European Winery of the Year 2016 (long)

Press release from Heidemarie Fischer (Pfaffl)

Great honour for Austrian wine industry

“Austria may be small, but it produces one of the most enjoyable and versatile wines in the world: the Grüner Veltliner.” This is one of the reasons given by the internationally renowned magazine “WINE ENTHUSIAST” for the decision to award the title of “European Winery of the Year” for the first time ever to an Austrian wine estate.
The decision-makers selected the R&A Pfaffl winery in Stetten in the Weinviertel region, setting it amongst such international greats as the Champagne house of Louis Roederer (European Winery of the Year 2005), the sparkling wine producer Ferrari (2015) or the Spanish giant Torres (2006).

“There is hardly any other wine estate that has done so much to achieve international interest and attention for Grüner Veltliner,” declares the Wine Enthusiast, honouring Pfaffl as an ambassador both for the Weinviertel region and for Austria as a whole. Roman Pfaffl’s visionary approach, already promoting the Grüner Veltliner variety in the 1980’s, earned him the title of “Mr. Veltliner” in the eyes of the media and consumers. He never tired of promoting the grape variety and as his region, the Weinviertel. With the help of his wife Adelheid and their children Roman Josef Pfaffl and Heidemarie Fischer, he succeeded within a period of just under four decades in turning what was a small farm with just 0.75 vineyard hectares into an internationally renowned wine estate with 105 hectares of vineyards, and export activities to more than 20 countries. In a personal interview, Adam Smith, editor in chief of the Wine Enthusiast, underlines the strengths of the winery and its many awards for both white and red wines as further reasons for the award.

The Pfaffl family is naturally ecstatic. “This really is a high point, a crowning moment in our career,” says Roman Pfaffl. The young generation sees the award as an incentive to continue with the same enthusiasm. “That is not difficult for us,” says Heidemarie Fischer, “simply because we really enjoy what we are doing.” That is surely one of the reasons why the wines, now made by the young Roman Josef Pfaffl, create such an impression. Although he may make the impression of a sunny boy with his bright, relaxed attitude, he in fact works very hard. He strives diligently to reflect the characteristics of the different vineyard sites in his wines. His versatility is remarkable. His Grüner Veltliners, Rieslings, Zweigelt, St. Laurents, Chardonnays and blends are listed repeatedly among the leading wines at competitive tastings. The German “Meininger weinwelt” magazine honoured him last year under the heading “Can’t be topped”. In the spring of 2016, the economic publication “Wirtschaftsblatt” awarded the winery as the “Best family business in lower Austria”. Now the family can start packing their bags for a trip to Florida; the official Wine Enthusiast awards presentation takes place at the Nobu Eden Roc in Miami on 30 January 2017.