Winery Website Superheros!
The pandemic has been a catalyst for change. It's thrive or die. To show it's true colors and ability to think outside the box the Hungarians wine industry has taken a new approach to wine awards with the addition of winery website awards. The goal is to inspire and engage with it's industry to spur on adaptation and success in the global wine market.
The past year of the pandemic showed us that online presence is more important than ever. Not just a nice-to-have but rather a necessity to survival. Hungarianwines.eu, an independent online wine publication specializing in Hungarian wine promotion has creatively initiated the first ever "Interwine Awards". These awards rate the wineries according to their online presence.
The sponsors of this initative included Agrármarketing Centrum, Rekontir Group and the Drinks Business.
Fifty-two wineries entered the contest, with the majority of entries from Villány wine region with 11. The jury first evaluated the websites by design aspects: layout, user friendliness, photos, wine descriptions, texts, web shop, the amount of information, and SEO. Twenty wineries made it on to the final round, with an additional five wineries receiving votes of their followers to elevate them to the final round of the competition. The 25 finalists were then evaluated by a world class international jury: Lucy Shaw editor (Drinks Business), Don Kavanagh editor (Wine-Searcher), György Zsiga and Ben Franks owners (Novel Wines), Andreas Larsson sommelier champion (Tasted.wine), Csaba Rádler commercial and marketing manager (Rekontir Group), Tamás Nagykálnai art director (Spoti Studio), Roland Peltan-Brosz art director and founder (Peltan-Brosz), Paul Budny and Benedicte Rigollot owners (Lazenne).
"Overall, I found the quality to be very high – much higher than I expected and much better than many places (France in particular). I was impressed that some actually translated their sites professionally rather than simply leaving it to Google to do automatically. I thought they all succeeded in their main aim – they made me absolutely desperate to visit the wine regions of Hungary!" – commented Don Kavanagh after evaluating the websites.
First Place - Sauska (Villány / Tokaj)
Sauska is a family-owned and operated winery with vineyards in both Tokaj (NE Hungary), home to Hungary's most famous wine (and a region in transition) and Villan (SW Hungary), Hungary's Beaune, if you will. At Sauksa they focus on indigenous and international grape varieties. They use only the power of gravity and ambient yeasts to craft the interesting and thoughtful wines. Their breadth of portfolio ranges from sparkling to still - dry to sweet - white, red and rosé. Sauska's team is young, passionate talent with one goal - to make world-class wines that are precise, elegant and uniquely Hungarian.
"Today’s gold standards, rules now written in stone, all started out at one point as an experiment. Passionate, brave people’s most creative ideas were gradually transformed into common practices by several generations. This is why we are so keen to understand and accept this ever-changing world around us."
Second Place: Tóth Ferenc Winery (Eger)
This is truly a family affair with generations working together daily to build vineyards, make wine and create a legacy. Tóth Ferenc can be described as the "fanatic enologist, the ambassador of kadarka grape, monger of the wine called “Várvédő” – the protector of Eger Castle- and the owner of many dignified awards and prizes. In recognition of his work, he was elected in 2013 “Winemaker of the Year in Eger 2012”.
Third Place: Heimann Family Estate (Szekszárd)
The Heinmann family has dedicated time and resources to creating and developing the style of wine that delivers a "sense of place". This special Heimann style comes from ingenuity - purchasing top quality cuttings of Cabernet Franc and Merlot from Bordeaux and planting them on the Porkoláb-völgy plateau. In addition, planting a significant acreage dedicated to Viognier, the only white variety of the estate as well as plantings of Tannat from Basque and Sagrantino from Umbria on west facing slopes. Nothing short of uniqueness and boldness that comes out in the wine.
Online presence is one of the keys to raising brand profile and creating awareness locally regionally and internationally. The supportive nature of competition can be a lightening rod for innovation. With a competition of this nature - everyone is a winner. Congratulations to the winners of the first anual Interwine Awards. A special congratulations to Agnes Nemeth and her tireless support of the Hungarian Wine industry.