Find out more about the world-renowned names that make up the 2014 Decanter World Wine Awards judging line-up in this Q&A series.
Janet Dorozynski has worked in various capacities relating to the Canadian and international wine industry for more than fifteen years. She currently oversees a Government of Canada programme to assist Canadian Embassies in promoting Canadian wine around the world. Dorozynski also writes for WineAlign.com and is a WSET Certified Educator. She has a doctorate in demography and public policy studies.
Read our interview with Janet Dorozynski below…
☆ Which year or decade do you wish you’d been born in and why?
I think we live in pretty exciting times right now but, if I had to pick another time, I would like to have been born in the late 1800s/early 1900s so as to have lived during the Années Folles in Paris. I just love this line from Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, where he describes the wine philosophy during that time: “Drinking wine was not a snobbism nor a sign of sophistication nor a cult; it was as natural as eating and to me as necessary”.
☆ How old were you when you had your first wine ‘moment’ and what was it?
I have had more than one wine ‘moment’, but the one which made me realise that wine would be a life long journey was during a vertical tasting of La Coulée de Serrant, in the mid-to-late 1990s. I had begun formally to study wine and I remember being moved by the complexity and multi-faceted nature of this particular wine and how each vintage could be similar yet so different.
☆ How many bottles do you have in your cellar and what is your most recent addition?
I don’t have a very big cellar but keep about 200 or so bottles in my basement at a fairly consistent temperature. My most recent addition was a few bottles of the Lammershoek Roulette Blanc 2010, an exotic and intriguing white blend from Swartland.
☆ How many years have you been working in the wine industry and what was your first job?
I started formally studying wine in the mid-1990s. My first real wine job was as an intern at Wines of South Africa in Stellenbosch. It really was the chance of a lifetime, and a transformative experience being able to work with all the major players and be tasting South African wines, in situ, all the time.
☆ Which vintage and region (or wine) do you wish you’d bought a whole case of wine from?
I love Riesling in general and in particular, the Rieslings from Domaine Ostertag in Alsace. I wish I had bought a case of their 1988 Riesling Muenchberg which I saw in the mid-1990s for a very sweet price. I’m sure it’s still quite delicious today.
☆ In the last 12 months, which grape have you drunk the most of?
As I lived in Germany for part of last year, I drank tons of Riesling. Since returning to Canada, I’ve continued to drink Riesling (a lot from Canada as we make some great Rieslings), as well as a fair bit of Chenin Blanc.
☆ In the last 12 months, what’s the most exciting region you’ve discovered or re-discovered and why?
I’ve started to try more wine from Greece over the past year and am really enjoying the earthy indigenous reds and bracing briny whites, like Assyrtiko. I have also been tasting a number of dry Hungarian wines and quite like dry Furmint.
☆ Who’s your wine idol (who has inspired you the most in the wine world)?
There are so many inspiring women and men in the industry, but two women have stood out for me – Jancis Robinson MW for her academic rigour and contribution to wine knowledge, and Su Birch, former CEO of Wines of South Africa, for her ability to lead the industry while keeping her finger on its pulse. She had a strong vision and the foresight to lead and take chances.
☆ What’s your most memorable wine and food moment?
I’ve been fortunate to have had quite a few but would say that a meal at Martín Berasategui’s restaurant in San Sebastian was especially memorable. I had the tasting menu and everything was perfect – fresh seafood and local Basque cuisine paired with Basque and Spanish wines that I’d never had before.
☆ If you could taste/drink any wine in the world what would it be and who would you drink it with?
I love Champagne so I’d say either Dom Pérignon 2004 or Krug Clos du Mesnil 2000, to sip on and toast my nearest and dearest.
☆ What do you enjoy most about judging at the Decanter World Wine Awards?
It is an honour and privilege to judge at the DWWA and be surrounded by professional judges with extensive experience and wine knowledge. While we all have our wine preferences, wine judging should be based on quality parameters rather than personal preferences. The DWWA emphasises and ensures all that in spades. It’s also great to be able to meet so many of the wine world’s luminaries and see colleagues and friends.
Written by Decanter