Michael ThurnerMichael Thurner was born in 1972 in the Austrian village of Würmlach, situated in the mountains of Carinthia (Kärnten). He was educated in agricultural farming at an agricultural vocational school in Salzburg, Austria, before moving to Vienna in 1993 to study economics and international trade at the Vienna University for Economics and Business Administration, where he specialized in advertising and market research. He received his master's degree in 1999 upon completing his dissertation on "DAC - General Conditions and Communication Strategies for Austrian Wine based on Origin-related Positioning", which highlighted the potential of Austria´s appellation system that would be introduced in the country in 2002.
This led Michael to begin his professional career at the Austrian Wine Marketing Board (AWMB) in Vienna, where his first two years were spent as a project manager. Also during this time, he worked toward a Wine MBA degree from the Bordeaux Business School in France, which included courses at the University of California at Davis, USA; the Universidad Catholica in Santiago, Chile; Keio University in Tokyo, Japan and the University of South Australia in Adelaide, Australia.
His focus and commitment during this intensive, highly successful period culminated in 2002 not only with his earning the Wine MBA - he was one of the programme´s first 11 graduates of the world - but also in his promotion to Managing Director of the AWMB. Michael spent five years in this position, from 2002 to 2006, tirelessly promoting Austrian wine in more than 60 countries around the world. In addition to this role, he served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Austrian Wine Academy during its greatest expansion phase; today it is the biggest wine education institution in central Europe.
In 2007, Michael decided to strike out on his own with a more personal focus on his passion for Austrian wine. Today, he heads Austria´s Fine Brands, which features a portfolio of some of the finest Austrian white, red and sweet wines produced by eight renowned Austrian winemakers. Michael runs this portfolio from an officer in Vienna (Austria) his new home in Singapore; from here, he travels the world spreading the message - through the outstanding wines he represents - that Austrian wine is exceptionally sublime. His specific goals are reflected in his motto: Grow Europe, develop the USA and pioneer Asia!
Besides wine, Michael is also involved in the importation and distribution of selected, fine European food and contributes as a journalist to food, wine and travel related webpages, magazines and books. He also lectures "Wine Marketing" at the Hongkong University. Due to his efforts and energy, Michael was just recently promoted "The most dynamic marketer of the year in Asia" (Curtis Marsh, The Wandering Palate).
- 1978-1986 elementary and middle school in Kötschach-Mauthern, Carinthia
- 1986-1991 Agricultural Vocational School in Ursprung/Elixhausen, Salzburg
- 1991-1993 diverse (compulsory armed forces service, harvest assistant in northern Germany, snowboard instructor, travels in South Africa)
- 1993-1999 Commercial Science studies at the Vienna University for Economics and Business Administration specializing in Advertising and Market Research with master's degree dissertation "DAC - General Conditions and Communication Strategies for Austrian Wine based on Origin-related Positioning"
- 1999-2002 Lecturer at the Vienna University for Economics and Business Administration (Department of Advertising and Market Research)
- 1999-2001 Project Manager for the Austrian Wine Marketing Board (AWMB)
- 2002-2006 Managing Director of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board; Managing Director of the ÖWI Trade (100% daughter company of the AWMB); Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Austrian Wine Academy (50% daughter company of the AWMS);
- Since January 1st, 2007 Business Consultant specializing in strategic marketing and business management and development
- 2001-2002 Wine MBA: Bordeaux Business School (France) with courses at: University of California, Davis, USA; Universidad Catholica, Santiago, Chile; Keio University, Tokyo, Japan; University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia;
Lectures held at:
- MW Symposium, Napa, USA
- Political Viniculture Conference, Koblenz, Germany
- Waedenswil College, Waedenswil, Switzerland
- Vienna University for Economics and Business Administration, Austria
- University of Vienna, Austria
- University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna, Austrian
- and many others
International experience in:
- Great Britain
- South Korea