A Rare Tour Inside A 1000-Year-Old High-Tech Winery

The Abbey Winery in Pannonhalma, Hungary, has one of the oldest wine making traditions in Europe. In 996, Benedictine monks settled on the Sacred Hill of Pannonia — and they have always been closely associated with viticulture and winemaking introduced by the Romans.

At the beginning of the 1900s, the Archabbey had about 100 hectares — or 250 acres — of vineyards in the direct vicinity of Pannonhalma. But after the Communist takeover that followed World War II, the single-party state confiscated the winery, putting a temporary end to the centuries-old tradition.

Ten years after Communist rule failed, in 2003, the Abbey Winery Pannonhalma was reestablished with 2000 square metres of floor space and a storage capacity of 3000 hectolitres. A few days ago I was lucky enough to get a peek inside the ancient cellars to see this state of the art winery. The following photos will show you how such an old tradition has been able to survive over centuries — and be revived in an ultimately up-to-date form.

Old oak barrels.

Ancient cellar passageways.

Grape harvesting tools from the past.

Concrete fermenting tub from 1922.

Landscape with the Benedictine abbey.

The new, minimalistic building of the winery.

The upper section of the gravitational grape processing plant.

Metal tanks.

Inside a stainless steel tank after emptying the unfermented red grape juice.

Here’s the back of the wine press machine.

And high-tech orderliness.

What a nice yellow water pump!

Among the fermentation towers.

The equivalent of the winery’s data centre.

The red grapes of Pannonhalma.

And of course, finally, the finished product.

Pictures: Attila Nagy/Gizmodo