At the Eminence Certified Organic Farm, we are proud to celebrate our Hungarian heritage. We do this with our biodynamic and organic farming techniques, award-winning landscape architecture and authentic Hungarian features, like our traditional grape press.
MANUFACTURED BY RÖCK ISTVÁN
Over a century old and fully restored, the Eminence Certified Organic Farm’sgrape press is a testament to the superior quality of Hungarian craftsmanship. Its small plaque bears the name “Stephen (István) Röck” – the manufacturer who built it, most likely between 1841 and 1872. The Röck family was famous for their work with high quality industrial machinery, building steam engines and printing presses, as well as designing quality, innovative farm equipment throughout the 19th century. They were one of the first families to build steam generators in Hungary and the Röck company was considered one of the most important engineering factories in the country.
The Wooden Cage
The “wooden cage” or basket is a classic component of grape presses from this time period, giving this machine the name of “basket press.” First popular in France and Germany during the Middle Ages, the basket press is the traditional way of extracting the juice from grapes during the winemaking process. In a working basket press, the basket is filled with grapes and covered with a heavy disc. Using a manual hand crank, the operator slowly presses the heavy disc down and juice seeps out between the staves into the basin surrounding the basket. The invention of this process was a great improvement over the older method of foot treading, increasing output by 15-20%.
On the Eminence Certified Organic Farm, our grape press stands proud as one of our traditional farm features. Refinished in its original grass green, strong iron holds the wooden staves of the basket together. The color variation in the wooden slats is evidence of the grape press’ age and decades of use.
Did you happen to notice the woven vines between the pillars of our grape press’ traditional cover? Made out of grapevines, these fences draw on a long history of wattle-making in Europe that goes back to Neolithic times. Evidence of wattle-making from a variety of materials goes back to Neolithic times. Easy to make, especially when stone or wood is scarce, wattle fences have been used in farming environments for thousands of years. On the Eminence Certified Organic Farm, we wove together grapevines for our wattle fences – barriers that are both functional and decorative. Selected for their pliability and sturdiness when dried, grapevines make ideal fences and are a tribute to the fruits processed by the grape press.
A thatched roof is a common sight in the farmlands of Hungary and has been the main method of constructing roofs for homes and farm buildings for centuries. Made from strong grass reeds, thatch is gathered together then sliced to the exact length needed for the roof’s design. Thatchers fasten together bundles of reeds and push a needle laced with wire from inside the building to the outside. These roofs are easy to repair and resistant to wind and rain, providing excellent protection for the grape press.
You will find thatched roofs on display throughout the farm, as a tribute to both ancient Hungarian techniques and sunlight. Hungarians believe that a thatched roof calls upon sunlight because the hollow grass reeds grow “up” to the sun, letting it shine through their center.
What is Your Favorite Farm Feature?
What is your favorite feature at the Eminence Certified Organic Farm? Have you explored the lily pond or the grand entrance? Be sure to visit our glossary of Hungarian terms, where you can even learn how to say in Hungarian, “Milyen szép farm!” or “What a pretty farm!”