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Vintage Card Consultants
Vintage Card Consultants
The IWFS is very fortunate to have a team of specialist consultants based around the world who each year provide a review of the latest vintage and also update the development of recent vintages. Many of them have been doing this for a number of years; providing their expert knowledge to assist the IWFS in producing our Vintage Card.
The consultants who assisted with the current 2016/17 Vintage Card are listed below alphabetically. You can find out more about some of our consultants below also - those with "(see below)" after their name have provided details.
Background information on some of our Vintage Card Consultants are shown below alphabetically, by country - please read on and find out more about them.....
AMANDA BARNES - consultant for the wines of Argentina (joint consultant)
Amanda Barnes is a British journalist who moved to Argentina in 2009 to focus on wine and travel writing. She is Editor of the Argentina-based magazine Wine Republic and also works as a freelance writer for travel and wine publications including Wine-Searcher and Fodor’s Travel Guides. Based in Mendoza, she regularly travels and works around the wine regions of Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. For more details visit Amanda's website on www.amandabarnes.co.uk
JAMES HALLIDAY - consultant for the wines of Australia
James Halliday is generally regarded as the foremost observer of, and commentator on, the Australian wine scene, with a career stretching back 40 years during which time he has written, or contributed to, over 60 books (some translated into five languages) and was a senior wine show judge for 35 years. He writes each weekend for The Australian and for each issue of Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine. He has won numerous awards and prizes, the most significant the 1995 Maurice O’Shea Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Wine Industry, the James Beard Award, Julia Child Award and Louis Roederer Award. He is Patron of Wine Communicators Australia.
In 2010 James was made a Member of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for his contribution to the wine industry.
To find out more, James’s website address is: www.winecompanion.com.au.
GREG MELICK - consultant for the wines of Australia
Greg Melick is a Hobart based Senior Counsel who wears many hats. He has been judging wine for over 25 years and was organizing judge at Hong Kong's WINPAC for nearly 20 years. He has been buying and drinking wine since his teens and has accumulated a large international cellar which he enjoys sharing. He established, and lives on, the multi award winning Pressing Matters vineyard in Tasmania's Coal River Valley producing wines from his two favourite grape varieties, Pinot Noir and Riesling. He has been visiting vineyards around the world for many years, is a passport holder from the Primum Familiae Vini and conducts forums to help Tasmanian Pinot Noir producers better understand the potential of that noble variety.
He is a long time member of the Australian Defence Force Reserves and became Australia's senior Reserve officer in 2007, a part time Deputy President of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and recently took on another part time role as Chief Commissioner of the Tasmanian Integrity Commission. He has been Cricket Australia's special investigator since 2000.
DAVID FURER - consultant for the wines of Austria and Germany
Since 1986, David has performed many roles in the alcohol beverage industry--lecturer and teacher to both pros and amateurs, consultant to numerous European wine regions, event manager and host, retail buyer, sommelier and restaurant manager, wine/spirits/beer writer/author/judge. Not satisfied with this he's expanded his knowledge of viticulture and vinification working at five wineries in Germany's Mosel, Rheingau, and Württemberg regions. He's lectured at the University of Chicago, Oxford and Cambridge universities, spoken at Prowein and other trade conferences, and hosted Hong Kong's Wine Future and Spain's Climate Change & Wine conferences.
TONY ASPLER - consultant for the wines of Ontario
Tony Aspler has been writing about wine since 1975. He was the Toronto Star’s wine columnist for 21 years and has authored sixteen books on wine and food, including ‘The Wine Atlas of Canada,’ ‘Vintage Canada,’ The Wine Lover's Companion`, `The Wine Lover Cooks` and `Travels With My Corkscrew‘. His latest book is, ‘Tony Aspler’s Cellar Book.’ Tony is also a novelist with nine published books, including a series of wine murder mysteries – ‘Blood Is Thicker Than Beaujolais’, ‘The Beast of Barbaresco’ and ‘Death on the Douro.’ He is currently working on ‘Nightmare in Napa.’
