On February 10, 2005, Hungarian Oenologist and international wine figure Tibor Gal died at the age of 46 as a result of a car accident in South Africa. Gal had left a dinner with business associates and was driving alone when his car collided with an oncoming bus fatally injuring Gal and wounding the bus driver.

Tibor Gal was recognized as Hungary's Oenologist of the Year in 1998. He founded GIA Winery in Eger in 1993 with the intent to illustrate the excellent quality wines Hungary is capable of producing. In a joint partnership with Marchese Nicolo Incisa della Rochetta, owner of Tenuta San Guido winery, and Kobrand Wines & Spirits, Gal recently launched his eponymous wine brand, introducing the Tibor Gal Egri Bikaver 2000 and Tibor Gal Chardonnay 2001 to the US market in the spring of 2004.

"Tibor Gal was not only the great Oenologist who brought Ornellaia to the peak of its fame, but he also possessed a great sensibility and human warmth which he managed to transmit to his wines and in particular the wine of his own land, Eger," said Marchese Nicolo Incisa. "He leaves an emptiness which nothing can fulfill among the ones who have met him and among the ones who have appreciated him. His disappearance is a great loss for the world of wine."

Gal's winemaking legacy spans his native Hungary, Italy and South Africa.

Funeral services will be held in Eger, Hungary, on February 25th. Gal is survived by his wife and four children.