In 2008, the Kovacs fell in love with the rural land in Pearce, Arizona. Lush foliage and the beautiful Chiricahua Mountains surround the property with Turkey Creek running adjacent to the vineyard. After three years of hard work to prepare the land, the Kovacs planted their first vines.
A mere four years later, in September of 2016, John and Karen announced the release of their first vintages – Sándor’s 2015 Rosé of Grenache. In early 2017 they released their 2015 Petite Sirah.
Sándor Vineyard is named in honor of Sándor Rajki. John’s uncle. Sándor was born in 1935 in Hungarian territory. He lived in the small rural town of Celldömölk in the western part of the country with his parents and six siblings.
At the age 21, Sándor enlisted as a Hungarian Freedom Fighter during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution against the Russian Communist invasion. When the revolt dismantled, Sándor fled on foot to Austria and then immigrated to America where his sister Elizabeth (John’s mother) sponsored him. Sándor then built his new life and family as a U.S. citizen.
In 1996, Sándor returned to his native Hungary. Although it was his dream to build a vineyard and work the land like a true Hungarian, he lacked knowledge of how to farm. What he lacked in experience, he made up for with sheer motivation and drive, learning everything he could from his sister and a neighbor.
Sándor made his dreams come true and created Rajki Vineyard, located outside the town of Celldömölk in Western Hungary. He worked the vineyard for 10 years, selling it in 2006 to move back to the United States where he now resides.
It is with determination and passion that John and Karen carry on Sandor’s tradition of dedication to fulfilling their dreams. They pay homage to the man that inspired them to blend ‘Old World values’ with ‘New World vision.’
(egész‧sé‧ged‧re: Hungarian for expressing good wishes, in particular, good wishes before drinking.)