The three of us from Szekszárd - Kadarka, SXRD and Barbár

Frankly, we’re having a strange year. After the beginning of the warm autumn spell over the last few weeks, 35mm of rain fell unexpectedly in Szekszárd. We’re walking among the Kadarka rows with the Heimanns as they discuss which clones should be picked and when. Ági and the two Zolis argue and loudly, too! We are treading in the mud and tasting the berries. Eventually, the younger Zoli makes the decision: “We’ll start tomorrow with the 111 and 113 clones.” The decision is accepted by everyone and we sit down to taste on the terrace. While Zoli calls some people, Ági starts the story. 

Ági: We’re a family winery. The roles have constantly changed over the last few years. I’m the head winemaker, my son is our winemaker, and Zoli deals with the vineyards and investments. Our small team has significantly increased in size in the last couple of months and we have enough people for the permanent work, while two interns from two universities are working with us, and we’ve also employed Eszter for administration tasks.

Zoli: From the small 10-hectare estate, we’ve grown into a 25-hectare family winery in 25 years. The vision was mine. Ági was a bit apprehensive at first, but by today she’s fallen in love with it, and has fulfilled herself in this role. Our son then came into the picture. My friends all told him not to follow in his father’s footsteps and that I would oppress him and he wouldn’t be able to bear it. However, István Szepsy gave him the last push in 2005. If I have true value in the cellar, then it is for the integration of my wife and older son. The Szekszárd lifestyle that came out of it. Family. Preserves, jams, wines, salami. Ági says that our life is wine and it is. We even wrote this on the car. The older I get, the more I can experience what my father, grandfather and great-grandfather did. Ten generations have been working the soil here.

Zoli Jnr: We do the blending and trial blending together. In the meantime, I’m trying to take over a lot of practical work from my parents. We’ve become one organism, the three of us. I just thought about this today; that there was an idea for something and by the time we did it, I’d forgotten just who’d come up with the idea in the first place.

Ági: Zoli handles the vineyards and he’s the bad cop; he puts the pressure on the team, in order to get everything right. My son, Zoli, he’s the creative force and often the good cop. My role as a housewife is strengthening. I became the emotional factor in the wines as well. We managed to sort out loads of trust and vanity crises together, within the family, by the time we got here.

Zoli: Our son, Zoli, makes a lot of decisions by himself, and we bear the consequences together. We’re making four versions of the Alte Reben. The early harvest was a good idea but the foot pressed version wasn’t. We don’t question that we need a new direction but we don’t necessarily jump on it immediately when he comes up with an idea. He wants to be the boss, it’s there in every movement he makes, and it annoys him that we also work. But that’s what he’s got to put up with. That’s how a wine becomes a Heimann. I asked two things of him when he came back from the wine school and the internship abroad and they were that he should put the ‘world’s best’ Kadarka down on the table within ten years and put Heimann on the European stage.

Zoli Jnr: Perfect grapes, natural plant protection, then organic cultivation and winemaking in the longer run. That’s what we threw away the hammer for, as dad puts it. That’s the direction. We agree about putting the most emphasis on Kadarka and Kékfrankos. We’re not working from one day to the next – a decision is prepared for five years and has a 40-50 year impact. There’s a lot of revolutionary zeal in me but I had to realise that wine is slower and more complex than that. I had to learn that the decisions I take now will determine the future of my own future children.

Ági: This must all seem very idyllic, although we always quarrel about everything. The guys say in the morning that I nag them until I get up to speed work wise. In the meantime, we simply can’t imagine our lives without each other.


Zoli, SXRD

Zoli Jnr: SXRD is an intention to show Szekszárd. Instead of the joviality of Boromissza, we wanted a more youthful wine that is about Szekszárd and ourselves: one that has character –

there’s tannin in it while it’s also about pure fruit, good drinkability and brings pleasure. By now we are all from Szekszárd, and apart from my father of course, we have chosen this place for ourselves. I’ve found myself in Szekszárd, both with my job and my private life. For me, this is SXRD. If a Master of Wine tastes a wine from a wine region, he or she must recognise it. That’s the starting point. But our wine region is still so colourful that we still seek this ‘Szekszárd-ness’. For us, it’s Kékfrankos, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, one third of each, spiced up with a touch of Sagrantino. The Merlot and the Cabernet Franc are the two most important players, but here the Kékfrankos counterbalances the world varieties in every way. Take Bárbár for example – we tried Kékfrankos after my mother suggested it, which loosened the granite block and made our blends vibrant and unique. We would like to make Heimann wines and keep Szekszárd’s qualities.



