Polish–Hungarian love story

The Polish wine market is growing dynamically and I see a chance for Hungarian wines to take a share from it building also on historical relations between the two nations.

Importer of the Week

Country: Poland

Company: House of Wine

Labels so far: Etyeki Kúria (Etyek), Feind (Balatonfüred–Csopak), Sauska (Tokaj & Villány), Sike (Eger), Zsirai (Somló & Tokaj)

Poland is an important market for Hungarian wineries, first because of the proximity, secondly because of the traditional good relationship between the two countries, thirdly because Polish wine consumtion is increasing. There is a youthful, zestful company specialized in Hungarian wines. Now Daniel Jakab, co-owner of House of Wine answers our questions and shares his thoughts on the situation of the Polish wine market.

It all started with love

– What’s your story, how did you start selling Hungarian wines? I can see that two of the three of you are Hungarians. How did you get to Poland?

– The motive behind both thing was love. I have got to Poland through Joanna, my partner both in life and business. We share a common passion for wine and we have seen an opportunity to use and start a business of selling Hungarian wines in Poland more than 4 years ago. The Polish wine market is growing dynamically and I see a chance for Hungarian wines to take a share from it building also on historical relations between the two nations. Zoltan, our third partner, is living in Hungary and is responsible for keeping contact with the wineries and organizing the orders.

– You have a nice selection of wines, Zsirai, Etyeki Kúria and Sauska are some of my personal favourites. How do you select the wines for your portfolio?

– Our aim was/is to select a base portfolio which would represent the most important wine regions from Hungary. In Hungary the different regions offer a diverse selection of wines in character. We have tried to select wineries which are owned by families and represent more of traditions in wine making but also modern, bigger scale wineries which have the technology and volumes to produce wines of great quality at constant level. We have visited many wineries before selection and I have known previously some of the brands which helped to select the wines we wanted to introduce on the Polish market.

The number of conscious consumers is growing

– Which is your most successful product nowadays?

– Currently our most popular product among end-consumers is a white, semi-sweet blend of Muscat Ottonel and Cserszegi Fűszeres, while in gastronomy the red wines from Villany are appreciated. This reflects more or less the current situation on the Polish wine market.

The four categories of wines (red, white, rosé, bubbly) are depicted in a witty way

– How do you see Polish customers? I know that Polish wine is more and more important. As for exported wines, are Polish wine lovers open to foreign wines? 

– I would divide the Polish customers in three groups; the simple consumers, the wine experts and the group in the middle. The regular consumers, which is still the biggest group, has limited knowledge about wines and looks for rather sweet wines in the price category up to 5 EUR and purchases more expensive wines only for occasions. They buy wines mostly in super- and hypermarkets. The middle group has already a good base knowledge about wines and they are conscious about buying a wine and can afford to spend up to 10-12 EUR on a bottle. The third group, the wine experts know what they are looking for and have deep knowledge and passion for wines. As a small company we have the target group of the 2 latter. I see the biggest potential in the growing middle group, who has purchase power and is open for learning about wine, also about Hungarian wine.

Kata and Petra from Zsirai winery

The next step: Szekszárd

– What would you tell to the Hungarian winemakers, how can they enter the Polish market?

– The Polish wine market is strictly regulated, the selling of wine is only allowed based on license and also each bottle needs to have excise stamp. These administrative things make it more difficult to penetrate the market. On the Polish market there are quite many companies that are dealing with import of wine and are looking for partners. When it comes to the wine itself, as per our experience for the Polish market the best selling wines, are the aromatic white wines or whites with residual sugar and also rounded, low-acid red wines. Unfortunately, rose wines have little popularity.

– Do you plan to grow you portfolio? If yes, what is the next winery?

– We are continuously looking for new producers and labels. I do not want to share any exact names but we would like to have a winery also from Szekszard in our portfolio in the near future.

Meet you in Budapest?

Daniel, Joanna and Zoltan are invited to Budapest event Borjour Magnum on 15 February. As Daniel said to us, they are more than happy to participate!

More about Borjour Magnum