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This year’s winner is...

Sascha Speicher has been awarded the 32nd Steinfeder Prize. We spoke with him at the awards ceremony about why the wine country of Austria and especially the Wachau fascinate him.

Sascha Speicher: wine journalist and chief editor of Meiningers Sommelier, a magazine for wine enthusiasts. And organiser of the Sommelier Summit event. As of March 2022, Sasha is also winner of this year’s Steinfeder Prize, awarded by Vinea Wachau. The recognition is well-deserved, as Herwig Jamek, on behalf of the committee, expressed it at the awards ceremony: “We appreciate Sascha Speicher for his objective research and for his interest in how the various wines are created, in the crafting and philosophies behind them.” The prize was again awarded following a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. Numerous prizewinners from previous years also attended this year’s award ceremony at Restaurant Jamek in the village of Joching.

The surroundings top everything!

Sascha Speicher sees the Wachau as having a unique winescape. “It tops everything, these surroundings seduce every sommelier,” he says. Sascha Speicher is also among the frequent visitors. “A tasting with Toni Bodenstein several years ago impressed me deeply, and I have been coming back to the Wachau ever since.”

“You first need to know Ried Klaus before you can understand Achleiten,” says Wachau wine connoisseur Sascha Speicher.

“The Wachau’s winescape seduces every sommelier.” Sascha Speicher

Previously a correspondent for magazine publisher Meininger Verlag, Sascha has been long acquainted with Austria and its wines. Today, besides heading Meininger’s Sommelier magazine, Sascha also writes for Champagne Magazin. He is well aware of how vital sommeliers are for the industry. That is why he came up with Sommelier Summit and Meininger’s Finest 100, an international event bringing together 100 of the world’s best wine producers with 100 of the most distinguished sommeliers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, as well as 100 highly prominent wine merchants.

In the words of Marie-Helen Krebs, chief sommelière, speaking at the award ceremony: “Our sommelier community is very fortunate to have someone like Sascha Speicher, who is so passionate about gaining even greater recognition for our elegant yet challenging profession.”

Herwig Jamek presented the award to Sascha Speicher on behalf of Vinea Wachau.

“Sascha Speicher is an exceptional wine journalist
with a long-standing, deep knowledge of Austria and the Wachau.”
Herwig Jamek

Sascha Speicher is concerned with staying focused, amidst a wine landscape marked by increasing diversity in recent years. He strives to clear the way for new perspectives, both with his events and Meiningers Sommelier, the magazine he leads. “Today, wine lists need to offer classics as well as appeal to young wine nerds, a good wine list caters to everyone,” in Sasha’s view.

Everyone’s attention was focused on the prizewinner, and on ceremony speaker Marie-Helen Krebs.

“Sascha Speicher is passionate about gaining even greater recognition for our profession.” Marie-Helen Krebs, Chief sommelière, speaking at the award ceremony

Sascha, who is 50 years old, continues to be fascinated with Austria. “The beauty of Austria’s winescapes is indescribable. You just have to decide whether you prefer to gaze downhill, as in southern Styria, or look upward to the terraced vineyards, as in the Wachau.” Regardless of your preferred view, you will always discover intriguing perspectives on the world of wine in the magazines and at the events managed by Sascha Speicher.