Ági, Kadarka

Ági: Zoli was often asked to come back to Szekszárd, and I said that I wouldn’t join him. Then, out of several small decisions came a final one that we’d move. Zoli wanted to build around the cellar and I wanted to be in the town. I think that’s how we became real Szekszárd people. But the biggest help was Kadarka. We started the clonal experiments and it completely absorbed us. We decided in favour of Kadarka some 10 years ago and we planted it in our most favoured vineyards. It has turned into wine now and the clones are showing their qualities. We got on the ball with Kadarka with the virgin vintage. The general view is that this variety doesn’t like oak – in order to avoid anything else appearing in it but spiciness and vibrancy. We are somewhat following this path, although we like it in the larger ászok barrels. We crossed another frontier at the Céh kereszt vineyard.

Frigyes Bott’s 2013 Kadarka provided the inspiration for us. We also used first-fill 500-litre barrels for the crop of the nicest clones. For the sake of fruit, the mixed clones all rest in steel tank and 10-hectolitre ászok barrels. There will be amphoras, pressing by foot and barriques – there are no taboos with Kadarka. We’re just starting to get to know the variety. 



Zoli, Barbár

Zoli: It’s easy for me to be here; to be a native Szekszárdian by my father’s, brother’s and grandfather’s right. We’ve been here for 260 years and we will be here for another 260. This wine region for me is fundamentally about Kadarka, Kékfrankos and Bikavér. Fruitiness, lightness, vibrant excitement. Twenty-five years have passed and at the beginning we were thinking in terms of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. We were pushing these because they produce reliably everywhere around the world. They are solid. The second station was that of the distinctive notes: Tannat, Sagrantino, Viognier and Syrah – based on Tibor Gál’s and our own inspiration – to do something else to the others. That made it possible for the Stílusgyakorlatok (lit. style experiments) and Barbár to be born. They still make our wines rich and recognisable. We love them. And now here is the third stage: Kadarka, Bikavér and Kékfrankos. Of course, we still have to be there with Barbár, Franciscus, the Agnus as well: they are gems and important parts of our development.



1. If you could only make one wine in Szekszárd, what would it be like?

Ági: A Bikavér-style blend.

Zoli Jnr: A layered, acid-driven blend.

Zoli: Kékfrankos.

2. Favourite grape variety?

Ági: Merlot.

Zoli Jnr: Kékfrankos.

Zoli: Kadarka, because it requires struggle.

3. Favourite vineyards?

Ági: The Baranya-völgy’s slopes, our little wavy hills.

Zoli Jnr: The Porkoláb-völgy.

Zoli: Pannonia. Don’t laugh not the bike…

4. The best wine you’ve ever tried

Ági: Antinori Guado al Tasso

ifj. Zoli: Foradori Teroldego Sgarzon

Zoli: Bott Frigyes Kadarka


5. If not Szekszárd, then…

Ági: The Rhone Valley. I don’t know it enough but I love it.

Zoli Jnr: You can make something exciting in almost every wine region. Anywhere, but mainly at home.

Zoli: Then no wine. Szekszárd was first, then came the wine.


6. Who’s the boss?

Ági: Zoli marks out the direction but it possibly wouldn’t work without us.

Zoli Jnr: My mother but it wouldn’t work without dad.

Zoli: Ági is the boss, but we decide together.


7. What do you like the most in winemaking?

Ági: The harvest, with all its worries. And blending.

Zoli Jnr: The harvest dates and the process of fermentation. The extraction, the experimentation.

Zoli: The plantings, as things shape up and materialize. And the grateful wine consumer.


8. And the least?

Ági: Fruit flies and the excise duty clearing on November 30.

Zoli Jnr: Personal issues in the vineyard.

Zoli: The open bottles and the fruit flies that go into them. I’m a Swabian!