26th Grand International Wine Awards Mundus Vini Spring Tasting 2020

The Mundus Vini wine awards are held in Neustadt an der Weinstrasse, in the heart of the Palatinate region in the Pfalz, south of Frankfurt every spring.  268 wine experts from 54 countries gathered at the 6-day tasting in February to blind taste and assess around 7500 wines from 45 countries. Jenny Ratcliffe-Wright, Cape Wine Master, was invited to be a judge for another year in a row and this time as Canada’s first-panel chair.

Over the days of tasting, Ratcliffe-Wright chaired a panel with judges from Germany, Australia, Russia, Ukraine and Portugal who tasted wines from 11 countries.  Garnacha based red blends from Germany and Spain showed solid quality with very few faulty bottles or winemaking faults. A flight of Sauvignon Blanc from Trentino and Veneto in Italy and white blends from various regions in Italy showed good varietal character, while the blends highlighted the great quality of white wines coming out of Italy recently, being super easy to every day drinkers to enjoy.

The Pinot Noir flight from Chile and New Zealand was outstanding with judges awarding many medals.  Merlot from various Spanish regions ranging from La Mancha to Catalonia was solid without too many surprises.

The sparkling wine and Prosecco flight from Italy and Germany showed wines that were whistle clean and market-ready.  Rioja from Spain was interesting in that there were many different styles from the region, but in general, the quality was very high.

The Shiraz and Shiraz blends from South Australia showed beautiful balance and fruit.  There was a Pinot Gris flight from Germany, Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Serbia and North Macedonia, while being from a wide range of countries, the grape showed its character and it was obvious why this varietal is so popular worldwide.

Chenin Blanc from various regions in South Africa from Swartland to Walker Bay was promising with a wild card of a Chenin Blanc from Armenia included in the lineup and that had been blended with Aligoté and Kangun.

Valpolicella Ripasso from Northern Italy was an interesting flight with many excellent wines.

Each judge is measured daily on a tasting and scoring graph against their peers to ensure precision of tasting without too much deviation and to ensure consistency.

Christian Wolf, tasting director for Mundus Vini said: “We can see purely by the figures and the feedback from our tasters that the level of quality has risen considerably this year.”

Australia emerged from the competition as number one in the overseas category with a total of 72 medals with Kilikanoon Wines being named, once again, the best Australian winery with 19 medals. South Africa came in 2nd of the wines from overseas with 55 medals and Argentina 3rd with 49. The best Argentinian winery was Gruppo Peñaflor who received a total of 11 medals

Some of the top-rated wines of the show were:

2016 Kilikanoon Oracle Shiraz (Best of show, Australia red)

2018 Jaraman Chardonnay (best of show Australia white)

2016 DeWetshof Estate The Site Chardonnay (best of show South Africa white)

2016 Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Shiraz (Best of Show, South Africa red)

2015 Felipe Staiti Honor (Best of show Argentina)

For the European wines, Italy scored the most medal with 658 with Spain a close second with 631 and France with 325.

“It was an exciting tasting this year to see high quality from so many regions and a privilege to judge with so many accomplished international palates.” Says Jenny.  “I look forward to judging in the competition again next year.”

Jenny Ratcliffe-Wright

Coronavirus Disrupts the Wine and Spirits Industry

Tastings and trade shows worldwide have been canceled or pushed back to mitigate the spread of coronavirus – we are keeping you up-to-date with the latest news from the drinks industry.

In northern Italy, roughly 16 million people are in a state of lockdown until 3 April after the government imposed strict quarantine that includes the closure of museums, cultural institutions and the suspension of all public gatherings and social events, including pubs, nightclubs and games halls. Budget airline Easyjet announced on Sunday evening it would cancel flights to Milan Malpensa, Milan Linate, Venice and Verona airports in the period up to April 3 and will provide further updates in due course.

