Decanter World Wine Awards 2009 - The Regional Chairs
Steven Spurrier joined the wine trade in 1964 as a trainee with Christopher and Co, London’s oldest wine merchant. In 1970 he moved to Paris where he opened Les Caves de la Madeleine, which rapidly achieved recognition as one of the most highly regarded specialist wine shops in Paris. In 1973 he opened L'Academie du Vin, France's first private wine school, and went on to stage the famous Paris Tasting of 1976, when a Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon from California scored more highly than some of the most prestigious wines of Burgundy and Bordeaux.
In 1988 Spurrier returned to the UK where he became a wine consultant and journalist. Today his roles include a director of The Christie's Wine Course, which he founded with Christie's Education in 1982, wine consultant to Singapore Airlines and consultant editor to Decanter, to which he contributes monthly. He has received several international awards for wine writing including the Bunch Prize and Le Prix de Champagne Lanson, both for his articles in Decanter. He is the author of several books on wine, and his latest, The Clarke-Spurrier Guide to Fine Wine (Websters International Publishers, 1998), was updated and reissued in 2001. That same year Spurrier was awarded Le Grand Prix de l’Academie Internationale du Vin (only the third time the award has been made since its creation in 1982) and The Maestro Award in honour of André Tchelistcheff. In 1988 he was made Le Personalité de l'Année (Oenology) for his services to French wine.
He is a regular judge on the international wine tasting circuit and currently holds the position of chairman of the Japan Wine Challenge.
Marina Gayan MWArgentina
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Huon Hooke MW & Anthony RoseAustralia
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James Lawther MWBordeaux
James Lawther has lived and worked in France for the past 20 years, and has been based in Bordeaux since 1996. He sold wine at Steven Spurrier's Les Caves de la Madeleine in Paris in the 1980s, and has lectured at the Academie du Vin. His early career also involved stints as cellarhand in Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Roussillon and Western Australia. He became a Master of Wine in 1993. He is a contributing editor to Decanter and regularly writes and lectures on wine and acts as a guide in the vineyards of France. He is the author of the Bordeaux Wine Companion and the Bordeaux section of the Global Encyclopedia of Wine.
Michael Schuster studied wine tasting in Bordeaux where he gained the University Tasting Diploma. After creating an award-winning retail business in the early 1980s, he went on to work independently as a wine writer and lecturer and now runs his own wine school in North London. He lectures to both amateurs and professionals throughout the UK and abroad. He is on The Wine Society's management committee and was elected a member of the Academie Internationale du Vin in 2002.His books include a translation of Emile Peynaud’s Le Goût du Vin, Understanding Wine and the multi award-winning Essential Winetasting. He has contributed entries to both the Larousse Encyclopedia of Wine and the Oxford Companion to Wine, and was co-author with Serena Sutcliffe on the new edition of her Guide to the Wines of Burgundy.
Tony Aspler has been writing about wine for over 30 years. He was the wine columnist for The Toronto Star for 21 years and has authored fourteen books on wine and food, including The Wine Atlas of Canada and Vintage Canada. In December 2007, Tony was awarded the Order of Canada. In February 2001, Tony co-founded the charity Grapes for Humanity which raises money through the wine community for the victims of landmines and children with disabilities. Tony is a member of the Circle of Wine Writers.
