The bottles, estimated at £500-1000 each at this Donnington Priory auction, date from a period before the onset of the Second World War when sweet wine from first-growth vineyards was produced by the Zimmermann dynasty. The family owned numerous vineyards across Tokaj and approximately 60 cellars and lived in an elegant townhouse in Mád and a second residence in Abaújszántó.
After the occupation of Hungary in 1944, they were murdered at Auschwitz and the vineyards were left to fall into disrepair when Hungary fell to the Red Army in 1945.
It was not until 1990, following the fall of communism, that the first foreign investor in the region purchased the land and vineyards and founded the winery known as Royal Tokaji.
Mark Robertson, head of the wine department at Dreweatts, says: “One can almost distil the political history of Europe in the 19th and 20th century through Tokaji.”