In December 2007, Tony was awarded the Order of Canada. Tony is also the co-founder of the charitable foundation, Grapes for Humanity. During 2012 he was elected to the New York Media Wine Writers Hall of Fame. Tony’s website is: www.tonyaspler.com.
JOHN SCHREINER – consultant for the wines of British Columbia
Based in North Vancouver, B.C., John Schreiner is among Canada’s most prolific authors of wine books. He has authored15 since 1984, including three Whitecap bestsellers: British Columbia Wine Country, The Wineries of British Columbiaand John Schreiner’s Okanagan Wine Tour Guide. The fifth edition was released in August 2014. A companion volume, John Schreiner’s Coastal BC Wineries Tour Guide, was released in April, 2011. John juggled his passion for wine with a 40-year career as a business writer for The Financial Post until retiring in 2001 to devote himself totally to wine. He frequently judges at wine competitions, has been an accomplished home vintner and has chaired the selection committee for the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival. He blogs actively on http://johnschreiner.blogspot.ca.
MIMI AVERY - consultant for English sparkling wines
We are very pleased that we again have a member of the Avery family assisting us with our Vintage Card - Mimi Avery, John's eldest daughter. As well as being Brand Ambassador for Averys Wine Merchants and previously their wine buyer, Mimi also passed the first year MW exams and holds the WSET diploma, so is more than qualified to help in our exciting new addition of English sparkling wine. Some of you may recall that this is not Mimi's first involvement with the Vintage Card as she used to put the Card together during her time working at the International Secretariat from 1994-1999 and we are very honoured to have her back on board in this very different role.
JIM BUDD - consultant for wines of the Loire
As well as writing for Decanter and other magazines, he edited Circle Update, the Circle of Wine Writers' newsletter from 1991 to 2015. Jim has three blogs: Jim's Loire, investdrinks (drinks investment scams) and Les 5 du Vin - shared with four other journalists. He is the regional chair for the Loire at the Decanter World Wine Awards. Jim is also a keen photographer. He prefers to be discreet avoiding gaudy shirts and sparkly shoes thus keeping a low profile.
BRITT & PER KARLSSON, BKWine - consultants for the wines of South West France
Britt and Per Karlsson are two Swedes living in Paris (France) since many years where they founded BKWine. They are active as wine journalists, wine writers, wine photographers (with one of the world’s most extensive wine photo libraries), consultants and wine educators. Britt was named wine personality of the year in Sweden in 2012.
Britt and Per’s business, BKWine, is also one of the leading wine tour operators, organising wine tours, wine events, and education both for wine “amateurs” and for wine professionals. Britt and Per spend a substantial part of the year travelling in wine regions and visit some 2-300 wine producers annually. They have written several books. “The Creation of a Wine” was named ‘best wine book in the world for professionals’ and “Wine and the Environment: Organic, Biodynamic and Natural” was runner-up for ‘best educational wine book in the world’. (The books are published in Swedish and have not yet been translated to English.)
They publish much of their writing on BKWine Magazine (http://www.bkwine.com). Their wine tours can be found on http://www.bkwinetours.com (and in Swedish: http://www.bkwinevinresor.com). Their stock photo library is: http://www.bkwinephotography.com.
JOHN LIVINGSTONE-LEARMONTH - consultant for the wines of the Rhône
John Livingstone-Learmonth has been visiting the Rhône vineyareds since June 1973.
“The Wines of the Rhône” was the first book written on the Rhône, and appeared in three editions (the last one published by Faber (1992, 680 pages). “The Wines of the Northern Rhône” (University of California Press, 2005) won the Louis Roederer International Wine Book Award in 2006. In December 2011, “Gigondas, Its Wines, Its Land, Its People” was published in French and English (Bottin Gourmand and IG & AV); here John covers every vintage of Gigondas from 1959 to 2009. His works are available around the world. His Rhône website is www.drinkrhone.com.
