Find out about our Decanter World Wine Awards 2014 Port & Madeira judging panel with biographies of the Regional Chair Richard Mayson plus Ben Campbell-Johnston, Godfrey Spence, Igor Ryjenkov MW and James John MW.
Regional chair: Richard Mayson
Mayson began his career working for The Wine Society. Specialising in the wines of Iberia, especially fortified wines, he is the author of four books, including The Wines & Vineyards of Portugal, which won the André Simon Award for best wine book in 2003, and Port and the Douro. Mayson lectures for the WSET Diploma and Leith’s School of Food & Wine in London and in 1999 was made a Cavaleiro of the Confraria do Vinho do Porto in recognition of his services to the Port wine trade. He was an associate editor of Oz Clarke’s Wine Atlas, runs his own website Portandmadeirapages.com and contributes to the Oxford Companion to Wine. He is writing a book on Madeira and owns a vineyard and makes wine in Portugal’s Alto Alentejo.
Ben Campbell-Johnston has been in the wine trade for 17 years. After a spate at Oddbins, he worked for two years with the Symingtons in Oporto and the Douro, and then as their brand manager in the UK. Campbell-Johnston currently works as a freelance consultant, mainly with Portuguese and fortified wine producers, and is also the joint-organiser of the Big Fortified Tasting (with fellow DWWA judge Danny Cameron), the biggest tasting of its kind in the world. In 2013, Campbell-Johnston launched Fizz: The Sparkling Wine Show, the first UK trade show to focus on worldwide sparkling wines.
Godfrey Spence is a UK-based wine educator who began his career in the retail sector but soon started training staff, leading to him becoming a senior lecturer at the WSET. Now working freelance, he runs wine and spirit courses in the UK and internationally through the-wine-school.com, and also writes regularly on Portugal and Port for national and international publications. Spence is the author of three books, including the Prix Lanson short-listed The Port Companion, which has been translated into nine languages and described by Bruce Guimaraens, director of Taylor’s and Fonseca, as “the definitive book on Port”.
Igor Ryjenkov MW
Igor Ryjenkov MW is the buyer for VINTAGES, the premium division of the LCBO, looking after France, Italy and sparkling wine. Ryjenkov moved to Canada from Russia shortly after graduating with a degree in International Journalism. His interest in wine was sparked by a tasting at a Niagara Peninsula winery, and within the span of seven+ years, Ryjenkov went from a complete wine novice to becoming the first Master of Wine in Canada in 2003, receiving Henkell-Sohnlein Award for the best dissertation. He is the only Russian national to gain this accreditation to date. After seven years in retail in Ontario’s two largest LCBO locations, he progressed to the buying position in 2006. As an MW, Ryjenkov is active in the IMW’s and other wine educational programs; he created the prototype of the introductory IMW Masterclass, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the IMW North American branch. Ryjenkov has also contributed to or edited a number of wine books and manuals, and judges, mentors, lectures and consults.
James John MW
James John MW started working in the wine industry 50 years ago, and prior to Harvey’s production move to Jerez in the 1980s, he was based in Bristol as the company’s Sherry buyer and blender. When the move happened, John went to work as a blender and taster at Cockburns Smithies, Harvey’s subsidiary Port company, in Oporto, Portugal, later returning to Bristol in the 1990s. Upon his return, John worked as the fine wine buyer and general manager of John Harvey & Sons, with responsibility for mail order and Harvey’s Royal Warrant, before leaving the company to become wine buying director of French-owned company Champagnes & Chateaux. In 1992, John established the Bath Wine School, and he has been officially retired since 2007.
Written by John Abbott