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Szászi Winery - A Family Estate Woven Around Grapewines


  • Vígh Viktória

03/06/2014 2.00am

Imagine that you're in a vineyard on Szent György-hegy, with the Balaton in open view and a glass of white wine in your hand. You are surrounded by grapevines, birds, lovely houses, wodden tables and a huge walnut tree. As for the sounds: you hear chirping, the laughter of children, the clinking of glass and a friendly greeting from time to time. Anyone can be part of this idyll in the home of the Szászi family, where hard work, leisure, the love of nature and dedication to guests are organically intertwined.

'Of course we wanted to live in Szigliget!' says Endre Szászi, whose idea of ideal in his youth was to start a family on an almost uninhabited island. One half of the young couple was from Szigliget, the other from Tapolca. It soon turned out, however, that they cannot make the dream they shared come true in Szigliget. Or at least, not to down to last particular: the family home, the vineyard and the estate could not be in the same location. In 1996-97, they found out that the southern slopes of Szent György could be quite ideal. In 1999, they built their first home here and planted their first vineyard - after which the events sped up. The young couple did not have hands-on experience in winemaking, only in bottling and wine sales. So at first they bottled and sold wine they bought.

Photo: Viktória Vígh - We Love Balaton

However, Endre Szászi's constitution is such that he grew increasingly dissatisfied with the state of things, and wanted to start from the grapes and be there every step along the way. 'Authenticity begins with majking my wine from my own grapes' he believes. At the moment, they cultivate 18 acres on Szent György-hegy, in Szigliget, in the Keszthelyi-hegység, and by Csobánc. This diffusion is good - as they say - because the eventual hail would not destroy all the harvest. Apropos harvest! The Szászi Pincészet produces 5-6000 hectolitres of wine per year as a bio-winery, which means that they only add chemicals that are indispensable in the process, and nothing more. The grapes are not treated with anti-mite, pesticide, herbicide or absorbing fungicide products.

Photo: Viktória Vígh - We Love Balaton

They also added a grape juice production facility to their estate, where you will be able to purchase alcohol-free drinks from the autumn. On the terrace of the facility, guests can take a seat for wine-tasting with lunch or dinner, and enjoy the family's wine range of products from dry white winme through the spumante and the rosé to the red wines.

Photo: Viktória Vígh - We Love Balaton

As for food, they winery has long surpassed the otherwise tremendously popular bread with mangalitza-fat. If you book in advance, you'll be received by a rural welcome plate which might include roast trout, various meats, famous Balaton-specific dishes and seasonal fruits as well. The wife of Endre is an expert in law and agricultural jargon, as well as in the kitchen, so all the fields are covered by the family. The parents try to inspire their children not only to love and enjoy this magnificent scene of their life, but also to particpate - at least some time in the future -  in the maintenance and development of the enterprise. The 18-year-old “Endike” is already an expert in hosting wine-tastings and is busy preparing for the Faculty of Horticulture of the Corvinus University.
The two guesthouses can comfortably hold altogether 10 guests, and these buildings blend perfectly in with both the narural and the architectural environment. Their style, shape and materials follow the local traditions.

Photo: Viktória Vígh - We Love Balaton

In addition to the feedback from guests, there are two trends that provide ample reason for the improvement of Szászi Pincészet. Endre Szászi believes that Lake Balaton should become a proper point of attraction not only for those within 5 kilometres, but also for people within the 50-km-cirle. This presupposes the possibility of connecting tiny dots in the frame of a round trip by bike, by car or on foot. A breakfast here, a lunch there, and a dinne ron the shore. At the same time, people are increasingly attracted by the charm of territories far from urban spaces, the production processes and insider details. You only have to travel as far as Italy to see succesful examples of this kind of tourism. 'One must work with substantial concepts.  says Endre Szászi, who is kept in high regard by - among others -  the famous Hungarian director, Károly Makk.

'Those who deal in wine have the opportunity to become renowned, an example to follow' the winemaker adds. Future plans include interactive wine tastings for which the dress code is hiking boots only in order to introduce guests to the wines in an authentic surroundings. Until then, you can find the Szászi wines on the shelves of Trattoria Pomo D’OroMák BistroLarus RestaurantCsalogány 26DiVino, and Kadarka Bar.

Photo: Viktória Vígh - We Love Balaton

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