Grand Tokaj, Tolcsva (Hungary)
Grand Tokaj is the leading Hungarian winemaker in state ownership, a guardian and protector of our national winemaking traditions in its position as the largest winery in the historical Tokaj-Hegyalja Wine Region, bearer of the title of a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its activities consist principally of winemaking and wine sales, organising wine tastings, and the cultivation and procurement of grapes for wine production.
Formerly operating under the name of Tokaj Kereskedőház, the winery set off on the path of renewal in 2013, as part of the company’s fresh commitment to the production of quality wines. The full transformation process entails the ongoing construction of a modern winemaking complex that fulfils the demands of the 21st century, as well as the updating of the winery’s corporate and product image. The year 2016 will see the completion of a full image renewal, the aforementioned name change being one important milestone in the history of the winery.
The transformation was necessary not only for the company to be able to break into the global market with products of an improved standard, but also in order to ensure that Tokaj wines once again assume their rightful place on the international market for quality wines.
The winery with its 70-hectare vineyards plays a role of vital importance in the wine region, accounting for some 40% of the region’s total wine production. As an integrating force in the region, it purchases grapes from more than 1,400 small producers working some 1,150 hectares of cropland.
Thanks to developments, the winemaker is now able to manufacture products to a higher standard from grapes cultivated both on its own land and procured from outside producers. A storage tank facility of 66,000 hectolitres capacity was opened in 2014, providing the winery the technological conditions necessary to produce wine of an international standard. A bottling plant with an annual capacity of 10 million bottles is now structurally complete, and can be expected to begin operation in the autumn of 2016. Further developments will be carried out in the following years at the company’s site in Tolcsva and in Szegi, where a brand new visitor centre presenting the wine region is set to be built.
Modernisation has also brought significant results at the winery’s vine cultivation branch. Between 2013 and 2015, a survey of cultivating potential and the condition of existing vineyards was carried out, as a result of which a geographic information system (GIS) has been created to support decision-making, permitting grape procurement at the winery to be modelled and planned ahead.