A Rare Tour Inside a Thousand-Year-Old High-Tech Winery

By Attila Nagy on at

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've 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 2,000 square metres of floor space and a storage capacity of 3,000 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.

A Rare Tour Inside a Thousand-Year-Old High-Tech Winery

Ancient cellar passageways.

A Rare Tour Inside a Thousand-Year-Old High-Tech Winery

Grape harvesting tools from the past.

A Rare Tour Inside a Thousand-Year-Old High-Tech Winery

Concrete fermenting tub from 1922.

A Rare Tour Inside a Thousand-Year-Old High-Tech Winery

Landscape with the Benedictine abbey.

A Rare Tour Inside a Thousand-Year-Old High-Tech Winery

The new, minimalistic building of the winery.

A Rare Tour Inside a Thousand-Year-Old High-Tech Winery

The upper section of the gravitational grape processing plant.

A Rare Tour Inside a Thousand-Year-Old High-Tech Winery

Metal tanks.

A Rare Tour Inside a Thousand-Year-Old High-Tech Winery

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

A Rare Tour Inside a Thousand-Year-Old High-Tech Winery

A Rare Tour Inside a Thousand-Year-Old High-Tech Winery

Here's the back of the wine press machine.

A Rare Tour Inside a Thousand-Year-Old High-Tech Winery

And high-tech orderliness.

A Rare Tour Inside a Thousand-Year-Old High-Tech Winery

What a nice yellow water pump!

A Rare Tour Inside a Thousand-Year-Old High-Tech Winery

Among the fermentation towers.

A Rare Tour Inside a Thousand-Year-Old High-Tech Winery

The equivalent of the winery's data center.

A Rare Tour Inside a Thousand-Year-Old High-Tech Winery

The red grapes of Pannonhalma.

A Rare Tour Inside a Thousand-Year-Old High-Tech Winery

And of course, finally, the finished product.

A Rare Tour Inside a Thousand-Year-Old High-Tech Winery

Photos: Attila Nagy/Gizmodo