Tamás Tóth (Tóth Winery): the Csongrád wine region is currently not very well known and popular in Hungary

In the Csongrád wine region, the Tóth Winery tries to contribute to the promotion of sand wines in a unique way. Named wines are very popular, many people are fans of the not too acidic, but quite fiery drinks that this lowland wine region produces. We asked Tamás Tóth, the manager of the Tóth Winery in Ásotthalm, which is part of the Csongrád wine region, among other things, about the state of wine production and the future of the sandy vineyard and winery.

  • Please describe your winemaking activities in a few words. When and where did your business start and where is it going? 

Vitifarm Kft. was founded in 1992 to save the vineyards and wine industry of Szeged State Farm, which fell apart after the regime change. Since then, after many transformations, we currently farm 35 hectares of vineyards. We sell a significant part of the grapes produced, the remaining approx. Process 1/3 of it into wine. The grapes are produced in family farming, and the winemaking takes place under the activities of the Kft. Our main produced varieties are Rhine Riesling, Ottonel Muscat, Cserszeg spicy, Chardonnay, Zöldveltelini. We use reductive technology during winemaking, our wines are fresh and fruity. Over the past 30 years, we have always considered development to be the most important thing, and we always try to use the most modern procedures and technologies when making wine to the best of our ability.

  • Many people think that winemaking is not a profession, but a way of life. Us laymen too. Is it really? 

Winemaking is a profession. It is a profession that, if you pursue it with your heart and soul as your own, it becomes your way of life. I don't think it's any different from other agricultural activities. The vintner-winemaker lives together with his grapes, observes them already during cultivation, forms his ideas about the wines of the given vintage, tries to plan with foresight and get the most out of the possibilities.

  • During your career, you had to deal with a lot of difficulties, this cannot be a question, but it is, what old-time and what modern-day problems does a similar company face? 

There are currently two serious problems in the sector with which the profession does not really know what to do. One is the lack of skilled labor, the other is the extreme climatic conditions.

  • Do they distribute their wines across the border? If not why not? 

No. As a matter of fact, not much at home either. What could be the reason? The Csongrád wine region is currently not very well known and popular in Hungary. Our options for getting into the market are quite limited, mostly limited to local restaurants, possibly small shops, and our producer wine measurement. The merchants are reluctant to start with the wines here because they are not in demand on the market, I am not willing to bow down to the power of the multis and go below the price I consider profitable.

  • What will the year 2022 bring for your winery? for you in 2022? 

We haven't had that year yet. The country is suffering from a century-long drought, which also causes serious damage to the production of grapes. The quality of the wines being made is still completely unpredictable for me, just like the current market situation.

  • What does Kadarka mean to you? 

I do not grow Kadarka grapes, so I have no closer connection with the variety. A special, unique wine can be made from it, but the extra costs incurred due to the extra problems associated with its cultivation cannot be recognized in the price of the wine at all.

  • Where do you position your wines in the European markets? Will they compete with the star-studded z agyon hypolt wines? 

In terms of the quality of our wines, they are not far behind the wines of other wine regions, although I admit that the place of production is very important in terms of quality, but with the right expertise, you can make high-quality wine anywhere.

  • What wines do you make and which ones are you most proud of? 

I make reductive white wines. I can't single out any of them, they are all equally special to me. I know them all almost from the moment the vines are planted, and I work with them all in the same way.

  • Which is the "competitor" winery whose wines do you like to drink? 

I would rather highlight wine regions, these are the Balaton wine regions and the Eger wine region. Their wines are the closest to me.

  • What basic problems do you see in the wine region you produce in relation to the winemaking profession? 

I think the region is on the wrong track regarding the goals of winemaking. In recent years, a lot of vines that produce completely worthless wine but produce a lot of grapes have been planted in order to compete with cheap foreign wines. This is not good. It does not cast a good light on Hungarian wines and lowers the prices on our own market. At the moment, per capita wine consumption is decreasing in Hungary, we should provide our declining public with quality rather than very cheap products.

  • Are there enough wine events in the region? 

I do not consider the number of events to be small, rather the circle of interested people is unfortunately narrowing.

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