South Africa – Pongrácz Champagne

South Africa is not only famous for its diamonds, but also for its grapes, wines and sparkling wines produced there. If you visit the Stellenbosch wine region, you may come across a Hungarian name.

Pongrácz Champagne is the most famous and one of the most popular champagne brands in the country. It was named after Dezső Pongrácz: a Hungarian nobleman, an outstanding figure in South Africa’s wine and sparkling wine industry.

Dezső Pongrácz, or as he is known in South Africa: Desiderius Pongracz, fought as a soldier in World War II. After World War II, he was captured by Russia, where he spent more than 10 years in a labor camp. After the labor camp, he returned to Hungary for a while, but after the outbreak of the revolution of 1956, he reached the African country on his adventurous journey.

After arriving in South Africa, he began working on farms and then climbed up the ladder until he had acclimatized there such popular species like Chardonnay, Sauvignon or Pinot Noir.

He also dealt with wine and sparkling wine from a scientific point of view, and has published many studies and books throughout his life, and is still regarded by many as the founders of South African sparkling wine. At the age of 61, he died in a car accident while delivering wine to a friend.