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Tokaj Winemaker Wins the Profession’s Most Prestigious Domestic Award

MTI-Hungary Today 2024.04.29.
Sarolta Bárdos, winemaker from the Tokaj wine region, after receiving the award from its previous winner, Zoltán Heimann (L), winemaker from Szekszárd

Sarolta Bárdos, winemaker from the Tokaj wine region, received the Winemaker of the Winemakers award on Saturday in Budapest.

Pál Rókusfalvy, government commissioner for national wine marketing and founder of the Winemaker of the Winemakers Award, said at the award ceremony that one of the breakthroughs of Hungarian wine is to become world famous, to be known by everyone and not only by Hungarians. He said that the winner of the award was selected from a first round of fifty and then five good candidates. But “those who are in that fifty should be very proud of themselves,” he stressed.

On receiving the award, Sarolta Bárdos said at the event:

It is a duty to make good wine in Tokaj, as is the duty to cherish our traditions and to spread the message to the whole world that Tokaj is a place where miracles grow on the vine.”

Tokaj wine region. Photo: Facebook/Tokaj Borvidék Fejlesztési Tanács

The Friends of the Winemakers Award was awarded to Lajos Ambrus, writer, vineyard owner, and guest author of Food and Wine, and wine expert Wojciech Bonkowski.

Tamás Sulyok, President of Hungary, was also present at the ceremony. In his speech, he said: “Without excellent winemakers, quality wines would not be produced from the most ancient grape varieties and the best vintages. Wine is in our literature, in our art, in the liturgy of the Church,” he said, adding that wine-making has been part of Hungarian history. “The winemaker builds the image of the country, cultivates traditions, boosts tourism, and strengthens the economy,” he said, noting that “to understand and grasp the whole process of wine-making is a considerable work and great knowledge, and that is what the winemakers are called to do.”

President Tamás Sulyok speaking at the event. Photo: MTI/Bruzák Noémi

Sulyok said that winemakers are good at just about everything: “A winemaker is a skilled agronomist, a gastronomist, and a connoisseur of people’s tastes.” He recalled that half a millennium ago, István Werbőczy wrote in his book about the rich income of the vineyards and the value of the vines, and that the Hungarian common law book stipulated that the true value of the grapes must be determined separately by the local judge and the citizens on oath when selling the vines.

The vineyards of Lake Balaton were already mentioned in the founding charter of the Abbey of Tihany in 1055, and Roman law recognized and regulated, among other things, the guarantee of the good quality of wine,”

the President explained, adding that wine-growers at the time had to be a bit like lawyers too.

István Stumpf, President of the Tokaj Wine Order, in a Facebook post, celebrated that once again a Tokaj winemaker has been awarded the highest honorary title of the profession.

“Sarolta Bárdos, owner and manager of Nobilis Szőlőbirtok (vineyard), has been at the forefront of the profession for decades, a lover and true ambassador of Tokaj wines.” Three female winemakers from Tokaj now boast the title of Winemaker of the Winemakers, the holder of which is chosen by the professional elite, he wrote in his post.

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Via MTI, Featured image: MTI/Bruzák Noémi

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