GROW is Growing!

Balaton Wine Region hosts GROW du Monde, the premier international event focused solely on Olaszrizling

By Dr. Elizabeth Smith, Contributing Reporter

From May 28-May 31, 2024, the Balaton wine region and the city of Balatonfüred hosted GROW du Monde 2024, the third annual international competition and tasting event founded by Zoltán  Győrffy (Hungary), Saša Špiranec(Croatia), and Igor Luković (Serbia). GROW celebrates the Central European and Balkan variety known by various names – Graševina, Grašac, Olaszrizling, Welschriesling, Laški Rizling, Ryzlink Vlašský, etc. – hence the acronym GROW.

GR – Graševina
O – Olaszrizling
W – Welschriesling

This year’s event – co-organized by the Balaton Borrégió (Balaton Wine Region), Balatoni Kör (Balaton Circle), Rizling Generáció, and Pécsi Borozó (magazine) – featured 349 wines from seven countries – Hungary, Czech Republic, Croatia, Italy, Serbia, Slovakia, and Slovenia – breaking the GROW record set in 2023.
The international jury included Caroline Gilby MW (ENG), Ivan Barbić MW (SUI), Ronn Wiegand MW&MS (USA), Saša Špiranec (CRO), Igor Luković (SRB), Michal Šetka (CZE), Peter Moser (AUT), Tomasz Prange-Barczyński (POL), Robert Gorjak (SLO), Davide Bortone (ITA), Sue Tolson (ENG), Dániel Ercsey (HUN), Thomas Bohl (DEN), Tibor Vittek (SVK), Bruno Gaberšek (SLO), Tomislav Ivanović (SRB), Mirna Srebrović (CRO), Pál Kovács (HUN), Zsuzsa Toronyi (ENG), and Lisse Garnett (ENG).

GROW du Monde founders
The three founders of GROW du Monde
GROW 2024 special award winners
GROW 2024 special award winners

The name GROW – easy to remember and pronounce – has quickly become synonymous with the variety. Beginning this year, Rizling Generáció allows it on wine labels as a synonym for the variety. Two Hungarian wineries now have GROW on their labels – Zelna (young Olaszrizling) and Jász Laci (amber). “We could have imagined at the beginning that GROW would grow so fast, that it would gather all these great people around the idea of a big variety, but that GROW would become the official synonym of one of the possible names in one country – no one had thought of. Well, now it happened in Hungary,” shared Luković. ”GROW is growing!”

GROW 2024’s champions 

Young: Vino Gaube Laški Rizling 2023 (Slovenia)
Aged: Vinařtsví No. 44 Dunajovský Vlašák Pašák 2022 (Czech Republic)
Sweet: Galić Graševina Mateo Izborna berba 2018 (Croatia)
Amber: Vina Joannes Natura 2021 (Slovenia)
Blend: Figula Winery Olasz & Furmint 2021 (Hungary)

Medals Awarded by Country

Hungary: 8 platinum, 48 gold, 54 silver, 47 bronze
Croatia: 1 platinum, 13 gold, 18 silver, 20 bronze
Czech Republic: 3 platinum, 7 gold, 5 silver
Italy: 1 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze
Serbia: 1 platinum, 7 gold, 7 silver, 6 bronze
Slovakia: 1 platinum, 5 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze
Slovenia: 3 platinum, 1 gold, 4 silver, 5 bronze

A few of Hungarianwines’ partners poured their wines at the tasting held May 31 at Balatonfüred Congress Center.
Below are notes about a few of the wines.

Homola (Olasz) Rizling 2023, Balatonfüred-Csopak
This wallflower becomes the life of the party
This youthful, reductive-style Olaszrizling is a bit shy at first, beginning with delicate notes of white flowers and fruits. But as it opens and warms up a bit, it reveals vibrant flavors like crisp apple, juicy citrus, and ripe peach – capped off by lively acidity and distinct minerality. The winery suggests drinking this light and bright white neat – or even with soda – perfect as a warm-weather apéritif.
More about Homola Winery
Homola Rizling Balaton, Hungary

Sabar Olaszrizling Birtokbor (Estate) 2022, Badacsony (*sample provided by GROW)
Fresh, fun, and fab – this is summer in a bottle

The Olaszrizling for this wine comes from 4 locations in Badacsony, including Bács and Sabar Hills. The juice from these succulent grapes is fermented in stainless steel, then the wine aged in stainless and oak – creating a flavor explosion of zesty citrus, juicy peach, and a smidge of honey. Enjoy this with lighter fare like salads and grilled fish – or better yet, on its own, hanging out with friends.
Awarded GROW du Monde Silver, Aged Wines.

More about Sabar Wine House

Sabar Olaszrizling Badacsony Hungary

Tornai Premium Olaszrizling Somló 2022
This wondrous white from Hungary’s smallest wine region struts its stuff
This Platinum award winner shows off the elegant, harmonious, and sophisticated side of Olaszrizling. The grapes are handled with kid gloves – gentle pressing, fermentation in stainless steel and oak barrels, then short-term aging in oak and bottle – resulting in a white replete with aromas and flavors of citrus, pears, and peaches – a brilliant pas de deux of bright acidity and Somlói minerality. Pair this with hors d’oeuvres, salads, soft cheeses, and fish dishes.

Awarded GROW du Monde Platinum, Aged Wines
More about Tornai Winery

Tornai Olaszrizling, Somló

Download the 2024 results at this link.

The Czech Republic will host GROW 2025.

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