Vineyards and cellar-cold wines without frills—Dóri Budavári opened the smallest wine shop in the country in her house of Szent György Hill, where we can enjoy the excellent items of the region. It’s as if you’re arriving at a good friend, say after beach time, who by the way is also good at wines and always knows what to pour into your glass.
We arrive at Szent György Hill one Friday afternoon: based on GPS coordinates, we will soon find ourselves on the vineyard. We park at the Szent György cellar, we go up on the gravel road, where a sign indicates: the Borbolt a völgyben (wine shop in the valley) is only a few steps away.
It’s a really intimate little place: a tent-roofed cottage wedged on a hillside, long rows of vineyards, a raised flowerbed here and there, a huge walnut tree at the end of the yard—as if we had just visited a relative who lives in the countryside. It is a paradise on earth at its best, along with its imperfections: there are no strict rectangles here, but there is a rock garden, lavender, a couple of garden chairs and tables, and of course excellent wines. And there are some essential accessories that have been brought together for a lifetime with the concept of a weekend house: a flycatcher curtain on the door, an artificial leather-covered, openable corner bench, an electric stove on top of the chest of drawers in the corner of the terrace for “summer kitchen.”
Barely a few minutes after our arrival, our host, Dóri Budavári, immediately gets to the point while in the cool of the house: what are we drinking? We could come up with something smart, seeing a promising offer lined up on the shelf, but we’d rather leave the decision to Dóri. In the meantime, the white tin bucket comes out, ice gets into it, a bottle of wine from the Szászi Vineyard and the Gilvesy Winery arrive too, and finally a bottle of Laposa champagne.
“Big items in a small space,” is the motto of the wine shop, and indeed: it really is a home where we are. A few years ago, Dóri decided to make Szent György Hill her second home and transformed the building, which was classified as a small farm building, into a pleasant, cozy residence. Objects of old and contemporary works of art both appear here: near the kitchen wall protector we find a framed quote from poet Márton Simon (“We should plant a few rows of grapes here to make it more visible because of the parallel rows where the infinity is”) and in a glass display case are souvenirs with a Balaton theme.
Dóri is a marketing communication specialist who has been a dedicated supporter of gastro-brands around Lake Balaton (especially wineries) for several years now. Her clients include Laposa Winery, with whom she currently works, but has also worked with Homola Winery, among others, and in connection with the Paloznaki Jazzpiknik, she was not only responsible for the communication of the event, but also took part in the organization of it. In addition to all this, she is the communications manager of Gasztrohegy Badacsony, which presents the gastronomic peaks of the region ú. It was a defining experience for her when a few years ago she and her two companions, Judit Rákász-Losonczy and Anna Scherer, went around Lake Balaton on foot—it was the Balaton Camino, which has had two seasons since then, and now anyone can join the hiking girls.
However, the love for Lake Balaton began much earlier: the family’s vacations in the Csopak holiday home soon taught her that five family members can be accommodated in a single room in a tiny weekend house, and that the time between Friday afternoon and Sunday evening meant a packed backpack with sunscreen and the smell of garlic lángos. Born in Győr, Dóri has always lived a multi-inhabited life—for her it means real coziness.
She now commutes between Budapest and Szent György Hill, and while editing PR materials at Forbes, she also focuses on how to draw attention to the hidden treasures of the Balaton Uplands. In recent years, she has been at the forefront of many events and brands that have become popular since then: she was editor-in-chief of We Love Balaton, which started in 2013, and also played a main role in the communication of DiVino and Paloznaki Jazzpiknik—most of all, she loves it when a place starts up, and the challenge for her is to be able to renew that brand with her help. She is always looking for new ways: the Borbolt, which launched in early June, also started in the valley to draw even more attention to the excellent wineries of the region—without frills. “And of course also because I really like pouring wine into people’s glasses,” she says.
There is no metallically sparkling, elegant champagne bucket or graceful decanter here, and we should not look for waiters with white gloves—but there is professionalism, humility and a great deal of love. This wine cabinet and house is a place where one does not want to show more than necessary. A place where the atmosphere is friendly, where we don’t have to feel bad about vintages and grape varieties—a good host is worth more than a thousand educational wine guides.
Dóri’s personal acquaintance is the guarantee that excellent juice will get into the wine glasses: the items resting on the shelf can be bought after tasting, and as Dóri says, this will happen in most cases. It is precisely this openness that unleashes the inhibitions of even the least informed wine-loving guest—everyone feels at home here, and if we can take this coziness home with us, then why shouldn’t we?
At the same time, the tiny wine shop, the spirit of the place, requires us to behave respectfully: it is still a home, a medium of love and attention, into which we are allowed to enter. Lake Balaton is getting full, this is doubtless, and previously undiscovered places are attracting more and more audiences, so a restaurant, bistro, winery can lose the intimate atmosphere that was still their own at the beginning—and this is legitimate.
The Borbolt a völgyben doesn’t want to grow big, just enough to find a home in it with a group of friends coming tired from the beach: with a bottle of wine of your choice, you can lie back in the garden, occupy a nice hammock, or sit out on the panoramic terrace.
Since the wine shop operates in pop-up mode, for up-to-date information (opening hours, accessibility) it is worth paying attention to the Borbolt a völgyben Facebook page. Anyway, we can tell you: Dóri will next open the wine shop on July 3 and 4. Take the hill home!
Photos: Balázs Mohai