When a winemaker is expecting a baby

Vivien Ujvari, happy motherhood!

The chief winemaker and general manager of Barta Winery has recently given life to her daughter. Sára was born on the 6th of September – thus obviously, she missed this year’s harvest at Barta Winery. As Vivien commented, being a mother is “a wonderful feeling, she is the best, the most, the superlative-in-everything baby”. Certainly, she will still be part of Barta team, and Ádám Tóth, the winemaker had been working with her since 2019, so we don’t have to worry about Barta wines. But now, let us reveal some challenges she faced as a winemaker during her pregnancy.

Infinite elegance

I remember tasting Barta Öreg Király Furmint for the first time. My sister saved a bottle for me, there were a lot of guests in our house, but we looked at each other with my sister, and we decided not give a sip to anyone. “They would not appreciate it” – that was our mantra to sleep our remorse, but it was true, the wine was exceptional. (Tamlyn Currin of JancisRobinson.com wrote OMG in her wine description…). If you meet Vivien Ujvári, you understand. As a dog resembles its owner, I believe that the wine reflects the producer’s character. Vivien radiates elegance, no wonder she wants the same elegance in the wines as opposed to some rustic wines of Tokaj.

“An ‘Aszú-long’ time

In a recent interview by Márti Dian blogger, Vivien explained that first she had planned only an Aszú-long time at Barta Winery. Her family has a winery in Badacsony wine region (near Lake Balaton), on Szent György Mountain, she makes great wines there as well. After her studies and experiences abroad, she worked at Gróf Degenfeld estate and then she was offered to work with one of the best vineyards of the world: Öreg Király (‘Old King’). “It is the vineyard of my dreams, and I could not say no to this first-class terroir”.

Barta Öreg Király Vineyard Tokaj
Barta "Öreg Király" Vineyard in Mád, Tokaj

“I had to taste more times”

In the interview Vivien reveals that the first difficulties were presented by the workload itself. She was not only the chief winemaker, she did much more from travels abroad to planning improvements in the cellar. “When I realized that I cancelled the appointment with the doctor because of a business lunch, then it was the alarm for me.” She decided to take back from her duties then.
And certainly, working with wines as a pregnant woman might be weird for people outside our profession. They see a pregnant woman with a glass of wine and make a judgement without knowing that not a single sip gets into her body. Tasting and spitting is the way, however, as Vivien explained, the smelling sensation changed significantly, therefore she had to taste some samples more times, because first she found some notes, some flavours too strong. And there were some other notes and scents that caused nausea, for example Sárgamuskotály, one of the few authorized grapes of Tokaj. No wonder, the aromatic grape gives wine that burst out of the glass, if it exaggerated, it might be like using a whole bottle of perfume.

Being pregnant as a winemaker and general manager was not easy, but now it is over, this year’s harvest has brought Vivien the best gift.

We wish her to enjoy the happiest period of life, cheers to that – certainly with a great Barta wine she made.

Vivien Ujvari expectant mother
Vivien Ujvari shortly before her daughter's birth (Photo: Márti Dian)

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