The UK’s Foreign Office has advised members of the public to cancel all-but essential travel to key Italian wine-growing regions such as Lombardy region, including the cities of Milan, Bergamo and Como, and the provinces of Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia and Rimini in Emilia Romagna region. A spokesperson for the UK government has said anyone returning to the UK from these parts of Italy should self-quarantine regardless of whether they are displaying symptoms.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson held an emergency meeting with the UK’s cabinet on Monday morning (9 March) to decide whether the country will undergo a similar lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus. However, a spokesperson confirmed that the UK will not pursue any stricter measures for the time being.

The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has said its annual trade show, BeerX, will be going ahead as normal on 11 and 12 March, but with extra precautions in place.

James Calder, SIBA’s chief executive said: “We’re taking extra steps to ensure the risk of passing on infection remains low. We are working with our event partners, the Liverpool ACC and closely following Government guidance on a day by day basis. We would encourage all brewers, suppliers, judges and delegates to stick to their plans and take sensible measures.”

The measures include:

  • A ban on handshakes
  • A ban on sharing beer glasses with anyone else
  • Hand sanitizer stations placed throughout BeerX and on every bar
  • Exhibitors to use hand sanitizer on all stands
  • Encouraging everyone to stick to the NHS latest guidance on hand washing and sneezing into tissues

On Thursday, March 5th, Messe Düsseldorf, the organizer of ProWein, has revealed that the show will not take place this year. The group plan to host ProWein as scheduled in 2021.

On Tuesday, March 3, London’s wine trade had its first casualty. The RAW Wine Show, which was due to take place this weekend, has been postponed. Founder Isabelle Legeron MW said: “With so many producers flying in from all over the world this seems like the right decision for such a large gathering of people and such an international event.”

At the same time, the bi-annual Grands Jours de Bourgogne tasting, due to take place between 9 and 13 March, has likewise been called off.

And the organizers of the leading Italian wine show, Vinitaly, have announced the 2020 edition will be postponed until June.

On March 2nd we learned that the London Wine Fair will still go ahead, but attendees have been told to proceed with caution. The organizers have pledged to supply extra hand sanitizers and face masks to curb infection at the mammoth wine tasting in Kensington Olympia in May.

Also set to go ahead as normal is the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux’s annual primeurs week, which takes place at the end of March.

Arguably the biggest event in the drinks trade calendar, ProWein, has also been pushed back. Messe Düsseldorf states on February 29th that it was postponing a series of trade fairs set to take place in the exhibition center, including ProWein, Wire, Tube, Beauty, Top Hair and Energy Storage Europe.

A number of shows have also been canceled altogether in China, while the dates for Vinexpo Hong Kong and ProWine Asia in Singapore have also moved to later this year.

Source:  Drinks Business

 

The Institute of Masters of Wine announces Seven new Masters of Wine

The Institute of Masters of Wine has announced seven new Masters of Wine, from five countries. The total number of MWs in the world is now 396 in 30 countries. 

The new members of the IMW are Vanessa Conlin MW (US), Elizabeth Kelly (UK), Pasi Ketolainen (Finland), Lin Liu (France), Curtis Mann (US), Beth Pearce (UK) and Ross Wise(Canada).

The new MWs have passed the MW exam, recognized worldwide for its rigor.

The MW exam consists of three stages; theory exams, tasting exams and a final research paper (RP). The institute says the  RP is an in-depth study on a wine-related topic from any area of the sciences, arts, humanities or social sciences.

In addition to passing the exam, and before new members have the right to use the title Master of Wine or ‘MW’, they are required to sign the IMW’s code of conduct. By signing the code of conduct, MWs agree to act with honesty, integrity and use every opportunity to share their understanding of wine with others.

The first MW crop of 2020 shows the continued internationalization of the IMW. The top six countries where MWs are based around the world are Australia, France, Germany, New Zealand, the UK and the US.

The new MWs:

Vanessa Conlin MW (US)

Vanessa lives in Napa Valley and is the head of wine for Wine Access, a national direct-to-consumer e-commerce wine retailer in the US. Conlin was previously the director of sales and marketing for several of Napa’s wineries, including Arietta Wines and Dana Estates. Before moving to Napa Valley, she was the wine director for two wine shops and a wine bar in New York City. While studying for the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Diploma she received the Niki Singer Memorial Scholarship from the International Wine Center. Vanessa worked as a professional opera singer, performing internationally and on Broadway, before falling in love with wine. She holds a master’s degree in music.