Central and Eastern Europe & Southern and Eastern Mediterranean
Angela Muir started her career with John Harvey and Sons of Bristol, shortly after leaving Bristol University a degree in politics and economics. After eight years there she spent 10 years as a buyer with Grants of St James’s, and Victoria Wine, during which time she visited most of the world’s vineyards – and wrote the text for the company’s desk and pocket diaries. In 1988 she set up her own company, a prize-winning wine shop and school. Cellarworld International – a centre for consultancy, buying, selecting, blending and project management – followed, and Cellarworld Argentina in 2002. Angela also lectures in Frecnch, English and Spanish on wine production and the UK market. She is an MW of over 20 years’ standing, a past chairman of the MW Education Committee, and past president of the Wine and Spirit Association of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Tom StevensonAlsace & Champagne
Tom Stevenson has written 23 critically acclaimed books, chalking up 27 literary awards in the process. He has specialised in Champagne since 1980, with his 1986 title Champagne (Sotheby’s Publications) establishing his credentials as a leading expert in this field. He is the author of The Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia (first published in 1988 as Sotheby’s World Wine Encyclopedia), which has sold over 600,000 copies in more than a dozen languages and is used as a standard reference for Master of Wine and Master Sommelier examinations all over the world. In 1998 his Christie’s World Encyclopedia of Champagne & Sparkling Wine (Absolute Press) made history by being the only wine book ever to be mentioned in the leader of a national UK newspaper. The Guardian picked up on the book’s uncovering of a 17th century document that proved beyond doubt that the English used a second fermentation to convert still wine into sparkling wine at least six years before Dom Pérignon set foot in the Abbey of Hautvillers. Tom has judged at other major competitions in France, Germany, Greece, Australia and the USA.
Stephen Skelton MWEngland & Wales
Giles MacDonoghAustria & Germany
After attending university in Oxford and Paris, Giles MacDonogh became an historian and winewriter specialising in the wines of Germany and Austria. He is the author of four books on wine, two of which focus on Austrian wine - The Wine & Food of Austria and Austria: New Wines from the Old World - and has made major contributions to six others wine books. A long-term contributor to The Financial Times, he also writes for The Times and The Guardian and is a regular columnist for Decanter, Classic FM, Taste, Wine and Wine & Spirit magazines. His articles have appeared in the New Statesman and The Spectator, and he has made numerous appearances on radio and television in Britain, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Austria and Bulgaria.
Nico Manessis is an expert on wines of his native Greece. He is the author of the key reference books on Greek wine, including The Greek Wine Guide and the authoritative The Illustrated Greek Wine Book, and several invaluable maps of the country's vineyards. During the last 10 years he has written articles on Greek wine for a range of titles including Decanter and its web site decanter.com, Wine, International Herald Tribune and Inside Out, the city magazine of Athens. He teaches at the Université du Vin in France and is a member of the Academie Internationale du Vin.
Richard Baudains & Jane Hunt MWItaly
Richard Baudains grew up in Jersey in the Channel Islands but has spent most of the last 20 years in Italy, mainly in those parts of the country that make good wine. He has written on Italian wine for Decanter since 1989 and today contributes to various Italian wine publications and the California-based Italian Wine Review. He has been a regular member of the tasting panel for the Friuli Venezia Giulia section of Arcigola/Gambero Rosso Vini d'Italia, and is a former editor of the English translation of the guide. He has also edited the English edition of Arcigola's Guida dei Vini del Mondo.
Jane Hunt MW started her career in the PR Department of John Harvey & Sons Ltd in Bristol. The Vintners’ Company Scholarship was awarded to her in 1981, which permitted three months travel and study in France and Germany. In 1982, she took on a role as retail buyer for Annabel’s Wine Cellars. This developed into a position as buyer for the group of four André Simon shops in central London. She achieved a pass in the Master of Wine examination in 1985. Nine months of world travel ensued, including a period of employment in Australia with Brown Brothers in Victoria. From 1987 – 1991, she was employed as Sales & Marketing Director for Paul Boutinot Wines. From 1992 to 1995, she operated on a ‘freelance’ basis during which time she wrote a monthly column for House and Garden, co-ordinated and lectured wine courses for Leith’s School of Food and Wine, wrote copy for for Sainsbury’s, Bottoms Up and Wine Rack, supplied purchasing strategy plans for Wine Cellar, lectured for Christies Wine Courses, and acted as wine guide for Arblaster and Clarke Wine Tours. In 1995 she set up and ran ‘Wines of South Africa’. During a two-year career break 1999 – 2001 she completed an HND in Horticulture and Crop Technology. She has now runs ‘Hunt & Coady’ together with her business partner Tina Coady where the main activities are organising major wine trade tastings for France, Italy, Chile and Argentina. She continues to lecture occasionally for Christies Wine Courses and escorts wine tours to Italy for Arblaster & Clarke.
