Excellent Wine Concepts 2023

VDP.Prädikatsweingüter and meiningers sommelier award "Excellent Wine Concepts" at the VDP.Weinbörse 2023 in Mainz.

In 2023, five hosts will be awarded for their outstanding wine concept and thus also for the structure, care and continued development of the wine list, as well as for the excellent outstanding advice and individual treatment of the guests.

The call for entries for the Excellent Wine Concept at the end of 2022 resulted in numerous submissions. So, the task for the jury of the Excellent Wine Concept, consisting of annually changing winemakers, representatives of meiningers Sommelier magazine and the VDP, was not easy at all. After intensive studies of the large number of wine lists and quality of application, the jury had to make a decision. We are therefore all the more pleased to award the winners with an exclusive brass plate, which will in the future let their guests know from the moment they enter that this establishment offers an excellent selection of German wines.


The best wine lists are navigation aids in sensory form: they invite you on a journey along the Rhine, Moselle, Main, Neckar or Saale; they also guide wine-discoverer to insider tips and enable a journey through time to the best vintages of the last decades – all clearly recognisable from the brass plate at the entrance.

Excellent Wine Concept international – You are reading the laudations by Sascha Speicher

Excellent Wine Concept international

Alex Koblinger | Döllerer Genießerhotel | Golling, Austria

It is a real stroke of luck when the elite school of the Austrian sommelier scene dedicates itself to German wine with passion and enthusiasm. In this way, the message is carried to the best wine and culinary addresses in the Alpine restaurant and hotel world. It is not only the up-and-coming chefs who come to Andreas Döllerer's kitchen to learn the secrets of Alpine cuisine. Master sommelier Alex Koblinger also attracts the best young sommeliers to Golling near Salzburg like a magnet to get the finishing touches here, and so the Döllerer sommelier team is unparalleled nationwide. The wineries listed are largely congruent with those represented in the import program, perhaps the only slight criticism, but Koblinger skillfully compensates for this by building up great breadth and depth at almost every winery, including mature wines, special bottles of VDP.GROSSES GEWÄCHS® or auction wines, which are then also very attractively priced on an international scale. The Riesling selection in particular sets standards on an international level. In short: a perfect ambassador for German wine in the “land of pleasure” Austria.


Excellent Wine Concept national

Bernhard Holzer | Ritterhof zur Rose | Burrweiler

The message is clear: The whole diversity of wine styles is to be represented, with a focus on organic and biodynamic viticulture, young, courageous winemakers who also sometimes take new paths and thus enrich the wine landscape, the qualitative further development of German red wines and, last but not least, the impressive renaissance of bottled sparkling wine in Germany. Hostess Karin Winter and sommelier Bernhard Holzer would like to give expression to all these movements with the wine list of the Ritterhof zur Rose restaurant. The selection of Palatinate white wines has been excellent for years, originally structured in the form of a journey from the far south in Schweigen to the north to the border of Rheinhessen. But it is only since the Austrian sommelier and the owner have also boldly let their eyes wander beyond the borders of their home region that the outstanding regional menu has become one of the best selections of German wines in the nationwide gastronomic landscape. A dozen of Germany's best sparkling wine producers provide a tingling introduction, if some guests are not tempted to indulge in the vibrant variety of sparkling wines throughout the evening. In addition to the Palatinate, Baden and the Rheingau are also represented in a remarkable variety, and the selection at no time seems random or haphazard. Rather, it follows the principles cited at the beginning, and that makes the menu immensely exciting and varied.


Jens Pietzonka | Weinzentrale | Dresden

For years, he has been one of the figureheads of the sommelier scene in the east of the republic, and he is undoubtedly one of the best and probably also most loyal ambassadors of the VDP.Die Prädikatsweingüter. High time, therefore, that Jens Pietzonka may also decorate the entrance of his wine center with the noble brass plaque. His wine bar was already awarded at this point five years ago, at that time for its outstanding open wine concept. In the meantime, as is well known, the competition has changed. Now it's all about the big picture, so to speak: the wine list with the best selection of German wines. And Jens Pietzonka has also seen some changes. With Jana Schellenberg, the long-time sommelière of the Bülow Residenz, the wine center has received wine-competent reinforcement. What sets Weinzentrale apart is that it focuses on German wine more consistently than other outstanding wine bars. This is particularly true of the numerous events with winemakers or special themed menus, where aspects relating to German wine and the quality pyramid of the VDP are very often taken up and thus brought to the attention of guests. More than 50 German wineries are represented on the regular menu, and ten wine-growing regions are at least doubled up. Jens Pietzonka and his team attach great importance to representing the diversity of the winegrowing world. He prefers not to go into greater depth, including vintage depth, with individual producers. In this way, he offers many producers a platform.


Iiro Lutter | Essenz | Das Achental | Grassau

Without wishing to offend the country's top chefs - but two stars can be earned in a newly opened restaurant faster than a first-class wine list can be built up. It is all the more astonishing that Iiro Lutter has succeeded in just one and a half years. This is only possible with a sufficient amount of experience, and Iiro Lutter can undoubtedly point to this. Top addresses in the Palatinate or on the Mosel have made him deeply familiar with the merits of German wine, and so in particular the white wines from the German growing regions occupy a large space. His experience also helped him to know which wineries to approach in order to be able to offer a certain vintage depth, at least selectively, regardless of the opening date in June 2021. Riesling in all variants, from dry to residual sweet, from Gutswein to VDP.GROSSES GEWÄCHS®, here no wishes remain unfulfilled, but also Silvaner or the Burgundy varieties are offered an appropriate stage. Apart from a few exceptions such as Lassak, Seckinger, John or Wasenhaus, which impose themselves at least qualitatively and as potential future candidates for membership, the VDP.Weingüter dominate the selection to a remarkable extent. Thus, no guest of the five-star resort in the Chiemgau will start the journey home without having made closer acquaintance with the liquid ambassadors of the VDP.


Maria Vizsnyai, Alina & Philipp Stein | Steins Traube | Mainz

Three names on a bronze board - that's never happened before, and it's a testament to the fact that this wine list can be seen as a true joint project between Alina and Philipp Stein and their sommelier Maria Vizsnyai. This also speaks very strongly for the fact that wine, and especially German wine, is a matter of the heart for all three of them. The sparkling wine enthusiastic sommelier and a gastronomy family in the 6th generation, deeply rooted in Mainz and the Rheinhessen region. Only in this constellation could probably arise such a complex and rich in highlights wine selection. This includes a small rarities list, which, according to Maria Vizsnyai, tells of the wine history of the last 100 years. But even in the regular wine list, the trio scores with excellent vintage depth. Only rarely are numbers suitable to illustrate the quality of a wine list. Here, perhaps, they are: 382 Rieslings from 29 vintners, 172 of them from Rheinhessen alone. However, also 96 from the Nahe and 71 Mosel wines, which leave no doubt that in the grape the horizon extends beyond the Rheinhessen hills. An impressive 63 German red wines, surpassed only by Burgundy, indicate the increasing importance of red wine. In sparkling wines, Germany still lags well behind Champagne, with eleven positions held by eight winemakers. But even that can change in view of the dynamics in the German sparkling wine landscape. Gladly, however, without reducing the simultaneously very good selection of champagnes.

©VDP by Peter Bender