Royal Tokaji

Tokaj, Hungary


  • Hugh Johnson

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    Born in 1939, Hugh Johnson began his life-long passion for wine as a member of the Wine & Food Society at Cambridge University, where he gained an honors degree in English literature at King’s College (a constituent college of Cambridge University) in 1960. Degree in hand, Hugh became a feature writer for Vogue and House & Garden.

    In 1963, as a result of his close friendship with the octogenarian André Simon, founder of The International Wine & Food Society, Hugh became general secretary of the society and succeeded the legendary gastronome as editor of its magazine Wine & Food. At the same time, he became wine correspondent of The Sunday Times in London and started work on his first book, “Wine,” whose publication in 1966 established him as one of the foremost English gastronomic writers. After a year as travel editor of The Sunday Times, he became editor of Queen Magazine, doubling the circulation in just two years. Hugh was invited to write “The World Atlas of Wine” in 1969. The research involved took Hugh all over the world; the result was a best-seller that might justly claim to have put wine on the map. It was during this travel period that he visited Hungary for the first time, in 1970, and was taken with Tokaji wines. “I thought they were the finest wines I’d ever tasted. They possessed a combination of richness and finesse with incredible age and just got better,” he says of the experience.

    After a move to Essex with his young family and wife, Judy, Hugh became deeply involved in the study of trees, and by 1973, published his first book on this new passion, “The International Book of Trees,” with new editions published twice since. By 1979, with the inspiration and challenge of restoring his fine but neglected gardens, Hugh wrote “The Principles of Gardening” (published in 1983; translated into six languages). He also founded The Plantsman quarterly in 1979. The garden and arboretum at Saling Hall have since gained an international reputation and are open to visitors during summer months.

    From 1975 to 2005, Hugh was editorial consultant of The Garden (the Journal of The Royal Horticultural Society). Since 1977, he has annually produced “Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book,” which has now sold more than eight million copies and appears in 13 languages. And from 1986 to 2001, he served as a director of Bordeaux first-growth Château Latour.

    In 1990, Hugh co-founded Royal Tokaji with a group of investors to revive the revered but almost-forgotten aszú wines of the Tokaj region in Hungary. It became a private limited company in 1993. Hugh and his partners, later joined by fellow Englishman Ben Howkins, have been credited with the renaissance of Tokaji wines and returning these decadent sweet wines to their noble, coveted stature. Hugh is joint owner of Royal Tokaji’s Mézes Mály Vineyard, one of Tokaj’s two great first growths, which he purchased in partnership with Royal Tokaji in 1993.

    Hugh was named a Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite by President Chirac of France in 2004. In 2006, he released “A Life Uncorked,” an intimate autobiographical tour decanting his life in the world of wine. Hugh was named an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in the 2007 New Year’s Honours List for his services to winemaking and horticulture.

    Hugh spends much time updating his existing books. For the last 30 years he has also written a monthly column for The Garden under the pseudonym Tradescant. In addition to his duties with Royal Tokaji, he currently serves as editorial advisor to The World of Fine Wine magazine and writes a bi-monthly column for Decanter. He is considered the world’s best-selling writer on wine, with total sales of about 15 million.

    Hugh Johnson
  • Charles Mount, Managing Director

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    Charlie Mount was born in 1972. As the son of a British wine merchant he was exposed to wine from an early age and the first wine he can remember tasting (at the age of 5) was Chateau d’Yquem 1971.

    After studying at Eton College he spent a year living and working in Florence, Italy before attending King’s College London and graduating with a degree in Law.

    His first job in wine was with Majestic Wine Warehouses where he worked through his Wine & Spirit Education Trust Qualifications while driving a delivery van. He then joined Lea & Sandeman, a small independent London wine merchant with exceptional agencies from Burgundy and Italy. He managed sales in UK restaurants and travelled to Italy visiting existing and potential agency partners.

    In 2003 he joined Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton as Prestige Sales Manager with responsibility for UK Michelin Star restaurants and five star hotels. He built a new area of the business focused on private clients and built up a network of high net worth collectors of Krug, Dom Pérignon, Hennessy and other LVMH brands. He also managed relationships with key corporate partners including the PGA European Tour. Charlie then moved from Sales to Marketing as Brand Manager for Champagne Krug. Here he worked on the launch of Krug Clos d’Ambonnay and the expansion of the “Krug Room” private dining rooms from London to Hong Kong.

    Tokaji and Royal Tokaji in particular had long been a source of fascination and when the opportunity arose Charlie was delighted to join the company and is honored to be leading the next stage in the development of this unique wine brand.

    Charles Mount, Managing Director
  • Zoltán Kovács, Winery Director

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    Zoltán Kovács joined the Royal Tokaji team as Winery Director in January 2017, he is based at the company’s headquarters and winery in Mád, Hungary.

    As Winery Director he is responsible for Royal Tokaji’s vineyards, winemaking, production, shipping, finance and administration operations of the company in Hungary, along with managing and developing Royal Tokaji’s Hungarian based team of 28 personnel.

    He followed his family’s tradition of working with wine, both his father and grandfather were in the wine business. He recalls spending many happy hours as a child with his father at the Viticultural and Oenological Research Institute in Blaj (Romania), where his father was technical director.

    Zoltán studied horticulture and viticulture at Budapest and Bucharest universities.  After graduating he went to gain further practical viticultural and winemaking experience in South Africa where he worked during 1997 and 1998 at the Bergkelder Winery – Distell Co., Stellenbosch. On returning to Hungary he was appointed Technical Manager at the László Estate, Tállya, and worked there for seven years. In 2005 he moved to the Disznókő Estate as Oenologist and was later promoted to Production Manager.

    In his leisure time he enjoys walking in the countryside, gardening and cooking. During his holidays he likes to visit other wine regions in Hungary and to explore wine regions abroad to taste and enjoy the wide variety of wines available around the world.

    Zoltán speaks English, French and Romanian. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Tállya.

    Zoltán Kovács, Winery Director