Géza Balla, a vintner from the Ménes/Miniş region has been elected vintner of the year by the Hungarian Wine Academy (MBA). This is the 28th consecutive year when the prize has been awarded by the MBA and the first time a vintner fro outside Hungary was selected as winner.
“This award is not given for a particular wine or product but is a life achievement award.I am very glad, this is outstanding for both me and the Ménes winery,” Balla told Romanian news portal adevarul.ro.
His winery is at the foothills of the Western Carpathians, some 50 kilometers from the Romanian border. It has a relatively small vine area of 120 hectares and both the soil and the climate are best suited for red wines. Balla mainly makes kadarka (a full-bodied, dark red from Eastern Europe) and Pinot Noir.
Balla also said that for years he has been trying to establish a wine academy in the country. A handful of vintners even elected this year’s best.
“Our contest does not yet have weight. This award must be given by a strong industry body. It is about time to establish the Romanian Wine Academy,” Balla said.
He may be well-known in Hungary, but he says Romania is his principal market with about 60% of the production sold in the country. His export markets are Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany and Austria.
Balla (58) is an agricultural engineer by training specialized in horticulture and wine and teaches wine making at the Sapientia Science University in Marosvásárhely/Târgu Mureș.