Find out about our Decanter World Wine Awards 2014 Alsace judging panel with biographies of the Regional Chair Thierry Meyer plus Aristide Spies MS, Eric Zwiebel MS and Laurent Chaniac.

Regional chair: Thierry Meyer

Alsatian born and bred, Meyer began writing about wine in 1999, sharing tasting notes and information about the wines of his home region online. In 2001, he started his signature dinner series dedicated to pairing Alsace wines with fine Alsatian food. In 2006 he founded L’Oenothèque Alsace, launching the website – a comprehensive resource dedicated to Alsace wines, as well as a programme of winemaster classes and dinners. From 2007 to 2011, Meyer was contributing editor of Bettane & Desseauve Guide des Vins de France. In 2014, he began leading the new Alsace Master-level education programme for the French Wine Society. He is also a member of the Confrérie St-Etienne d’Alsace.


Aristide Spies MS

Aristide Spies MS discovered his passion for the wine trade during a family holiday in the Périgord and immediately enrolled in a series of wine tasting and cookery courses on returning home to Belgium. Following secondary studies, he spent year as an exchange student in Australia, before beginning his wine career at the one Michelin star restaurant Les Forges du Pont d’Oye, as assistant to Pascal Carré, named Best Sommelier of Belgium 1992, 1996 and 1997. In 2007, Spies won this same title for himself, also winning the Club Gastronomique Prosper Montagné’s Premier Sommelier de Belgique. Spies then went on to represent Belgium at the Best Sommelier of Europe competition in Sofia in 2008 where he reached the semi-finals, and at the World’s Best Sommelier 2013 competition in Tokyo, where he was a finalist. Spies has written and broadcast about wine, and is a member of both the International Federation of Wine and Spirits Journalists and Writers (FIJEV) and the Jurade de Saint-Emilion. He currently runs La Cave des Sommeliers, a chain of wine shops in Belgium and Luxembourg, with his former mentor Pascal Carré.

Eric Zwiebel MS

Eric Zwiebel MS is cellar master at Summer Lodge Country House Hotel in Dorset. Born in Alsace, Zweibel began his wine career early on by helping his parents in their restaurant, before working as sommelier for Le Pavillon Elysée Lenôtre in Paris. Following this, Zweibel decided to move to London to broaden his knowledge of the many different wine regions and to take courses offered by the Court of Master Sommeliers. Two years later, in 2001, Zweibel achieved his MS qualification. In order to stay abreast of the developments in the wine world, Zweibel travels extensively to different wine regions and participates in wine competitions. In 2004, Zweibel was named Best Sommelier of the UK which he followed up with a third place win at the Best Sommelier of Europe competitions in 2006 and 2008. Zweibel reached the finals in the Best Sommelier of the World competition in 2007 and placed 4th in the 2013 competition in Tokyo.

Laurent Chaniac

Laurent Chaniac is food and wine consultant to The Cinnamon Club and Kitchen in London, exercising his expertise in matching wines to Indian cuisine (previously described as a sommelier who “has pioneered some revolutionary ideas on pairing wine with the constantly evolving Indian flavours”). Chaniac has also worked in various managerial positions with some of London’s finest dining experiences, including L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, The Square Restaurant and The Stafford Hotel.

Written by Decanter