The Ultimate CEE Wine Fair

The UK’s first wine fair focusing on wines from Central and Eastern Europe

June 18, 2024

About the Event

There’s almost nowhere left in the wine world that hasn’t been fully discovered – apart from the heart of Europe. The central and eastern end of Europe, from the Danube to the Black sea, is home to a long, authentic wine history; a myriad of unique grapes; amazing personal stories and many dynamic winemakers producing great wines in all sorts of styles. The Ultimate Central & Eastern European Wine Fair aims to give buyers, merchants, distributors and writers the chance to discover why Central & Eastern European wines should be on the radar of anyone seeking the next big wine story
  1. 10.30 am – 11.45 am – Grace and Flavour – a tour of the incredible diversity of grapes from CEE region – Caroline Gilby MW

Local grapes offer an amazing lens to focus on the exciting variety of landscapes, human stories and cultures across Central & Eastern Europe – not quite A to Z but close with grapes from Dimyat to Zghihară to taste

  1. 1 pm – 2.15 pm: Slovakia, From Northern Limits to Exciting New Horizons by Elizabeth Gabay MW

Slovakia, once seen as being on the limit of the viticultural world, with a range of varieties adapted to cooler summers, Slovakia is now proving to be a hotbed of exciting wines.

  1. 3 pm – 4.15: Iconic Wines of CEE – award winning wines from the heart of Europe by Caroline Gilby MW

Quality across the region is more exciting than ever before and this line-up will showcase some of the top wines of the region to highlight that CEE is worthy of serious attention including Decanter best in show winners and iconic blends.

For masterclass registration please email:

  • Zsuzsa Toronyi
    Project lead, Wine Communication/Wines of Hungary UK
  • Caroline gilby MW
    Host, co-organiser, masterclass presenter CEE wine expert, wine writer
  • Elizabeth Gabay MW
    Masterclass presenter Rosé and CEE wine expert, wine writer
  • Dilyan Kolev
    Importer Relations/Trade
  • Ágnes Németh
    Winery Relations/Design
  • Ádám Ódor
    Logistics/Event Management
  • Tamás Dobos
    Graphic Designer

Few countries have a longer winemaking history than Armenia – the oldest winery ever found is in the Areni-1 cave dating back 6000 years. But what matters is the wines today, and there is so much to discover especially from the highlands of Vayots Dzor (not far from the famous cave). Vineyards here go up to 1750m and the volcanic soils have so far avoided phylloxera which means there’s wealth of grapes that no one knows just beginning to be rediscovered. Second generation winemaker Aimee Keushguerian will be sharing her personal take on local grapes like Voskehat, Tozot, Koghbeni and much more.

Keush Family Wines

Bosnia and Herzegovina

A fascinating, beautiful, dramatic, welcoming, and sometimes shocking, country to visit, with its wines helping to tell that story. Bosnia-Herzegovina is very much a country at the crossroads. Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian and Yugoslav influences all meet here and it's quite spine-chilling to stand on an ordinary street corner in Sarajevo and realise it's the place where Franz Ferdinand was assassinated, the defining act that triggered the First World War. It's wines are much overlooked with an estimated 3200 ha under vine and around 50 wineries. Most of the wine industry is in the Herzegovina region on sun-drenched, rocky karst and at least 60 to 65% of the wine grapes grown in the country are the indigenous white Žilavka and red Blatina, with supporting roles for inky dark Trnjak, Vranac, Plavka, Smederevka and some international varieties. Small family wineries are leading the moves for quality here.  



Carska Vina


Bulgaria today is an incredibly dynamic wine country with so many new faces exploring the native grapes like Mavrud, Melnik, Gamza, Dimiat and the various Miskets. It’s exciting to see new styles from pet-nat, traditional sparklers, bright whites and sleek reds. Vineyard area has fallen to around 25,000 ha in commercial production – smaller but better.  Officially there are two PGIs: Thracian Lowlands in the south and Danube Plain to the north, but the industry is lobbying to return to at least 5 and possibly 8 distinctive regions. At the same time, today’s producers are moving beyond winemaking to dig deep into terroir expressions too. Look out for family estates and exciting new personal projects that contribute to this exciting wine scene.


Villa Melnik

Aya Estate Vineyards/Seewines Spirit

Pink Pelican Wine Project

Clos Biblioteque


A dramatic and fascinating country with a stunning coastline (over 6000km long including its 1185 islands). It has 17,278 ha under vine divided into 4 wine regions: Istria & Kvarner, Slavonia & Croatian Danube, Croatian Uplands and Dalmatia, and grows a huge range of indigenous grapes. Croatia’s Istrian peninsula is a stunning region of rocky coastline and hilltop medieval villages, home to some of Croatia’s best producers – iconic family wineries that have led the revival of this beautiful region. Croatia’s second most important grape exciting and versatile Malvazija Istarska grows almost exclusively here, producing everything from sparkling to orange amazingly well.  On the red side the Istrian flagship is the dark, juicy but structured Teran, a grape with serious potential in the right hands. From the sunny Dalmatian islands, Croatia’s leading red grape is the big bold Plavac Mali, along with increasingly impressive local whites like Pošip and Vugava.


