Carpinus Winery belongs to brother and sister Edit Bai and Bai István. They would like to show it is possible to run a winery that holds its own on the world wine market in the Tokaj Wine Region with professionality without compromises and the family working together.
The winery was named after their vineyard which is currently their largest, Gyertyános dűlő which is Hornbeam in English (Carpinus is the Latin name). Founded in 2013, they had already presented a serious range by 2015 and from that year already had single-vineyard Furmints and serious barrel selections. There was never any question as to whether grapes and vines would be part of the siblings’ lives. “I was born here. I spent my childhood here. That I can work here and that I can be active in the vineyards in this small region that has grown close to my heart – I can’t imagine a greater present from life,” Edit told me.
Although their great-grandfather worked with vines, they are the first generation in their family who have actually chosen to work in a winery. “I graduated as a biologist-ecologist from Debrecen because love of nature was always in me. But I thought that was too theoretical for me and I wondered what would happen if I fused it with what I had learnt and experienced here at home. Although I had grown up in the vineyards, or maybe because I had, I didn’t want to do that but preferred a wider view of nature protection. But after my degree I went to Budapest and graduated from viticulture-viniculture which, after my biology degree, had a totally different meaning. I understood my subject so much better. I started to work at Dereszla Winery and found myself in a lucky position because I was able to develop along with my company,” said Edit, who also regards herself as lucky because she got into the winery just as a new perspective was starting in the Tokaj Wine Region and Tokaji wines were starting to experience a renaissance.
It is of paramount importance that local values are passed on to generations of families in the wine region. Their vineyards are in seven places in Tokaj-Hegyalja: Gyertyános, Lapis, Deák, Budaházy, Poklos, Veresek and Dereszla. The classification of the vineyards also indicate that they belong to an outstanding category. They focus on the indigenous Tokaj variety Furmint, but they also cultivate Hárslevelű, Sárgamuskotály and Sauvignon blanc.
Edit thinks the last is special for several reasons. “Sauvignon blanc can only be table wine and not Tokaji as it is not one of the six grape varieties permitted in the Tokaj Wine Region. It was treated as a kind of experiment in the past, and very few plantations remained in their original condition. Ours is not original, just half a hectare, but we still have about 90 percent. I really like dealing with this variety. In fact, if I just sit down for to enjoy some wine, then I like to open up a good Sauvignon blanc. Like a pleasant Hungarian rosé, a full-bodied Burgundy red or a fresh Rhine Riesling.”