Ákos Ruppert - The wine, the horses, the family

When did the Babarcszőlős story start?

Ours is a Swabian family from Pécs and even though my father used to work in the building industry, the history of our family has always been linked with farming, to the soil. At first, Babarcszőlős only meant a holiday to us. Then the hill, the climate and the rich soil had such an impact on us that we started planting grapes. Between 2002 and 2005 we planted 35 hectares, but now we only cultivate 27 hectares with great care, striving for perfection. The great enthusiasm and audaciousness has been there from the beginning, but the professionalism was missing. Today, we’re still learning and getting to know the job of a vintner. It has become a unified estate that can be walked around on foot. First we peddled in Villány, then later winemakers sought us out to see what we have for sale. We sell half of the crop, and use the other half to make our own wine.

 

You mainly make single varietal wines…

We make varietal wines from everything and only have one Chardonnay-Muscat blend. That’s how we can get to know our grapes in their purest form. In this region, it’s not the terroir characteristics of the particular parcels that we’ve got to learn, it’s rather the relationship between the winemaker and the variety. We try to create the maximum. The more I deal with the wine in the new winery, the more I realise that the task has to be carried out in the vineyard, while here in the house, it can only be finished.

 

What’s the trick?

I want to make good wine. Wines that are durable and which are really liked by myself, my family, the people we work together with and my friends. This is on my mind for 365 days of the year. I almost drove my wife, Kata, insane with years of planning our now freshly-finished winery, with its punch-down tanks, the de-stemmer and the selecting table. I have to confess that before I became a winemaker, I was an engineer. I left the ruler and the callipers behind, although the tidiness, the order and the discipline remained in the vineyard and in the wine. That’s why we harvest the cold fruit at dawn in small batches. That’s why we use as much water as a big plant so that everything is pristinely clean. And we are doing it with minimal intervention, minimal uniformity, fermenting professionally with good tanks and barrels, with cleanliness.

 

It’s quite literally a family winery…

Indeed, it is. My two younger brothers work with me as well. They moved back after finishing university. Myself and my wife, my sister and my brother-in-law have all been building this Babarcszőlős farm together, ever since the beginning. Grapes, wine, horses. We would like to create real value here at Babarcszőlős, at the western end of Villány hill.