Nature, tradition and innovation enclosed in wine bottles—the wines of Tiwari House are rich in aromas, yet pure and harmonious in flavor, dominated by the volcanic terroir of Badacsony. The winery’s unique philosophy is the brainchild of Livia Tiwari and her husband Shashi Tiwari: art, sophistication and a unique drinking experience are the catchwords of their winery. Interview!
Tiwari House is located on a twenty-five-hectare vineyard on the volcanic slopes of the northern shore of Lake Balaton in Hungary, where premium wines and sparkling wines are produced. What is the story behind the winery and where does your devotion to wine come from?
Shashi Tiwari: Livia has a professional background in creative design, I started my career in industrial robotics and continued as an investment banker. We have travelled six continents together, for business or pleasure, during which time wine and its sensory elements have become our shared passion. The idea of winemaking was born during a chilly but beautiful trip to Badacsony in 2014, and we studied the mysteries of grapes and wine through books by Jancis Robinson and Hugh Johnson. We were very attracted to Hungary’s terroir, so we bought our first vineyard in Badacsonytordomics in 2018. A year later we presented our bottled wines under the name Unwritten Poem. At that time, we still had plenty of room for improvement, so we took further steps to move towards our own philosophy. With this conviction, we embarked on the development of a highly sophisticated, future-proof winery in Nemesgulács, which we expect to bring numerous benefits to the local economy: improving the quality of grape growing, increasing processing capacity, and exceeding quality standards.
What exactly is the role of each of you within the brand? How is your cooperation structured?
Livia Tiwari: We have different individual skills—but we share a common attitude, motivation, and commitment, and we are in sync every step of the way. Shashi focuses on planning for future growth, as well as operational, technological, sales, and financial aspects. My main areas are branding, marketing, communications, and overall brand strategy: I believe that Tiwari House’s visual aesthetic contributes to the process of growing and radical innovation. These days, I’m more focused on developing our social media presence and our own webshop, while Shashi is solving some of the more challenging technology and supply chain management issues related to wine export and distribution. The key to our work together is to be honest with each other, support each other and enjoy life together.
Tiwari House is not only a winery and a modern vineyard, but also a research center. What is the philosophy of your brand?
S. T.: Learning, creating and knowledge-sharing are key elements of the Tiwari House repertoire. We use interdisciplinary techniques and modern technologies to understand wine, create the wine experience and explain wine. Our philosophy is built around mother nature, reliability, supporting communities, bringing in innovation, and our commitment to sustainability, allowing our consumers to experience an uplifting drinking experience.
With the introduction of the Unwritten Poem product range, we wanted to embrace the rhythm of nature, the moment of pleasure, the celebration of life, and the liberation of the soul, which resonates with the design elements and the harmonious artisanal character of the wines. We are still committed to developing the meaning of beverages, whether it’s a bottle of expressive wine, a glass of natural non-alcoholic sparkling wines or a thought-provoking research note.
You mentioned that innovation and sustainability are important to you in the production of your drinks, thus you function as a vegan winery. What exactly does that mean?
S.T.: We only make sparkling, vegan, natural, and vintage (from grapes grown and harvested in a single year—ed.) wines. In the spirit of naturalness, we do not use synthetic yeasts or inorganic additives in our drinks, and we completely avoid animal products or by-products in our winemaking. We pay particular attention to the use of dairy, egg, and fish oil based additives to remain vegan and allergen-free. We make good use of temperature control, biomechanical and electromechanical processes, as well as patience, precision, and passion to create high standards in every aspect. We work with a total of nine grape varieties, five of which we have already released and four more we are still experimenting with in our cellars.
Much like it’s hard to say which is my favorite finger on my hand, it would be hard to pick our favorite grape variety. The Budai Zöld—Kéknyelű varieties were a particular success because we achieved everything we wanted from this rare combination. We would also like to experiment more with Pinot Noir, which is a versatile variety, and we have a fondness for the ‘diamonds in the rough’, which we would like to continue to explore with local Vitis Vinifera grape varieties.
Which of your wine varieties is truly iconic that best represents the values that Tiwari House stands for?
L.T..: We both agree that the aforementioned Blanc Cuvée from the Kéknyelű and Budai Zöld varieties is a standout in the repertoire. In our vineyards, we place these varieties side by side in alternating rows to facilitate cross-pollination. When the cool air descending from the hills meets the warmer air of the national park and Lake Balaton in front of it, a mass of clouds hangs low and covers these rows of vines until late in the evening. The sparkling wine of this parcel has a mystical romance: as if we have bottled the heavenly nectar of love. It deserves praise from critics, fans and wine lovers alike, and for those who have not yet tasted it, it remains an “Unwritten Poem”.
Beyond the quality of the wines, a lot of attention has been paid to the visual presentation. What are the conceptual design elements? What message do you want to convey?
L. T..: The Tiwari House concept integrates several brand concepts with the same philosophy to provide an uplifting experience for consumers: it is important to provide quality for everyone. Our first brand or wine concept is Unwritten Poem, a fresh and youthful range of sparkling wines. Combining poetry with applied art for a full sensory experience, the drink features hand-crafted calligraphy on the label—a brand identity that took many months to perfect. We were inspired by our love of art forms, Eastern philosophy, poetry and spirituality. We also commissioned creatives from Hungary to create the design, as it is here that the vines are grown.
What next: what do you want to focus on in the near future? What novelties do you have in store?
L.T.: Actually, we have a long list of new ideas, plans and announcements. At the end of August, we shot our first short film in London, which presents the concept of Unwritten Poem as visual poetry in the form of an art film—scheduled to debut in spring 2022. We are very excited about our first film release, directed and shot by a London-based Hungarian director. Under the Tiwari House umbrella, we are also planning to launch two other exciting concept brands, one of which will be Our Method Classique sparkling wine.