Winemaker of the Year by Hungarian Wine Academy is the most famous and oldest award in Hungary, however since 2007 there has been an alternative award given to the best winemaker of the year, and the trick is that the decision is on the winemakers themselves.
First the curators of Vinum Praemium Foundation and the previous award winner winemakers have a meeting when the list of the 50 nominees are decided, then the 50 winemakers vote for the colleague they respect the most. The 5 winemakers with the most votes are in the second turn, when the winner is chosen.
The list of the 50 best is ready
At the moment the organizers are after the curators’ meeting and the list of the 50 winemakers have been announced.
In the list of the 50 winemakers we can see some of the pioneers of Hungarian winemaking, like Attila Gere from Villány, József Bock also from Villány, Vilmos Thummerer from Eger, or the first sommelier of Hungary, Csaba Malatinszky also from Villány. It is is somewhat easier to gain reputation as a member of a family winery, however the unknown, hardworking winemakers of a bigger company are often less recognised then they deserve. This year you can find some surnames that are different from the name of the winery, and it is great. Sándor Mérész, the talented winemaker of Etyeki Kúria or Péter Molnár, the ambitious estate manager of Patricius Tokaj (the winery that has just been chosen the Winery of the Year) are names that are good to read on the list. Besides we can greet some ambitious owners of some relatively younger wineries (then the pioneers), like János Eszterbauer from Szekszárd or Endre Szászi from Badacsony wine region, and we can see the youngest generation as well, some of them are really small producers making craft wines, like Bálint Losonci from Mátra, Gábor Kiss from Villány or László Szilágyi from Gizella Winery, Tokaj.
The whole list can be found here
The best friend – a British MW nominated!
Besides the Winemaker of the Winemakers award, a so called ’Best Friend of the Winemakers’ award is given as well. There are 5 nominees, and one of them is a British Master of Wine, Caroline Gilby, who has written several articles about Hungary. In her writings she is sometimes critical – when it is needed –, but apparently useful criticism is rewarding: Hungarian winemakers respect Caroline Gilby and her efforts for making our wines known outside the borders of the country.
The winners will be announced next year, we will certainly inform our followers.
Previous Winemakers of the Winemakers
– Zoltán Demeter, Tokaj (2007)
– György Lőrincz, Eger (2008)
– István Szepsy, Tokaj (2009)
– Ottó Légli, South-Balaton (2010)
– Imre Kaló, Eger (2011)
– Imre Györgykovács, Somló (2012)
– József Szentesi, Etyek–Buda (2013)
– Stéphanie Berecz, Tokaj (2014)
– András Bacsó, Tokaj (2016)