Michael Liszkay is an adventurer who left Hungary in 1957, owned restaurants in Netherlands, was a piano player on luxury cruise ships, managed a ranch in Canada, then came back to Hungary and found a hidden treasure chest.
First of all, the most important question is how good the harvest is going to be this year?
Above all expectations! The harvest is promising, and we are likely to have a plentiful year.
How did you find this hidden treasure?
I was about to open a Canadian franchise in Budapest, then they decided to drop the idea, and I wanted to go back to Canada as well. What happened next was that I got lost during hunting and I found this beautiful basin, a wine cellar placed in the middle surrounded by burned out grape vines. Then I changed my mind: I wanted to build a weekend house to my grandchildren.
Why red grapes?
I didn’t want to plant Olasz Riesling as it’s usual in this region, however the people who I applied for financial support insisted on it. Even in Roman times just red grapes were planted here and they produced excellent wines. Finally they agreed to make a test run with red grapes. My first wine was made in 2006 which won a golden medal on the Pan-European International Red Wine Competition right after Takler vinery’s Primarius. We won silver medals as well. This was the moment when I realised improving this wine is definitely worth it. Two years later we were the absolute champions of this prize.
So that was the moment when you realised that you have such a wonderful value in your hands?
Yes, the winemakers from Laposa winery told me my vineyard is one of the best in the whole country. I replied I had just moved back from Canada, how would I have figured it out? Then the Pangyér vineyard reached 385 points form 400 according to the Kecskemét cadastral classification. With this result it’s now the best vineyard in Hungary with commercial activity on it.
What did your wines achieve so far?
Our Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc won silver and bronze medals on the Decanter World Wine Awards where almost 12 thousand wines were in competition. Two Liszkay wines were selected in the fifteen best wines on the Pannon Wine Challenge. And our Cabernet Sauvignon earned a golden rating on VinAgora.
Not even a decade had passed since the first harvest and you’ve already achieved so much. When will the vines grow the best bunch of grapes?
Within 7-8 years the vines will produce their best quality.
Where did the idea of a wine hotel originate from?
In 2010 we finished the weekend house and it was bigger than I had planned. When the economic recession started we had to change the concept in order to keep the vinery running. We decided to commercialize the estate and started to build a high-quality rural touristic destination. Luckily it’s a big success, we are running full house almost all the time.
Is it a concept to keep this intimate atmosphere?
It never was a plan to make a regular hotel. We started to build it as if we are building our own holiday house, therefore our guests can feel like they are home. We have nine rooms all of them were furnished by my family.
What are your guidelines concerning gastronomy?
I think I’m not boasting when I say that we lead a very good cuisine, simple but delicious, focusing on quality and familiar tastes.
What is your target group: Hungarians or foreigners?
Both, but we already had guests from Moscow, Australia, and we even had two Norwegian weddings. The Liszkay vineyard is a popular destination to organise events – especially weddings. We had sixteen just this year and reservations keep coming for the next season.
What are the prospects of the Liszkay vineyard for the future?
As my son says, this is a business which can keep blooming across generations.
Are you planning to open up a shop or a restaurant in Budapest?
Well, we have just got back from looking around for potential places to open a shop, where I can offer wine tasting and sell my wines – we didn’t find the right location just yet, but I’m positive we will soon enough.
The Liszkay vinery enriches the Hungarian wine selection with their unique taste: fresh and fruity but deep and elegant at the same time. In Monoszló the wines are served in a luxurious hotel with a wellness section, excellent catering and a stunning view to boot.