna has managed to get this title so far. The market reputation and weight of the two upper category wine producing areas (Villány and Szekszárd) are far above that of the other two. Despite the disparities within the Wine Region, looking at the awards from a national context we can see that the Pannon Wine Region has won almost twice as many awards in the category mentioned (9) than the North Hungarian Wine Region at position two (with 5 awards).

 

2. The supply of wine gastronomy festivals

Wine gastronomy festivals are primarily connected to the wine producing areas of Hungary (Figure 3), but there are several exceptions as well, settlements that are situated outside the wine producing areas. In 2017 a total of 247 wine gastronomy festivals were organised in Hungary, one-third of them (31%) in settlements that are not part of any wine producing area. The main reason why these settlements organised wine gastronomy festival was to utilise the potential lying in festivals, which may make important contributions to the external image and reputation of the respective settlements.

 

Figure 3: Wine gastronomy festivals in Hungary (2017)

Source: based on online sources edited by ZÁVODI (2018)

 

The proportions of festivals in different categories within the total of the supply are as follows: 15% are wine festivals, 29% wine gastronomy, 39% wine culture and 17% harvest festivals. Wine festivals are usually connected to the famous Hungarian wine producing areas like Tokaj, Villány and Eger. A significant part of the events in the category wine festivals was organised in the Hungarian capital, Budapest. This city, coming from its size, has a considerable consumer market, which is a guarantee for the demand for and success of such events. The territorial distribution of wine gastronomy festivals is more balanced. The main junction is Budapest and its neighbourhood, and we also have to mention Etyek, a wine gastronomy centre of Hungary. Festivals related to wine culture are primarily concentrated in the territories of the wine producing areas, but the role of wine cities like Sopron, Villány, Eger and Pécs is also determining. Harvest festivals too are primarily linked to wine producing areas, but also in this category we come across settlements (Ópusztaszer, Szécsény) with no enological traditions, still organising such festivals every year.

 

2.1. Supply of wine gastronomy festivals in the wine producing areas of Hungary

Hungary has a total of 22 wine producing areas that organised various numbers of wine gastronomy festivals in 2017 (Figure 4). Eight wine producing areas organised at least ten or even more wine gastronomy festivals. These are the wine producing areas that best use the potential lying in wine gastronomy festivals, including the generation of income, increase of the reputation of the wine producing area and preservation of the traditions. The most popular category in most wine producing areas was wine culture. These festivals target a wider audience. The large-scale wine weeks lasting for several weeks, the number of which is dominant in Hungary, are also in this category. The number of festivals in the wine gastronomy category is dominant in the wine producing areas of Eger, Etyek-Buda and Kunság. The Eger Wine Producing Area boasts of several traditions related to foods that match well the wines of the wine producing area. The Etyek-Buda Wine Producing Area is one of the wine gastronomy centres of Hungary, a proof for which is the fact that the “Etyek Picnic” is now organised four times a year, due to its success. The proximity of the capital city is of decisive importance in this case, it is not accidental that Etyek calls itself the “the vineyard of Budapest”.

 

2.2. Supply of wine gastronomy festivals in the Pannon Wine Region

The four wine producing areas of the Pannon Wine Region organised various numbers of wine gastronomy festivals in 2017. The Villány Wine Producing Area had 11, the Pécs Wine Producing Area 5, the Szekszárd Wine Producing Area 4, and the Tolna Wine Producing Area 3 wine gastronomy festivals. Figure 5 demonstrates that, in line with the national trend, the largest number of festivals was organised in the category of wine culture in each wine producing area. Events that fall into the category of wine gastronomy festivals are organised in all of these wine producing areas. Harvest festivals were held in all wine producing areas except the Tolna one in 2017. These programmes are important parts of not only the tourism supply but also the preservation of the traditions of the wine producing areas. The only wine festival that we found during our survey was organised in the Szekszárd Wine Producing Area, which is not surprising, knowing the role of Szekszárd in wine profession circles. The role of the Villány Wine Producing Area in wine profession could also make us expect such wine festivals as festivals with high enological content, but the truth is that not one such event was found in our sources.

 

Figure 6. demonstrates the territorial distribution of festivals held in the Pannon Wine Region and outside the Wine Region but in the territory of Tolna or Baranya county. Outside the Wine Region it is only Bikal where a wine gastronomy festival was organised, which is another reinforcement of our statement that such festivals are usually connected to the wine producing areas.

 

Figure 6: Wine gastronomy festivals in Pannon Wine Region (2017)

 

In the Tolna and the Szekszárd wine producing areas it is striking that only two settlements concentrated all wine gastronomy festivals: these are Paks and Szekszárd. Paks organised only three wine gastronomy festivals in 2017, while the number of such events in Szekszárd was four. The supply of the Pécs Wine Producing Area is less concentrated geographically, with two festivals organised in Pécs, two in Mohács and one in Bóly. The Villány Wine Producing Area had four settlements that hosted festivals organised around wine, but only one in Harkány, in Palkonya and in Siklós, whereas the centre of the wine producing area, Villány had eight events. The reason for this is the fact that this settlement is not only the eponym but also the professional centre of the wine producing area. In the destination hallmarked with the names of Harkány, Siklós and Villány it is evidently the latter settlement that is the centre of enological tourism. This is where the necessary infrastructure was created together with the large capacity festival space. The events in Villány attract tens of thousands of visitors, and the conditions to accommodate such large numbers of visitors are mainly given in Villány.

