(Elizabeth Cellars) is a family winery founded by one of the first female winemakers in Tokaj, Erzsébet (Elizabeth) Prácser. In the year of the political change in Hungary, 1989, to start their own family business, Erzsébet and her husband bought a cellar in the old wine merchants’ street (Bem street) in the historic center of the town of Tokaj. Not just any cellar, though, but one of the region’s great historical cellars, that was dug in the 1600s, and had been rented by Russian emperors (among them Tzarina Elizabeth) in the 1700s for storing Aszú wines purchased for the court.
Erzsébet Pince produces around 1000 cases of wine annually, all from historical grand cru and premier cru sites that were classified by Bél Mátyás in the 17th century. The Pracser family–father, mother, daughter, and son–run the estate. They take pride in the production of exceptional single-vineyard dry wines and Aszu, Tokaj’s classic natural botrytis wine.
All of the wines are made in small lots, from low-yielding vineyards that use sustainable and organic viticultural practices. The family team also includes a Master of Wine and Master Sommelier who assists in quality control and blending. The winery’s first bottled vintage was 1993.
The winery Logo: a wolf holding its tail that turns into a rose.
Rose: We use the rose as a symbol because the historic center of Tokaj – where Erzsébet Pince is located – is also referred to as the „rose district”. In the past, this part of town was famous for roses grown throughout it; many local streets and buildings are named after roses.
The wolf is a reference to the arduous, dangerous journey of the precious Aszu wine in barrels overland to the Russian court. A detachment of soldiers escorted these wine shipments, to protect them from robbers and packs of wolves. A common saying at the time suggested, “Even the wolves are after Tokaji Aszu.”
Miklos Pracser and his wife Erzsebet (Elizabeth) graduated from the University of Gyongyos in 1974 where they studied viticulture and enology. As beginning young professionals they took their first jobs the same year at the Tolcsva facility (Tokaj Wine Region) of the State Wine Company of Tokaj (1970s: still a communist Hungary where private wineries did not exist).
Miklos originally came to the Tokaj region from the western part of Hungary whereas Erzsebet’s ancestors were making wine in Tokaj as early as the 1800s. Her great great grandfather Gyula Vass is menioned by name as one of the Tokaj vintners in the 4 -language Tokaj Album published in 1867.
After the big change in Hungary in 1989, Miklos and Erzsebet decided to stay in the region and started buying their little parcels of vineyards and also bought a 17th century cellar in the historic center of Tokaj.
In 2008 their kids joined the winery. Their first vintage was a very challanging one, difficult for dry and wonderful for aszú.
In 2009 Ronn Wiegand MW, MS joined the team as a consultant.
Prácser Miklósné, Erzsébet
Univesity of Gyongyos and graduated in 1974. Later that year she started working at the State Wine Company in Tokaj as one of the very first female winemakers in the region. She worked as a vineyard manager in the Tolcsva ditrict and oversaw the plantations of Mandolás, Antalka, Kútpadka.
In 1979 she planted the first vineyard the family owned, and bought the family’s first cellar in 1985 in Tarcal. She has been the general manager of Erzsébet Pince since 1992.
She got her MA in American Studies at the University of Debrecen, then graduated as an economist specilising in hospitality from the Budapest Business School. She worked in St. Emilion, Cannes, then received the HAESF grant and went to work in California, in the Napa and Sonoma valleys for the wineries of Fosters Wine Estates (Beringer, Chateau St. Jean). She joined the family winery in 2008 where she is responsible for sales, marketing, and hospitality. Together with the other memebers of the family she founded the Tokaj Coffee Roasting Company in 2013
ifj. Prácser Miklós
He has been interested in agriculture from the very first. He went to an agricultural high school in Satoraljaujhely. Then went on to study agriculture specializing in viticulture at the University of Mosonmagyarovar. He spent a year in Dronten, Holland on a grant from the university. He worked in London, worked at the horticultural research center of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. He worked a harvest in the Southern hemisphere in Mendza, Argentina in 2008 at Bodega Tapiz. He started working for the family in the fall of 2008 and has been the winemaker since.
Quote from Dániel Kézdy’s book on Tokaj: „Miklós Prácser might be the only one in the region who had actively worked for the State Wine Company, then directed a bigger privately-owned winery, and also founded his own family estate. Writing about him and his expertise could be a separate book. His personal story coincides with the renaissance of the region in which he took a big share. He is the kind of man the coming generations will look up to”.