Kozlovic Winery

Kabola Winery

Fakin Wines

Stina Winery



Guest country Cyprus was not Eastern Bloc but has also undergone a similar journey of wine revolution. It has switched from basic, volume wines produced by the big four wineries, shipped in quantity to Soviet Union, towards serious and exciting quality from a new era of private family wineries. Today vineyard area is just 7098 ha, but the island has no phylloxera, limestone soils and altitude (up to 1500 metres) that make all the difference on this sunny, dry island. There are genuinely ancient vines and unique grape varieties like Xynisteri, Maratheftiko, Yiannoudi, Vasilissa and much more. The ancient and legendary sweet wine Commandaria - possibly the oldest named wine still in production anywhere in the world is also being revived by some of the family wineries. There’s a new association called Wine Core bringing together producers who want to showcase the new face of Cyprus wine.


Wine Core



Fikardos Winery
K & K Vasilikon Winery
Kyperounda Winery
Mallia Winery-KEO PLC
Tsiakkas Winery
Vlassides Winery
Zambartas Winery

Czech Republic

Czech Republic may be more famous for beer than wine, but it has 17,700 ha of vineyards and a history dating back to at least Roman times. It is a landlocked nation around 49 to 50°N and climate is notably continental, though milder in the south. There are two winegrowing regions, and most vineyards (96%) are in the milder region of Morava close to Austria and Slovakia. Morava has 4 sub-regions (Znojmo, Velké Pavlovice, Mikulov and Slovácko) and a notable feature of the Mikulov sub-region is the massif of the Pálava hills, which is also a UNESCO biosphere reserve, and the name of a local grape.  Of the 50 grape varieties in cultivation Gruner Veltliner leads, followed by Müller-Thurgau, Riesling, Welschriesling, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon and Chardonnay. There are also significant plantings of local selections such as Pálava, Muškát Moravský and Aurelius. Reds are led by St Laurent, Blaufränkisch, Zweigelt, Pinot Noir plus local grapes including André, Cabernet Moravia and Neronet.


Wines of Bohemia


A small country, of high mountains and huge hearts, with an unbroken wine making heritage of 8,000 years, claimed to be the cradle of wine. Since independence in 1991, a vibrant private wine industry has developed, with particular emphasis on the UNESCO-listed qvevri winemaking method with long skin contact in buried clay vessels. Georgia claims over 400 native grapes but in reality, around 45 are in production – led by inky dark Saperavi and whites like Rkatsiteli, Kisi, Mtsvane and Tsolikouri, and many more being rescued from obscurity.  




Hungary today has 56,265 ha of vineyards in production for wine across 22 wine regions and is one of central Europe’s most important wine countries. Its most iconic wines are the glorious, sweet wines of Tokaj, but it has much more to explore. Two thirds of its wine are white – Furmint plays a starring role in a new generation of dry whites as well as being important in Tokaj while the other important quality white grape is Olaszrizling, most at home on the shores of Lake Balaton.  Bikavér, once famous as Bull’s Blood has found a new lease of life after being reinvented as a flagship red blend in two regions of Eger in the north east and Szekszárd in the south. It must be based on Kékfrankos and offers two distinctly different styles, plush bold fruit in Eger and elegant spiciness in Szekszárd.  Hungary grows 180 grapes, and has a high proportion of volcanic soils that often give a certain fieriness to the wines – offering great food-friendly styles.  




St Andrea

Fine Wine Association (Vida / Homola)

Heritage Wines


Szekszárd (Sebestyén /Takler /Eszterbauer)


A small country built on wine roots as it has more grapevines per person than any other country with its 126,000 ha under vines (62,500 ha in commercial production). Since legislation changes in 2011, small wineries have been possible, so there’s now a mixture of family producers are larger estates. Wine stories here link back to early 19th century, though there’s evidence of fossil grapevine leaves going back 10 million years. The supple, berry-fruited Rara Neagra is the red flagship of the country – alone but also as an amazing blend component and Moldova shares the Feteasca grapes with neighbouring Romania. Saperavi has also found a special place in Moldova – it can be stunning here while Viorica is a uniquely Moldovan white grape with an aromatic bouquet and zesty freshness and can offer a real point of difference.


Casa Vinicola Luca

Castel Mimi

Château Purcari

North Macedonia

This under-the radar country is the sunniest place in the Balkans and its warm dry climate, moderated by mountain breezes, is ideal for its signature red grape Vranec which accounts for 10,800 ha out of the country’s total of 28,200 ha. Big, bold but always fresh wines with good acidity are typical here – reflecting their place and with serious ageing potential. Balkan grape Kratošija (aka Primitivo/Zinfandel) also impresses. There’s a long wine history dating back to Philip of Macedon and his son Alexander the Great who used to serve wines from this region to his soldiers. Today wine is the second most important agricultural export and wineries are building their premium bottled wine story and moving away from basic bulk.  


