<img src="http:\/\/www.decanter.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/34\/2012\/05\/000002f34-James_Lawther_MW_.jpg"><h2>James Lawther MW .jpg<\/h2>James Lawther MW is a contributing editor to Decanter as well as an independent wine writer, lecturer and tour guide based in Bordeaux. He retailed wine at Steven Spurrier's Les Caves de la Madeleine in Paris in the 1980s, and his early career also involved stints as a cellar hand in Bordeaux, Burgundy, Roussillon and Western Australia. He became an MW in 1993. He is author of The Heart of Bordeaux and The Finest Wines of Bordeaux and has contributed to books including Dorling Kindersley\u00e2\u0080\u0099s Wines of the World, Oz Clarke\u00e2\u0080\u0099s Bordeaux and Hugh Johnson\u00e2\u0080\u0099s Pocket Wine Book.<img src="http:\/\/www.decanter.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/34\/2012\/05\/000002f2c-Virginia_Philip_MS.jpg"><h2>Virginia Philip MS.jpg<\/h2>Virginia Philip MS is in her eleventh year at The Breakers Palm Beach in Florida, where she maintains and oversees the beverage departments for nine restaurants and bars, and their 14 wine lists, including the 1,600-selection list at L\u00e2\u0080\u0099Escalier, the resort\u00e2\u0080\u0099s signature restaurant which has won the Wine Spectator\u00e2\u0080\u0099s Grand Award every year since its inception in 1981. Prior to her arrival at The Breakers, Virginia worked at many accredited resorts and restaurants throughout the USA, most notably The Little Nell, a Five Diamond\/Five Star resort in Aspen, and was the Wine Buyer for 36 stores in San Antonio, Texas. Viriginia won the title of Best Sommelier of the United States in 2002, owns the Virginia Philip Wine Shop and Academy in West Palm Beach and has developed a wine program for Stephane\u00e2\u0080\u0099s, set to debut this year.<img src="http:\/\/www.decanter.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/34\/2012\/05\/000002f32-Hugo_Rose_MW.jpg"><h2>Hugo Rose MW.jpg<\/h2>Hugo Rose MW joined the wine industry in 1982 after a brief career as a 'garagiste' (motorcycle mechanic). After almost 20 years with UK fine wine merchants Lay & Wheeler, Hugo set up his own consultancy offering a variety of commercial services to the wine industry including project development, cellar maturity evaluation and tastings of historic vintages. He has contributed to wine journals in both the UK and abroad, writing on diverse subjects such as as theories of terroir and wine investment. Current roles include head of trading for Culver Street, a boutique wine portfolio manager. He became a Master of Wine in 1992, and served as Chairman of the Institute in 2002.<img src="http:\/\/www.decanter.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/34\/2014\/06\/000002f31-Gareth_Birchley.jpg"><h2><\/h2><img src="http:\/\/www.decanter.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/34\/2012\/05\/000002f30-Dominique_Vrigneau.jpg"><h2>Dominique Vrigneau.jpg<\/h2>Dominique Vrigneau joined Majestic on a work experience placement in 1986 after completing a five-year PhD in agriculture and oenology in France. He was soon promoted to the position of Buying Manager. He joined Thierry\u00e2\u0080\u0099s in 1991 after a chance encounter with founder Thierry Cabanne and is now Buying Director for France, Austria, Germany, Australasia and the US. Dominique is also a Chevalier de Tastevin and has judged in key international competitions for many years.<img src="http:\/\/www.decanter.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/34\/2012\/05\/000002f33-Ignatius_Chan.jpg"><h2>Ignatius Chan.jpg<\/h2>Ignatius Chan is a sommelier and restaurateur who founded Iggy\u00e2\u0080\u0099s in 2004 at The Regent Singapore. The restaurant relocated to The Hilton Hotel Singapore in September 2010. He joined the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Singapore as a waiter in 1987 after graduating and was later promoted to Sommelier at its French restaurant, Fourchettes. In 1990, he won the Veuve Clicquot Champagne scholarship, as well as the prestigious Singapore Best Sommelier for French Wines and Spirits Competition. In 1991, he joined Raffles Hotel as Cellar Master. He was a founding partner of Les Amis and in 1998 was selected as the only Asian member of the prestigious Grand Jury Europ\u00c3\u00a9en.<img src="http:\/\/www.decanter.