Falstaff Co-Founder Dr. Helmut Romé Passes Away

Dr. Helmut Romé

© Michaela Bruckberger

Dr. Helmut Romé

Dr. Helmut Romé

© Michaela Bruckberger

As a critical observer of the international wine world, Dr. Helmut Romé had a decisive influence on the development of Austrian wine culture in recent years.

"Falstaff mourns the loss of its legendary founder. I owe Helmut Romé a lot, as does the entire wine industry in Austria. He played a significant role in the quality miracle of Austrian wine, we will never forget him," says Wolfgang Rosam, publisher of Falstaff.

Looking back

Forty years ago, Dr. Helmut Romé had the idea of developing a new magazine that would focus on "deepening the quality of life." Together with Hans Dibold, he published the first issue of Falstaff in early autumn 1980. Born in Graz, Helmut Romé received his doctorate in law from the University of Graz in 1966 but turned to the publishing profession. As early as 1974, he was awarded the prestigious Dr. Karl Renner Journalism Prize for his work focusing on east-west economic policy relations. As Brussels correspondent for the then Arbeiter-Zeitung, he first came into contact with fine dining and the wines of Bordeaux. But wine also ran in his blood as part of his family was closely connected with the wine industry in the old southern Styria, which today forms part of Slovenia.

Connoisseur of the international wine world

Dr. Romé was active as a co-author and editor of books on economic policy but was able to make a name for himself as wine writer at a young age. He wrote numerous articles and essays on viticultural policy, wine culture and the great wines of Europe. He can rightly be called Austria’s first professional wine journalist. His book Die Großen Weine Österreichs (The Great Wines of Austria), published in 1979, quickly advanced to become the standard reference on the subject.

Prize-winning publisher and cigar lover

In 1986, Romé was the first to receive the Steinfeder Prizes from Vinea Wachau, the highest award in wine journalism in the country. Another of Romé's great passions was cigar culture. Thus, the enjoyment of a few Puros was part of his daily routine. A predilection that led him to publish the European Cigar Cult Journal in 1994.

With the sale of the Falstaff publishing house to Wolfgang Rosam twelve years ago, Romé may have entered a highly deserved retirement but remained an attentive observer of the global wine scene. He celebrated his 82nd birthday in November.

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