Research paper: Land and winery ownership in Napa Valley from 1998-2018: historical, legal, and economic factors affecting vineyards and wineries and the resulting current opportunities and limitations for ownership.

Elizabeth Kelly MW (UK)

After completing a degree in mathematical physics, Kelly decided to follow a different path and joined the wine industry 16 years ago. She worked at Oddbins and the WSET before joining the wine team at Marks and Spencer in 2013. Kelly is involved in buying English wines and product development.

Research paper: A sustainability scheme for the UK wine production industry.

Pasi Ketolainen MW (Finland)

Ketolainen holds a BSc in hospitality management and an MBA, for which he received an academic achievement award in recognition of outstanding academic performance. After a career as a sommelier and completing his WSET Diploma in 2003, he worked in sales and product management positions at various wine importers in Finland. Ketolainen has partner and board member experience and has consulted in an advisory role on strategy, customer relationship management and start-up company development. He has also represented Finland in blind tasting competitions. As well as speaking four languages, lecturing on wine, and conducting educational tastings, Ketolainen judges at wine competitions and in 2019 started as the commercial director at Viinitie Oy.

Research paper: Wine distributors’ views regarding the current and future status of the restaurant supply chain in Finland.

Lin Liu MW (France)

A Chinese national originally from Hangzhou, Liu started her wine studies in 2011. Now based in Cahors, France at Château de Chambert, Liu has devoted herself to many aspects of the wine world: trading, winemaking, tasting, judging, writing and wine education. She holds a BA (Zhejiang University), an MBA, where she won a full fee scholarship award (Aberdeen Business School) and received the top graduate award when completing her WSET Diploma (Austrian Wine Academy). Before wine, she held senior positions in the investment consultancy sector (foreign direct investment to China) and the whisky industry. Outside of wine, Liu enjoys painting, cooking, mushroom hunting, making pottery, gardening or sailing.

Research Paper: Cahors AOC hierarchization project, a case study from 1991 to 2019.

Curtis Mann MW (US)

Mann is a 19-year veteran of the US wine industry. He started his career in hospitality at ZD Wines in the Napa Valley. After graduating with an MBA (University of California, Davis), he worked as a brand manager for Trinchero Family Estates and then at Information Resources Inc. as director of wine and spirits insights. Since 2013, Mann has worked for Raley’s, a 125-store specialty supermarket chain in California and Nevada. As director of alcohol and beverage, he has re-shaped the chain’s wine offerings with the help of in-store wine stewards and educational tastings, leading to a growth in sales over the last six years. The wine press has noticed his efforts with awards such as the 2016 Wine Enthusiast Wine Star Award for US retailer of the year and the 2018 Market Watch Leader Award.

Research paper: California consumer understanding and preference for US Chardonnay styles

Beth Pearce MW (UK)

Pearce is based in London and works as a buyer for Majestic Wine. After university, she visited vineyards in New Zealand, which ultimately led to her joining Majestic’s management training scheme in 2010. Pearce embarked on her MW study program journey in 2016 after completing the WSET Diploma, where she received the Derouet Jameson scholarship.

Research paper: How effective is it to use the reduced carbon footprint of bulk shipping and UK bottling as a marketing message?

Ross Wise MW (Canada)

New Zealand native Wise is a winemaker and viticulturist based in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, Canada. Following a brief stint as a chef, Wise kicked off his wine career in 2002 by studying viticulture and wine science. After graduating top of his class (Eastern Institute of Technology, Hawkes Bay), he went on to work with several wineries and vineyards in the Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough and Central Otago regions. Wise moved to Canada in 2009 and established Wise Consulting, providing viticulture and winemaking advice to several wineries across Ontario. In 2015 he completed the WSET Diploma and shortly after was accepted to the MW study program, where he passed all theory and tasting exams on the first attempt. Wise moved west to the Okanagan Valley in 2016, where he is the winemaker for Black Hills Estate Winery and a senior winemaker for the Andrew Peller Limited family of wineries. Since arriving in the Okanagan Valley, he has expanded his organic and biodynamic viticulture knowledge, studied the potential implications of climate change in the valley, and developed a reputation as a prolific sourdough bread baker.

