Find out about our Decanter World Wine Awards 2014 Burgundy judging panel with biographies of the Regional Chair Jasper Morris MW plus Alex Hunt MW, Alison Buchanan, Andreas Wickhoff MW, Andy Howard MW, David Vareille, Gearoid Devaney MS, Jason Haynes, Mark Andrew, Michael Apstein and Vincent Pastorello.
Regional chair: Jasper Morris MW
Morris is the Burgundy buyer for UK wine merchant Berry Bros & Rudd, having sold his own importing business, Morris & Verdin, to Berrys in 2003. A regular international lecturer on Pinot Noir and Burgundy, Morris also writes about the latter for Decanter as well as being responsible for all the Burgundy entries in The Oxford Companion to Wine. In October 2010, Morris published Inside Burgundy, which won the André Simon award for the best wine book of the year.
Alex Hunt MW
Alex Hunt MW joined the wine trade as a van driver for Oddbins while studying philosophy and psychology at Oxford, where he captained the varsity blind tasting team. After graduating in 2000, he joined Mayfair Cellars, holding both sales and buying roles, before moving to Berkmann Wine Cellars in 2006, where he is currently purchasing director. Hunt received the Madame Bollinger Medal for excellence in the Master of Wine tasting exam, and since February 2012 he has written a regular column on taste and tasting for JancisRobinson.com.
Alison Buchanan supplemented her undergraduate income as a chef and initially studied wine to complement her love of cooking. Her wine career began at the sharp end, managing a store for one of the multiples, before she joined Scotland’s oldest wine merchants, Whighams of Ayr, in 1989. When Corney & Barrow bought Whighams in 1994, Buchanan continued in Scotland before moving to London as associate director of buying in 1998. Buchanan completed an MBA in 2005 and today she looks after the top relationships in the Corney & Barrow portfolio, heading up their Fine Wine buying department.
Andreas Wickhoff MW
Andreas Wickhoff MW is the managing director of Premium Estates of Austria, an association of the country‘s leading wineries, which he established in 2004. As the coordinator of this selection of growers, Wickhoff mainly promotes the group’s wines and spirits worldwide but also assists in the production process. Prior to settling in Austria, Wickhoff worked as a sommelier and wine buyer in Corsica, France and the USA. He holds degrees in tourism and hotel management from Bad Gleichenberg, Austria, and in food and hospitality management from Martin College in Brisbane, Australia. On receiving his MW in 2012, Wickhoff won four awards for excellence in particular areas of the exam.
Andy Howard MW
Andy Howard MW has over 30 years’ experience as a buyer at Marks & Spencer. Within the wine category he was responsible for Burgundy, Bordeaux, Loire, Italy, North and South America, South Africa, Portugal, England, Port & Sherry. Howard became a MW in September 2011, following his MW dissertation on the UK wine trade’s attitude to Premier Cru Chablis. His key areas of expertise are Burgundy and Bordeaux but, from his buying experience, he has a great respect for the wines of Chile, Argentina and South Africa. Howard lives in London but also has a house in Gaillac, where he made wine for 6 vintages. Closer to home, he has chaired the judging at the annual SEVA awards for the past 7 years. Howard left M&S in 2013 to focus on consultancy through his new business – Vinetrades.
David Vareille was raised in Chablis, and his career began at the age of 16, when he worked in the Michelin-starred La Salamandre, spending much of his time in the cellars establishing a love for fine wine. A career working with some of the best chefs in Burgundy, Bordeaux and Spain followed. Vareille moved to the UK in 2004 as head sommelier at L’Enclume in the Lake District and has since worked at the Hotel du Vin group and the Bleeding Heart before, in 2010, joining Bar Boulud as head sommelier for the opening of chef Daniel Boulud’s first UK restaurant. With a focus on Burgundy and the Rhône Valley, as well as new world selections, this was a natural move for Vareille, taking him back to his roots. Vareille believes Bar Boulud is a combination of his three great passions: fantastic food, fantastic wines and the best guests you can dream of.
Gearoid Devaney MS
Gearoid Devaney MS works at Flint wines, an independent merchant based in London. He was named Restaurant magazine’s Sommelier of the Year 2007, UK Sommelier of the Year 2008, and is now a Master Sommelier. He was head sommelier at London’s Capital Hotel and has additionally worked at London’s l’Oranger and the 3 Michelin starred Pierre Gagnaire in Paris. In 2003 he assisted Tom Aikens in opening his signature restaurant and was part of the team instrumental in the restaurant winning a Michelin star.
Having cut his teeth setting up the wine list at Le Pont de la Tour in 1991, Jason Haynes spent 10 years as buyer at O.W. Loeb. In 2007 Haynes co-founded Burgundy specialist, Flint Wines, current IWC Burgundy Merchant of the Year, and he spends much of the year in Burgundy searching out the region’s future stars. Haynes was ‘knighted’ at the Clos Vougeot in Burgundy in 2010 as a Chevalier of the Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin.
Mark Andrew is the senior wine buyer at Kensington-based merchant Roberson Wine. In addition to its award-winning shop on London’s Kensington High Street, Roberson supply wine to many of the UK’s top restaurants. When Andrew is not seeking out interesting new wines, he runs Roberson’s Wine School and fine wine tastings. In his spare time, Andrew is editor of Noble Rot magazine and studying towards the Master of Wine qualification.
Michael Apstein is a columnist and wine reviewer for WineReviewOnLine.com and contributes to the wine section of the San Francisco Chronicle. He received a James Beard Foundation Journalism Award in 2000 and was nominated again in 2004 and 2006. In 2008, he won the Les Grands Jours de Bourgogne Press Trophy for an article about Pouilly-Fuissé. In 2010, he was nominated for the Cordon Bleu World Food Media Awards in the best drinks journalist category. Dr. Apstein judges frequently at national and international wine competitions, including the Left Bank Bordeaux Competition, the Coupe des Cru Bourgeois du Médoc, and the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. He was the Chief Judge at the Challenge Millésime Bio in Montpellier in 2012. Dr. Apstein is also an Assistant Professor of Medicine (Gastroenterology) at Harvard Medical School, and frequently lectures and writes about wine and health.
Vincent Pastorello is head sommelier at Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester. His wine career has been international, starting with a position as apprentice sommelier at the Paris Hotel Marriott Champs-Élysées, and moving in quick succession to several Michelin-starred restaurants around the world. From his native Paris, Pastorello moved to London in 2004 to join D&D’s Orrery, after which he worked at Gordon Ramsey at Claridge’s and Gordon Ramsey’s Maze. 2006 saw a move to Melbourne, Australia, which he called home for four years. During his time there, Pastorello worked for both Vue du Monde and Rockpool Bar & Grill, working his way up to the position of head sommelier. He has been with Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester for the past three years.
Written by John Abbott