New winemaker at Vylyan
István Ipacs Szabó (above on the right) started working for Vylyan Vineyard and Winery 22 years ago. More than two decades! Almost a quarter of a century – and during this period a brand new estate became an internationally acknowledged winery with countless accolades. And now a new chapter begins with a young, but experienced and highly talented winemaker called Sándor Tóth (above on the left).
No room left for speculations
After such a long time with someone managing the winemaking of an estate, people start speculating about the reasons behind the change. However, in case of Vylyan the change is as natural as the seasons change, as spring follows winter. István Ipacs Szabó remains a consultant for Vylyan, but he believes that it is time to concentrate on his own vineyard with his full attention. And also time has come: he has found the ideal successor, thus the vinification of this iconic Villány estate is left in good hands.
Similarities in fates
Ipacs Szabó graduated from the university of Gyöngyös (and Gödöllő), and then went to boost his working experiences in California. In 1999 Pál Debreczeni, founder of Vylyan estate proposed the young Ipacs Szabó to work with him to build an estate of remarkable wines. Ipacs Szabó felt excited about the challenge and he accepted the offer gladly. After Pál Debreczeni’s sudden death his wife, Mónika Debreczeni took the lead and under her management Vylyan became one of the most important wineries of not only Villány wine region, but the whole country.
Two decades later young Sándor Tóth graduated from the same university of Gyöngyös, and guess where he headed afterwards – to California. Upon his returning in 2018 he started to work at Vylyan as an intern, and Ipacs Szabó recognized the same enthusiasm in the eyes of the young winemaker he had felt himself.
In 2005 Vylyan won Decanter World Wine Awards Regional Trophy for Pinot Noir 2004. In 2008 Vylyan was chosen The Winery of the Year. Last year István Ipacs Szabó was among the five finalists for the award “Winemaker of the Year” – these are just some of the cornerstones. Mónika Debreczeni, the owner of the estate is absolutely positive about the future as well: “These 22 years passed quicker than a wink. Our mutual path was lovely, we went through so many things together. We understand each other without words, therefore it is comforting for me to continue to work with a young man with similar mindset. We have serious value in our hands, it is our duty to preserve it, but at the same time we have to accept changes. The new generation is on the doorstep, it is time to give them some space. Sándor will have to fight his own battles and it won’t be easy, but it is part of life. The duty has already been handed over to him, and we believe he will give us many great and unforgettable wines in the future.”