Jim Budd changed careers in 1988 when he went from education to wine. Since then he has written for a wide variety of magazines and newspapers, including Decanter (since early 1989), Harpers Wine & Spirit Weekly, Off Licence News, Taste, Wine & Spirit International, The Financial Times, The Independent and Independent on Sunday. He is a contributing editor to Wine Business Insider and also contributes to Wine Business Monthly. In 1991 he began editing Circle Update, the newsletter of the Circle of Wine Writers, and has just produced issue number 62. His book Appreciating Fine Wines was published in 1996 by Apple Press and was subsequently shortlisted for the André Simon Award. He was general editor for Great Wine Tours of the World, published in October 2002 by New Holland, and has contributed to Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Guide, The Global Encyclopaedia of Wine, Oz Clarke’s Pocket Wine Guide, Oz Clarke’s CD-ROM, Oz Clarke Wine Atlas, and Travellers Wine Guide to France. In 1997 he received the Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for his investigation into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams, and continues to expose the dangers of drinks investment on his award-winning web site www.investdrinks.org. He has travelled widely and visited many of the world’s vineyards.
Poh Tiong Ch'ngMiddle East, Far East & Asia
Poh Tiong Ch'ng is the publisher of The Wine Review, South-east Asia's oldest wine magazine (since 1991), and the world's first Guide to Bordeaux in Chinese. Poh Tiong also works as a consultant. His clients include Singapore's FairPrice & Liberty Supermarkets, Conrad International Singapore and, prior to the opening of their Hong Kong office, Berry Bros & Rudd of 3 St. James¹s Street, LOndon. Poh Tiong is also the founder of the Lianhe Zaobao Wine Review Annual Wine Challenge, Singapore's first, independent wine competition. Poh Tiong was also a key-note speaker at the Master of Wine Symposium 2002 in Vienna.
Rosemary George MWNew Zealand
Rosemary George MW joined the wine trade in 1972 and in 1979 became one of the first ever female MWs. She began her career as a freelance wine journalist in 1981 and since then has had articles published in many internationally respected publications including Decanter and the Wine Quarterly Review in the US. As a prominent winewriter, she currently holds the position of chairman of the Circle of Winewriters. Her love affair with New Zealand and its wines began when her goddaughter was taken to live there, and the many visits to the country that followed inspired her to write the highly successful Wines of New Zealand in 1996. She has now written nine wine books on different wine regions of the world and is currently working on her tenth, about the wines of Tuscany. She has tasted in many top wine competitions including the Air New Zealand Wine Show, and has chaired judging panels in both Chablis and Minervois.
Stephen BrookNorth America
After many years as a publisher’s editor, in both the US and Britain, Stephen Brook became a freelance writer in 1982, specialising in travel and wine. His Liquid Gold: Dessert Wines of the World won the André Simon Award in 1987 while Sauternes and the Other Sweet Wines of Bordeaux (Faber, 1995) is now the standard work on the subject. His other wine books include Pauillac, and the Mitchell Beazley Pocket Guide to Sweet Wines (with John Radford). Other awards include the Wines of France award in 1995, the Bunch Award for wine writer of the year in 1996, and the Glenfiddich, Lanson, and Veuve Clicquot awards for his book The Wines of California (1999). His Bordeaux: People, Power, Politics has taken two major American awards. The Wines of Germany is his latest book, and he has just finished revising the new edition of the Hugh Johnson Wine Companion. He has contributed travel articles to many newspapers and magazines and writes regularly for Decanter, to which he is a contributing editor. His articles on food and restaurants have appeared in Food & Travel, The Cigar Aficionado, The Financial Times, and other publications.
