The International Wine Challenge (IWC) brings together many of the most important people in the wine world.
Six chairmen, each of them leaders in their field, have been at the helm for this year's IWC. Between them, they taste every single medal-winning wine, ensuring that only the best succeed. They are: Tim Atkin MW, Oz Clarke, Charles Metcalfe, Sam Harrop MW, Derek Smedley MW and Peter McCombie MW.
Tim is a British wine writer with an international following, with more than 25 awards to his name, including the 2009 Louis Roederer Wine Columnist of the Year and the 2011 Louis Roederer International Wine Website of the Year. In 2012, he was selected as one of the ten most influential people in the world of wine by Wine Intelligence.
He is Wine Editor at Large of OLN (Off-Licence News) and also writes for Woman and Home, The World of Fine Wine, Gourmet Traveller Wine, Imbibe, The Economist's Intelligent Life and his own website, www.timatkin.com. Tim appears regularly on BBC One's Saturday Kitchen as one of the team of resident wine experts.
Tim judges wine all over the world and is the chairman of the Top 100 South African Wines and the Wines from Spain Awards. He passed the Master of Wine exam at the first attempt in 2001, winning the Robert Mondavi Award for the best set of theory papers, and holds a BA in French from Durham University and an MSc in European Studies from the London School of Economics.
Oz is one of the world's leading wine experts, whose formidable reputation is based on his extensive wine knowledge and accessible, no-nonsense approach. His numerous award-winning books include Pocket Wine Guide, 250 Best Wines, Bordeaux and Let me tell you about wine. Oz's third BBC TV series with 'Top Gear' co-presenter James May was 'Oz and James Drink to Britain'. For this series and the accompanying book Oz and James were awarded the International Wine Challenge Personality of the Year Award. Oz has since filmed two series with comic Hugh Dennis and there is more ongoing television with James May. In 2010 Oz became an Officier de l'Ordre du Mérite Agricole for services to French agriculture.
Sam began his winemaking career in 1994 in NZ at Villa Maria. He moved to the UK in 1997 as a 'flying winemaker for Marks and Spencer'. He passed The Master of Wine exam on his first attempt at the age of 32. Sam is now an independent consultant, educator and commentator in the wine industry. He recently co-authored 'Authentic Wine', a book that focuses on the concept of naturalness and sustainability in wine. In 2012 Sam was awarded with 'The Julian Brind Memorial Trophy for Outstanding Achievement in the wine industry'.
Peter's career in wine started in sales working with legendary Italian champions Winecellars. He now operates an independent wine consultancy service, focused on hotels and restaurants.
Born and raised in New Zealand, now resident in London, he speaks widely, hosting corporate and public events as well as industry seminars. He teaches at the Christie's Wine Course and the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, as well as conducting bespoke courses for anyone from beginners to MW students. He writes for a number of publications and has judged wine competitions around the world.
Charles Metcalfe's tasting career started at university, where he captained the Oxford tasting team to victory over Cambridge two years running. He co-founded the consumer magazine Wine International with Robert Joseph in 1983. They started the International Wine Challenge in 1984. He is also in demand as an international wine judge, and has judged in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal and South Africa.
As well as writing books on Spanish and Portuguese wines, and on matching wine with food, Charles has appeared on many UK television programmes, presenting drinks and and food items. His latest book is 'The Wine & Food Lover's Guide to Portugal', written with his wife, Kathryn McWhirter, with an update due shortly, and his website, www.charlesmetcalfe.com, allows him the occasional rant.
Sam began his career in the UK as one of Marks & Spencer's youngest 'flying winemakers'. By age 32 he had travelled to every major wine region in the world, and passed The Master of Wine exam on his first attempt, receiving the Tim Derouet Award for outstanding performance. Sam is now an independent consultant, educator and commentator in the wine industry.
He recently co-authored 'Authentic Wine', a new book focusing on the concept of naturalness in wine. He is also a 'Sake Samurai' and a champion of the International Wine Challenge Sake Category.
