Ten curiosities about the Hungarian sparkling wine production and about champagne maker Törley

You can drink it when you are happy or sad, but mostly on special occasions and on New Year’s Eve of course. The champagne is in the focus of our current compilation.

 VF_37_067.jpg1. The Hungarian word ‘pezsgő’ was created by Count István Széchenyi, who named the French champagne this way for the first time in his work Hitel (Credit 1830).
2. In Hungary, the name Törley became one with champagne and champagne production. József Törley established the fame of the brand; he recognised the power of advertising and promoted his products in thousands of bills and menu cards
3. Nevertheless, the first Hungarian champagne factory did not belong to the family Törley, but to Lőrinc Littke, who founded his factory in Pécs in 1859.
4. A less known fact is that József Törley was the first in Hungary, who bought company trucks, and he was a founding member and the deputy chairman of the Hungarian Royal Automobile Club. Trucks were necessary because they made deliveries easier and more reliable, but the trucks with company logos were good moving commercials as well.
5. The first traffic accident in Hungary is also related to the family Törley. The endurer of the accident a street-sweeper János Czolits expected a slower horse carriage so he did not give way to the approaching vehicle that hit him. In the lack of regulations, Törley decided to give three days’ wage to the worker, thus the affair was closed with this gallant gesture.
VF_15139.jpg6. The champagne factory Törley has been operating in Budafok since 1882, but the real home of the wine is the Etyek region, thus this region can be considered as the cradle of the Hungarian sparkling wine.
7. Budafok was not only a workplace, but the family lived there too.  The Törley Castle is still above the champagne cellars and the building complex of the factory. The style of the castle might remind you to the French castle and fortress architecture, not by chance: French champagne goes together with French style.
8. The Törley champagne became a popular drink by the 1890s and its quality was also acknowledged. It won several awards, including the gold medal of the National Trade Association. The real appreciation arrived from Emperor Franz Joseph I, who ennobled József Törley and gave him the prename ‘Csantavéri’ in 1896.
9. As he died without a child, his nephews inherited the factory and the fortune. They increased the good reputation of the factory. The storms of history did not spare the factory and the castle. After the nationalisations, the Russian military headquarters moved into the castle, and the factory was hit by a bomb, thus production could be restarted only after 1951. Nowadays, the castle is the home of the Frédéric Joliot-Curie National Research Institute for Radiobiology and Radiohygiene. There is a visitor centre in the factory, where visitors can take part in guided tours.
10. On New Year’s Eve, let’s raise our glasses filled with the best or most famous Hungarian champagnes: Törley, Garamvári, BB or with the Sovetskoe Igristoe.

The Digital Archive Development Department of Forum Hungaricum Ltd. wishes you a successful and happy New Year with this compilation!

Translated by Zita Aknai


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