Richard MaysonPortugal, Port & Madeira
Richard Mayson is one of the most respected authorities on Port, Sherry, Madeira and the wines of Spain and Portugal. Today he divides his time between London and Portugal, writing and lecturing on wine. He contributes articles to a wide range of magazines including Decanter, Wine, Wine and Spirit International, Harpers and Slow, the magazine of the Slow Food Movement in Italy. He was an associate editor of Oz Clarke’s Wine Atlas and wrote the entries on Portugal for the Oxford Companion to Wine edited by Jancis Robinson. He lectures for the Wine and Spirit Education Trust and Leith's School of Food and Wine in London. His books include Port and the Douro (Faber, London & NY, and Quetzal in Lisbon) and The Story of Dow’s Port to commemorate the company’s bicentenary in 1998. A second, revised edition of his widely acclaimed first book Portugal’s Wines and Wine Makers was published in San Francisco in 1998, while his latest book, The Wines and Vineyards of Portugal (Mitchell Beazley), appeared in March 2003. He is currently preparing a second edition of Port and the Douro, a third edition of Portugal’s Wines and Wine Makers and a book on the wines of Madeira. He speaks fluent Portuguese and in 1999 was made a Cavaleiro of the Confraria do Vinho do Porto in recognition of his services to the Port wine trade.
Andrew JeffordRegional France & Languedoc-Roussillon
In the late 1980s Andrew Jefford jumped at the opportunity to combine his passions for wine and writing, and has since gone on to become a successful freelance drinks journalist and broadcaster, in particular for Decanter (he has a monthly column), Evening Standard and BBC Radio Four. He has written eleven books on wine, and won praise and accolades from critics worldwide for his most recently published title The New France. The book has since won the Wine Book of the Year at Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Awards. At the prestigious Glenfiddich Awards this year, he walked away with not only the coveted Glenfiddich Trophy but also the Drink Writer and Wine Writer awards.
John Livingstone-Learmonth is the leading writer on the wines of France’s Rhône Valley, a region that was little known when he first assembled material for his now celebrated book The Wines of the Rhône in 1973. The title has been reprinted three times, the latest edition appearing in 1992 (Faber), though in 2004 the first of two new books, The Wines of the Northern Rhône, will be published as a fourth edition by Mitchell Beazley, to be followed by The Wines of the Southern Rhône. As well the Rhône, he has written about the wines of the Loire, Beaujolais and Bordeaux, and has had articles published in a broad range of British magazines including Decanter. He contributes to annuals like Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book and Wine Atlas and Oz Clarke’s Wine Atlas and Pocket Book, and has given talks and partcipated in tastings in Britain, North America, France and Asia. He has been on the tasting panels for the Mâcon and San Francisco wine fairs and is an honorary citizen of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Peter RichardsChile & South America (excluding Argentina)
Peter Richards is familiar to consumers from Sky One’s Taste series and his first book Wineries with Style (Mitchell Beazley) Peter was awarded Young Wine Writer 2001 (Webster’s/Circle of Wine Writers). Chilean wine is Peter’s passion and he is currently working on The Wines of Chile, Mitchell Beazley Classic Wine Library.
John Radford & Sarah Jane Evans MWSpain
John Radford is a freelance writer, broadcaster, lecturer and speaker with a special enthusiasm for wine, food and travel. His life-long love of Spain has made him an unrivalled specialist in the field of Spanish wines. He is consultant to the Spanish Commercial Office and, on behalf of the Spanish Ministry of Commerce, has created the standard textbook for the wine trade and students since 1989. It's now in its 2002 edition. His book The New Spain (Mitchell Beazley, 1998) has won four international awards and went into reprint after just four months. A new edition is set to appear Spring 2004. His other titles include the Mitchell Beazley Pocket Guide to Fortified and Sweet Wines, which he co-wrote in 2000, and he has contributed chapters on Spanish and Portuguese wines to many encyclopædias and anthologies. He also writes regularly for Decanter and Harpers Wine and Spirit Weekly. He is a regular speaker at wine seminars and presentations, and lectures for the professional examinations of both the Wine and Spirit Education Trust and Plumpton College (University of Brighton). Professional memberships include the Circle of Wine Writers UK and the Gran Orden de Caballeros del Vino in Spain.
Sarah Jane Evans MW....