Simon Hofstra is Sake category manager at the Dutch wine importing company Vinites responsible for the sales of sake in Europe.
He graduated on the Dutch Wine Academy and Gastronomy Academy in Holland during his work as sommelier in the first Michelin star awarded Japanese restaurant. As of 2000 he started to combine sake with non-Japanese food, creating a new market in Holland and Belgium.
Bringing sake to the wider public he started his own sake company in 2005 which later became Sake Europe that is nowadays part of one of the biggest wine importing companies of Holland.
Simon won the Sake Contributor Award in 2008 and became Sake Samurai in 2009.
Ken Ohashi is a leading Japanese wine and Sake distributor in Tokyo with accolades from the industry. Awarded Best Wine Merchant 1999 by Japan Sommelier Association he has shown his intricate knowledge of the subject both at home and abroad. He is author of "Natural Wine" and is the online wine columnist of Japan's national newspaper "Yomiuri". He holds a Diploma from WSET in London and has been recently certified Master of Sake (SSI) and Sake Expert Assessor (NRIB). In addition, he has started exporting his selection of Sake and Japanese wines to the world market.
The Panel Chairmen role is crucial - they control the individual tasting panels to ensure that the quality, potential and typicity of every wine is fairly, professionally and consistently assessed. The Panel Chairmen are in attendance for the full 10 days of judging and like the Chairmen, are the IWC's core group of tasters.
Sarah Abbott has worked in the wine trade for 15 years, and became a Master of Wine in 2008. She comes from a noisy family of food-obsessed restaurateurs, and it is their heritage of gluttony and curiosity that inspired her passion for wine, and for sharing its joys. She is the director of Swirl, a wine events and education company, and a wine writer and judge. Sarah also works with companies in the wine trade, advising on wine sourcing, and marketing and communications strategy.
Nick has been in the wine trade for 30 years and passed the Master of Wine exam in 1992. He grew up in good old W&A Gilbey wholesale (then part of IDV UK) before moving onto the pioneering Geoffrey Roberts agency house, the forerunner for New World wines in the UK. He has spent equal time working in both the On and Off trade channels and now runs his own company First Glass Wine Services, working closely with both the Independent and On Trades and with Corporate and Private clients.
Adrian highly respected within the industry with background in wine buying and product development. He has bought wines on behalf of major UK retailers including Oddbins in the early 90’s to 2001 overseeing a diverse portfolio including Australia, New Zealand, Bordeaux, Rhone, Portugal, Italy, Germany and Sparkling Wines and at Sainsbury’s, overseeing a on-line/mail. Adrian has worked within brand owning and producing companies since 2004 (Allied Domecq and Pernod Ricard), where he contributes in the areas of new product development, blending, wine styles and quality. Adrian is also a regular Senior Judge in wine competitions in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.
Christine is a wine writer, broadcaster and a wine judge for several international wine competitions. She has a technical background and spent five years as a buyer for a major supermarket before moving to wine writing.
She writes for The Yorkshire Post, Dales Life and organises the York Festival of Food and Drink. She has won both the Lanson and the Roederer prizes for wine writing.
Richard became a Master of Wine in 1990 and managed Australian company Brown Brothers' UK office for 9 years. He now works in public relations for Yvon Mau in Bordeaux and Albert Bichot in Burgundy, and other clients include Leiths School of Food and Wine, Dom Perignon Champagne, Santa Rita Estates, Château Sociando-Mallet and the English Wine Group. He was European Champagne Ambassador 2009 and is currently Chairman of the Association of Wine Educators.
Clive has been in the wine trade for over 20 years. He began working for Safeways in the late 1980's subsequently moving onto Peter Dominics and Wine Rack and establishing his own wine sales and consultancy business. He passed the MW in 1999 and he is currently Chair of the IMW's Education Committee.
