The recipe of the Best Chardonnay - Interview with Giulia Bernini from Tűzkő Estate

Szerző: Ágnes Németh
Címkék: Tűzkő Winery
Her name tells us her nationality immediately – she is an Italian, yet a passionate member of Tűzkő Estate team, a winery in the Hungarian Tolna wine region. The explanation is obvious: Tűzkő belongs to the world-famous Tuscan nobility, Marchese Piero Antinori and to the iconic Mazzei family, and Giulia joined the Hungarian staff two years ago. Her enthusiasm is visible: new labels, new logo, events, medals. We asked Giulia about the reason behind the success.

A wine that makes you ask for another glass

Tűzkő Barrique Chardonnay was selected the Best Chardonnay on the 1st edition of Winelovers Wine Awards, and last year you also won a decent amount of medals at the 2nd edition. Tell us more about this wine!
Tűzkő Barrique Chardonnay is a flagship of our winery and we couldn’t be prouder of this achievement. We produce a small quantity and the wine is aged in our „homemade” barriques, produced by our sister company European Wine Cooperage.
Why do you think it is so successful, what is the "X-factor" of this Chardonnay, which enchanted the experts?
I think that the smoothness created by the barrel ageing together with the high acidity and minerality of the wine, create a perfect balance that makes you want to drink the next glass.
Some wine professionals insist that only indigenous grapes are worth growing in a country like Hungary. How do you see it? Is Tűzkő Barrique Chardonnay more popular on the national market? 
I think that it is very important to protect the local heritage, from grapes to traditions, and it is one of the main Tűzkő brand values: if you have strong roots, you can go everywhere. International varieties grown in Hungarian terroir can help consumers approaching a less known wine making country and bringing them closer until they get to love the local varieties.
Regarding the official stickers, announcing the outstanding acknowledgement of Winelovers Wine Awards on the bottle: do you have them? In case the sticker is on the bottle, do you think it helped increase sale of the wine? 
Yes, we sticked the medals on the bottles and they were important to increase the visibility on the Hungarian shelves.
New look, new hopes
After careful research, planning and elaboration, Tűzkő Estate introduced new visual: both the logo and the labels were redesigned. What was the main purpose of the change?
Thank you for this question, it is an important project for us. We wanted to show the world our brand identity, the values that the winery carries. Tűzkő is one of the oldest wineries in the country, dating back to 18th century. The church is a historic symbol of uniqueness of the village where the winery is perfectly integrated and the never-ending vineyards surround 3 villages, creating a breath-taking panorama. Nature is still wild here and biodiversity helps our plants. It is a place worth visiting and we wanted to bring it closer to the consumers through our bottles. The name of the variety is printed both in Hungarian and English, to underline the winery’s double soul, Hungarian and Italian.
What is the reception of the new look? Do your clients accept it easily or did you encounter any opposition?

The reception was very good, and customers were very happy and we experienced positive results in sales.
You are preparing for Wine Paris, the next grandiose expo of Europe. Will you present this Chardonnay for the international audience? With the Winelovers Wine Awards sticker?
Yes, we are looking forward to Wine Paris. We received the WWA Best Chardonnay award with the previous vintage of the Chardonnay, we will present vintage 2021 now, so we are keeping our fingers crossed to be able to stick another medal this year!
For you, being an Italian from the gorgeous city of Siena, what is the best / most charming in Hungary, especially in the Tolna countryside, and what is the most difficult to cope with?
In the Hungarian countryside I find many similarities with our Tuscan countryside: people are well connected with nature and are very respectful. In Bátaapati village for example, I love how the cellar is perfectly integrated with the environment, dug into the hill creating a charming atmosphere. The most difficult thing for me is to cope with is language, none of those I speak helps me. I learnt a few words but they are never enough for someone like me who loves talking!
Thank you, Giulia, for sharing your thoughts with our readers. Good luck for the 2024 edition of Winelovers Wine Awards!

Upcoming key dates

  • 18 June 2024 Entry deadline
  • 28 June 2024 Judging
  • 28 June 2024 Masterclasses and exclusive tastings
  • 29 June 2024 Judging

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