DEMAND SOARING FOR TOKAJ DRY WINE BOTTLES

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The past eight months have seen demand for the new Tokaj dry wine bottle roughly double from the same period last year, and the quantities purchased by wineries in the space of one year are expected to total a million by late 2016. While the region's dry wine bottle was, until recently, used by the majority of producers for their premium, often single-vineyard, lots, many have now decided to move their entire dry range into this packaging. This is partly happening as a response to market needs, for this bottle type is generally found to help the sale of any Tokaji wine, regardless of the brand.

With dry Tokaji becoming the growth driver in the region for over half a decade ago, there was a clear need for a regional alternative to Bordeaux, Burgundy and Hock bottles. Following some vague attempts to reach a region-wide compromise as to what the new bottle should look like, the Szepsy family and the owners of Szent Tamás Winery took an independent initiative in 2011 and had the new bottle designed in record short time and the first batch produced in early 2012. At a press conference held on 24th April 2012 to present the new bottle to the public, all Tokaj vintners were invited to start using the new container and help turn the opportunity into a reality. Presenting this quasi fait accompli to the winemaking community was a bold move that might have even backfired on them, but luckily, the whole region embraced the idea and many began to use the bottle immediately. (Both Szepsy and Szent Tamás are based in Mád, which is why this new bottle type is still sometimes incorrectly referred to as "the Mád bottle".)

Then, in April this year, Szent Tamás Winery ceded the right to use the Tokaji bottle mould to the Council of Wine Communities, the regional administrative organisation of winemakers, in the hope that this may contribute to an increased use of the bottle which may, in turn, result in a price drop from the currently rather high 147 HUF (approximately 50 eurocents). The slightest fall in the price could mean major savings for Szent Tamás that remains the largest user of the bottle in the region.

Unlike for the standard botrytised wine bottle, there are currently no regulations in place to govern the use of the dry Tokaji bottle, that is to say, once one has paid for the bottle, one can, in principle, fill anything into it. This is something that may change in the future.

 

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