Susie Barrie is a Master of Wine and presenter on BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen. An award-winning author and winner of the IMW’s Outstanding Achievement Award, Susie is well known for her friendly, no-nonsense approach to wine. As well as appearing widely in TV, radio, print media and events like the BBC Good Food Show, she judges in several competitions, including chairing the UK’s only food-and-wine matching awards, What Food What Wine. Together with her husband and fellow MW Peter Richards, she runs Susie & Peter’s Wine School, hosting regular events for private and corporate clients, and their website susieandpeter.com.
Christy Canterbury is a journalist, public speaker and judge based in Manhattan. Upon becoming a Master of Wine, she received the Villa Maria Award for Outstanding Performance in the Viticulture Examination. Christy’s articles have been published in Decanter, Wine Enthusiast, Food Arts, Sommelier Journal, Beverage Media, TASTED and on Snooth, TimAtkin.com and several other blogs, including her own. Christy is the Consulting Editor of the recently released book, Rock & Vine, and the Italy Editor for the Professional Wine Reference. Her 2012 public speaking appearances included the European Wine Bloggers’ Conference, the Hong Kong Interntional Wine & Spirits Fair, the Women in Wine Leadership Symposium and TEXSOM. Prior to going independent, Christy was the Global Beverage Director for Culinary Concepts by Jean-Georges Vongerichten and the National Wine Director for Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group. In retail, she sourced wines from within and outside Italy for Italian Wine Merchants.
Sam Caporn has been in the wine industry for 15 years and was most recently Wine Development Manager for Constellation Wines Australia & Europe. Prior to that she worked at Direct Wines as a buyer for nearly 3 years, purchasing wines from Australia, New Zealand, the Loire, Champagne and Central and Eastern Europe. Before that, a fun four years at Wine Magazine put her in a very good place for passing her Master of Wine exams first time in 2005. Sam also won the Madame Bollinger Foundation Award for excellence in the MW tasting paper.
Brett is a graduate of Australia’s Roseworthy College and has been judging in international wine competitions around the globe for more than 30 years. Brett’s experience is extensive, currently working with many of the great wine estates globally, including Domaine Guigal. He has lived and worked in Australia, Argentina, Russia, France and UK including 12 years with LVMH in their sparkling wine and Champagne operations. He spends many months a year globetrotting to advise and service his clients, and regularly contributes to radio, TV and numerous international journals.
Alison is a trained winemaker, viticulturist, and wine educator. Over the past 15 years she has been making wine, managing a large commercial vineyard, and judging wine throughout Australia, the US, IWSC and at the IWC. For the past seven years she has worked as a wine educator at the Sydney Wine Academy delivering primarily the WSET courses at all levels. Alison became a Master of Wine in 2013.
Jamie obtained a PhD in plant biology and worked as a science editor before deciding that his passions lay with wine. He authors www.wineanorak.com, is the weekly columnist for the Sunday Express and writes for several magazines. In 2006 he won a Glenfiddich award for his first book, Wine science (Mitchell Beazeley), and in 2007 he won a second Glenfiddich award, this time as Wine Writer of the Year. Jamie is currently working on a book titled Natural wine, with Sam Harrop MW.
Conal qualified as a Master of Wine in 1979. He consults for major airlines and cruise operators and several estates. He writes for The Times and The Scotsman. He was Conservative MP for York 1983-92. His awards include the Mercier Champagne Scholarship. His books include The Cognac Companion and A Caterer's Guide to Drinks.
Jim comes from a family that is rich in wine making history, his grandfather, father and brother were all winemakers, and his other brother has been involved in the wine trade in France for the last 25 years. Having been involved in wine judging for over twenty years Jim has been part of the judging teams of every major New Zealand Show. Internationally Jim is a regular judge in the United States, London, Japan and China. Jim currently holds the position of Senior Judge with New Zealand Winegrowers, Chairman of Judges for the New World Wine Competition and is a Wine Consultant for Air New Zealand.
Brendan is a Graduate of Charles Sturt University, where he studied winemaking and viticulture. He has been successfully making a diverse range of table wine styles for over twenty years, as well he is a blender and custodian of some of the oldest and richest fortified wine stocks in Australia. He is a passionate wine educator and regularly judges wines throughout Australia.
