Eight New Masters of Wine Announced

August 30th, 2019 The Institute of Masters of Wine announced eight new Masters of Wine. There are now 390 Masters of Wine, based in 30 countries.

The new members of the IMW include: Julien Boulard MW (PR China), Thomas Curtius MW (Germany), Dominic Farnsworth MW (UK), Lydia Harrison MW (UK), Heidi Mäkinen MW (Finland), Christine Marsiglio MW (UK), Edward Ragg MW (PR China) and Gus Jian Zhu MW (USA).

The new MWs have proved their understanding of all aspects of wine by passing the Master of Wine examination, recognized worldwide for its rigor and high standards.

The MW examination consists of three stages and culminates in the submission of a final research paper, 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 examination, all MWs are required to sign the MW code of conduct before they are entitled to use the initials MW. The code of conduct requires MWs to act with honesty and integrity and to use every opportunity to share their understanding of wine with others.

There are 14 Masters of Wine in the ‘2019 vintage’, as Edouard Baijot MW (France), Nicholas Jackson MW (USA), Brendan Jansen MW (Australia), Jonas Röjerman MW (Sweden), Harriet Tindal MW (Ireland) and Jonas Tofterup MW (Spain) were announced as MWs in February. They will all be formally welcomed to the IMW at a ceremony in London later this year.

The 2019 crop shows the increasing 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 USA.

Here are the new Masters of Wine

Julien Boulard MW (PR China) – Born in Alsace, Julien arrived in China in 2003 after studying Mandarin at university. After completing a master’s degree in international affairs, he worked for five years for a wine importer in Nanning, before setting up his own company Zhulian Wines, specializing in wine education. Unsatisfied with solely mastering an exotic language, he started to study wine and became an accredited educator of the Bordeaux Wine School in China in 2008. He then passed the WSET Diploma in 2012 and embarked on the MW journey in 2013. His fluency in Mandarin, both spoken and written, his reputation on Chinese social media (Weibo and WeChat), his wine knowledge, as well as his experience as a wine educator, enabled him to become a key professional on the Chinese wine scene. He is a judge for various wine competitions in China and Hong Kong and writes sporadically when he manages to find time between teaching, tasting and daughter-caring.

Research paper: Exploring the potential of Marselan production in China.


Thomas Curtius MW (Germany)
– Thomas is primarily a specialist in PR, digital communications and business development. He studied communications and economics at the University of Mainz and started his business career as a TV journalist for n-tv, the first news television channel in Germany. Later he moved into the automotive industry and joined the PR department of a premium car manufacturer in Stuttgart, Germany. After various positions in the passenger car division, he took over responsibility for events, trade shows and digital communication within global truck, bus and van communications. He heads a dedicated team which develops and manages communications projects, trade shows and product presentations around the globe. Thomas has also been intensively involved in the wine business for more than two decades. He sees great advantage in bringing his expertise in strategy, change management and digital communication together with his knowledge in wine. He concluded his WSET Diploma in 2010 and is now also a member of the WSET International Alumni Advisory Board. He works as a consultant, teacher and lecturer. He judges in wine competitions, runs wine seminars and masterclasses for professionals and enthusiasts and writes articles spreading his passion for wine. When not traveling or developing new ideas and concepts in business, Thomas loves to run in the vineyards around his town or work in his garden.

Research paper: Current opportunities and threats for ProWein, Vinexpo, Vinitaly and London Wine Fair: An investigation into ProWein exhibitors’ attitudes towards European wine trade shows.

Dominic Farnsworth MW (UK) – Dominic is a partner at the London law firm Lewis Silkin where he specializes in intellectual property. He is both a solicitor and a trademark attorney and his practice focuses on brand protection, advertising and sport. He acts for a number of businesses in the drinks sector. His interest in wine was sparked by walking past Lay & Wheelers’ shop on the route to school. It was more reminiscent of an antiquarian bookshop than a retail store and the rows of unintelligible labels only added to the mystery. Love of the taste of wine followed and was reinforced by finding that wine had a tendency to be produced in some of the most beautiful parts of the world by interesting people. He followed the WSET route through to the Diploma. Then, setting himself the goal of either climbing Himalayan peaks or passing the MW, he took what he thought was the easier option! He lives in South West London, married with two children, and his other interests include music, traveling and mountains.

