Grand Tokaj, the most important wine producer in the Tokaj-Hegyalja wine region, expects an increase in turnover in the run-up to the holidays and stable profits in the longer term.
The company's CEO, László Rábai told the state news agency MTI that by the end of December, revenue could reach or even exceed HUF 3 billion, up from HUF 2.68 billion last year, as demand for Tokaj aszú and Samorodni is always high in the last month of the year.
The impact of food price rises on the wine market cannot yet be accurately estimated, but sales up to the end of October were ahead of business plan, he added. The rising sales should continue to reduce losses, and the CEO expects EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) to be positive next year, and profit after tax in three years' time.
He is satisfied with this year's harvest, although he added that the exceptional drought has affected the grapes, followed by the persistent rain in September, which has caused problems in the region. This year's vintage is therefore probably not the best of the decade, but it is of good quality.
László Rábai said that the effects of climate change cannot be accurately assessed at the moment, so there are no plans to develop an irrigation system for the time being, although he noted that the issue is not without foundation. However, for Grand Tokaj, he considers it more important to increase energy efficiency and improve logistics.
He added that the processing and bottling technology is state-of-the-art, only additional improvements are needed, and that if in addition the company could increase its annual output from 4.5 million bottles to 6.5 to 7 million, it could operate more efficiently, make better use of its capacity, and with higher volumes, the fixed costs of production would be less of a burden.
“Grand Tokaj will therefore also have to find new sales channels and new market opportunities," the CEO said, stressing that expanding the customer base is not easy, as sales of sweet wines are declining or even stagnating worldwide. This is why dry wine and sparkling wine production has also picked up in recent years in this region, but he said there will always be consumers for traditional local wines, "you just have to reach them." He sees the solution in marketing at the level of the wine region, which also benefits Tokaj-Hegyalja because it is the best-known Hungarian wine region abroad.
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