Susan Hulme became a Master of Wine in 2005. She was awarded the 2005 Bollinger Tasting Medal, an award not given every year, for the best tasting papers in the Master of Wine exam. She set up her company Vintuition Ltd in 2000 to run courses for both the general public and trade. She is a former Chairman of the Association of Wine Educators and is the current editor of their newsletter.
Helen runs a wine marketing & PR consultancy business, Helen McGinn Associates. Her wine career started with Tesco Stores in 1995, where she joined as a graduate buyer. She spent the next nine years there as a Buyer, then Product Development Manager, sourcing wines from most major wine producing countries. Helen has worked with wineries of all sizes developing products and brands for global markets. In her spare time she writes a weekly wine blog – Knackered Mothers' Wine Club – recently picked by The Guardian online as one of the top 5 'mummy blogs' to watch.
Martin has been involved with wine since 1982 and over the years has worked in almost every facet including the on trade, retail, wholesale, buying, teaching, marketing, wine making, writing and broadcasting. He passed the Master of Wine exam in 1994 and has been short listed for a Glenfiddich award as well as the World Food Media Awards 'Best Drinks Writer'. He's judged at major competitions in the UK, Australia and South Africa.
Sheri is a Master of Wine, wine educator and wine writer. She also works as a marketing research consultant. She has been featured in numerous magazines and online publications and has appeared on television and radio shows around the United States as well as in France and Argentina. She has extensive experience as a wine judge and has judged at competitions in the US, the UK and Argentina. Sheri resides in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Annette Scarfe started in wine by importing from small French domaines while holding down a career as a banker. Her job eventually took her to Singapore where she decided to leave banking and focus on wine. She has since developed a reputation in wine education and consulting for both the on- and off-trade. She has also consulted for restaurants including Sake No Hana, Cha Cha Moon and Princi. Annette is a regular on magazine tasting panels, and is also a WSET-certified educator as well as a Bordeaux Educator, and prefers to work with her clients' wine personnel to deliver bespoke training or support.
Joanna is the Wine & Food Editor of House & Garden and the Editor of Gourmet. She is a contributor to many other publications and her award-winning books, published all over the world, include Wine An Introduction, Discovering Wine, Wine With Food and The Sunday Times Book of Wine. She was previously the wine columnist of The Sunday Times and is a former editor of both Wine and Wine & Spirit magazines.
Madeleine is based in Sweden and consults globally to high profile wine producers as well as importing companies across the Nordic market. In 2008 Madeleine became a Master of Wine and received the Quinta do Noval Award for the best dissertation "The effect of altitude on Malbec in Mendoza". Her work experience includes wine buyer at Systembolaget, the Swedish retailing monopoly; Quality & Product Development Manager for a leading Nordic importing company, Prime Wine Group; Marketing Manager for Wines of South Africa (WOSA); Food and Beverage Manager and Sommelier.
In 2013, Madeleine was the international guest judge at the International Sweet Wine Challenge and Riverina Wine Show in Australia and the Air New Zealand Wine Awards in Auckland, NZ
Matthew embarked on a career in wine after deciding it was too difficult to cut it as a professional jazz musician. A stint as Agency Wine Director for Seagram UK was followed by the post as Head of Wine for Safeway. He qualified as a Master of Wine in 1996 winning the Bollinger Award for tasting and Listel award for best vinification paper. In 2003 he moved to the Languedoc to start a consultancy business and in 2008 set up Vinécole, a wine school based near Carcassonne. He lives in the less "wild" part of the Corbières.
South Africa's only resident Master of Wine, Cathy is a regular judge for the Trophy Wine Show, occasional panellist for several other local competitions and, increasingly, overseas. Co-founder of Grape, she contributes to international magazines and websites, and lectures for the Cape Wine Academy on Tasting and World of Wine Theory. She is currently a member of the Institute of Masters of Wine's education committee responsible for organising its seminar for second-year students in Bordeaux.
