VDP initiates alternation of generations

Hilke Nagel hands over to Theresa Olkus from Jan. 1, 2022

Since its founding in 1910, the VDP.Die Prädikatsweingüter has been credited with playing a pioneering role in the German and international wine world. 111 years later, the association proves once again that this applies not only to the establishment of strict quality criteria and a strong brand, but also to the promotion of the successor generation. For the association's members, the gradual handover of the winery to the next generation of winemakers has been part of the natural course of operations for decades. The VDP is now initiating the same for its federal office. As of January 1, 2022, long-time managing director and VDP front woman Hilke Nagel will hand over her duties to her successor Theresa Olkus.

"From our own experience in the wineries, we know how important it is to hand over the business in a spirit of trust. As an association, we thrive on a strong community and the interaction of new ideas and many years of experience. Hilke Nagel, with her tireless commitment and her imaginative, open personality, has shaped the VDP over the years thanks to her valuable work. She has played an outstanding role in its current status and will continue to support us. With Theresa Olkus, we are very fortunate to have found a successor who has familiarized herself very well in a very short time, has set many new accents and is a perfect fit for us," says VDP President Steffen Christmann, announcing the news from the VDP.

We deliberately decided on a smooth transition instead of an abrupt change, a role reversal, so to speak. Hilke Nagel is taking a back seat as the future co-managing director, devoting herself to strategic activities in the background, while Theresa Olkus, as managing director, is now taking care of the future direction and, in particular, the VDP's high-profile presence on online/offline platforms. The two share a passion for good communication, a sense of sustainable values, and an appreciation of the great origins.


In her more than 25 years with the VDP, Hilke Nagel led the association from a one-woman show to an 8-member team and an office based at the Zollhafen in Mainz. She thus accompanied the association during the formative years of the establishment and further development of today's classification model and the introduction of the successful VDP.GROSSES GEWÄCHS® brand. On her initiative, the association was able to further develop prestigious events such as the VDP.Weinbörse in Mainz as well as the GG-Vorpremiere in Wiesbaden, but also to establish representations of international importance, without which the VDP.Adler would certainly not be considered a sign of quality throughout the world today. With her many years of experience, Hilke Nagel will continue to support the VDP team in an advisory capacity, while at the same time creating space for new accents and looking forward to greater freedom for her private interests. "The VDP has been my heart's desire over all these years, in which I have always been able to move forward with creativity and implement a lot. Now the time has come for me to no longer shoulder the many tasks of our dynamic association alone and yet to help shape them. We have found a wonderful solution for this."


Theresa Olkus grew up in Bad Mergentheim-Markelsheim in the Württemberg part of the Tauber Valley, where her family farms vineyards. After training as a presenter (Institut für Moderation & SWR), the 28-year-old completed her master's degree in communication science and media research at the University of Hohenheim. Stints in Berlin and South Africa were followed by a start as communications manager, then as deputy managing director at the VDP. As a child of the cooperative as well as host of the podcast "Auf ein Glas Wein mit..." (Deutsches Weininstitut & SZ/FAZ), she succeeds in changing perspectives across all viticultural structures. For the VDP, Theresa Olkus has set herself the goal of further sharpening the view of the VDP.Adler as a top brand and clear orientation, of focusing even more on internal and external communication - especially online - and of pursuing the sustainability goals formulated by the members. "I really appreciate the opportunity to lead a wine association that, with its diverse personalities, resembles a traditional family business but can also have dynamic traits similar to a start-up."


About the VDP
The VDP.Die Prädikatsweingüter brings together 200 of the best winegrowers. What unites them is their individualism. And their commitment to the timeless ideal of handcrafted wines that are characterized by their origin. Unmistakable like themselves - and like their worldwide appreciated trademark: the VDP.Adler.