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/34\/2012\/05\/000002f35-Jean_Louis_Naveilhan.jpg"><h2>Jean-Louis Naveilhan.jpg<\/h2>Jean-Louis Naveilhan is from Provence and graduated with a sommelier diploma from the Wine School of Tain l\u00e2\u0080\u0099Hermitage in the Rh\u00c3\u00b4ne Valley. He is a Certified Sommelier awarded by the International Court of Master Sommeliers and has more than 20 years\u00e2\u0080\u0099 experience in the wine industry. In 2004 Jean-Louis set up the first company in the UK that specialises in importing premium Sake from Japan. As well as consulting for both private and trade customers, Jean-Louis has been working since 2005 as Head Sommelier for Sumosan, a renowned Japanese eatery in Mayfair.<img src="http:\/\/www.decanter.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/34\/2012\/05\/000002f36-Laurent_Chaniac.jpg"><h2>Laurent Chaniac.jpg<\/h2>Laurent Chaniac is food and wine consultant to The Cinnamon Club and Kitchen in London where his expertise in matching wines to Indian cuisine has become very popular. He has been described as a sommelier who \u00e2\u0080\u009chas pioneered some revolutionary ideas on pairing wine with the constantly evolving Indian flavours." He has also worked in various managerial positions with some of London's finest dining experiences for years, including L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, The Square Restaurant and The Stafford Hotel, all part of the group holding 25 Michelin stars.<img src="http:\/\/www.decanter.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/34\/2012\/05\/000002f2d-Alison_Buchanan.jpg"><h2>Alison Buchanan.jpg<\/h2>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. She then joined Scotland\u00e2\u0080\u0099s oldest wine merchants, Whighams of Ayr, in 1989. When Corney & Barrow bought Whighams in 1994, Alison continued in Scotland before moving to London as Associate Director of Buying in 1998. Passionate about wine, Alison recognises the need to see it in a wider business context. To this end, she studied for an MBA which she completed in 2005. Today Alison looks after the top relationships in the Corney & Barrow portfolio, heading up what is classified as prestige buying for want of a better word \u00e2\u0080\u0093 all of the blue chips.<img src="http:\/\/www.decanter.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/34\/2012\/05\/000002f2e-Andy_Howard_MW.jpg"><h2>Andy Howard MW.jpg<\/h2>Andy Howard MW buys wine at Marks & Spencer, and is responsible for Burgundy, Bordeaux, Loire, Italy, North and South America, South Africa, Portugal, England, Port & Sherry. Andy became a MW in September 2011 following his MW dissertation on the UK wine trade\u00e2\u0080\u0099s attitude to Premier-Cru Chablis. Andy\u00e2\u0080\u0099s main loves in wine are Burgundy and Bordeaux and, from the New World, Chile and Argentina. Other wine interests are the wines of Gaillac where he made wine for 6 vintages and has a house, chairing the judges for the annual SEVA awards for the past six years and sitting on the Plumpton College Curriculum Advisory Panel. Non-wine interests are cricket, skiing, photography and music.<img src="http:\/\/www.decanter.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/34\/2012\/05\/000002f2f-Christopher_Cannan.jpg"><h2>Christopher Cannan.jpg<\/h2>After a spell at Lloyds in London, Christopher Cannan joined Percy Fox & Co., then spent most of 1970 travelling in Europe and earning his board and lodging by working in cellars and vineyards. He then stayed on in Bordeaux as assistant to the export director of negociant, Louis Eschenauer S.A., where he travelled to the Channel Islands, home to the UK, Denmark and the USA. Still based in Bordeaux, Christopher then joined New York importer, Frederick Wildman & Sons, as assistant to the managing director. When the company\u00e2\u0080\u0099s Margaux office closed in 1978, Christopher set up Europvin, a company exporting top quality single estates from Bordeaux, the Loire, Burgundy, the Rh\u00c3\u00b4ne and Rioja internationally and offering logistical services. Europvin Iberia followed in the 1990\u00e2\u0080\u0099s. In 1997, Christopher purchased Clos Figueras in Priorat. Christopher\u00e2\u0080\u0099s equally strong commitment to France has earned him the nomination of Chevalier de l\u00e2\u0080\u0099Ordre du M\u00c3\u00a9rite Agricole.<img src="http:\/\/www.decanter.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/34\/2012\/05\/000002f3b-Sebastian_Payne_MW.jpg"><h2>Sebastian Payne MW.jpg<\/h2>Sebastian Payne MW started in the wine trade in 1970 with Fred May, a shipper specialising in the wines of France, Germany and Hungary. He joined The Wine Society in 1973 as Promotions Manager, responsible for publications and passed his MW in 1977. In 1985 he became Chief Buyer, travelling to all major wine regions in the world. In 1995, he served as Chairman of the Institute of Masters of Wine and as Chairman of Masters of Wine Examiners in 1996. Sebastian is also a Chevalier dans l'Ordre du M\u00c3\u00a9rite Agricole. Having stepped down as Chief Buyer, Sebastian remains an integral part of The Wine Society\u00e2\u0080\u0099s buying team and currently writes for the Society List and website, as well as blogs in his inimitable style.