John’s articles have appeared in a range of British magazines, notably Decanter, Wine, and the World of Fine Wine, as well as the Singapore Wine Review. He contributes to annuals such as the Hugh Johnson Pocket Wine Book, the Wine Atlas, and the Oz Clarke Wine Atlas and Pocket Book. He has held tastings in Britain, the United States, France and Asia, and tasted on Panels including the Mâcon, San Francisco and McLaren Vale South Australia Wine Fairs. He is an Honorary Citizen of the Rhône village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and in July 2006 was made a Chevalier of the Ordre du Mérite Agricole by The French State.
John's website is: www.drinkrhone.com
JOHN SALVI, MW - consultant for the wines from Bordeaux
COUNT JOHN UMBERTO SALVI, son of Giuseppe Umberto Salvi, President of Wine and Spirit Association of Great Britain. Military Service with 5th Royal Inniskillin Dragoon Guards and temporary colonel in Intelligence Corps. Russian interpreter.
MASTER OF WINE 1970
42 years in Wine Trade. Board of Directors of Allan Sichel Ltd and Sales Director Maison Sichel and Mähler-Besse. Diploma of Oenology under Emile Peynaud, 1957-9. Master of Wine 1970. Member of Travellers Club, Fédération Internationale de Journalistes et Ecrivains de Vin (FIJEV), Association Française de la Presse de Gastronomie et Tourisme (AFPGT), Association Professionnelle des Chroniqueurs et Infomateurs de la Gastronomie et du Vin (APCIG), Association de la Presse du Vin (APV), Club des Gastronomes de la France, Circle of Wine Writers, Press Club of Bordeaux.
Represents Great Britain at the International Union of Oenologists. Member of a Committee of Experts of the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV). Officer of the Commanderie du Bontemps de Médoc et des Graves, Sauternes et Barsac and member of the Jurade of Saint Emilion. Member of the International Academy of Wine and of the Academie du Vin de Bordeaux.
Living in Bordeaux John is an active professional taster, wine consultant and wine writer.
MATTHEW STUBBS MW - consultant for wines of the Languedoc
Matthew began his career in the UK Wine Trade in 1987 after graduating with a language and business degree. He worked in all aspects of the business from sales, marketing and brand management to buying, sourcing and retail development. 14 years was spent with Seagram, one of the world’s largest drinks companies, followed by 3 years as Director of Wine at the UK supermarket Safeway.
In 2004 he moved to the South of France to set up his own consultancy and training company. Finally in July 2008 he opened Vinécole, a wine school based at Domaine Gayda near Carcassonne in the Languedoc. He runs tastings, courses and events in the South of France as well as UK, USA and Asia. He qualified as a Master of Wine in 1996, achieving the best results in the Tasting and Vinification papers.
For more information about Matthew and his consultancy and training company please visit: www.vinecole.com.
BEN HOWKINS - consultant for wines of Tokaji Aszu
In 1963 Ben became the youngest person to be awarded the Vintners Scholarship, awarded annually by the Vintners Company, to enable the winner to spend six months amongst Europe’s vineyards, meeting leading wine producers.
By 1970 he had joined IDV as a Brand Manager, passed both the Wine & Spirit education exams Part I and Part II with Distinction and been awarded the Williams & Humbert sherry Scholarship. He was international sales and marketing director of Croft from 1972 -1978.
Ben became managing director of Morgan Furze, the leading London wine merchants in 1980. In 1989, he became a director of the independent port producers, the Taylor Fladgate Partnership.
In 1992 Lord Rothschild asked him to set up the Wine Cellars and Wine Shop at Waddesdon Manor.
In 1993, he co-founded the Royal Tokaji Wine Company in Hungary, of which Hugh Johnson is also a founder and passionate supporter. Royal Tokaji is having great success in re-establishing Tokaji Aszu as one of the world’s greatest white wines. Royal Tokaji was the first foreign company to invest in the region and was a founding member of the Tokaj Renaissance. Ben remains Co –founder and Director.
