Robert Gilvesy and Márton Ruppert

It was just eight years ago when Marci Ruppert found a job ad on the university bulletin board, written in broken Hungarian, and he sought out Robert Gilvesy. They have changed a lot since their first harvest together – combined they now cultivate almost 25 hectares of vineyards on two hills’ two different soils. Marci is making more and more wine of his own from his estate on Tagyon Hill, and this year, the first single-vineyard Martinus, the Tóhely, has also been bottled. In the meantime, their shared space – the rebuilt Eszterházy press house – has blended back into the scenery of the hill, which is being helped by the currently blossoming almond trees. In winemaking, they are advisors to each other, they share the cellar work and make their own wines according to their own thoughts, in different styles. They talked to us in their best vineyards.

The first vintage was 2012. What has changed since then?

Robert Gilvesy: I got married two years ago. My wife is a lady from Burgundy. The kids (Ilka and Ábris) are now going to university. One of them is studying in Canada, the other in Sweden. Meanwhile, Marci and I – we study something new here every year.

Ruppert Márton: I’ve had two children since then, the third is on the way and will arrive in September. I landed here in August 2012, before the harvest. There were lots of new things, we planted a lot and we’re just starting to truly understand these parcels. In the meantime, we outgrew the cellar.

R.G.: And then, just like everybody else, we also got caught up in the ‘natural wine’ phenomenon, though it’s mostly myself, out of the two of us. In the cellar, we are trying to trim the process of winemaking. The expression low intervention is possibly the best way to describe what we do. Not in a dogmatic but in a healthy way.

 

  

How is the team set up?

R.G.: Most people in the team are locals. Ildi, for example, lives in Hegymagas, she helps us the most in the vineyards. I’ve known her for 15 years. Balázs drives the tractor and Kitti holds all the strings together in the background. She came from Mindszentkálla and helps us in the office.

M.R.: Apart from Robert, only Marcis work in the cellar. My ‘deputy’ is Marci Diósi. He’s from around here and we call him Marcello. The team is strong but small. We’d like to concentrate more on the vineyard work and for this we’ll need a larger brigade. The best thing would be a constant, 10-member team, so that there would be enough people for the sales-marketing jobs as well.

R.G.: We welcome applicants!

  

  

The homeliest vineyard?

M.R.: Tóthely. Half of it is already ours, we love being there. On harder days, before going home, I sometimes stop off there for a few minutes.

R.G.: I practically live in the Tarányi. It’s pretty cosy. Our first project together was the planting of the Váradi, and the Próbaüzem Furmint was made from its virgin crop – a wine which we’ve been talking about ever since.

  

  

What’s the Furmint like now?

M.R.: I could say that the Próbaüzem was the result of conscientious work, but it would be true this way. That was our first Furmint. It was made without a concept, it simply happened to work out this good.

R.G.: Indeed, it was successful. We still have a few of bottles of it, and sometimes we open one. But what is now the Fáradi is a lot closer to our Furmint picture. Although it’s not as appealing as the Próbaüzem was, I think up till now that the 2017 has been the best.  

 

 

Where was the best place to see your own wine?

R.G.: Although, it didn’t happen to me, it’s a good story. My niece was having dinner in Alo (Canada). She asked the sommelier if they had any Hungarian wines, and the sommelier replies, “of course, Gilvesy’s”. I didn’t even know about it.

M.R.: Last summer we had lunch at Neked Főztem restaurant one day. People at the next table ordered a bottle of Martinus Olaszrizling. It was not a very far away experience, but it felt good for my soul.