The very first Tokaj Wine Auction, held by the Confrérie de Tokaj on 27th April 2013 in the historic Knight’s Hall in the Castle of Sárospatak in the heart of the region, has brought a grand total of 20 250 000 forints, that is 67 500 €.
Of the 22 exclusive lots – most of traditional barrel size of 136 l – 60% found a buyer. All are released exclusively at the Tokaj Spring Wine Auction 2013 and bottled with their own Confrérie Tokaj Wine Auction label.
The highest price at the auction was paid for a barrel of Tokaj Hétszőlő Tokaji Aszú 6 puttonyos 2010: 4 200 000 forints, that is 14 000 €, from a starting price of 2 800 000 forints, that is 9 333 €.
A blind tasting was held just before the Auction. These unique wines were served in three-litre handmade glass bottles based on a traditional Tokaj bottle and designed specially for the occasion.
All the work done by the Confrérie de Tokaj over the last months has born fruit. Over twenty buyers showed interest in this first auction. Budapest Michelin-star restaurant Onyx purchased the Furmint lot from Demetervin and the Hárslevelű from Kikelet. Wine merchants acquired the lots of Szent Benedek, Royal and Szepsy while groups of Hungarian amateurs joined together to take the lots of Füleky, Szent Tamas and Budaházy. Disznókő and Barta were bought by faithful clients. The lots of Samuel Tinon and Hétszlőlő were purchased by foreign buyers present in the room or bidding by telephone.
Buyers of these unique lots of Tokaji wines not only became the exclusive owners of their lot, they also contributed to the restoration and development of the landscape of the Tokaj region, included as part of the UNESCO World Heritage in 2002. The Confrérie de Tokaj sets part of the income specifically for this purpose. Updates about developments can be followed at tokajiborlovagrend.hu/en/.
The auction was conducted by Nóra Winkler, well-known auctioneer and media personality. Wine experts Gabriella Mészáros and Ronn Wiegand commented on the wines before the presentation of each lot for auction. All three contributed to the increases in interest and the atmosphere in the auction room: the Furmint 2474 2012 of Royal, set at 700 000 forints, that is 2 333 €, was old for 3 333 €. The Dry Szamorodni 2006 of Samuel Tinon, starting price of 6 666 €, went under the hammer for 10 000 €. The Nyulaszó Furmint 2012 of Szepsy, set at 4 000 €, went for 5 000 €.
The Tokaji Eszencia 2000 cuvée Jean-Paul II of Samuel Tinon, the equivalent of 27 bouteilles 37.5 cl, did not find a buyer. The producer offered the lot to the Confrérie de Tokaj.
The auction catalogue, the organisation of the auction by the Confrérie de Tokaj and the various events held as part of Spring of Tokaj festivities all received compliments from professionals and auction goers, both from Hungary and abroad. Ronn Wiegand, who also participated as an expert in the first auction in California – helping build the Napa Valley brand – commented that for a first auction, the Tokaj Wine Auction was particularly successful and shows a promising future.
For the last 150 years, Burgundy has organised the auction of barrel lots at the Hospices de Beaune. The auction in Tokaj was the very first ever held and with very much the same spirit. It has already inspired the imagination of amateurs and professionals alike, in both Hungary and abroad.
The following producers presented one or more lots at this first auction: Barta, Budaházy, Degenfeld, Demetervin, Dereszla, Disznókő, Füleky, Hétszőlő, Holdvölgy, Kikelet, Nobilis, Orosz Gábor, Pajzos, Patricius, Royal, Samuel Tinon, Szent Benedek, Szent Tamás and Szepsy.
The Confrérie de Tokaj organised the auction as part of the Tokaj Spring, a three-day event that included visits to vineyards, a wine dinner at the Sárga Borház Restuarant on the Friday, followed on Saturday by the blind tasting of the auction lots, lunch on the ramparts of the Castle of Sárospatak before the awaited auction. Then, after the initiation of new members in the Castle Courtyard, the Confrérie and guests reconvened for a performance by mezzo-soprano Lúcia Schwartz Megyesi who is passionate about the Tokaj Region before the gala dinner at the Gróf Degenfeld Hotel in Tarcal.
The Confrérie plans to develop the auction and hopes to see this annual event become a major Tokaj wine date in the calendar. The next Tokaj Wine Auction will be held in spring 2014.