Research paper: The threats posed by government regulation to the sale of wine in the United Kingdom.

Lydia Harrison MW (UK) – Lydia was born and lives in London, where she enjoys the diversity of wines available. She started officially in the wine industry after university by joining Majestic Wine where she worked for six years, culminating in the position of senior manager of the Battersea branch. During this time she completed the WSET Level 3 and Diploma with distinction and was awarded several prizes for her exam results: trips to Jerez and the Douro which cemented her love for fortified wines, and the Vintners’ Scholarship for the highest mark in Diploma in the UK trade, which she used to tour New Zealand and its wine regions. She joined WSET School London in 2013 and teaches all levels of WSET wine qualifications, specialising in Bordeaux, fortified wines and tasting technique at Diploma level. She also organises an eclectic programme of evening tasting events and is a Bordeaux Ambassador for the Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux (CIVB).

Research paper: Online wine education – comparing motivations, satisfactions and outcomes of online vs. classroom students.

Heidi Mäkinen MW (Finland) – Heidi currently works in Helsinki as a wine ambassador for a Finnish wine importing company where her main tasks are on-trade wine education and portfolio development. At first, she studied theatre and drama research at university, yet after gaining her bachelor of arts she followed her bigger passion to work in hospitality and to learn more about wine. Before her current job she worked for 12 years on the restaurant floor, both in her native Finland and the UK. With her international work experience and knowledge gained from her success in national and international sommelier competitions she continues to help and mentor other professionals to develop themselves within the industry. Passionate and excited about food, wine and travel, Heidi is always looking at new opportunities to explore the world.

Research paper: A critical assessment of Finnish on-trade wine education – satisfaction levels and opportunities for development and improvement.

Christine Marsiglio MW (UK) – Christine is a Canadian residing in London, where she is a wine educator and program manager at WSET School London, and mum to a three-year-old and a one-year-old. She recently contributed to the development of materials for the newly released WSET Diploma and teaches all WSET levels. Before discovering her love of wine education, Christine was tastings executive at Decanter where she ran panel tastings and helped organize the Decanter World Wine Awards. During the course of her MW and WSET Diploma studies, Christine was awarded scholarships from the Family of Twelve, Freixenet, and the Derouet Jameson Memorial Foundation. She holds an MSc in oenology and viticulture from École Supérieure d’Agriculture d’Angers, France, where her thesis focused on the early detection of Brettanomyces in wineries. She also holds a BSc in chemistry and biology from the University of Alberta in Canada. Christine is a keen long-distance runner, cook, and traveler.

Research paper: The sensory effects of different lactic acid bacteria on wine.

Edward Ragg MW (PR China) – Edward co-founded Dragon Phoenix Wine Consulting in Beijing with his wife and partner Fongyee Walker MW in 2007. Having read English at Oxford University, Edward began blind-tasting at Cambridge whilst writing a Ph.D. on American poet and Burgundy tippler Wallace Stevens. A former captain and coach of the Cambridge blind-tasting team, Edward co-wrote and revises regularly the Cambridge University Guide to Blind-Tasting. He has also published widely in international wine magazines, literary journals and has authored three collections of poetry. Formerly a Professor at Tsinghua University (2007-2017), he completed his WSET Diploma in 2012 and began the MW study program in 2015. Together with Fongyee, he is the other authorized tutor of the WSET Diploma in mainland China. Edward also has judging experience, serving as a guest international judge for the McLaren Vale Wine Show (2012) and Perth Royal Wine Show (2019), as well as judging in Chinese competitions. He is keen to expand his international judging experience and also make wine in the future.

Research paper: Portfolio management strategies of major Chinese wine importers: an analysis of the evolving mainland Chinese import market 2008-2018.

