The Debrecen Wine and Jazz Days is Hungary’s longest-running jazz festival, which has been held every year since 1972, except for 2020. This year, between the 4th and 7th of August, wine lovers and jazz enthusiasts from all over the country are welcome to the greenery of the Nagyerdei Park on the shores of Lake Békás.
This year, all 6 wine regions and all 22 wine regions of Hungary will be presented through 65 wineries – including wineries from Bükk, Sopron, Kunság, Etyek, Csopak, Szekszárd, Badacsony, Tokaj, Villány and Mátra.
All four days will be full of tasting sessions, as the event is full of cultural fun and gastronomic excitement, with each tasting a different wine from a long list of wineries:
Birkás Borház & Bistró, Bock Pince, Bolyki Pincészet és Szőlőbirtok, Dubicz Borászat & Szőlőbirtok, Dula Pincészet, Dúzsi Tamás Borászat Szekszárd, Epermester Pincészet, Figula Pincészet, Frittmann Borászat, Garamvári Szőlőbirtok, Gere Tamás & Zsolt Pincészete, Grand Tokaj, Gróf Degenfeld Szőlőbirtok, Haraszthy Pincészet, Holdvölgye Pince, Koch Borászat, Konyári Pincészet, Kővágó Pince, Lajos-Király Manufaktúra, Laposa Birtok, Maison aux Pois, Mészáros Pincészet, Nyakas Pince, Pajzos Tokaj, Pannonhalmi Főapátság Pincészete, Paulus Molnár Borház, Petrény Winery, Royal Tokaji, Sápi Gyümölcsborok, Sike Borászat, Sümegi Ákos Pincészete, „Teleki” Csányi Pincészet, Tokaj-Hétszőlő, Tokaj-Oremus, Tringa Borpince, Varga Pincészet.
Among the wineries, the most noteworthy are the natural wineries, which cultivate their vineyards on small areas with great care and produce their wines in oak barrels using traditional methods. In these cases, the wines are bottled – with little exaggeration – as nature intended them to be. You can taste these wines at the kiosks of Csobánci Wine Manufactory, Hajdu Roland Winery, Heit Winery, Kecze & Hady Artisanal Winery, and Sándor Zsolt Organic Vineyard and Winery.
Three wines from the former vineyards of Debrecen, Érmellék, and Bihardiószeg will be on offer for those who are curious about one of the oldest but rediscovered and once again trendy grape varieties, the bakator.
Debrecen’s expert tasters have chosen the city’s wines again this year, which we also recommend to those who like to rely on selections based on solid knowledge and experience – Molnár És Fiai Zöldveltelini Brut White Sparkling Wine, 2018, Koch Wine Estate, Koch Hajós-Bajai Chardonnay, 2020. , Szentpéteri Borpince, Néró Rosé selection, 2021, Hárs Családi Biopincészet, Cabernet Franc, 2019, Thummerer Pincészet, Egri Chardonnay battonage, 2019, Takler Borbirtok, Primarius Syrah, 2018, Gróf Degenfeld Szőlőbirtok és Kastélyszálló, Tokaji Aszú 6 puttonyos, 2017.
Among the exhibitors’ achievements, the late Vilmos Thummererer was elected by his peers as the Winemaker of the Winemakers 2022, one of the most prestigious awards in the Carpathian Basin; the Wine Producer of the Year award goes to Dr. Beáta Pühra Nyúlné, head winemaker at Nyakas Winery; and the 2011 Dúzsi Pince Greek Word wine was named one of the world’s best red wines in 2015.
The debut of Borterasz in Debrecen will also feature its wine list and selections, and to add to the experience, the downtown restaurant will also implement its elegant interior and design in the Nagyerdő, making it a curio festival venue under the green foliage.
A new addition is Ice Tropez, a wine cocktail that has been very successful abroad – light, delicious white peaches, fresh wine, fine champagne, and a hint of Mediterranean flair.
2022 is the year of Champagne, so there’s no shortage of bubbly – guests can toast under the summer sky with the best Törley sparkling wines, Spanish sparkling wine aka Cava or Italian prosecco.
The Debrecen Wine and Jazz Days area is divided into 5 different atmospheres. Visitors can meet in the Piazza or in the Chill area, but what they have in common is that each area has all the wine regions, so you don’t have to go far for a taste of the whole country.
As an accompaniment to the wine and music, you can also expect guided wine tastings, where you can sample a careful, thoughtful selection of wines – with expert guidance.
Jazz and wine are a perfect pairing, as sipping and tasting the myriad of flavours under the shady canopy while listening to soft or smoky jazz is an experience that cannot be repeated. The Debrecen Wine and Jazz Days are unique and different from other similar events in the country in that the three music stages feature the best of the best jazz musicians and bands in Hungary – young, experimental jazz musicians and experienced, well-known jazz masters with nearly 40 formations.
Whether it’s classical jazz, vocal jazz, fusion jazz, mainstream jazz, jazz rock, jazz infused with world music or a fusion of folk and jazz… alongside popular traditional standards, dynamic improvisations and catchy tunes are guaranteed to make your concert experience a memorable one.
The motto of this year’s festival is “It’s going to be percussion!”, which is both a reference to the great music on offer and a reflection of this year’s theme, the world of percussion. Four drummers are responsible for the theme – Ákos Ádám Szumper is the Fusion Artist in Residence Jr., Ambrus Richter is the Classical Artist in Residence Jr., Péter Szendőfi is the Fusion Artist in Residence, and István Baló is the Classical Jazz Artist in Residence.
