Csendes Dűlő Szőlőbirtok – It’s not a winery, it’s a grape estate

This story is about grapes. About grapes and a grandfather whose daughter needed a change of scenery. It’s about grapes – Kéknyelű and Hárslevelű – about basalt, sandstone and pines. And about a mother, Bea, about a daughter, Dóra, and about a little girl, Lujza.

The grandfather
“Our story started with grandad,” says Júlia Dóra Molnár on the stunningly beautiful tasting room terrace of the Csendes Vineyard on the slopes of Örsi Hill. He was told by a doctor in Orosháza that his child needed a change of air. “That’s how my grandfather, with my mother, stumbled upon this tiny 200-year-old press house with a smoky kitchen on the slopes of Badacsonyörs’ Örsi Hill. They fell in love with it immediately. And Máli, the old lady, was happy because she just wanted to move down to the village, next to the lake.

 

The grapes
First, it just came with the press house. Mixed grape varieties from bush vines. A basket press, a concrete vat, a rustic wine. Today, the majority of our vines are between 40- and 60-years-old. Grandad slowly built up the small family grape orchard and each generation has spent more and more time on the ‘estate’. My mother already lives in Badacsony, while me, my partner and my daughter, Lujza, also plan to move here for good. We work with four varieties on the 3.2 hectares: with my father’s favourite, Kéknyelű; with Hárslevelű, which is rare here; and the must-haves of Olaszrizling and Pinot Gris.

  

The winery
There is no winery. More precisely, there isn’t one yet. My parents have been growing the grapes as an economic entity since 1996. They are engineers who grew up reading László Alkonyi’s Borbarát: Hungarian wine quarterly. My father has never been a romantic figure, he’s more like the ‘if we do it, we should do it very professionally’ kind of man. It’s never been their aim to build a winery, they only concentrated on grape growing and the optimal quality of the raw material. That’s been the most important thing ever since.



The Csendes Vineyard
That’s what the locals knew this unique part of Örsi Hill as when the family moved here. The basalt subsoil is thick here and it’s covered by rich Permian red sandstone. I researched a lot about the written vineyard names and I was surprised to notice that my smartphone had written out this fairy-tale vineyard name as if we could find it on old maps. That’s how the estate got the same name, Csendes Dűlő (i.e. Silent Vineyard), where only the crickets, the wind and the cicadas ‘make the noise’.



I dropped into it
Or rather I grew into this story: mum and dad spent most of their time here, for a long time the only connection for me were my summers and friends. I wanted to be an actress, then I studied to be a photographer, editor, camera operator and I translated novels. In 2012, at the end of a Wednesday in September, my mother told me that she needed people for the harvest. From then onwards, there’s been more and more Badacsony and less and less Budapest. Watching football with Bence Laposa, drinking wine with Sanyi Mező and Balázs Sike. I decided that I wanted to deal with it, I started studying and travelling. It was Badacsony farmer Béla Fölföldi who helped the most. He became kind of a mentor for me.


 

The wines
As I said, we are a grape estate, we operate a bit unconventionally. The wines have not been made here at home since 2012, but rather at our friends’ and in our style, with our supervision. Our carefully selected grapes are taken in a temperature-controlled car to Konrád Schielsz’ and Zsófi Laposa’s cellars where they become wine. We determine the style, we try to convey a strong foundation so that the result is as beautiful as possible. Our wines rest for a long time on fine lees, mostly in tanks, only the Kéknyelű requires oak. We don’t touch the wines for at least six to 12 months after bottling.