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MTV 2 report from the vandalized Badacsony vineyard

Report from the vineyard

Anchor - More then 1500 premium vine plants were mutilated in Badacsony. The plants were cut by secateurs 20 cm above the ground. They destroyed 30 years of work. They took nothing from the vineyard, but they probably knew exactly how much damage they cause. The owners think that no rivalry is in the background, the police started the investigation. After the report of Tények, we will continue with talking with one of the the [Villa Sandahl] personnel of the winery.

Bálint Földi - They have cut every single plant one by one. Approx 25 cm above the ground.

Anchor - One of the co-workers of the winery shows us the amount of the destruction in the vineyard. There were 1500 plants of premium Rhine Riesling plants on the vineyard, they mutilated all of them. He said, there will be no vintage in this vineyard for years.

Bálint - The grapes are just in ripening, we would like to start picking them in 1- 1,5 month. It's a pity, that we won't be able to harvest neither (in) this year, nor in the following 2 years. But this is not the biggest waste. We hope, that the vine plants will survive this brutal incident.

Anchor - All the leaves in the vineyard became brownish and dry. The time for this is usual in the beginning of November. The vandals didn't have very hard work to do this, they could cut the thin sprouts with simple secateurs. Nobody can understand the incident. Similar incidents never happened in Badacsony before, nor in the other wine regions people has never heard about this amount of destruction.

President of the hill community - I have been working in Badacsony for 35 years, and I know this region very well. I don't remember such a thing. It happened, that somebody stole a vine plant, or 10-20 vine plants from a brand new vineyard, but this is a totally different category. Those were easier to replant.

Anchor - The owner of the vineyard is a Swedish entrepreneurs. They can't understand who, and why doing this destruction. They think it is impossible, that another winemaker mutilated the vine plants, and also that a rival is in the background. They lost approximately 1,5 hl [said wrong, shall be 2 x 15 hl] of wine, and maybe some of the plants will also die. That amount of waste is about 10 millions of HUF. The police has started the investigation in the case.

Interview in the studio

Reporter - In the studio dr. Katalin Eszter Soós, the sales representative of Villa Sandahl Kft.

Katalin Eszter Soós - Good morning.

Reporter - It has been one and a half week since the damage. The police is going on with the investigation. Do you have any information about the offenders?

Katalin - No, unfortunately not yet. It’s true, the Veszprém Police is investigating in the matter, but we don’t have any information yet. Mr. Sandahl will come from Sweden to Hungary to be interviewed by the police.

Reporter - Obviously the local people speak about it. The today’s edition of Magyar Nemzet supposes that there is jealousy int he background of the deed, because in Badacsony there are excellent winemakers, but this territory is used by foreigners. What do you think about it? Would it be the possible motive?

Katalin - I would be sad, if it was the motive, because we all think that those persons who are dedicated to wine, greap, wine-culture, are not able to do such a crime. At the same time, the high flight of the Villa Sandahl Kft. in the past year may have caused some kind of envy in certain persons, because we have achieved such results that can give rise to enviousnes. But not in this level.

Reporter - We speak about 1500 wine stocks. As you mentioned it is a 0,6 hectar territory. It was damaged in one night. How many persons were necessary to do this deed?

Katalin - Probably it was not one person, but I cannot guess. Truly those stocks could have been cut by pair of pruning clippers. As you so the previous film, these stocks are relatively young, 2-3 years old. It did not need very serious equipment.

Reporter - How did the foreign owner got informed about the crime?

Katalin - From our Hungarian colleague.

Reporter - What was his first impression or thought?

Katalin - The consternation. The shock. In case of such a crime this is the first impression, I think.

Reporter - Obviously in such case you lett he police carry ont he investigation ,but inevitably the anger and sadness rules , and you may start private investigation, you may pose questions to the local people. What did they say?

Katalin - They only can guess as well, but I think it’s not proper to suspect anyone. Probably mediocre committers to be thought of. As I mentioned before we cannot suppose such deed from any winemaker.

Reporter - What is the extent of the damage?

Katalin - We have to divide the question, because the part of the stocks probably will sprout, but certainly there will be some that dies because of this brutal intervention. Those that die ,will be substituted by a new plant. We speak about 30-year-old stocks. If it cannot be saved it has to be substituted. Fort he newly planted shoot will take 7-10 years to produce – at a rough estimate – as good wine as a 30-year-old stock. On the other hand, those stocks that will survive and will come into leaf, will need 2-3 years to produce grape. Consequently we have to speak also about lost earning, that is several millions of Forints yearly.

Reporter - What was the international reaction to this case? I suppose that’s the news spread also to abroad, since there are foreign investors.

Katalin - We receive the sympathetic e-mails one after the other. Since we haver quality wines that e.g. in London on Decanter WWA won gold medals, the foreign experts that have high esteem towards our wines, write the e-mails one after the other.

[Comment from Villa Sandahl: Financial Times writes about foreign investors and their reporters were upset. An article about investing in Hungary will come later on]

Reporter - After a such brutal deed – as you put in to words – how do you think you can save your stocks?

Katalin - I don’t think that Badacsony hill or any other vineyard in Hungary can be equipped with cameras. I don’t think that this would be the solution. Rather the attitude of people should be changed in a way that they should be happy about the other’s success. The fact that we spread the good reputation of Hungarian wines, and we raise the reputation of Hungary, this should be welcomed , instead of reacted with enviousness.

Reporter - Anyway, most people that we asked in Badacsony, told that the winemakers of Badacsony don’t carry on rivalry with each other that way. Consequently I supposed that it is beginning to take shape a collaboration.

Katalin - Certainly, yes.

Reporter - I know I have already asked, whether you have any idea about the committers, but if you think about the past some months or years, was there any company, or winemaker (though you told it was impossible) , who you had any conflict with? Could you mention any? Even with a name?

Katalin - Since the time that I have been working in the viticulture, I have only met steadfast, honest persons, that I cannot imagine such crime or even such idea about. It is almost inconceivable that winemaker can commit such deed.

Reporter - On this spot, where the 1500 stocks were ruined, people have been provided for work. What will happened to them?

Katalin - Truly this will provided even more work to the co-workers, because we have to start up almost from zero on this territory. When the stocks will start up, they will need green works, spraying, etc. There will be a lot of work with these stocks.

Reporter - We hope that the police will find some track, and will wind out who could have committed this destruction. Thank you for being my guest.

Katalin - Thank you for you to.

Villa Sandahl Kft.
Római út 203/1
8261 Badacsony

Sandahl International AB
Box 2045
331 02 Värnamo