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Kishegy is sparkling – Garamvári Vineyard

Artisan wineries are not the only ones worth taking a closer look at. In keeping with this philosophy, a lot of people are interested in wine cellars whose vintages they would keenly purchase for special occasions or as part of their everyday shopping, in bulk even. The Garamvári Vineyard has also piqued the interest of many wine enthusiasts, so we paid them a visit.

Vencel Garamvári pioneered the traditional way of making sparkling wine in Hungary as early as 1997. Using the Champagne method as a base, over the years he has tailored his production practices to fit the prevalent taste in Hungary. The next milestone came in 2009 when their Botrytis Chardonnay won gold.

Knowing how to dream big is important, but a few other skills are also needed if you produce 500,000 bottle of wine per year. In this case the efficiency of teamwork is enhanced by family ties. Apart from making sparkling wine, which used to be a real speciality at one point, they produce a considerable amount of high-end as well as more affordable wines. The good reputation of the Garamvári Vineyard is based on these bottles – no wonder that many people want to see up close how vintages are made in this Balaton establishment.

And there is ample opportunity to do just that, as wine tastings are regularly organized for up to fifty guests. You won’t be disappointed either if you drop by without prior arrangement, five to six wine sorts and cold cut platters are provided in these cases as well. Zsuzsa Garamvári gave us an enthusiastic account of how many visitors make a stop at Kishegy to recharge by admiring the vineyard.

The vineyard is located on the southern shore of the Balaton, covering the best parcels in the entire wine region, such as Sínai-hegy, Tóth-hegy, Illés-tető, the Pupos and Rózsapuszta. There is a great selection of wine grapes with many of the internationally sought-after kinds, such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Shiraz and Blauburger, and traditional Hungarian sorts like Szürkebarát, Irsai Olivér, Kadarka, Királyleányka and Muskotály. On the 75-hectare vineyard the ratio of blue grapes to white is 60% to 40%.

Such elaborate production can only be enhanced one way: by finding a replacement for their former chef, now working in a Michelin starred restaurant in Asia, in order to maintain the high quality of their kitchen. Guests will soon be able to spend the night after an evening of wine tasting: the guesthouse is finished, and they want to get going as soon as possible, so that regulars can enjoy the Garamvári hospitality in the idyll of Kishegy.

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