Gus Jian Zhu MW (USA) – Gus has become a seasoned wine educator under the tutelage of Fongyee Walker MW and Edward Ragg MW, the co-founders of Dragon Phoenix Wine Consulting. He has combined his wine education resulting in an MSc in viticulture and enology from UC Davis, with practical winemaking experience at Napa Valley’s Cakebread Cellars, and hospitality and sales experience at the Hall Winery in Napa. Gus’ commitment to the academic field of wine is evidenced by his MW research paper about the sensory science of wine; and by co-authoring a review paper, A Quarter Century of Wine Pigment Discovery, published in the Journal of Food and Agriculture. Gus provides education and consulting services at Gus Zhu Wine Consulting. He works as an international consultant on wine education and is committed to sharing his knowledge as a certified educator for all levels of WSET qualifications in wines. Gus shares his expertise with global WSET Diploma candidates in the online classroom and as a guest lecturer at the Dragon Phoenix in Beijing and Napa Valley Wine Academy.

Research paper: The impact of acidity adjustments on the sensory perception of a Californian Chardonnay.

Chubut – Argentina’s New Emerging Wine Region

With just 65 hectares of vines, the emerging wine region of Chubut in Patagonia is Argentina’s most southerly region.

Patagonia encompasses over 50% of the total landmass of Argentina, which is 5% of its population. The area consists of four main wine-producing provinces: La Pampa, Neuquén, Río Negro and Chubut. Despite its size, the region only has 1.88% of the country’s vineyards. While the first winery opened, in Río Negro, in 1909, much of the rest of the GI is relatively new, particularly Chubut.

Just 65 hectares of vines are planted in Chubut, 50ha of which are controlled by Bodega Otronia in Sarmiento. These are among the southernmost vineyards in the world, occupying a latitude of 45°. With winds as high as 110kmph and rainfall as low as 200mm per year, Maximo Rocca, commercial director of Otronia, describes it as a totally “new way of winemaking in a new world of wine production”.

“Our winemakers decided not to talk about terroir but micro-terroir,” he says, noting how from the start, the producer’s vineyards have been divided into blocks. Achieving just half a kilo of grapes per plant, Otronia has invested in a series of different-sized untoasted foudres, as well as concrete tanks and eggs in which to age its wines.

With two traditional method sparklers made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the pipeline, Otronia has released just two wines: a white blend made from Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay; and a single varietal Chardonnay, made from a blend of two blocks.

“It’s going to be a word-of-mouth project,” says Rocca. “It’s difficult to explain what we’re doing in just one sentence.

Praising the support of the local government, he says the winery aims to work with sommeliers to create “a team of ambassadors to communicate what Chubut is doing and tell the story”.

Moving northwest, around the towns of Trevelen and El Bolsón, rainfall is higher and conditions are less blustery, but frost is a near-constant threat.

With the majority of producers having just a couple of vintages under their belts, this is a region still finding its feet, both in terms of the grapes that can be grown and the style it should produce.

Sparkling experiments

Like Otronia, Casa Yagüe is also experimenting with sparkling, having also released a Sauvignon Blanc and two single-varietal Chardonnays, one with oak, the other without. “We want to do a lot of things, but we’re going step by step,” explains Juli Yagüe, head of PR and trainee winemaker, who recounts how the winery has an automatic sprinkler- and frost-prevention system, which is triggered when the temperature drops below 0ºC. The winery has just planted Pinot Noir and has the potential to produce a maximum of 20,000 liters.

Moving further north, red varieties are more prevalent, with Pinot Noir and Merlot particularly finding favor.

At Nant y Fall, based on the curiously named Valle 16 de Octubre outside of Trevelen, Pinot Noir is the most planted variety. Having released two wines – a still red Pinot Noir and a rosé Pinot Noir – the producer hopes to launch a Riesling and a Gewürztraminer in December.

Family member and winemaker Emmanuel Rodriguez says: “Summer temperatures here range from -2ºC to 35ºC, and all four seasons are extreme.”