Last Drop Distillers, the world’s most exclusive spirits company, appointed Ben a director in 2010. In 2013 he became a partner in Wine Cellar Consultants. He has consulted for clients such as Moet, Ruinart, Laurent Perrier, Nicholas.
His honorary positions include becoming a Chevalier de Tastevins 1984; member of the Confreria do Vinho do Porto 1984; Liveryman of the Vintners Company 1986; member of the Royal Household Wine Committee 1987- 2008; Chairman of the Wine Promotion Board 1989 – 1992; Trustee of the Wine & Spirit Educational Trust 2000-2004; Chairman of Brooks’s wine committee 2005.
His widely acclaimed book on port, ‘Rich, Rare & Red’, was published by Heinemann in 1982. A new fully updated edition is planned for 2014.
Ben’s latest book ‘Real Men drink Port... and Ladies do too!’ was published by Quiller in October 2011 to much acclaim. Cartoons are by Oliver Preston, Britain’s leading sporting cartoonist.
Nicolas Belfrage MW - consultant for the wines of Italy
Nicolas Belfrage has spent half a lifetime in the Italian wine biz, writing four books and countless articles on all aspects of the subject. He has been involved commercially in wine since the late 1960s as buyer for various specialist wine merchants (The Grapevine, The Market, Winecellars) of which he was also a Director. In the mid-1990s he started up Vinexus Ltd. from his Tuscany home. He has been a Master of Wine since 1980.
BOB CAMPBELL, MW – consultant for the wines of New Zealand
Bob Campbell was the second New Zealander to gain the Master of Wine qualification. After working in the wine industry for 13 years as an accountant, export manager and marketer Bob became a freelance writer and educator in 1986.
He is wine editor of four New Zealand magazines and contributes to wine publications in seven countries. More than 22,000 people have attended Bob’s wine diploma courses in New Zealand, Asia and Europe. He has been a senior judge in wine competitions in eleven countries.
Bob is a director of the world’s largest wine website, Wine Searcher. His own website www.bobswinereviews.com contains over 15,000 wine reviews with ratings as well as a wine blog. A second website www.bobcampbell.co.nz promotes his wine courses and the sale of wine photographs.
PETER BELL - consultant for the wines from New York
Toronto native Peter Bell has been working in New York’s Finger Lakes since 1990, first as winemaker for Dr Frank’s, and, since 1995, at Fox Run Vineyards. Prior to moving to New York he lived in New Zealand, where he was an assistant winemaker in the Marlborough region, and Australia, where he received his formal training in enology. His specialty is the production of Riesling wines, for which the Finger Lakes has become world famous. He also devotes his energies to the production of sparkling wines, a range of dry reds, and several styles of fortified wines. Peter also consults and lectures around the world, and was on the adjunct faculty of the Department of Food Science at Cornell University for many years. Fox Run Vineyards was named one of the top 100 wineries in the world in 2008 by Wines and Spirits magazine.
JEAN-FRANCOIS PELLET - consultant for the wines from Washington
Born and raised in Switzerland, Winemaker Jean-François Pellet is a third-generation wine grower. Working alongside his father, who has managed the same vineyard for 30 years, Jean-François always knew what he wanted to do with his life: make world-class wine. Jean-François supplemented his experience by earning degrees in both enology and viticulture. As part of his studies, he interned in Switzerland, Germany and the Napa Valley.
BILL EASTON - consultant for the wines of Shenandoah Valley, Amador County
A native Californian, Bill grew up in Sacramento, CA. After high school he attended the University of California at Berkeley where he studied Political Science and English. His father was an avid wine enthusiast and he found a taste for wine at a young age. After graduation he entered the wine business in sales and production and then opened a pioneering West Coast wine shop in Berkeley. He is one of the founding members of the Rhône movement in California and an early booster of Zinfandel. He and his wife, Jane, started TERRE ROUGE & EASTON wines in 1985. He is known for his uncanny ability to make wines with power and finesse that are often compared to the best wines of Europe. Bill is President and Winemaker for Terre Rouge & Easton wines
ADAM LaZARRE - consultant for the wines of Central Coast
Adam LaZarre is an award-winning winemaker residing in Paso Robles on California's Central Coast. A graduate of Fresno State University's Enology program, Adam has spent the better part of his 20+ year career making wines from Santa Barbara to Monterey. Although he has worked with grapes from almost every part of the state as well as projects overseas, he insists on making the Central Coast his permanent home, as he loves the unique challenges of the region in both growing grapes and making wine.
