On the waves of the Tisa: A historical view of the past of the city of Novi Bečej

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Pearl Island's rich history unfolds: Leopold Rohonci's love, vineyards, and the renowned Muscat Krokan wine. Discover the legacy of Biserno Ostrvo

Pearl Island

In the 1830s, a young captain from Veszprém, Leopold Rohonci, met one of the three granddaughters of the Turkish-Bey ruling lord Pavel Hadžimihajlo, Klara Sisany, at a ball in Pozsony. From this acquaintance, a love was born that would lead Leopold Rohonci to Turkish Bečej.

Entering into marriage, Leopold Rohonci decided to settle in our town and dedicate himself to organizing the cultivation of the land, as Klara's dowry of 2,000 acres of land. He built a house at the present location of the cinema next to the Dolma. On his estate on Pearl Island, he erected a small castle with a wine cellar and stables for racing horses that successfully competed in Europe.

He started with gardening and fruit growing, later cultivating vegetables, grapes, and wine grapes. Through the middle of Borđoš in 1858, a significant part of his estate became an island, bordered by the Old Tisa and the new Tisa riverbed. The yield and quality of the crops increased, leading to the island being named Pearl Island. It was also named so because a type of melon called Tisza Pearl was cultivated there. These melons on the flat and sandy soil looked like a multitude of scattered pearls.

Leopold and Klara's son, Gedeon Rohonci, taking over the estate from his father, made products from Pearl Island famous throughout Europe. One of the main products was the Tisza Pearl melon, and the other was the Muscat wine, known to us as Krokan. To enhance the sales of his products, he printed advertising postcards, which also served as a price list for his offers. These postcards were printed in German, Hungarian, and probably Serbian. Orders were received via mail cards, telegrams, and telephone. Deliveries were made in special baskets with a capacity of 5 kilograms from Turkish Bečej and from his depot in Budapest.

The Rohonci heirs spent most of their time in Hungary after 1919. The agrarian reform after World War I did not diminish their estate. Their estate on Pearl Island successfully persisted until the economic crisis. After that, the weakened heirs invested less and less in their estate, and their products lost quality and competitiveness in the market.

Regarding the technological and organoleptic characteristics of the Muscat Krokan variety, Professor Dr. Lazar Avramov writes the following:

"Wider characteristics:
sugar content ranging from 18-20%, while the content of total acids varies from 6-7 g/l. The wine is colorless, with a pleasant muscat taste and aroma. Juice yield is 65%.

Wine characteristics:
the wine contains 10-12% alcohol and 4-5 g/l of total acids. The wine is drinkable, refreshing, full, harmonious, with a fine muscat aroma and taste. In terms of quality, it falls into the category of quality wines. Commercially, some producers classify it as a premium wine. Otherwise, the wine can also be classified into the group of aromatic wines."

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