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Abstract

The transformation of wine regions is one of the few success stories in the Hungarian countryside since the political changes in 1989-90. This paper explores the features of the transformation process in the Villány wine region. Within two decades the region has gone through five developmental stages, from mass production to a genuine rural experience economy. Breaking with the socialist mass production practice, local wine makers focused on quality, resulting in improved wine quality and the introduction of wine tourism. Out of the difficult situation after the political changes – high unemployment, bankruptcy of former companies and forced entrepreneurship – the small scale producers who started new ways of production and cooperation have achieved considerable success for themselves and their communities. This study identifies the turning points and consecutive changes in the social and economic transformation of a wine community, its qualitative characteristics and consequences.

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