Slovakia (officially The Slovak Republic) is a landlocked country described as being either at the eastern edge of Western Europe, or the western edge of Eastern Europe. This dichotomy reflects the state's recent history, a story of political unrest common in this region. The lands that are now Slovakia were an integral part of Hungary for almost 900 years, but became independent when the Austro-Hungarian Empire was dismantled after the First World War. Almost immediately, Slovakia aligned itself with Bohemia and Moravia (the modern-day Czech Republic), Silesia and Carpathian Ruthenia to form Czechoslovakia. This union lasted until the Velvet Revolution in 1989. Since 1993, the Slovak and Czech republics have remained cordially independent.
Since the dissolution of the Eastern Bloc and Slovakia's subsequent separation from its western neighbor the Czech Republic, Slovakia has embraced its European status. It joined both the European Union and Nato in 2004, the Schengen Area in 2007 and the Eurozone in 2009. It is now among the fastest-developing economies in the OECD, and its once-failing wine industry has shown signs of recovery. Although early attempts to privatize the industry were unsuccessful, new wine laws and the continued growth in wine consumption worldwide have sparked the nation's wine producers into life. The majority of Slovakian wine is still sold domestically or to neighboring Poland and Ukraine, but there are a small number of producers ready, willing and able to develop international export markets.
Slovakian wine comes mostly from the vineyards clustered around Bratislava and scattered eastwards along the border with Hungary. At present, Slovakia's greatest claim to wine fame remains its association with Tokaj, the wine region firmly associated with Hungary by most wine lovers elsewhere. At the end of World War I, the eastern fringe of the Tokaj region was annexed to Slovakia, and with it came not only a healthy vinicultural history but also a reliable consumer base. Sweet Tokaj wines from this eastern corner of Slovakia thus earned the right to be labeled as Tokajsky.