The Zilliken family traces its winegrowing tradition back to 1742. The early generations toiled in Saarburg and Ockfen, but it was Royal Prussian Forest Superintendent Ferdinand Geltz (1851 – 1925) who laid the groundwork for what would become one of the grandest family-owned estates anywhere on the Saar and Mosel. Ferdinand Geltz was a co-founder of the "Vereins der Naturweinversteigerer Großer Ring," an organization today known as the VDP Mosel-Saar-Ruwer (Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter). It promoted the sale of premier quality unchaptalized wines as a way to raise the profile, both domestically and internationally, of the outstanding Rieslings being produced in this winegrowing region.
Following the death of Ferdinand Geltz, the vineyards were divided between his two daughters, Antoinette and Ella. Antoinette married a Prussian major, while Ella took a forester superintendent from Dessau as her groom. In honor of Antoinette's husband, the Forstmeister Geltz estate was renamed Forstmeister Geltz Krick. After Ella's death, her daughters Marianne and Henriette inherited her share of the property.
On Christmas 1944, the estate's house and cellar were completely destroyed in a heavy bombing raid. It was Marianne's steely determination that preserved the winegrowing tradition within the family. In 1947 Marianne married Fritz Zilliken, and from that point on the estate has labelled itself Forstmeister Geltz-Zilliken. The couple acquired a two-story cellar on Heckingstrasse in 1950, which still serves as the center of the estate's operations even today