It was very fortunate that Éva Cartwright once opened a wine shop on Somló Hill. The place has become increasingly popular since she settled down there, with journalists lining up at its door. Without her, Hungary’s smallest wine region would not be quite so resplendent…
When you first opened your wine shop in the summer of 2012, everyone said that nothing would ever come of it. Why on earth do you want to sell wine on a hill where there’s nobody living, and what kind of naïve idea is it that every winemaker is going to bring their wine to you. Nevertheless, the Somló wine shop has been successful right from the start and its shelves were indeed lined with bottles from local winemakers. So how did this brave move come to pay off?
Originally, we just wanted to build a weekend house. Work was already underway, when one bright spring day, we were sitting on the terrace with friends. Hikers were coming and going, and all of them were asking where they could buy wine here. After the tenth enquiry, one of our friends said that we’d be pretty daft if we didn’t open a wine shop here.
And you fell in love with the idea?
Yes, and we didn’t even spend that long discussing it. My partner at that time was a real wine lover and he backed my ideas. We were then living in London, but I stayed in Somló, made some adjustments to the building plans and the shop opened in July. I entrusted its management to an old friend and so could go back to London.
Your original idea was to show Somló in its entirety, meaning that all wines produced in Somló would be available in the shop. What did the winemakers think of your idea?
Highly doubtful. People find it difficult to believe that you can go into something without any training, out of sincere, pure love. I didn’t have to live from this, and my financial situation was such that it allowed me to try myself out in this unknown territory. They just watched this woman coming from America, or wherever, from England, who wanted something from them. Then it came out that this Cartwright woman was in fact Pista Németh’s daughter ( my dad, a district forester around Somló in the 1970s and 80s) and then they started to talk about me a little differently. I managed to achieve what I had set out to do, and now if you come and taste with me here, I can show you wines from all four sides of Somló, in all styles and from almost every winery. At the beginning, I carried wines from all those who bottled their wine, and even now, there are only a few missing from the range.
This is part of the English version of an article published in Hungarian by Borsmenta
The whole EN version is available on Eva’s LinkedIN profile