VINEUS Wine Award 2019: An expert jury honours this winemaker from the Weinviertel
Herbert Zillinger is the Trendsetter of the year!
The VINEUS Wine Awards were presented in Vienna for the tenth time on Monday, 24 July. The coveted title of " Winemaker Trendsetter of the Year" went to Herbert Zillinger from Ebenthal in the Weinviertel. It is for this idiosyncratic unconventional thinker a particular pleasure that he of all people, who has never cared about trends, has become a trendsetter himself
The trend-refusenik as trendsetter
The award was primarily for Zillinger's outstanding work with the leading Weinviertler variety Grüner Veltliner, from which this vintner produces unusual, very distinct wines that are at the same time strongly linked to the region. "I have never wanted to be modern", says Zillinger, "making calm wines that nature speaks through is close to my heart".
His complete wine series, from Neuland wines and the Horizont line to his famous Radikal and Elementar, reflects his philosophy. The winemaking methods used don’t correspond to the conventions of the region. Which is probably one of the reasons why Herbert Zillinger goes his own way in silence, but unswervingly, and always supported by his wife Carmen. This path has led him again and again into nature, where he observes, listens and responds.
Calm wines full of inner tension
The reward for his thinking and actions are wines as authentic as the winemaker himself - unique wines, which are also finding more and more international fans. In fact, it’s not so easy to describe the style of Zillinger wines. He works biodynamically with natural yeasts and lets the wine follow its natural course in the cellar. The results are wines that vibrate internally with tension. Wines with unusual flavours that nevertheless clearly show their origin in the Weinviertel.
Wines with plenty of flavour and a moderate alcohol content
There is a future in this style, and it should inspire imitators, as the VINEUS Award jury found. One of the members of the jury even said: "Herbert Zillinger is reinventing the Weinviertel“. In addition, Herbert Zillinger brings an enormous amount of flavour into the bottle with a moderate alcohol content. This also distinguishes his wines. A quote from the jury: "His wines have fruit and complexity in every quality level and length, without needing ever higher alcohol levels".
VINEUS: Wine specialists and the public
Every year, the Vineus Wine Awards are presented to local vintners and restauranteurs in five different categories: Sommelier, Lifetime Achievement, Trendsetter Vintner, Restauranteur with Outstanding Wine Concept, and Newcomer Vintner. The winners of the first three categories are chosen by an eleven-member jury of experts from Austria's wine and enjoyment sector. In the other three categories, the public votes, both in advance and live during the gala.
This prize was founded ten years ago by the leading Austrian hospitality wholesaler Transgourmet, and has since established itself as a fixture on the domestic wine award landscape. For further information see: www.vineus.at
The Herbert Zillinger Winery
The Herbert and Carmen Zillinger Winery is located in Ebenthal, about 70 km northeast of Vienna. Over the past ten years, these winemakers have jointly expanded their estate in the southern Weinviertel to 16 hectares. At the heart of the estate are vineyards in Ebenthal and the southerly neighbouring village of Ollersdorf, with their very different terroirs. Today Herbert Zillinger is one of the flagship vintners of the Weinviertel, and at the same time a biodynamic pioneer in the region. Since 2016, the winery has been a member of the renowned respekt-BIODYN winemaker’s association.