Cheers to a meal in Southern Styria!
Two with a knack for good food and good wine
The Weinbank is a one-of-a-kind experience in Ehrenhausen, an Austrian town on the southernmost edge of Styria – and it's the perfect place to store your fine wines if you don't have a temperature-controlled wine cellar at home.
The prized vintages are safely stowed in lockers, ready to be opened and enjoyed on-site for a corkage fee. Gerhard Fuchs and Christian Zach have been serving elegant and sophisticated wines here since 2014. They also offer regional cuisine in three different settings: a traditional Styrian tavern (the "Wirtshaus"), a fine-dining restaurant and a wine bar (the "Vinothek"). Praised by their customers and renowned among Austrian gourmets, the duo have an extraordinary ability to come up with creative ideas and skilfully transform them into remarkable experiences. Zach was named Sommelier of the Year by the Falstaff wine, food and travel magazine in 2017 and by Gault&Millau in 2021. The Weinbank also won the Grand Prix category for Austria's best wine list in the Star Wine List of the Year 2022 awards. Under the stewardship of head chef Gerhard Fuchs, the Weinbank received four toques for its restaurant and two for the Wirtshaus in the 2022 Austrian Gault&Millau Guide. This year also saw the Falstaff Restaurant & Gasthaus Guide select this palace of gourmet delights as the best in Styria with an impressive score of 98 points.
This prestigious array of awards comes as little surprise to those in the know: the Weinbank is situated in one of Austria's premier wine regions, home to numerous acclaimed wine producers and internationally renowned fine wines – and its owners are determined to show their guests just how much this area has to offer. The award-winning wine list features a whole host of fine wines from southern Styria, as well as a selection of wines from Slovenia, Burgundy and the Jura. Customers eager to visit this establishment may be surprised to see that its website does not include a menu. Instead, there is a section of the online reservation form where you can list any food intolerances or ingredients you simply don't like. Once seated at your table, the "Zachinator" – as Christian Zach is affectionately known by his colleagues and companions – will then simply ask you how hungry you are and produce a selection of dishes and accompanying wines based on your answer.
Most of the wines are served in mouth-blown glasses made by Gabriel-Glas – and for good reason: 'The glass contains no lead, which makes the wineglasses perfect for washing in a dishwasher. They are marvellously light and beautiful to hold, yet incredibly robust at the same time,' says Zach. The glassware tends to be in almost constant use, so it certainly needs to be tough and resilient. Each customer uses around ten glasses to savour the fine wines during a typical dinner. Fortunately, the M-iClean U glasswasher from MEIKO is on hand to get the glasses back on the shelf and ready for the next serving. It produces outstandingly clean glassware that is perfect for even the most sophisticated dining experience. As soon as the softened water reaches the M-iClean U dishwashing machine, the reverse osmosis system (GiO MODULE) removes virtually all the water's mineral content to make it almost completely pure, which is the best ingredient for beautifully clean glassware. But getting great results is also about choosing the right washing temperature and pressure. The machine uses a fairly low washing pressure when it starts and gradually increases this over the course of the wash cycle. Equally important is ensuring that the glasses don't knock together. This is achieved using special plastic racks, each of which is designed to hold 20 glasses. Each glass sits snugly in its own compartment in the rack, so it can't bump into any of its neighbours. The final piece of the puzzle comes down to using the right chemicals. These need to be tailored to the water quality on site and the exact type of delicate washware – because it's all about finding the right chemistry!
For clients who want their glasses and dishes to sparkle, improving the water quality is essential – and that calls for demineralisation or osmosis.
'It's the only way to ensure our glassware comes out spotlessly clean and odour-free. And we feel like we've hit the jackpot, because we don't even have to polish the glasses any more!' says Zach. His staff have become skilled at using the dishwashing technology and handling the restaurant's delicate washware. Almost all the Weinbank's employees have worked there since it first opened its doors, and they genuinely appreciate the good working conditions and friendly atmosphere.
If anyone out there feels like joining their ranks or simply enjoying a wonderful dinner, we recommend dropping a line to firstname.lastname@example.org.