Joe won the coveted International Wine and Spirit Communicator of the Year award 2005. He studied wine making in Bordeaux and has since worked as a buyer and consultant for a number of leading supermarket chains. Joe's knowledge and experience culminated in him becoming the yougest ever International Senior Judge at The Royal Melbourne Wine Show.
French born, Lilyane brings a wealth of experience to the IWC's team of Panel Chairmen. A Sopexa Lecturer from 1967 to 1990, in 1991 she received the Wine Trade Club Educational Trophy – WSET Rouyer Guillet Cup. For 20 years she has been a regular contributor to Hertfordshire Countryside, Buckinghamshire countryside and Academie Suisse du Vin (all have since ceased publication). She judges regularly at wine competitions in some 19 different countries and is particularly interested in the South American wine producing countries which she has visited regularly. Since 2012, she has been judging at the IWC sake awards. She also acts as a consultant for a number of restaurants and writes reviews and articles for an e-magazine. Since 1990 she has been the proprietor of a Wholesale Wine Business (Wine World) in Hertfordshire. She is a member of the Institute of Wines and Spirits.
Since swapping a career as an electronics design engineer for a more enjoyable one in wine communication, Simon has been editor of the Which? Wine Guide, a columnist for the FT and author of a number of books, including the award-winning 'I don't know much about wine but I know what I like.' His unstuffy, entertaining style also means he is much in demand as a speaker for a wide variety of wine events.
John began his winemaking career at Petaluma winery in the late 70's whilst reading Geology at Adelaide University. Embarking on a winemaking degree at Charles Sturt University he was awarded the Ron Potter Scholarship in 1982. Whilst running Four Corners Consultancy throughout the 80s ad 90s he made own label wines from Peru to Romania and many places in between and was acclaimed for improving the quality of English Wine. Currently director of Litmus Wines Ltd, focusing on English wines, contract winemaking and wine sales www.litmuswines.com ; and Worontschak Wine Services Ltd, a wine business consultation service currently working in Russia, Mexico, Israel, China and the UK www.worontschak.com.
Yukio worked at the National Tax Bureau as technical adviser of brewing for 30 years. He has also acted as a consultant for several hundred sake and shochu makers in areas concerning the brewing and distillation process and quality control. Yuki was an advisor and consultant for the quality and safety of all liquors at the National Tax Administration. He is founder of the official contest for warmed sake which represents this popular drinking style in sake tasting. He is now the director of Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association.
In 2001 Christine created the first wine list for Hakkasan, and is now Wine Buyer for the group, which includes Sake No Hana and the Michelin-starred restaurants Hakkasan, HKK and Yauatcha, with operations worldwide. She is also a wine judge on numerous trade and consumer panels and has judged at the IWC sake awards since 2007. She was recently the first European to judge at the US National Sake Appraisal. In 2013 she launched one of the first UK sake courses for consumers.
Dr. Takeaki Ishikawa, born in 1941, is a biochemist whose major interests include the breeding of sake yeast and fermentation physiology. He is now the president of the Brewing Society of Japan that is a supplier of Kyokai sake yeast. He has also been a sake tasting expert for over 40 years and has served as a judge at sake contests held in various locations in Japan. In 2004 and 2009, he judged at the U.S. National Sake Appraisal in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Ake is a Diploma sommelier, founder & owner of Akebono Unlimited AB. Founded in 1995 Akebono is today the Scandinavian leading importer and distributor of Japanese Sake. In 1990 he started to travel Japan and visit Sake breweriers to gain a deep understanding of the process and has since then visit Japan more than 50 times. The last nine years he has been a teacher of two of Sweden's sommelier schools and weekly been giving lectures and seminars of sake to professionals and amateurs at university level and trade shows. He also does annually guided gourmet trips to Japans Sake breweries and the interesting Izakaya world.
