In Conversation with Tobias Leimgruber - New Sales Director of Kellerei St. Pauls

Tuesday, March 05 2024

Since January 2024, Tobias Leimgruber has been steering the fortunes of Kellerei St. Pauls as the new Sales and Marketing Director. The native of Girlan spent many years working and living abroad before returning to his homeland at the end of December 2023. 

We warmly welcome him to our team! 

Profile Name:  
Tobias Leimgruber  
Age: 44 years  
Position: Sales Director  
Family: Married, 2 children Education: 
-Laurea in Economia Aziendale, Milan 
-Master in Wine Management, Bordeaux 

Kellerei St. Pauls: Since January 2024, you have been the new Sales and Marketing Director of Kellerei St. Pauls. What prompted you to return to Kellerei St. Pauls and to South Tyrol?  
Tobias L: I had been considering returning to South Tyrol for some time but was waiting for the right opportunity to be able to contribute professionally. After the initial discussions with president Bernhard and some board members, it quickly became apparent that Kellerei St. Pauls was at an exciting and pivotal point of development. The potential is there, the motivation of all involved, and a renewed team with winemaker Philipp completed the picture. So, for me, it was clear that I would be happy to be part of this renewal process and to further develop the winery in the coming years. 

You have gained a lot of experience abroad in recent years, especially in the wine sector. Can you briefly describe your professional background?  
Since completing my Master in Wine Management in Bordeaux in 2010, I have been involved in the wine industry. Over the past 14 years, I have worked in various positions in different companies in the wine industry in Germany. Among other things, I was a purchaser at HAWESKO for many years, as well as a project manager for the establishment of an independent sales unit for Italian wines, and as a Key Account Manager Export, I managed foreign major customers in terms of sales. Most recently, I was responsible for central purchasing for Beverages at Chefs Culinar, Germany's leading food logistics company in the B2B sector. Through these diverse experiences, I was able to get to know and understand the topic of wine from various perspectives, and I hope that these experiences will be useful to me in the further development of Kellerei St. Pauls. 

What do you enjoy most about your work as Sales Director?  
You meet very different customers with very different requirements, and the challenge is to satisfy all customers as much as possible. Every day, there are new tasks to master and solutions to find for our customers. Also, the further development of our product range in coordination with our winemaker Philipp is an important part of my duties, which I enjoy very much. 

What are your goals for Kellerei St. Pauls?  
An important goal is to strengthen the brands Kellerei St. Pauls and Praeclarus and to bring them into the awareness of our current and future customers. Creating recognition so that our customers associate the St. Pauls brand with great wines and appreciate and recommend our wines. 

What potential do you see in Kellerei St. Pauls?  
Kellerei St. Pauls has not yet fully tapped its potential: when I look at the vineyard sites, I am convinced that many great wines will be created here, and there is a market for them. Now it is a matter of winning new and existing customers for these wines through continuity and quality work and investing more in communication and marketing. 

You deal with wine on a daily basis. What is your favorite wine variety?  
I have to mention two (smiling). Pinot Noir because I appreciate the freshness, elegance, and longevity of this red wine; Pinot Blanc because it is a versatile white wine that has great potential in South Tyrol. 

Your first memory of wine?  
My first memory of wine goes back to childhood when I was already taken along for various small tasks in the vineyard as a child. Riding on the tractor was always the highlight, and there was also homemade Schiava stored at home. 

Do you have a great wine experience that will always stay with you?  
I had a very special wine experience during my time as a wine buyer for Burgundy wines. On the occasion of the wine auction of the Hospices de Beaune, I received an invitation from Maison Jadot and had the opportunity to taste a Romanée Saint Vivant Premier Cru 1952 and a Bonnes Mares Grand Cru 1915 during a dinner... a truly unique experience! 

How would you best describe yourself? What is your strength of character?  
I am a person who appreciates the beautiful things in life. Good food, good wines, spending time with family and friends, having good conversations, exercising, and also having time for a good book. It is very important to me that the job I do brings me joy because only then can one be really good at it. Always keep a cool head – "nothing is as hot as it is cooked." I think it is important to give things time to develop. 

Do you have a special leadership style?  
Handing over responsibility to employees and involving them in decision-making processes. Motivation through personal responsibility. Encouraging employees to go beyond their limits because there is always a little more. 

Morning person or "the early bird catches the worm"?  
Since I became the father of 2 children, I have become a morning person and also enjoy the calm before the storm... 

What book have you read recently?  
I actually quite like reading and always have several books on my bedside table that I read in parallel. Currently, I am working on: "The Magic of Silence – Caspar David Friedrich's Journey through Time" by Florian Illies, "Nobody Looks Behind the Face – The Life of Erich Kästner" by Sven Hanuschek, and to get into the mood for the South Tyrolean wine world "South Tyrolean Wine and Winery Stories" by Herbert Taschler. 

Do you enjoy cooking yourself or do you prefer to be cooked for?  
I enjoy cooking myself and always try something new. Cooking for others relaxes me. At home, I regularly organize wine and cooking evenings with friends, among others also from the wine industry, where there is an opportunity to enjoy some matured and exotic bottles of wine. 

What is your favorite food and which wine do you best pair it with?  
With the right choice of wine, every dish can certainly be enhanced; some of my favorite combinations are, for example, liver dumplings with a good glass of Schiava, a hearty beef stew with a fine glass of Pinot Noir, or a fresh asparagus dish with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. 

What do you enjoy most in your free time?  
I prefer to spend my free time with my family. In summer, mountain biking and mountaineering, in winter, I enjoy skiing. 

Thank you, Tobias, for the interview, and we wish you all the best for your start at work with us... so, and now let's go have a good glass of wine. 


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