Blue Danube California Sales and Hungarian Portfolio Manager Eric Danch discusses the state of the California market, the appeal indigenous grapes, and advice for Hungarian wineries with hungarianwines.eu.
How about the beginning? How did you become a wine expert?
The beginning is a combination of living abroad for a few years (Copenhagen and Rome) and then spending 6 years working for a 3-hour European cabaret meets Vaudevillian circus called Teatro Zinanni in San Francisco. We always had dinner and wine after the show and the wine always tasted better with a good story. After working a few harvests in California as I mentioned earlier, I was very lucky to be introduced to Blue Danube Wine Co. All of these experiences share a synergy of different cultures, storytelling and personalities adding context to delicious food and wine. Hungary in particular has these qualities in spades.
We are a website to promote Hungarian wines, and of course we are the most curious about the acceptance of our wines in the USA. What are your experiences? Do your customers look for indigenous varieties?
Indigenous grapes have been the focus of Blue Danube from the very beginning. While Hungary can of course produce lovely Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and so on, we’ve been more attracted to the grapes scream Hungarian the loudest. Whether it’s the salt and brightness from volcanic soils, the spiciness of the reds, or the amazing balance of acidity and sugar, we’ve found that most US consumers are open to places they don’t know and grapes they can’t pronounce. We’ve been able to put grapes like Királyleányka, Hárslevelű, Kéknyelű, and Kövérszőlő by the glass for instance. If the story and deliciousness is there, these wines do very well.