Importer of Memorable Wines from the New Old World of Eastern and Central Europe
Importer of Memorable Wines from the New Old World of Eastern and Central Europe

Kolonics, Somló, Hungary

Winery map

At a Glance

Cool Continental
Basalt and ancient seabed
220-260 meters
Slopes of an ancient dormant volcano
Olaszrizling, Furmint, Juhfark and Hárslevelű
9 hectares

Karoly Kolonics
Károly Kolonics in the cellar - Photo credit Kolonics Pinceszet

The People

Károly Kolonics is a 4th generation winemaker who grew up in nearby Devecser but spent his weekends and summers in Somló. His grandparents were born and raised on the hill. His Somlói lineage goes back notably to his great grandparents who emigrated to the US before WWI.

Kolonics Juhfark Karvaly Label
The label shows Károly Kolonics's great-grandparent György in 1882

Once the war threatened Hungary, they mailed back as much money as possible. There was an issue with the postmaster and none of the money went to the family and the estate was lost to the Abbey. The family eventually got their land back. The labels are photos of the great grand parents from the late 1800s.

Kolonics vineyard
The vineyard - Photo credit Kolonics Pinceszet


Today, Kolonics farms about 9 hectares of Olaszrizling, Furmint, Juhfark and Hárslevelű in thick basalt crumble soil. The area is also covered in chestnut and walnut trees at an altitude just above the frost line. No herbicides, pesticides, cover crops are cut by hand, and he uses orange oil and hand sprayed SO2 when needed.

Kolonics cellar
The cellar - Photo credit Kolonics Pinceszet


His barrel regiment of large 1500L Hungarian oak and Acacia barrels, many around 60 years old, are adorned with the names of Kings and Saints of Hungary. According to Károly, “I usually say that when you taste a wine and you speak about the barrel you do not speak about God but of his dress.” As for winemaking, grapes are destemmed, pressed, and then usually spend 6-8 hours of maceration before the native fermentation begins. All wines are barrel fermented and aged, full malo and only racked once before bottling.
KolonicsJuhfark Karvaly 2017
White Wine
0.9 g/l
5.9 g/l
Juhfark (Sheep’s tail) is a distinctive, almost extinct white grape variety found almost exclusively in Somló. The clusters are long, tightly packed and curve a little at the end hence the Sheep’s tail moniker. Naturally very high in acidity, it’s also fairly neutral on its own and instead absorbs and communicates the volcanic terroir rather than pronounced fruit flavors. However, after a few years in bottle this wine really comes alive.

KolonicsJuhfark Töhötöm-Hordó 2021
White Wine
2.3 g/l
8.56 g/l
As Károly often says, “I have big feelings on Somló.” He’s also got big feelings about barrels. Some dating back to 1956 and the 1970s, each large Acacia and oak barrel has a specific name pulling from Hungarian history, folklore and culture. Each barrel is bottled on its own too. This 2021 spends 7-10 hours on the skins, pressed into the 1500L Töhötöm barrel, aged on the fine less, and zero racking until bottling. Töhötöm was one of the Seven Chieftains of the Magyar Tribes at the time of their arrival in the Carpathian Basin in AD 895. These were the founding figures in what is modern day Hungary. Brimming with salt, smoke, and the spiced honey from fermented try Botrytis, this is cool climate volcanic wine to a tee. According to Károly, “the real Somló minimum 3 years!” Still a baby, this drinks great now but if anyone can hide some away, please do so.