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DWWA 2014: Southern Italy judging panel

Find out about our Decanter World Wine Awards 2014 Southern Italy judging panel with biographies of the Regional Chair Jane Hunt MW plus Alessandro Torcoli, Antony Moss MW, Charles Curtis MW, Daniele Cernilli, Jean Reilly MW, Luciana Lynch, Margaret Rand, Nick Bielak, Peter Nixson and Sebastian Payne MW.

Regional chair: Jane Hunt MW

Hunt’s 40-year career in wine has spanned sales, marketing, buying, education, writing and PR. She moved from Italy to the UK in 1977, and became a Vintners’ Company Scholar in 1981 and a Master of Wine in 1985. Hunt now runs Hunt & Coady, which organises trade tastings and the annual Argentina Wine Awards competition in Mendoza. Hunt spends several months of the year in Italy, where she produces olive oil at her renovated farmhouse in Umbria.


Alessandro Torcoli

Alessandro Torcoli is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Italian wine magazine Civilta del Bere. In his time as editor, he has organised wine tastings and events around the world, with these including Vino Vip Cortina, the biannual summit of the best Italian wines. Torcoli has been writing about wine since 1998, studied public relations, and achieved the sommelier certificate from the Associazione Italiana Sommelier (Italian sommelier association). The recipient of many awards for this writing, Torcoli was awarded Best Young Italian Wine Journalist by the Comitato Grandi Cru d’Italia in 2009, and he appears regularly on TV as well as contributing to Italian newspapers.

Antony Moss MW

Antony Moss MW is director of strategic planning for the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET). His current role covers long-term business planning and new product development, and he was previously responsible for the WSET’s textbooks and other education materials. Moss has worked for the company since 2004 and was the author of Wines & Spirits: Looking Behind the Label. Moss joined the wine industry in 1998 as a part-time sales advisor for S.H. Jones in Leamington Spa, and completed his WSET diploma in 2003 while working for Sainsbury’s supermarkets. He won the Austrian wine marketing board’s prize for both his WSET diploma and MW, and he is now a member of the education committee for the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW), supervising one of their two European second year residential programs.

Charles Curtis MW

Charles Curtis MW is an 18-year veteran of the wine trade and has held a variety of posts over the years, but his professional career began as a chef, trained in Paris, after which he worked in restaurants around the world. In October 2004, Curtis became the 22nd Master of Wine in the United States and he has held the role of head of wine for Christie’s in both the Americas and Asia. Curtis writes regularly for the Chinese version of La Revue du Vin de France and he has been a contributing editor to books and magazines on wine, as well as a featured speaker at dozens of wine and food festivals. Curtis currently advises on fine wine to private, trade and institutional clients through his company CurtisMW.

Daniele Cernilli

Daniele Cernilli was born in Rome and graduated with a masters in philosophy. In 1979 he began his career in the wine trade at Vini & Liquori, a monthly magazine, before going on to co-found what would become the annual Gambero Rosso Vini d’Italia in 1987. Cernilli has held various editorial positions, including editor-at-large of Gambero Rosso magazine and Wine Travel Food, and in 1988 he was named editor-in-chief of Vini d’Italia (also published in English as Italian Wines), where he directed the tastings of wines entered from all over Italy – from a few hundred in the first edition to over 18,000 in the 2010 edition. In 1999, Cernilli started writing for Rai Sat/Gambero Rosso Channel and, in 2009, he was made editor-in-chief of the programme. Cernilli has consulted for the Associazione Italiana Sommelier and the Worldwide Sommelier Association, and is currently working on his own Italian and English web magazine, DoctorWine.it. In 2013 he began cooperating with ONAV (Organizzazione Nazionale Assaggiatori di Vino), Spirito di Vino, Sette (weekly of the Italian leading newspaper Corriere della Sera) and Pagina99 (weekly magazine for art & culture).

Jean Reilly MW

Jean K Reilly MW has over a dozen years experience in the wine industry. She has traveled to more than 60 wine regions across four continents. Reillycurrently works as a public speaker and a purchasing and private label consultant to retailers. In the past, she has run the purchasing operations of JJ Buckley Fine Wines, Morrel & Company and the Morrell Wine Bar & Café. In 2010, Reilly became the fifth American woman to earn the Master of Wine title. Her dissertation on US Sommelier Opinions of German Riesling won the Quinta do Noval Award for Outstanding Dissertation. Reilly appears frequently on television and radio speaking about wine and writes for a variety of publications, including Beverage Media, Fortune and American Airlines’ Latitudes magazine. Reilly is also a professional skydiver, having made over 800 jumps. She recently completed a qualification which will allow her to fulfill her dream of parachuting into famous vineyards and iconic wine events around the world.

Luciana Lynch

Luciana Lynch held senior positions at companies including Hedges & Butler, Findlater Matta, Remy Associés and Enotria before setting up her own business and consultancy in the late 1980s. Her entire career has seen her engage in selling and sourcing wines, especially from Italy, although she has also been involved in wine education and journalism. She is now retired, after a wine career spanning 35 years.

Margaret Rand

Margaret Rand is a past editor of Wine Magazine, Wine & Spirit International and Whisky Magazine. She now writes for World of Fine Wine, Drinks Business, Decanter and the FT among others, and is general editor of Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book. She is working on a new edition of Grapes and Wines, and in 2013 won the Louis Roederer Feature Writer of the Year award.

Nick Bielak

After several forays to Italy, Nick Bielak emigrated in 1996 and inevitably became involved in wine, working for a Puglian winery until 2003. He then returned to London to work for Bibendum as an Italian specialist. Since 2006, Bielak has had the privilage of working with Nicolas Belfrage MW at Vinexus, with whom he roams Italy’s vast expanse of DOCs and DOCGs, consulting with producers and enologists. He currently spends half his time in Italy, and half in London and has recently embarked on MW studies.

Peter Nixson

Peter Nixson joined British Airways as an airline steward in 1973 – having never drunk a glass of wine in his life. Through his job he visited places including California, South Africa and Australia at the time when their wine industries were starting to become established. His interest in wine grew and, in 1982, he began to take courses at the WSET and earned his diploma with honours in 1986. The following year, he joined BA’s newly created wine department taking over its management in 1989. For the next 20 years he was responsible for the selection of all BA’s wines – over 450,000 cases a year – including the Concorde cellar. Nixson left BA in 2009, worked for Vinum, a specialist importer of Italian wines and currently owns wine consultancy firm Airline Wine Consultancy.

Sebastian Payne MW

Sebastian Payne MW joined the wine trade in 1970 at Fred May, a shipper specialising in the wines of France, Germany and Hungary. Three years later he joined The Wine Society as promotions manager, responsible for publications, and in 1977 he passed his MW. Payne was appointed chief buyer in 1985, has travelled to all of the world’s major wine regions, and is a Chevalier dans l’Ordre du Mérite Agricole. In 1995, he served as chairman of the Institute of Masters of Wine, and in 1996 he was chairman of the Masters of Wine examiners. Having stepped down as chief buyer, Payne remains an integral part of The Wine Society’s buying team and currently sources its Italian, German and Eastern European wines, as well as writing for the Society List and website.

Written by John Abbott

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