With the aim of producing 17,000 bottles once all 2.5ha are in production, Rodriguez is experimenting with his first oak barrels, as well as using different yeasts in his Pinot Noir to enhance both the structure and the aromatic profile.

Two hours’ drive further north, fellow family-owned producer Chacra Adamow has had its fair share of hardships. Having been assured that its site was frost-free, the producer lost 60% of its first crop in its first year. Proving resilient, it replanted its damaged vines and is aiming to hit the 10,000 mark in order to be “commercial”.

Overcoming problems

Planted with Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, Pedro Adamow, the owner of the estate, says: “We were excited by the result we achieved in 2015, but we know there are still many problems to overcome. The goal is to keep 10,000 vines alive then build our own winery. Our dream is to have an oenotourism business with a restaurant, hotel and tasting room.”

At such an early stage of proceedings, and without viticultural knowledge of the area, Adamow describes each vintage as “a silver bullet”.

“You only get one shot then you have to wait another year to correct any mistakes that you made,” he says. “It can be frustrating.”

Adamow’s wines are made by Camilo De Bernardi of Familia De Bernardi, just over the border into Río Negro by the town of El Bolsón.

Another producer that is overcoming challenging conditions and using them to its advantage is Familia Ayestarán, which produces wine under the Oriundo label. Winemaker Darío González Maldonado said that he’d made what he believes to be Argentina’s first ice wine. Made from 100% Gewürtztraminer, Maldonado explained that he harvested the grapes when temperatures hit -8 degrees Celsius and followed the regulations that govern ice wine production in Canada and Germany. Argentina has no guidelines for this type of wine.

The resulting 11% ABV wine contains 50g/l of residual sugar, with only 300 bottles made in total. Having taken control of an abandoned 17-year-old vineyard in El Hoyo back in 2014, Familia Ayestarán had its first proper vintage in 2017 and also produces a Merlot, white blend and sparkling wine.

Biodynamic hopes

With two hectares of vines, including Pinot Noir, Merlot, Gewürztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc, De Bernardi hopes to one day become biodynamic.

“I’m focusing on getting the acid balance right at the moment,” he says, confessing that he is still not completely satisfied with the style of his wines.

However, despite struggling with frost, he noted that his reds were able to achieve almost 14% ABV – much higher than other wines in the area.

Plans are afoot to help local restaurants stock wines from Chubut, while the government is organizing a press trip to the region for journalists based in Buenos Aires.

As things stand, Otronia’s Rocca notes: “Chubut’s wines need to be consumed with knowledge. There’s a trend for wine production in cool and extreme areas, but we’re all still learning because it’s all so different from how they do things in Mendoza. You’ve got to bear in mind that we’re 2,000km further south,” he says.

That distance, however, is also a blessing. Argentina now has a new region capable of producing aromatic white varieties and fresher, light reds, while the acidity achieved in grapes provides an ideal base wine for sparkling. Chubut’s potential, therefore, is far-reaching.

Source: Drinks Business

The International Sustainable Wine Growing Summit is coming to San Luis Obispo, California on November 11-13, 2019

The International Sustainable Winegrowing Summit will be held in the U.S for the first time. The event will run in conjunction with the Sustainable Ag Expo and will bring together leading experts from Italy, South Africa, France, Canada, and the US, and will be held be in San Luis Obispo, California on November 11-13, 2019.

The 15th Annual Sustainable Ag Expo includes three days of seminars and a full-service tradeshow and equipment showcase that provides an opportunity for farmers, ag professionals, and pest control advisors to learn about the latest in farming research, resource issues, business trends related to sustainable agriculture. Participants can earn 15+ hours of DPR/CCA continuing education.

“We are thrilled to welcome a number of distinguished international speakers to the International Sustainable Winegrowing Summit” said Kris Beal, Executive Director of the Vineyard Team. “They include Carlo Duso, PhD from the University of Padua, Italy, Gerhard Pietersen, PhD from the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, Jose Ramon Urbez Torres, a research scientist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and Sabine Wiedemann-Merdinoglu, PhD from the Institut National de Recherches Agronomique (INRA) in France.”