István Baló will certainly be one of the star guests of the Debrecen Wine and Jazz Days, and he will be giving some very exciting concerts. The musician, who is known from many Hungarian orchestras, founded the Baló Projekt orchestra in 2015 to realise his own and his peers’ musical ideas, and now he will be coming to the festival with an unusual acoustic concert. The audience will also be able to listen to other groups with István Baló, as W69, the Jimi Hendrix Underground Experience and Nigun will also take to the stage. The characteristic feature of these sonically different performances is that the loosely structured compositions are not selective in musical styles and instruments, giving the performers freedom of order and powerful inner energy. W69 and the Jimi Hendrix Underground Experience recreate the music and atmosphere of the famous Woodstock festival, improvising on the borders of jazz, blues, and rock in a modern take.
Pianist Károly Gáspár is one of the leading figures in the Hungarian jazz scene. Besides his multifaceted musical activities, he is also an editor, broadcaster, and critical columnist. At the festival, he will perform with the winner of the Aladár Pege Jazz Bass Competition, Géza Jónás, and three exceptionally talented drummers. He will then perform his own compositions and jazz standards with the Károly Gáspár Trio. Their music is fresh and forward-looking, romantic and aestheticising, while respecting mainstream jazz traditions.
The Balázs Elemér Group is one of the most popular jazz ensembles in Hungary, touring regularly in Europe and America. The band members are among the greatest masters of their instruments, their virtuosity is never self-serving, and they never forget the melodies and emotions.
The Júlia Karosi Quartet plays mainly the singer’s own compositions and arrangements. Their style is characterised by experimentation, boldly pushing the boundaries of the genre, wrapped in a sophisticated, intimate sound. The members of the band are the finest performers of the young and middle generation of the Hungarian jazz scene – Krisztián Oláh on piano, Ádám Bögöthy on double bass and Bendegúz Varga on drums.
The Mordent Quintet adventured in the more formal and creative regions of jazz, with a special emphasis on soloistic playing. Balázs Raboczki on saxophone, Ambrus Richter on drums and Márk Miskolczi on bass joined Bence Táborszky on trumpet and Rezső Jónás on piano as second wind soloists. In their concerts they try to convey to the audience, from as many sides and in as fresh a way as possible, their ideas about the direction and the music of today’s jazz, expressing their respect for the music of the past and the present.
Playing on Saturday, Vibe could become a jazz favourite for the young and the forever young. One of the band’s aims is to bring instrumental music to audiences in an accessible and enjoyable form. Currently, they play mainly in the hustle and bustle of downtown Budapest, in busy clubs such as Budapest Jazz Club, Lámpás, Ellátókert; therefore, Debrecen Wine and Jazz Days is pleased to present them to the local audience.
The absolute favourite of the day on Sunday, the heart of Debrecen jazz lovers, is the Debrecen Dixieland Jazz Band. The band has been going strong for 38 years. Since its foundation, it has received numerous invitations from home and abroad, has given more than 1,200 concerts in almost every country in Europe, and has been a great success in New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz. His repertoire includes his own arrangements of Dixieland evergreens, as well as klezmer, gospel and swing songs. This time they will be joined on stage by legendary jazz guitarist István Gyárfás “Gyafi”.
The festival is surrounded by a green forest by day, and at night Alice in Wonderland is illuminated by colourful lights and thousands of glowing bulbs reminiscent of the deciduous trees in Alice in Wonderland, while giant water lilies swim in the lake. In the shady, leafy children’s corner, qualified teachers await the little ones with a variety of games, while the older ones can enjoy a miniature golf course – while parents and grandparents relax.
The gastronomic offer is rounded off by the food. The wines will be accompanied by the delicious house cheeses from the daffodils of Narcis and Gyugos. Traditional cuisine is on the menu, including ironed potato pancakes, buttered pancakes, strudel, and horn cakes, while a range of food trucks offer the best of street food – the Debrecen-based pair from IKON, the oven-baked pizza, and pulled pork sandwiches from Szomszéd Bistro, the dishes from Borteras or the gastronomic offerings from Barabás and Pálma Restaurants are all a good choice for hungry guests.
The bottled Hajdúbagos offers you the chance to pick up some of nature’s fruits. The kiosk’s speciality is to serve fruit grown in their own garden, including old Hungarian varieties. They work with the following unique varieties – Easter rosemary and ponyik apples, grey giant pears, and black cherries.
The coffee roaster Zádor Kávé from Debrecen will provide the characterful espresso. For lovers of sweet delicacies, the festival offers cool ice creams and ice cream, and Cake My Day comes with wine and grape-inspired cakes.
The festival opens every day at 3 p.m. Thursday until midnight, Friday and Saturday from 2.30 a.m, Sunday from 10 p.m.
The early bird pass is available for 5.900 Ft – with a free wine glass holder – until 15th July, after that, it is 7.500 Ft. Day tickets are available on Thursday and Sunday for HUF 2,500 and on Friday and Saturday for HUF 3,200. The elegant tasting glass is available for 1.000 Ft and can be returned without damage.
For news about the Debrecen Wine and Jazz Days, visit the website and Facebook event.