The past year has again seen some key winery personnel changes in the Tokaj region, with young talents continuing to be given the opportunity to work in leading positions at major estates. Here is a summary of some of the major movements in the past six to seven months.
The young István Szepsy has left Szent Tamás / Mád Wine and returned to his family winery to be succeeded by Ákos Bihari (34). A 2007 graduate of Corvinus Unversity, Ákos first worked for Demetervin in Mád, then Pajzos in Sárospatak and Sauska in Tokaj town until 2011 when he started focusing solely on developing the now 5.3-hectare family estate, Ferdinánd Pince, that he had founded in 2007. He joined the ranks of Szent Tamás as senior winemaker on 1st September 2018. His contract with Szent Tamás allows him to continue making wine under his own Ferdinánd label.
Gróf Degenfeld also saw a change in the position of chief winemaker with Balázs Sulyok (25) taking over from Sándor Zsurki who moved on to a new project in the Lake Balaton area in the west of Hungary. Having made his first wine at the age of 12, Balázs graduated from Corvinus University in Budapest and went on to work briefly at Sherwood Estate in Waipara Valley, New Zealand and for Jackson Family Wines in Sonoma before returning to Hungary and taking on his first 'real' job as winemaker in Tarcal.
Máté Tóth took on the position of estate manager at Gróf Degenfeld in Tarcal as from 1st September. He replaced István Turóczi who held this position for two years. Máté had graduated with a degree in viticulture and oenology from Budapest Corvinus University in 2015 and gone on to obtain a Vinifera Euromaster International degree while gaining working experience as cellar hand, assistant winemaker and cellar supervisor at wineries in multiple countries including France, Germany and Hungary. At 26, Máté is by far the youngest estate manager in the Tokaj region.
A Tolcsva local, Máté Varga (32) was promoted to chief winemaker at Royal Tokaji in mid-August, having worked for the company as assistant winemaker for a few months before. He took over from Fruzsina Osváth who had decided to take on a new challenge outside the Tokaj region earlier this year. Máté's previous experience includes work with a major producer in the Eger region, as well as with Mád-Based Holdvölgy.