Pál Rókusfalvy, “the man who came from far away”, someone who, rumour has it, says whatever he fancies. He, who however doesn’t deny his past spent in the media, says that he has been doing it for 15 years in the Etyek wine region, ever since he became a cellar owner on Újhegy.
Every now and then, it may seem that he flies in the face of public opinion; however, he just follows his own logic and, more often than not, time proves him right. When in 1999, he first tried his hand at winemaking, there were only a few producers in Etyek and the wine region was still unknown to consumers. Since then, not only has he built up his own property on 7.5 hectares, he has also opened one of the best out-of-town restaurants in Hungary, high-quality accommodation (that has just now been extended to 13 rooms, but 20 are planned) and organised an event which took place annually for 10 years, which, in the end, attracted 70,000 people over the course of a single weekend and thus permanently placed Etyek firmly back on Hungary’s wine map. So, where is this strong opposition to the mainstream? Well, he did stop staging the event whose dynamic growth seemed unstoppable. Replacing this, there is now the ‘Etyeki Piknik’, which does not take place annually, but rather every other month. It no longer takes place throughout the whole town, rather in just one row of cellars. It is quieter, although there are more local producers. With new goals, it provides local people with the opportunity not to sell their press houses, to make sausage-making worthwhile, to have a local syrup maker, butcher, cheesemaker and baker and to resurrect the sparkling wine of Etyek, which in the past had made a name for the region. Not on an industrial scale, of course, rather in each cellar and as a local craft. “When it comes to my wines, I age them in bottle longer than the local average. I am really sorry that when they came up with the idea that our image should be that of fresh, young wines, I did not oppose it more vehemently. At all wine-tastings, there is a fresh, young wine; however, I don’t want our wines to be those that people rinse out their glasses with.” Pál even has a plan to improve the local infrastructure, to make the wine region even more accessible. Moreover, he has 22,000 bottles of wine that he sells mainly for gastronomic purposes. “When I came here, right with my very first wine, I won a silver medal in a local wine competition. Thanks my media-related history, RTL KLUB TV invited me to appear on their morning show, where they introduced my wine as being world champion. And you know what?! I felt like I had won the Oscars, at the very least. Today, I know that it was only because it me that they awarded a silver medal at that local wine competition. All my opponents’ wines won gold medals. So, I must admit that I was a little big-headed at that time, when I sent my wines into a wine magazine for a test. Nothing. Then, once again. Nothing. Finally, I went there in person and asked the editor-in-chief: did those wines disappear? He answered: You know, my friend Pál, there is a level below which we do not write about the wines, lest we offend the winemaker. I am an honest guy, but it was such a powerful slap on the face that I was on the verge of fainting.” That sentence most probably had an impact on him, since nowadays Pál Rókusfalvy carries out all the work on his own; he is the tractor driver, the viticulturist and the chief winemaker all in one person. Now, his son is about to graduate from university as a winemaker. And there is no greater joy than having someone to take over what you have started. Is there?