Who gets the next star in the “wine walk of fame”?
This award is considered to be the most prestigious one by many experts, because the winemakers themselves choose the best one. The nomination was done by the previous award winners, and the circle of the best 50 was announced on 6 April.
The list of the best 50 winemakers of Hungary in 2021
“It is honour to be on this list”
Browsing the list and the photos we can see several superstars like Attila Gere, József Bock or Ferenc Vesztergombi. They have already won the other prestigious prize called Winemaker of the Year, while this award called the Winemaker of the Winemakers seem to be a bit more alternative. While the above mentioned winemakers are immensely popular among consumers, some award winner of Winemaker of the Winemakers are hardly even known outside the trade. Imre Kaló, the award winner in 2011 for example almost unknown by the average consumers, since his wine is available mostly in his cellar in Eger wine region, and his wines are quite peculiar – some say they are simply faulty, while others adore them.
The list of best 50 includes younger winemakers as well, which again proves the open minded character of the award. Krisztina Csetvei from the little Mór wine region started making her wine only in a decade ago (in 2009), but her enthusiasm and passion is rewarding – she is the “catalyst” behind a recent initiative to celebrate Ezerjó varietal on 16 May, on ‘Ezerjó Day’. It is the second year when she is included in the list, and as she commented “It is honour to be on this list together with all those renowned winemakers.”
János Eszterbauer might also considered to be a “young winemaker”, because his first carrier took him to another field – though his family has been growing grapes for centuries, the first written evidence is from 1746. He started to make wine professionally when he realized how great it is to give wine as a gift to his business partners. He is not the winemaker himself, but again, the passion is an important aspect in the life of the estate. Kadarka is his mission, the estate bottles 3 different Kadarka wines: Sógor (‘Brother-in-Law’), Nagyapám (‘My grandfather’) and 108 éves Kadarka (‘108 year old Kadarka).
The top 5
After the announcement of the 50, the voting period took place, the nominated winemakers voted for their favourite among them. At the end of April the top 5 was named: Sarolta Bárdos (Tokaj Nobilis, Tokaj), Judit Bodó (Bott Cellar, Tokaj), Gábor Kiss (Kiss Gábor Winery, Villány), Zsolt Liptai (Pannonhalma Archabbey Winery, Pannonhalma), István Ipacs Szabó (Villány). Now the 50 winemakers will vote again, they will decide who gets the “Hollywood Walk of Fame”-like star on the pavement of Zrínyi street in Budapest.
Some interesting facts: two of the 5 was nominated for latest edition of the other award, thus for Liptai and Ipacs Szabó it is their second “top 5” position within one year. Also interesting that Ipacs Szabó has been the winemaker of Vylyan Vineyard and Winery all his career, and has just resigned from this position to concentrate on his own estate (read our previous article on the topic). And we also have married couple on the list of 50: Sarolta Bárdos and Péter Molnár (Patricius Winery). The wife, Sarolta Bárdos makes her artisan wines of outstanding quality at Tokaj Nobilis, her own estate.
The winner is to be announced on 4 June.