<img src="http:\/\/www.decanter.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/34\/2012\/05\/000002f3a-Robert_Gorjak.jpg"><h2>Robert Gorjak.jpg<\/h2>Robert Gorjak lives near Ljubljana, Slovenia, and has written about wine since 1994. Beside regular contributions to Slovenian periodicals, he is a contributor to The Oxford Companion to Wine and The World Atlas of Wine. He is the author of Wine guide \u00e2\u0080\u0093 Slovenia 2012. A regular judge in national and international wine competitions, he and his wife founded Slovenia\u00e2\u0080\u0099s first wine school, Belvin, in 2002.<img src="http:\/\/www.decanter.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/34\/2012\/05\/000002f39-Peter_Nixson.jpg"><h2>Peter Nixson.jpg<\/h2>Peter Nixson joined British Airways as an airline steward in 1973 \u00e2\u0080\u0093 having never drunk a glass of wine in his life. Through his job he visited places including California, South Africa and Australia just when their wine industries were starting to establish themselves. His interest in wine grew and, in 1982, he began to take courses at the WSET and earned his Diploma with Honours in 1986. In 1987 he joined BA\u00e2\u0080\u0099s newly created Wine Department taking over its management in 1989. For the next 20 years, he was responsible for the selection of all BA\u00e2\u0080\u0099s wines \u00e2\u0080\u0093 over 450,000 cases a year \u00e2\u0080\u0093 including the Concorde Cellar. Peter left BA in 2009 and now works for Vinum, a specialist importer of Italian wines.<img src="http:\/\/www.decanter.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/34\/2012\/05\/000002f38-Panos_Kakaviatos.jpg"><h2>Panos Kakaviatos.jpg<\/h2>Panos Kakaviatos is an American of Greek origin who takes advantage of his base in Strasbourg to regularly visit the great vineyards of France. He writes about wine for various publications, including Decanter and publishes a blog connectionstowine.com. Panos also organises tasting events for wineries he likes and for luxury hotel restaurants in Germany and in the US. Panos is a trained journalist whose day job is as a press attach\u00c3\u00a9 for the Council of Europe. Panos is currently researching to write a book on French wine.<img src="http:\/\/www.decanter.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/34\/2012\/05\/000002f37-Nicola_Arcedeckne_Butler_MW.jpg"><h2>Nicola Arcedeckne-Butler MW.jpg<\/h2>Nicola specialises in the classic regions of Bordeaux and Burgundy as Director of Buying for Private Cellar. Her Time in Italy in her twenties also awoke a passion in all things Italian, including the language.She started her career with Majestics Wine Warehouses in 1987 before catapulting to Corney and Barrow.Before becoming their Wine Buyer she assisted in the development of the broking department.1996 was the year that she passed the prestigious Master of Wine Examination, and with that collected the Villa Maria award for best viticulture paper. Her passion of wine and travel has assisted in her becoming fluent in both French and Italian.<img src="http:\/\/www.decanter.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/34\/2012\/05\/000002f3d-Vicki_Stephens_Clarkson.jpg"><h2>Vicki Stephens-Clarkson.jpg<\/h2>Vicki Stephens-Clarkson joined the wine trade in 2000. She worked in sales and buying with numerous wine companies including Lay & Wheeler and Direct Wines, before joining Liberty Wines as Buyer in 2008. She has worked in wineries in France, Australia and Argentina, and speaks French, Spanish and Russian. She specialises in several French regions, as well as South America, and is currently studying for her MW.<img src="http:\/\/www.decanter.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/34\/2012\/05\/000002f3c-Tony_Aspler.jpg"><h2>Tony Aspler.jpg<\/h2>Tony Aspler has been writing about wine since 1975 and has been Wine Columnist for The Toronto Star for 22 years. He is also the author of 16 wine books including The Wine Atlas of Canada and three wine murder mystery novels Blood Is Thicker than Beaujolais, The Beast of Barbaresco and Death on the Douro. In 2001, Tony co-founded the charity Grapes for Humanity to raise money through the wine community for victims of landmines and children with disabilities. In 2007 Tony was awarded the Order of Canada and in 2012 he was elected to the New York Media Wine Writers Hall of Fame.