Tokaj with fresh eyes

The king of the wines and the wine of the kings has been the favourite of several royalties for necturies, and we, who live in the wine region or visit it often, we adore it like a mother admires her child. But how do outsiders see Tokaj? Is Furmint world famous indeed or only we believe so? Do they know why Tokaji Aszú is a luxury product? Have they ever tasted Hárslevelű? Have they opened a bottle of Tokaj sparkling wine? In this category we expect writings without any restriction in genre, there is only one compulsory element: the protagonist of the article should be Tokaj. If the contestant has never been to Tokaj, no problem, one can learn about a wine region through the wines as well.

Ági Erdős

The invitation comes as a surprise. One of the top winemakers from the famed Hungarian wine region of Tokaj is hosting a tasting-slash-dinner in a Hungarian restaurant in south London.

Caroline Gilby

Ageability is one of my arguments in favour of adding Furmint to the list of great grapes, channelling aspects of its half-siblings like Riesling and Chardonnay, says Caroline Gilby MW

Sebastian Giraldo

Legendary sweet wines, like Tokaji Aszú and Essencia, have made Tokaj famous for centuries. But dry wine has also been produced in the Tokaj region for at least as long as sweet wine has.

The Sponsor Of The Category

Grand Tokaj – Be open to traditions

The company was founded by the Hungarian State in 1948 and has been in her ownership ever since. The winery known as Tokaj Kereskedőház after 1993 has changed it’s name to Grand Tokaj in 2016 to emphasise the company’s all-time key role in the Tokaj Wine Region and to announce her ambitious plan to became a key player in markets not only on a national, but on a global level as well.
Grand Tokaj is the largest winery in the historic Tokaj-hegyalja wine region bearing the title of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the guardian and protector of our national winemaking tradition. The company is the flagship of wine production in the region being the largest winery – possessing a total of 66 hectares of vineyards and providing for 35% of the regions total. As the integrating force of the region we purchase grapes from over 1200 small producers across some 1050 hectares of land.

Thanks to developments the winery is now able to manufacture products to a higher standard from grapes cultivated both on its own land and procured from outside producers. A storage tank facility of 66,000 hectolitres capacity was opened in 2014 providing the winery the technological conditions necessary to produce wine of an international standard and a bottling plant with an annual capacity of 10 million bottles has begun operation in early 2017. Further developments will be carried out in 2017 and the years following at the company’s site in Tolcsva and at the company’s cellar in Szegi.

Modernisation has also brought significant results at the winery’s vine cultivation branch. Between 2013 and 2015, a survey of cultivating potential and the condition of existing vineyards was carried out, as a result of which a geographic information system (GIS) has been created to support decision-making, permitting grape procurement at the winery to be modelled and planned ahead.

Grand Tokaj’s wines representing the winery’s new spirit are made under the supervision of Károly Áts – winner of the title ’Winemaker of the Year’ in 2012 and famed for his 100 points Essencia – who has been the chief oenologist of the company since 2013. ’I was born in a wine region I believe to be a miracle’- regards Károly Áts, and just as our chief winemaker we are equally committed to this special wine region with its uniqueness and greatness. Our mission is to restore it to it’s former glory.

The Prizes
  • The absolute winner of all the three categories will receive an all inclusive trip to Hungary on 15–18 August 2020 as described on the main page.
  • The winning article of the category will be published on
  • The winner of the category will receive an electronic badge that he or she can place on the website.
  • The winner of the category will receive a voucher which entitles him or her for a unique winery cellar visit in the longest underground labyrinth of Hungary and an exclusive wine tasting for 2 persons by Grand Tokaj.
  • The winner of the category can participate in the study tour organized on 15–18 August 2020. The trip includes transfers between the venues, accommodation, meals, tastings. A special feature of the study tour is a visit to Grand Tokaj estate in Tokaj wine region.
  • All the three finalists (including the winner) of the category will receive a Grand Tokaj wine selection of three bottles.
  • All the three finalists of the category will receive an invitation to the award ceremony event on 16 August at Patricius Winery.
The Members of Jury
Richard Siddle

Richard Siddle is an award-winning business editor with over 25 years experience working across a number of fields including drinks, computing, grocery retail, convenience and travel. As well as running his own editorial and business consultancy he has just launched his own B2B website for the premium on-trade,, with his business partner, Peter Dean. Throughout his career Richard has built a reputation for campaigning journalism that gets to the heart of the business issues that really matter to his readers.

Dániel Ercsey

Full time wine writer since 2009, first he was the editor of Borigó Magazine, then he became editor of Pécsi Borozó. Besides has been the editor in chief of the first and only English language online publication about Central Eastern European wines called WineSofa. Author of countless wine and wine travel articles, co-author of the Great Hungarian Wine Atlas. He was selected – the only person so far to be awarded twice (2015, 2019) – the Benchmark Taster at Concours Mondial de Bruxelles international wine competition. He won the third place at Born Digital Wine Award 2016 and he was the winner of Milllésima Blog Award 2017. In 2018 he was a jury member of Hungarian WebWineWriting 2018 and he became the absolute winner of Hungarian WebWineWriting 2019.

Zsuzsa Toronyi

Zsuzsa Toronyi is a seasoned wine marketer, wine educator, also a qualified oenologist. She is running Wines of Hungary UK in London, a wine marketing agency designed to promote Hungarian wines on the UK market. She worked in the wine trade in Hungary as wine buyer and co-owned CEWI, the largest WSET school before moving to London, where she headed up the European marketing communications team for a major multinational company.

Davide Bortone
Based in Milan, but not at all: Davide Bortone is always on a new road of wine world. He’s a wine reporter and taster that loves to “feel the glass” right in the place it born, knowing the producers in their own ambience. He’s the chief editor of two of the most read and influent wine magazine in Italy:, focused on news and ratings of top level italian wines, and, that offer a unique and independent view on the italian retail wine market. Davide Bortone is also a member of the Circle of Wine Writers of London.