A wine region with its own currency!

 

„Kékfrank” banknotes from Sopron, Hungary

Sopron has a peculiar importance for Hungary: it is often cited as the city of faith or the faithful city. After the I World War the Treaty of Trianon attached Sopron and its surrounding villages to Austria, however a revolt broke out. Negotiations started with the help of Venice, and as a result a referendum was announced. On 14–16 December 1921 people over the age of 20 voted. The participation vas very high (89.5%), and the majority voted for staying Hungarian citizens – especially in the city of Sopron, where 72.8% voted for staying. It was the only case when the Treaty of Trianon was modified!

The legend of „blue frank”

Kéfrankos, the most important red grape of Sopron (and the whole of Hungary) is called Blaufrankisch in Austria. According to the legend, when on 10 April 1809 a civil war broke out again between Napoleon’s French empire and Habsburg Empire, citizens of Sopron had not imagined that the French troops would soon occupy the town. Invasion was a burden of course, but at the same time Sopron can be grateful to the French troops for giving a name to their most excellent wine. When the soldiers went to buy wine, they paid with their currency called franc. Sopron winemakers soon realized that the ’blue franc’ is more valuable, so they kept asking for ‘kékfrankos’ (‘blue franc banknote) in return for their wine. The grape has been called Kékfrankos since then.

The first local currency in Hungary

Local currencies are not a new phenomenon, from time to time there are initials to use money apart from the national one. There are 300 local currencies worldwide. The Hungarian National Bank does not oppose these currencies publicly, but neither does it encourages the use of them. The National Bank refers to these currencies as “vouchers”. “Kékfrank” was the first local currency in Hungary, released in 2010. Though the banknote was not as successful as they expected at the beginning, its popularity is steadily rising, and more and more restaurants, hotels, shops accept it. The main point is that employees get Kékfrank as a kind of extra besides their salaries, and they get discount at the local places of attraction: thus inhabitants are encouraged to have dinner or have holiday within the region. At the moment there are 548 places in Sopron that accept Kékfrank. The banknote can be used in Croatia and Slovenia as well.

Kurt Taschner and his Kékfrankos

Kurt is a young and ambitious winemaker with a family tradition of making wine. In the beginning he was bottling the wine made by his father, alongside the work he studied all the knowledge of winemaking and today he is managing a winery with 20 hectares of land. Participating in the local wine marketing and wine tourism belongs also to his priorities.

His Kékfrankos is a fresh and lively wine, which represents the colour blue on the nose as well (‘Kék’ in Kékfrankos means blue): plum, blueberry and blue flowers with charming, playful spicy notes. Spices dominate the zesty palate supplemented by ripened fruits like cherry and plum.

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