From one generation to the next – Forstmeister Geltz Zilliken

As winemakers the family Zilliken seems to have achieved all they possibly can: The fifth vine maple of the Gault&Millau is fixed. The history reaches back hundreds of years. Quality across all levels is amazing. Their forefathers were co-founders of the VDP organization. The family is well-known and highly respected around the world of winemaking.

So far, so amazing… But how do you make sure that the tradition smoothly transfers from one generation to the next so it doesn’t get lost over the years and decades, but at the same time doesn’t lose connections to the ever changing world? We learned the answer at Zilliken. Let’s tell the story step by step…

When you enter the beautiful town of Saarburg – where the winery Zilliken is located – your mind immediately changes to some sort of holiday mood. The old buildings located alongside the river Saar are so unique and make you fall in love with the setting immediately.

The welcome from Dorothee Zilliken couldn’t be more inviting. What a great host. A second later we are already in deep conversations about the world, winemaking, traditions, family, and a thousand other topics – while we are taking our way down to the wine cellar of Forstmeister Geltz Zilliken. A mystical and magic place for any visitor – for Riesling freaks like us this is paradise.

The cellar reaches three storages deep into the ground – filled with amazing beauties of winemaking, because the family always had the right instincts of putting a bigger portion of their production into the cellar. Almost, like they knew before that there will be a big trend coming back of drinking old Rieslings. And now we have the trend – and Zilliken is best prepared.

For our tasting also Hanno Zilliken joined us. You can feel his amazing experience with every word he says. We are having Zilliken Rieslings from all quality levels – from the recent vintage back to 1999. When you watch Dorothee and Hanno in their shared excitement about the great wines you immediately understand how you pass a heritage like that from one generation to the other – by strong family ties.

Father Zilliken made a clear cut by handing over responsibility to his daughter consequently. At the same time he is around and acts as a consultant or mentor bringing in his experience and knowledge. Dorothee brings in her ideas, her way of doing things, her passion for the tradition and the product, and of course her great hospitality. Both respect each other and listen to their thoughts and wishes. A perfect combination.

Thank you Dorothee, thank you Hanno! We can’t wait to come back…