Research paper: How will climate change be influencing viticulture in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley by the 2050s?

Riedel Launches “Winewings”

How it all started

In Summer 2018, in the hot and sunny Tyrolean Alps, Georg Riedel found himself asked by a customer to create “the ultimate glass” for the “King of Grapes”– Cabernet Sauvignon – a glass which would become the inspiration for a new glassware collection, Riedel Winewings.

For Georg, the challenge was how to begin research for this new glass. It helped that he had long loved the specific wine for which he had been commissioned to design the glass. With passion and enthusiasm, and with a coffee in hand, Georg made a start. Sketching the old fashioned way, he aimed to create a new shape, something revolutionary and supremely functional, a shape never seen before which, while respecting the 2,000-year-old art of glass-blowing, would eschew the egg-shape bowl developed by Claus Riedel and challenge the perception of how a modern functional wine glass should be.

Slowly, a new shape emerged: A flat-bottomed glass, wide and reminiscent of the wing of an aircraft, complete with winglets. As a new idea formed, Georg spent more than a year experimenting, tasting, sampling, benchmarking and fine-tuning. By making changes to shape, size and rim diameter, through computer-aided design and many prototypes, what began as one glass for one grape varietal developed into seven different glasses to represent the most popular grape varietals.

Riedel Winewings was born and was about to take flight!

Why a flat bottom?

In his own words, Georg Riedel describes the evolution and ultimate functionality of Riedel Winewings: “We make our first impressions by eye when assessing our chosen wine in the glass, and then we smell before we ever taste. I chose a flat and stretched bottom, with a wing-like shape to increase the surface between wine and air, which increases the levels of evaporation and develops a greater intensity of aroma. When positioning one’s head to the glass, the nose is closer and is exposed to the wider surface of the wine. However, this alone would not fully deliver the optimal aroma of each grape variety and so, to capture the delicate layered aromas, it was necessary to curve the glass walls and to correctly calibrate the opening of each glass with its rim diameter.”

About Riedel Winewings

There are seven styles: three for red wines, three for white and one for Champagne or sparkling wines. This glass collection is designed personally by Georg Riedel. It pushing the boundaries of the conventional wine glass shape and is striking in its design and in the words of Georg Riedel is “inherently functional, helping the wines’ aromas and flavors take flight”.

As Georg Riedel says, as he launches his newest creation, “If your wine could choose a glass, it would be Riedel – and that glass would be Riedel Winewings!”

Messe Dusseldorf Postpones ProWein 2020

Messe Düsseldorf GmbH is postponing ProWein 2020. In close coordination with all partners involved, the company will promptly discuss an alternative date in order to guarantee planning can reliably proceed. The postponement also affects the initiative “ProWein goes city” running parallel to ProWein.
In doing so, Messe Düsseldorf is following the recommendation of the crisis management team of the German government to take into account the principles of the Robert Koch Institute when making a risk assessment of major events. On the basis of this recommendation and the recent significant increase in the number of infected persons, including in Europe, Messe Düsseldorf has reassessed the situation. Added to this is the uncertainty of numerous exhibitors and visitors at ProWein and the complicated travel situation, especially for international customers.
Werner M. Dornscheidt, CEO of Messe Düsseldorf GmbH: “Our customers, partners and employees trust us. Not only when it comes to the professional and successful handling of major international events in Düsseldorf. They can also have this trust in us when we make decisions about critical situations in the interests of their safety”.
“This decision was not an easy one for all concerned,” says Thomas Geisel, Lord Mayor of the City of Düsseldorf and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Messe Düsseldorf GmbH. “But the postponement at the present time is necessary for Messe Düsseldorf and its customers in view of the increasingly dynamic developments.”