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The Story of our Family

Illa & Oscar Szemes

In March 2001, Tibor´s untimely and tragic death shook the Austrian wine scene. His wife Illa continued the business as he would have wished and succeeded in filling the gap he had left behind. His legacy was continued due to her dedication, ambition and an understanding for “her” Blaufränkisch red wine. It is no coincidence that TRADITION and IMPERIAL are counted among the top red wines of the country. Nowadays their son Oscar takes an active role at the winery and manages the business together with his mother.

Oscar is responsible for the cellars. It did not take long for him to demonstrate his evident appreciation of wine. Under his guidance, the existing range was broadened to include new lines that quickly became successful and popular

Tibor Desiderius Szemes (1950–2001)

In 1984, Tibor took over the family business from his parents. Tibor Szemes had both a vision and a charismatic personality. His contacts were worldwide. Early in the 1980s he recognised the exceptional terroir and the quality of the grapes grown in central Burgenland. Together with Josef Pusch, then the cellarman of the Horitschon cooperative, he made the move to become a négociant (a French term used to describe wine dealers who own no vineyards but produce wine from purchased grapes). Tibor was able to gain the trust of the winegrowers who produced bulk wine using in part, antiquated methods and managed to convince them of his ideas on quality and marketing. Tibor Szemes had become a négociant-eleveur!

Georg Szemes (1919–1984)

Georg Szemes (Semesch), born in 1919 into a family of traditional farmers, developed an interest in wine from an early age. Commonly known as “Szemes Bacsi” (Uncle Szemes), he and his wife Maria ran two wine businesses. The difficulties in business dealings between different occupation zones in Austria after World War II led him to establish one wine business in Pinkafeld - in the Russian occupation zone - and one in Hartberg in Styria which belonged to the British occupation zone. White and red bulk wine was bought from northern Burgenland and nearby Hungary and improved, upgraded and bottled before being skilfully marketed.