The Sustainable Ag Expo will also feature numerous experts from the U.S. including Jennifer Lester Moffit, Undersecretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, Julian Gervreau, Vice President, Sustainability at Jackson Family Wines, Dr. Michael Costello, Department of Wine and Viticulture, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and Rachel Naegele, PhD, Research Horticulturist, USDA, ARS, US.

Seminar and panel discussions will cover a wide range of topics from “Climate Change and the Future of Agriculture” to “Insect, Pest, Environment and Ecology Systems.” A full list of speakers and topics along with registration information can be found at

www.sustainableagexpo.org

www.instagram.com/sipcertified

https://twitter.com/sipcertified

The Irish Whiskey Masters 2019 results are in

The resurgent Irish whiskey industry has come on leaps and bounds in recent years.

The figures tell you all you need to know – global sales have increased over 300% in the past decade, according to the Department for International Trade. Distilleries in Northern Ireland were singled out as being an important factor in boosting the category’s growth earlier this year, which the Irish Whiskey Association forecasts will hit 12 million nine-liter cases by 2020.

A few weeks ago a group of expert tasters attended Mayfair, London to taste and rate a selection of Irish Whiskeys. Some of the judges included: Mark Jennings, founder of Drinks Galore, Joe Harper, assistant bars manager at The Savoy hotel, Jamie Matthewson, Waitrose buying manager – wine, Derek Millar, retired whiskey retailer, Amy Hopkins, editor of The Spirits Business magazine and Billy Abbott, Ambassador for The Whisky Exchange.

Reflecting on this year’s tasting:

“The variety of styles was broad. There were a couple of standout, exceptional whiskeys.” Joe Harper

“There were some real differences in terms of character and quality.” Jamie Matthewson

“perfume, violets, Turkish Delight” Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy
Single Pot Still – Ultra Premium

“The worst whiskeys today were still incredibly well made. There was nothing I disliked in this competition and some really interesting examples that are worth seeking out.” Jamie Matthewson

Here is a list of the results for: Blended – Standard; Blended – Premium; Blended – Super Premium; Blended – Ultra Premium; Single Grain – Premium; Single Malt – Standard; Single Malt – Premium; Single Malt – Super Premium; Single Malt – Ultra Premium; Single Pot Still – Premium; Single Pot Still – Super Premium; and Single Pot Still – Ultra Premium:

https://www.thespiritsbusiness.com/2019/08/the-irish-whiskey-masters-2019-results/2/

Source: The Spirits Business

Consorzio Vini delle Venezie DOC ventures into ‘second era of Italian style Pinot Grigio’

The Consorzio Vini delle Venezie has re-elected Albino Armani(March 2019) as president and some of his priorities include the development of promotional activities and maximizing the potential of the appellation: “growth trajectory focused on continuity, to maximize the potential of a product and a region that still have a lot to say to consumers around the world”.

Accepting “the challenge”, Armani said his new board would “continue along the same path of identity, region and Italian style to drive up the value of our Pinot Grigio”.

“We are well aware of the responsibility before us; this appellation holds enormous potential just waiting to be developed. Already the conversation around this great variety has a new and different tone. It is an asset that we must defend and maximize, establishing it with a strong identity firmly grounded in Italy and in the Triveneto in particular,” he said.

The new board’s widespread regional representation includes six members representing Friuli Venezia Giulia, six members representing Trentino, and nine members representing Veneto. This board would create an alliance capable of building a widespread regional identity that can “stake its claim as the Italian Pinot Grigio benchmark on a global scale”, Armani added.
Consorzio Vini delle Venezie DOC was established in 2017 and occupies the entire northeastern part of Italy, including the territories of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Veneto regions, and the province of Trento.

By the Numbers:
85% of Italy’s Pinot Grigio production is produced in the Triveneto area where,
in 2017, 24,500 hectares were under vine.