The Font family has been engaged in grape growing in Soltvadkert for several generations. Grandparents and great-grandparents once engaged in dual farming, growing fruit and raising animals. The founder of today’s business was Sándor Font, who in 1989, as soon as the opportunity arose, set up a wine measurement for local sales.
In the first years of the regime change, their wines entered the catering sector, and as the market expanded, so did the family plantations. Today, forty hectares of grapes are cultivated, and grapes are purchased from sixty hectares of other areas. The profits were all reinvested into the development of the winery. Seeing their parents’ work, the two sons of the Font couple, Gábor and Sándor, often tried their hand at grape growing and winemaking during school holidays. – Gábor was already driving a tractor at the age of 12, and Sándor also often went out to the vineyard – recalled the company founder.
They learned agricultural work and even took part in the construction of the winery. Gábor Font made the first Olivér Irsai wine in 2001. Then with chilled fermentation. Although they did not have such technology, they used well water to cool the fermenting must. The wine was liked by everyone, both friends and fellow college students. As he said, that’s when he realized that products made with traditional technology were over: they had to use the chilled fermentation production process. Their customers marveled at the harmony of fruity flavors that they felt from the wines. They were not used to this.
This is how Sándor Font Jr., who runs the commercial part of the winery, remembers this period. – It was difficult to convince retailers why they should pay more for quality wines with a fruity taste. In the meantime, we continuously developed our relationships, not only with wholesalers and wine testers, but also in wine shops. We participated in many festivals from Szeged to Kecskemét to Budapest. We had to personally offer wine lovers Soltvadkert wine and convince them that this is not the product they read about in the newspaper, said Mr. Sándor Font.
You can get ahead at the cost of hard work
Many wine shows are still held today. This is a huge job, it often happens that they work in the vineyard in the morning, and then in the evening they present their products at an event 100 kilometers away. In response to my question, Gábor Font told me that they learned respect for grapes and wine from their parents, and that you can get ahead at the cost of hard work. Openness to the consumer is very important: their winery is open six days a week, anyone can come in to taste or buy wine.
How are they different from parents? More needs to be added to the knowledge of the predecessors, otherwise they would be left behind in the market competition, emphasized Gábor Font. At the same time, you must also have the knowledge of the previous generation. Sándor Font Jr. says that 30-40 years ago it was enough to load the wine in barrels onto the small truck and then hand it over in the wine measurement. Today, the product must be promoted and marketed in the bottle, pet bottle, bag in box, 0.25 metal can, and 1.5 liter packaging. What is the secret of a successful generational change: Gábor Font and his younger brother. According to Sándor Font, continuous renewal, adaptation, a high level of cooperation, and the wisdom that it is okay to be careful from time to time.