Imako Vino Winery


Tikveš 1885 Chateaux and Domaines


Romania is one of the most significant wine countries in the region with over 180,000 ha of vineyards (5th in Europe for area under vine), including 97,000 ha of noble Vitis vinifera varieties. It’s an island of Latin-based language, with strong historical links to its Roman history under Emperor Trajan. Today Romania averages around 4.5 m hl of wine annually, but the vast majority is drunk at home. It grows around 85 varieties, and production is led by local varieties especially Fetească Regală and Fetească Albă. On the red front the (unrelated) Fetească Neagră is widely seen as Romania’s best flagship grape, able to produce complex, age-worthy wines that showcase the country’s very varied territories. It’s a landlocked country, dominated by the sweep of the Carpathian Mountains (home to Europe’s biggest population of brown bears), which enclose the beautiful Transylvanian plateau with its rural villages and cool hilly vineyards. There’s incredible diversity of climates and style across 8 distinct wine regions with 33 PDO regions so always lots to explore.


Familia Darabont Winery

Vintruvian Estates

Mosia Galicea Mare

Domeniile Avereşti



Discover Serbia through exciting new-wave wines from several new on the scene producers.  Serbia’s most planted grape is Grašac and one example broke new ground for the country last year when it won a top 50 Best-in-Show award at Decanter. Grašac is the historic Serbian name for this important central and Eastern European white grape, rapidly turning from an ugly duckling, volume producer to showcasing exciting quality with a real sense of place. The Serbian wine scene today is a very dynamic place, admittedly coming from behind its neighbours, but catching up fast with new investments rebuilding an old story. Important wine regions include the hilly Šumadija terroir and the slopes of the more northerly Fruška Gora Mountain facing the Danube (where the Serbian wine story was reborn when Roman Emperor Probus got his off-duty soldiers to plant grapevines on the mountain – they clearly weren’t happy as they murdered him later). The east of the country around Negotinska Krajina is also home to exciting winemaking projects and estates with old grape varieties finding a new story.


Vinčić Winery

Šapat Wine Atelier


This small country of majestic mountains, gothic churches and dramatic castles has an exciting wine industry today with strong trends for sustainability and a cult natural, organic and orange wine scene led by family estates. Slovakia has around 10,000 hectares of vineyards in production and 692 registered winemakers. It lies at about the same latitude as northern Burgundy and has a distinctly cool, continental climate. Vineyards are divided into six wine regions in the country’s warmer south, typically on south-facing sites in the mountain foothills. It shares typical Central European grapes with its neighbours, including Blaufränkisch, Grüner Veltliner, Welschriesling, Furmint (mainly in Tokaj), St Laurent, Müller-Thurgau and the Pinot family. It also grows several unique local red crosses such as Alibernet, Dunaj, André, Hron, Neronet and Nitria. Local whites include Devín, Muškát Moravský Milia, Noria and Breslava.


Világi Winery

Wines of Slovakia



A jewel of a wine country with some of the most beautiful vineyards anywhere and a Mediterranean-meets Alpine climate. The country is green, mountainous and heavily forested with high environmental standards, which also apply in the wine industry. There are 14,589 ha on the vineyard register and 2500 producers who bottle wine. Wine quality is amazingly high, never cheap because many of the vineyards are steep and hard to work but offering great quality for value and with amazing human stories too.  There are three wine regions: Primorska in the west (Rebula, Malvazija, Chardonnay and top reds, often Merlot-based); Posavje in the southeast (great sparkling wines and crisp whites and reds) and the biggest is Štajerska Slovenia in the east (great for aromatic vibrant Sauvignon, Pinot Gris and Furmint, and lighter reds).  


Puklavec Family Wines



Klet Brda

Nebó Winery


Viticulture has long been an important industry in what is Ukraine today, dating back around 2800 years. One notable development was the establishment of a Swiss colony at Chabag in Bessarabia (Shabo today) in 1822 to bring winemaking knowledge in the Tsarist era. Today, Ukraine is on a new path: a search for lost terroirs; the discovery of new local varieties, experimentation with technology and the rethinking of traditional methods of wine production. There are around 20,000 ha divided into Bessarabia, Black Sea region, Zakarpattia, Zaporizhzhya and recent developments in coller areas to the north. Varieties are led by Aligoté, Rkatsiteli, Cabernet Sauvignon, Muscat, Chardonnay, Sauvignon and Riesling, though the country has some indigenous vines such as Telti-Kuruk, Odessa Black and Sukholimansky White. The full-scale war unleashed by Russia is significantly affecting the state of the industry – some wineries are occupied, some are damaged and looted, vineyards are mined and not cultivated, and the local market has shrunk. But producers continue their fight and by 2022, Ukrainian wines were present in UK, USA, Japan, Poland, Baltic and Nordic countries.


Ukrainian Wine Company UK

Tasting Book

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