 

3. Relationship of the reputation of wine producing areas and the supply of wine gastronomy festivals

For the discovery of the correlations between wine gastronomy festivals and the reputation of the wine producing areas we demonstrated both factors (Figure 7). It is clear that there is a correlation between the supply of wine gastronomy festivals in the wine producing areas and the reputation of the areas, but several examples also suggest that this correlation is not always detectable.

Figure 7: The reputation and the wine gastronomy festival supply of Hungarian wine producing areas (2017)

Sources: based on online sources edited by ZÁVODI (2018)

 

The values of both factors were divided into three parts in accordance with JENKS’s (1967) “natural breaks”. The space informatics software (QGIS 3.4.3) found the natural clusters in the data series, on the basis of Jenks’s formula. The programme identifies the major break points in the data series, taking which into consideration each category includes the most similar values and the differences among the categories are maximised. As regards reputation, the three groups are high (22-14), medium (13-6) and low (5-1). The three clusters created on the basis of the numbers of festivals are high (21-15), medium (15-7) and low (6-1).

High reputation was coupled with large numbers of wine gastronomy festivals in three wine producing areas: Balatonfüred-Csopak, Badacsony and Tokaj. All three wine producing areas have considerable traditions in the organisation of wine related events. Several programmes of theirs, like the Balatonfüred Wine Weeks, have been organised for many decades and are now outstanding wine and gastronomy festivals of Hungary. The category where high reputation is matched by a medium number of festivals concerns four wine producing areas: Eger, Villány, Balaton Uplands and Balatonboglár. Each of these wine producing areas plays important role in the enological tourism of Hungary, which is proved by the high reputation. The number of their festivals is lower than that of the wine producing areas in the previous category, but several of these programmes can attract tens of thousands of visitors to the respective destinations. A peculiar example for a wine producing area with high reputation but low number of festivals is the Szekszárd Wine Producing Area. Despite the fact that the wine producing area has only four festivals, the event called Szekszárd Harvest Days, in the category of harvest festivals, attracts more than 50 thousand visitors to the town each year. A total of seven wine producing areas have medium reputation, but the number of festivals organised in them does not reach a value necessary for the category ‘high’. A medium number of festivals can be visited in the Etyek-Buda Wine Producing Area and the Kunság Wine Producing Area, the former one having festivals with considerable numbers of visitors. The main reasons for this are the stable level of demand due to the proximity of the Hungarian capital, Budapest, and the high quality supply with a renewal potential year after year. Other wine producing areas with medium reputation are the Somló, the Mór, the Pannonhalma, the Pécs and the Neszmély wine producing areas, but all of these feature low numbers of festivals. Not one of the wine producing areas with low reputation – the Bükk, the Zala, the Hajós-Baja, the Tolna and the Csongrád wine producing areas – has a high number of festivals. These wine producing areas play inferior role in enological tourism in Hungary, but we must mention the Bükk Wine Producing Area. This area is the least in the rank; nevertheless it has eight festivals that play an important role in the festival tourism of the region.

 

3.1. The correlation of the wine gastronomy festivals of the Pannon Wine Region and the reputation of the wine producing areas

The four wine producing areas of the Wine Region all belong to different categories specified above. The Tolna Wine Producing Area has a low reputation and also features a low number of festivals. It is important to remark, on the other hand, that two of these programmes, the National Siller Festival of Paks and the International Gastroblues Festival in the same town have regional attraction and are visited by thousands of people year after year. The Pécs Wine Producing Area has a medium reputation and a low number of festivals. Because of the medium reputation of the wine producing area, not one of its wine related events has a national scope, these programmes are primarily organised for the local inhabitants who make a considerable consumer market. The high reputation of the Szekszárd Wine Producing Area is coupled with a low number of festivals, but it must be mentioned that the number of visitors to these programmes and their scope are outstanding in the enological tourism of the Wine Region. The Szekszárd Harvest Days is a programme with decades of tradition, attracting visitors from all over the country and their number is estimated by the organisers at approximately 50-60 thousand. Considering that the Wine Producing Area is open to new solutions and new products, it may gain further advantages in the future by the organisation of some innovative and novel programmes. The high reputation of the Villány Wine Producing Area is matched by a high number of festivals, including smaller-scale programmes in addition to the festivals attracting tens of thousands of visitors. The Villány Red Wine Festival is one of the large-scale events of the Wine Region with tens of thousands of visitors, with a national scope. This festival too has decades of traditions now.

 

Conclusions

The research proved that the correlation between wine gastronomy festivals and the reputation of the respective wine producing areas is strong in some cases and weaker in relation to other wine producing areas. On the basis of the reputation of the wine producing areas, further researches are necessary in the future for the more in-depth exploration of the issue. The real professional and methodological challenge of these is the definition of the number of festivals and the demand for them.

 

Acknowledgement

This publication/research has been supported by the European Union and Hungary and co-financed by the European Social Fund through the project EFOP-3.6.2-16-2017-00017, titled “Sustainable, intelligent and inclusive regional and city models”.

 

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