Meet the 2019 judging panel
Joining Chairman Peter Richards MW on the 2019 judging panel will be wine industry consultant and former Marks & Spencer wine buyer Andy Howard MW, freelance wine writer Matt Walls, drinks columnist Peter Ranscombe, and new to the panel this year, presenter and educator, Laura Clay.
Peter Richards MW, Chairman
Wine Writer and TV Presenter
A familiar presence from his wide-ranging work, Peter has won many awards and his credits include Sky One, ESPN, The Guardian, ITV1, Radio 4, Times Online and BBC2.
Peter is a regular Decanter contributor as well as Chairman of the Retailer Awards, and Regional Chair for Chile at the Decanter World Wine Awards.
Wine Educator and Chairman of the Association of Wine Educators
Laura is an experienced wine presenter having 30 years in the business, with particular interests in Bordeaux, Rioja, South Africa and Champagne but whose expertise covers wine regions from all around the world.
She is an International Accredited Bordeaux and Rioja Tutor and was UK Champagne Ambassador in 2010. Laura is Chairman of the Association of Wine Educators. She is a past Chairman of the Midlands Wine & Spirit Trade Association, currently a committee member, and is a member of the Circle of Wine Writers. She is also part of the team who make up Love Wine, a bi-annual wine festival which had its inaugural event in November 2015 in Birmingham.
Wine columnist and drinks blogger for the Scottish Field
Peter Ranscombe became the wine columnist and drinks blogger for Scottish Field magazine in 2014 and completed his Wine & Spirit Education Trust diploma the following year. He is also the Scotland correspondent for The Winerist website and has written about drinks for Wine Tube Map, World Travel Guide and several copywriting clients.
When he’s not writing about drinks, Peter is a freelance journalist and copywriter. He is the associate editor of the BQ Live entrepreneurs’ website and writes for publications including The Lancet’s specialist medical journals, The Times and the Press & Journal.
He studied physics at the University of St Andrews and trained as a journalist at Glasgow Caledonian and Strathclyde universities, before spending nine years at The Scotsman newspaper.
His debut novel, an historical thriller called Hare, was published by Knox Robinson.
Andy Howard MW
Decanter contributor and wine writer
Andy Howard MW became a Master of Wine in 2011 and runs his own consultancy business (Vinetrades Ltd) which focuses on education, judging, investment and sourcing.
Howard previously worked for Marks & Spencer as a buyer for over 30 years and was responsible as wine buyer for Burgundy, Bordeaux, Loire, Champagne, Italy, North and South America, South Africa, England, Port and Sherry.
Although his key areas of expertise are Burgundy and Italy he also has great respect for the wines of South America and South Africa, as well as a keen interest in the wines from South West France (he owns a house in Gaillac where he made wine for six vintages).
Howard is Decanter contributing editor and writes a regular column on the UK wine retail trade for JancisRobinson.com.
Freelance wine writer
Matt Walls is an award-winning freelance wine writer, author, blogger and consultant contributing regular articles to Decanter, Foodism, timatkin.com, Harpers Wine & Spirit, Imbibe and others.
He publishes wine blog mattwalls.co.uk, for which he was named the 2015 International Wine & Spirit Competition Blogger of the Year. His first book on wine, Drink Me, won Best Newcomer at the 2013 Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards.
In addition to writing, Walls advises restaurants on wine lists, hosts tastings, trains staff and judges at food and wine competitions. He was previously fine wines manager at Mentzendorff and set up, managed and bought wines for the flagship store of The Sampler.