The Winners of the Meininger Awards 2023 Revealed

The seats were packed, the stage was lit, and the lights were dimmed. The 17th Meininger Awards Excellence in Wine & Spirit began, in front of 500 of the most significant people in the wine and spirits sectors.

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Winners of the 2023 Meininger Awards
Winners of the 2023 Meininger Awards

Created by Meininger Verlag, Germany’s leading publishing house for alcoholic beverages, the Meininger Awards have become the most coveted awards in Europe. Presented the night before ProWein begins, the exclusive ceremony was held at the Kö59 luxury hotel in Düsseldorf.

Without further ado, here are the winners:

International Wine Entrepreneur of the Year
Dr Andreas Brokemper

Dr Andreas Brokemper is CEO of the sparkling giant Henkell Freixenet, and has been responsible for driving the  international outlook and dynamic development of the Henkell company. The merger between Henkell & Co. Group and Spain’s Grupo Freixenet in 2018 represents a unique entrepreneurial achievement. 

Brokemper has worked for the Oetker family business, which owns Henkell Freixenet, since 1998. He provided crucial strategic input when it came to transforming the then Binding brewery into the Radeberger group. In 2002 he was appointed Director of Controlling & Finance at Henkell & Söhnlein Sektkellereien, subsequently integrating several famous sparkling wine and spirit businesses and masterminding the incorporation of Mionetto, the successful Prosecco brand, in 2008.

National Wine Entrepreneur of the Year
Luca Lobenberg

Luca Lobenberg with Clemens Gerke (Weinwirtschaft)
Luca Lobenberg with Clemens Gerke (Weinwirtschaft)

Wine Family of the Year
The Lo Franco family, Fattoria La Vialla, Tuscany

Fattoria La Vialla  was born out of Piero and Giuliana Lo Franco’s ambitions in 1978 to start an organic farm. For years now, the La Vialla brand has stood for family values, high-quality organic products, pioneering spirit, respect for nature, sustainability and prudent entrepreneurship. 

Today, La Vialla is a complex agricultural operation managed by brothers Gianni, Antonio and Bandino Lo Franco. Visitors to the region are invited to stay in the company’s lovingly restored country houses and enjoy locally crafted organic products.

Fattoria La Vialla is the largest biodynamic farming operation in Europe. The brothers’ latest ground-breaking discovery is fermentation yeasts grown from bee pollen.

Outstanding Achievement Award
Dr Laura Catena, Catena Zapata

Laura Catena with Alexandra Wrann (Weinwirtschaft)
Laura Catena with Alexandra Wrann (Weinwirtschaft)

Spirits Company of the Year
Lantenhammer Destillerie, Bavaria

Its inspiring and forward-looking entrepreneurship has earned Lantenhammer Destillerie on the shores of Schliersee lake in Bavaria the Award. The company’s philosophy centres around using regional Bavarian ingredients to create popular spirits. 

Their Bavarian vodkas, rums, dry gins and whiskies sport names such as Bavarka, Rumult, or Josef and recently they began selling single malts created on the North Sea island of Sylt. 

Today, Lantenhammer’s products are a fixture on the menus of Germany’s top bars and restaurants. Founded in 1928 by Amalie and Josef Lantenhammer as a gentian schnapps distillery, Lantenhammer is now one of the most modern distilleries in Europe and features a fully immersive visitor centre. 

Lifetime Achievement Award 
Bruno Paillard, Champagne

Bruno Paillard hails from an old winemaking family and like his father trained as a wine broker. Early on, discovered his love of Champagne: in 1981, aged just 27, he founded the eponymous Champagne house that today is considered one of the best producers in the region. 

Laureate with Sascha Speicher (Meiningers Sommelier)
Laureate with Sascha Speicher (Meiningers Sommelier)

Producing his Champagne is by no means Bruno Paillard’s only venture; in 1991 he joined forces with others to establish what is today known as Lanson BCC Holding, which over the years has incorporated brands such as Philipponnat, De Venoge, Boizel and Maison Burtin to become one of the major players in the Champagne business.



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