We call a wine handcrafted when during its birth, the producer doesn’t interfere to sacrifice the wine’s identity, purity or terroir in order to influence costs, quantity, speed of production or to achieve an expected taste.
The viticulture of handcrafted wine is the result of many decisions. In each of those decisions we can measure the results and consequences and decide what works best. Of course, handcrafted wines won’t become worse if the wine maker makes larger quantities or tries to reduce production cost. However if he gives up the wine’s personality, purity, or attributes in order to produce more or in order to appeal a certain palate, we can no longer consider it handcrafted wine.
The compromises of Handcrafted viticulture are that the commitment to these principles generally results in lower quantities. They are also more sensitive to changes with each vintage, although for wine connoisseurs this is perfectly natural. Finally, in many cases, the wines are more expensive.
The Handcrafted philosophy is a value choice. It doesn’t mean that we throw away modern technology and we go back to prehistoric times or the middle ages. Handcrafted viticulture and winemaking means nothing more, or nothing less than accepting nature’s effects on variable quantities, vintage characteristics, and sometimes by sacrificing on cost but keeping the personality and purity of the wines, all the time respecting the winemaker’s ability to make a living.” Gault & Millaut, 03 January 2014
’I could not compose it nicer or more concisely than the above.’ Says Zoltan Kecze, a handcrafted viticulturist and wine maker who runs a small family vineyard on Lake Balaton’s north shore. He puts his heart into each drop and the wines really show that they were made with love and no additives…
‘For me the above is not just some text, it is my philosophy, my way of working.’
‘I have made the decision that I don’t use weed killers when I look after the wines. Perhaps I need to sit on the tractor more and at times, use the shovel. We only use copper, sulfur and plant based ‘chemicals’ when looking after our vines.
We use yield restriction of about 1.5-2 kgs per vine so the rest of the grapes on the vines can become more intense, fruity and full of goodness. To do this we remove some of the healthy and lovely grapes off the vines toward the beginning of the summer.
The time of harvest is always determined by the individual grape varietel, vintage and brix. We harvest by hand, collect the grapes into boxes, I take good care when I take off the grapes from the stem, and I soak and ferment with the skin on the grape.
I don’t use a press, due to gravity, the juice leaves the skin and this will become the base of wine. Then my wine goes into wooden barrels with spontanious fermentation, naturally, with care and attention the Kecze wines are born.
I give them the time they need to achive their full potential without any additional chemicals or yeast. I only use sulfur to preserve them.
Our white wines are in oak barrels for a minimum of one year, the reds at least two years, and this is the point when they get bottled. It is quite a family business. We bottle them with my family, using hand made labels. We even insert the corck into the bottels by hand.
This is why I give my name to my wine. Because I know exactly what goes into each and every bottle.