Passion and Pride: a Hungarian Wine Club in Germany
A wine import company run by 3 engineers
‘Ungarischer Weinclub’ was founded by three man from the realm of electrical engineering, driven by “enthusiasm and a bit of pride”. Thank to them, Winelovers of Nuremberg can taste and enjoy a great selection of Hungarian wines. Gábor Nedeczky, one of the founders tells their story.
Labels so far: Bodri (Szekszárd), Bolyki (Eger), Breintenbach (Tokaj), Bussay (Balaton melléke), Csutorás (Eger), Gróf Degenfeld (Tokaj), H2 (Mátra), Iványi Zsófi (Villány), Kékhegy (Mátra), Kislaki (Balatonlelle), Kovács Nimród (Eger), Laposa (Badacsony), Málik (Badacsony), Skrabski (Balatonfüred–Csopak), Somlói Vándor (Somló), Tokaj Nobilis (Tokaj)
Tel.: +49 179 2197919
– Your winestore is called ‘Ungarischer Weinclub’, which means Hungarian Wine Club. What’s the reason behind the name? Why is your webshop called club, not shop? I guess you will have an explanation…
The name refers to our first step in the wine world. A large Hungarian community lives here in the area of Nuremberg and they have several different social events. At one of them I met Krisztián Vucsics, who was actually the co-founder of Pincearon.hu retail in Hungary, and after some discussion we thought we should organise a series of wine tasting events for the local Hungarians with Hungarian wines. So we founded the “Nürnbergi Magyar Borklub” (Hungarian Wine Club Nuremberg) which became a fairly popular monthly social event. We have even had Hungarian winemaker guests like Tamás Kis (Somlói Vándor) or János Bolyki with us.
– You are Hungarian, you contacted me in fluent Hungarian. How did you get to Nuremberg and how long have you lived there? And how did you start the wine business?
Yes, I have lived in Germany for five years. I’m an electrical engineer working in the automotive industry, and that time I got a good job opportunity here, in development of electromobility systems.
Wine business is quite far away from this, where I can do something very different than the engineering work. I didn’t have any experience with wine prior to that, I just simply like good Hungarian wines and then I realized that here in Germany it is really hard to find them. Even if the market is rather open for international wines, most people don’t know Hungarian ones, or only the cheap, low-quality bulk wines on the lower shelf of the supermarkets which is a shame. So the idea came to try to change this, import and promote high quality Hungarian wines, driven by enthusiasm and a bit of pride, which I share also with my two partners, Krisztián and Zoltán Novák. All three of us are engineers with full-time jobs, the wine business is a kind of hobby for us, but let’s see what the future brings…
– As for the wine selection, you have some well known, long established brands like Degenfeld, but most of the labels are from small producers, like Somlói Vándor, Tokaj Nobilis or Zsófi Iványi. How do you choose the wines to be imported?
At the very beginning we chose some well-known names in our portfolio which are more familiar to the local Hungarians who are also a significant group of our customers. Meanwhile we were getting to know more and more small wineries who make really excellent wines, which, we think, could impress the German consumers, too. We are transforming our portfolio in the direction of artisan, natural or even organic wines – although these words are too often used now, we believe that if there is a real value behind them, the result can be outstanding.
We have personal contacts with some winemakers, but we also get a lot of support from our Hungarian partner, Pinceáron.hu, we pick great and exciting wines out of the selection of Antal Kovács, Hungary’s all-time sommelier champion. You can recognise these wines by their picture where the bottle is standing on a cork – a unique brand of them.
– I am happy to see Kovács Nimród Furmint in your portfolio, it is a great wine (the recent vintage is called Sky after Nimród’s grandson), and I think it is important to show Furmint from other wine regions than Tokaj, Do you agree with this? Do you plan to have for example Furmint from Sopron?
Indeed, as many said before, Furmint has good opportunities to become a flagship variety of Hungary. Tokaj Furmint must be a strong brand but I agree that beside this we have to show also that the variety can work in many other regions. For instance we have a great full-bodied Furmint from H2 (H-square) winery from Mátra, and we’re open to offer them from other regions as well. Furmint from Sopron – I haven’t tasted it yet, but it sounds exciting too 🙂
– At the moment there are 45 wines in your portfolio, covering only a few wine regions. Do you plan to expand?
Hungary has over twenty wine regions and plenty of exciting wine varieties to explore, which is a beautiful versatility. But from marketing point of view I prefer now – as a beginner wine importer – to optimize our portfolio to focus fewer regions with a couple of wineries and give them an extra highlight instead of spreading the attention of our customers in too many different ways. Later on we can increase our diversity in regions and varieties both, of course.
– Who are your customers? Are they open for native varieties?
We have customers who have recently visited Hungary and experienced some great wines, and then look for the same wine region, variety or even the particular winery, where they can get it in Germany, too. And there are some more experienced consumers who seek – beyond the popular German, French or Italian ones – some more exciting, off-the-radar wines made from less-known native grape varieties. For example many customer seek Juhfark or Hárslevelű which was a surprise for us.
In general, Hungarian wine can be only successful in the world with unique and autochthon varieties, Cabernet or Chardonnay can be made well in many other countries.
– What else do you do apart from selling wine? Do you hold tastings, organize events?
Yes, we plan to continue the regular wine tastings for the Hungarian and German audience, too, as soon as the current pandemic situation is over. In order to show ourselves and the Hungarian wines to a wider public it is a must to organize or attend many public events, for us especially as we don’t have a conventional shop.
We planned wine tasting dinners as well in cooperation with some local restaurants, and the winelovers can meet us also at the next Wine and Taste Festival in Nuremberg. We look forward to seeing our customers personally again to present them the great Hungarian wines!