Waldviertel | May 18, 2023 | Reading time: 7 minutes

Fast E-bikes to Slow Food

Marcel Gillinger shares his passion for great wine and fine dining on his culinary e-bike tours through Kamp and Krems valleys.

A passion for great wine and fine dining

As a child, Marcel "Mazl" Gillinger was always more at home playing football than riding his bike. But today he makes his living doing just that. As a young business student, he moved to Langenlois in Kamptal valley more than eight years ago for the sake of romance. And even back then, his wife was committed to a concept that everyone's talking about now: Slow Food. The name stands for a worldwide movement founded 30 years ago by the Italian Carlo Petrini which is now active in 160 countries. The aim of these dedicated people around the world is to preserve and promote both biodiversity in the food sector as well as food diversity. They focus on fostering handcrafted products which are typical for a given region, sustainable farming and livestock practices, and fair pricing.

"I usually spend my evenings riding my bike among the vineyards in the area. Then I had the idea of making these private tours accessible to a larger audience – that's how WinEcycle Tours got started."

How WinEcycle Tours got started

It was through the Slow Food movement that Marcel first got to know Jan "Honza" Moser-Vavřička, the master winemaker at the Sepp Moser winery in Kremstal. He was also a transplant to the area, his roots being in the neighboring Czech Republic. "Honza inspired me to start something new here: hosting bike tours to vintners, who would then talk about how they work and live – that's the idea we cooked up together." The third member of the group is travel agency expert Hanna Bergsmann. In their first two years of operation - which, by the way, was during the Covid times - the three of them put together a sizeable network of winegrowers and producers, which in turn enables them to host a wide range of differently themed tours. Honza can still be seen today as a cycling guide for Czech groups in the vineyards around Langenlois. And Hannah's journey has continued: she now teaches at university as well. A brand-new member of the team is Michael Huber-Strasser, who complements it with his professional expertise and adds a laugh or two to his vineyard and gourmet tours.

"It is a chance to learn about the lives of the vintners, farmers and Kamptal creatives – hear their personal stories and ultimately enjoy a healthy culinary culture."

There's a tasting tour for everyone

Marcel Gillinger's aim is to put small producers and their wines in the spotlight. "We have a total of 25 partners that we visit. enjoying chats with vintners, gleaning insider tips for the Langenlois area, tasting typical Langenlois dishes and sharing what I consider to be the best wines in the region – it's all part of the programme. You can watch the pros at work, have bite to eat, and just enjoy," is how Marcel describes the concept. There is a tour for everyone: The "Riedentour" (Vineyard Tour) is recommended for spontaneous wine-lovers, takes two and a half hours and includes a small wine tasting in addition to magnificent views of Langenlois. The "Genusstour" (Gourmet Tour), on the other hand, lasts around four hours as it winds its way through the Kamptal. It takes you through Austria's largest wine-producing town to lovely rest areas where you can relax and meet people who are passionate about what they do. "It's a chance to learn about the lives of the vintners, farmers and Kamptal creatives – hear their personal stories and ultimately enjoy a positive, healthy culinary culture."

Your e-bike just got more tree-action!

These tours are not taken on just any old run-of-the-mill bikes, but exclusively on genuine "My Esel e-bikes". "Featuring a walnut-wood frame, they're 100 per cent made in Austria, ergonomic, sustainable and designed with style in mind. The e-motor makes cycling a pleasure for everyone: those who want to can go for a more challenging ride, and those who prefer a leisurely jaunt can simply boost their own pedal power." Of course, you can also rent one of these bad boys for individual rides.

"The Krems and Kamptal valleys are blessed with a wine and food culture that is rarely found anywhere else. The region deserves to be more in the spotlight. And our feedback suggests that we're totally on the right track with this idea."

WinEcycle Tours

Marcel Gillinger and Michael Huber-Strasser lead small-group e-bike tours to food artisans in the region of Kampstal, Kremstal and Wagram under the name WinEcycle Tours. And in 2021, WinEcycle Tours was awarded the title of "Mutmacher" (Inspirer) by the Lower Austrian Chamber of Commerce for its innovative idea.

Translated by: Theodore Snydal