Satoshi is the president (4th generation) of Yokohama Kimijimaya Co., Ltd - a liquor store/wholesale trade company based in Yokohama, dealing Japanese Sake, Shochu, Awamori, and Wine. The company has more than 300 clients nationwide, including major hotels, top-rated restaurants and French grandes maisons in the metropolitan cities. He is also the owner of three restaurants in Tokyo (French, Italian and wine bar). He gives lectures and seminars of sake/wine to professionals and amateurs, and is also a judge/supervisor of sake for the Appellation Control Committee of Nagano prefecture since 2006.
Beau is one of the foremost non-Japanese authorities of sake in the world. He opened the first dedicated sake retail store outside of Japan in San Francisco, California in 2003. Along with a Master Sake Sommelier License (Kikisake-shi), Beau has been presented the prestigious and inaugural Sake Samurai title as well as the 10th Anniversary Honorary Kikisake-shi distinction. He is an educator, promoter, protector of sake who works in breweries whenever time permits.
Yuji is a Shochu specialist and was the first certified Master Sake Sommelier in the US. Yuji was the president of the California Sushi Academy from 1998 until 2002 and the President of the Sake Institute of America and Beverage manager of Kabuki Restaurants, Inc. in 2011. He has conducted more than 300 sake seminars for the general public, restaurants and wine cellars and has regular columns in Japanese Restaurant News and Sushi and Sake Magazine. Yuji was awarded a Sake Samurai in 2010 by the Japan National Sake Brewery Association Junior Council.
Takuya Kusuda is a wine and Sake instructor at the Academie du Vin in Tokyo and Osaka. He ranks as one of Japan’s leading wine writers, translators and educators. His translation of Robert Parker Junior’s Bordeaux in 1988 was the first to be published in Japanese. He was editor of Stephan Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar (Japanese Edition), co-author of Wine TAIZEN (2000), and associate Editor of Wine Kingdom, a top Japanese wine magazine. In 2011, he qualified as the first Japanese certified Official Burgundy Wine Instructor from BIVB. He is the individual title holder for the National Japanese Sake Championship (1986). He also has over 30 years’ winemaking experience from vineyards in Germany, Napa, Burgundy, New Zealand and Japan.
Senior Judges are the elite of the Challenge's tasting corps. These are individuals with great palates and considerable experience. They are Masters of Wine, winemakers, senior wine buyers or specialist wine writers. Used to tasting large numbers of wines within their daily work, they have a thorough knowledge of a broad range of wines.
Ed Adams MW
David Allen MW
Pedro Maria Martins Barbosa
Joel Butler MW
Giles Cooke MW
Robin Crameri MW
Sergio de Luca
Anthony Foster MW
Justin Howard-Sneyd MW
Keith Isaac MW
Laura Jewell MW
Carmel Kilcline MW
Ken Mackay MW
Antony Moss MW
Mark O'Bryen MW
Jonathan Pedley MW
Jean Reilly MW
Juan Carlos Rincon
Patricia Stefanowicz MW
Philip Tuck MW
Marcia Waters MW
Arabella Woodrow MW
Experienced tasters from all around the world, in all areas of the wine industry, give up their time to taste at the International Wine Challenge, joining at the associate judge level. They can be promoted to judges on the basis of perfomance reports.
Mafalda Bahia Machado
Joao Maria Cabral Almeida
Maria Beatriz Cabral Almeida
Roque Cunha Ferreira
Fran de Paolis
Hsi-Chen (David) Hsiao
Trond Otrebski Langfjaeran
Ricardo Pinto Nunes
Hugo Miguel Santos Mendes
Juan Bautista Sanz Hernández
Martta Reis Simões
To be a judge you have to be an experienced taster as well as a good team player. Judges are nominated by the co-chairmen; associate judges can be promoted to judges on the basis of their performance.
Anne de Bérard
Vincent de Kime
David Molina Daga
José Luís Moreira da Silva
Pedro Araújo Pereira Gonçalves
Claire Thevenot MS
Cornelis Van Vessem
Atsuko Kobayashi Radcliffe
Antony Moss MW
Brendan Heath (Associate)
Susan Hulme MW (Associate)
Diana Salevourakis (Associate)
Lilyane Weston (Associate)