Change of Guard Round the Corner at Austrian Wine Marketing Board

AWMB Managing Director Wilhelm (Willi) Klinger will be leaving his office effective 31.12.2019, thus initiating a generational change in leadership at the Austrian Wine Marketing Board.


Klinger announced his orderly retirement as head of the AWMB at a recent supervisory board meeting of Austrian Wine Marketing. He will step down from his position as Managing Director at the end of 2019, making for greater ease of succession with an entire year’s notice.

Klinger said he wanted to smooth the path for the next generation in plenty of time.

You have to know when the time has come. As the longest-serving head of Austrian Wine Marketing, I am proud of what we have achieved together and I wish to thank all those who work with me on behalf of Austrian wine: my wonderful team, the officials and above all the winegrowers in the great wine country of Austria.

– Willi Klinger, Managing Director AWMB

The sixty-two-year-old Klinger emphasised that he would welcome another challenge, on the international level, after 2019.

As a son of an Upper Austrian gastronome, Klinger studied French/Italian and learnt his craftsmanship with
the renowned wine distributor A. V. Stangl in Salzburg. Later, he played a significant role in
the development of the Austrian wine distributor chain Wine & Co, before demonstrating pioneer
achievements for Austrian wine at an international level as executive manager of Freie Weingärtner
Wachau. Finally, as the right hand for the Italian cult vintner Angelo Gaja, he was responsible for more
than 50 export markets. Willi Klinger is married, has two children and lives in Vienna.

The Austrian Wine Marketing Board was founded in 1986 in the wake of the mid-decade wine scandal and has been decisively instrumental in the meteoric development of the Austrian wine industry. Klinger, the sixth managing director, has been leading the AWMB since 2007. During his tenure, he has tirelessly pursued a
consistent strategy for improving quality, which has enabled Austrian wine to achieve an enviable reputation on the international level, booking new record export volumes year after year.

My interaction with Willi Klinger during VieVinum 2016

Johannes Schmuckenschlager, chairman of the AWMB’s supervisory board and president of the Austrian Viticultural Association, said he was sorry to learn of Klinger’s decision, but that he understands the reasoning behind it. He thanked Klinger for ‘his meritorious work in the service of Austrian wine’, which will be appropriately honoured at a later date, with additional thanks for the generous advance notice given to the supervisory board.

But now we are looking forward to another year of good work together for Austrian wine. We can conduct an unhurried search for a suitable successor over the course of the coming year.

– Johannes Schmuckenschlager, Chairman AWMB Supervisory Board

Klinger assured the board of his undivided commitment as Managing Director until the last day in office. He added- ‘It is clear to me that I will remain closely connected to Austrian wine, even after my time as AWMB head has come to an end.

Source: Press Release dated 07 Dec 18 by Austrian Wine Marketing Board (AWMB)

Col Joe
wirtten by: Col Joe
Leave a Comment