Palais Coburg – Silvio Nickol in Vienna, Austria, won the prestigious Grand Prix category in the first ever Star Wine List of the Year International. We caught up with Head Sommelier Wolfgang Kneidinger and sommelier Thomas Juranitsch to get to know more about the winning wine list.
How does it feel to win this prize?
”Its an honour for us and it shows us that we are on the right track. We have a phenomenal sommelier team and have been lucky enough to have worked with great sommeliers in previous years. Without them, this wouldn't be possible.”
What’s the philosophy behind your winning wine list?
”We strive to have the best wines, without focusing on specific wineries or trends. And we try to offer an extensive vintage range, without rushing to add them to our wine list.”
How many bottles do you have in total? And how many different labels?
”In our cellar there are around 60,000 bottles with 5,800 different labels. 5,000 of them are currently on the wine list.”
What’s the hardest thing maintaining a wine list like yours?
”As each bottle of wine is unique and matures differently, we have to make sure it comes up on our wine list at the right moment, and that the wines don't over-ripe. Our sommelier team makes a plan of the wines we will sell within the next year, two years or five years. We review this plan twice a year and in this way we can be certain that the wines are drunk at their peak.”
In your own general opinion, what makes a wine list great?
”A large collection of different wines from the best regions and winemakers throughout the world. It's not just about focusing on the famous or well-known vintners, but making sure to offer the best vintages at fair prices.”
Over the course of the last nine years we've focused more on Austrian whites, Burgundy, German whites and Rhône
Anything in particular you’re looking to build more, or change, when it comes to the selection?
”Over the course of the last nine years we've focused more on Austrian whites, Burgundy, German whites and Rhône, and less on Bordeaux. We think we will continue in this way.”
What’s your opinion of the other finalists in the Grand Prix category?
”There are so many great wine lists and so many reasons to visit these places.”
What are your hopes for the rest of 2021?
”Good weather during the season for the vintners and thirsty guests for us, and perhaps the person who will order a bottle of 1961 Hermitage La Chapelle. We'd also love to find a new cellar with the perfect conditions and a bottle of Sine Qua Non Queen of Spades Syrah 1994.”