Adam is currently the Director of Winemaking for The Wine Hooligans, a Sonoma-based wine company that produces several internationally recognized brands. Prior to this, he was a US based Enologist for the prestigious French-based wine laboratory, Laffort, which specializes in natural products for winemakers.
Adam worked for Villa San-Juliette Winery owned by successful British TV producers Ken Warwick and Nigel Lythgoe, until 2012. He also consulted for the Hearst Ranch Winery. He has his own Pinot Noir brand, LaZarre Wines. Prior to his move to Paso Robles, he was the Vice President of Winemaking for Monterey's Hahn Estate Winery and was at the forefront of the creation of the successful Rex-Goliath and Cycles-Gladiator brands.
In 2005 he was named the Sacramento Bee's Winemaker of the Year and was named one of the "Top 5 Winemakers of the Year" by the San Francisco Chronicle. Also, in 2012, he was named by Intowine.Com to the "Top 100 Most Influential Persons in the US Wine Industry". In addition, he is now a tenured judge at several large international wine competitions and has been judging for 15 years.
ALEX SOKOL BLOSSER - consultant for the wines of Oregon
Alex Sokol Blosser, son of Sokol Blosser’s founders, Susan Sokol Blosser and Bill Blosser, grew up working in the family vineyards and winery. After starting college in Texas, he realized his heart lay back on the family farm, so he returned to Oregon to finish his college degree and acquire more wine industry experience.
In 1998, after working in neighboring vineyards and with a Portland wine wholesaler, Alex started full time at Sokol Blosser, simultaneously working for the president, his mom, Susan, while earning his MBA degree. When he achieved his MBA, Alex became Vice President of Sales at Sokol Blosser. In 2010, Alex transitioned his sales role to his sister Alison, and transitioned to the winemaking and grapegrowing side of the business. He became winemaker for the 2012 harvest and took over from his step-father, Russ Rosner who retired.
Now as Winemaker and Co-President with his sister Alison, Alex actively participates in the Oregon wine industry, including spearheading the project to develop six new American Viticultural Areas in the northern Willamette Valley in 2002. Alex lives with his wife Ginny on the family’s vineyards in the Dundee Hills with his twin boys, Nikolas and Avery.
MICHAELA RODENO - consultant for the wines from Napa / Sonoma
After 21 years as its first CEO, Michaela Rodeno retired in mid-2009 from St. Supéry, which has since been sold to Chanel. She had previously been the VP/Marketing for Domaine Chandon, joining at its inception in 1973. She is considered one of the leading women in the California wine industry and an advocate for wine related issues and women leadership.
Rodeno co-founded Women for WineSense and served on the boards of California’s Wine Institute and the Napa Valley Vintners. She is a founding director and past chair of the Wine Market Council, served as chairman of the Meritage Association from 1999-2005, and chaired the multi-million dollar Napa Valley Wine Auction twice. She speaks at conferences and guest lectures at Berkeley/Haas, UC Davis, and Stanford. Her memoir, Bubbles to Boardrooms, is a favorite of entrepreneurs and lifelong learners.
A director of Silicon Valley Bank Financial Group 2001-2011, Rodeno currently serves on the advisory boards of two tech startups. She holds an MBA from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, and was named to the Haas Hall of Fame in 2009. She lives on the family vineyard in Oakville with her attorney husband Gregory, where they produce very small amounts of Sangiovese under their highly regarded Villa Ragazzi label and grow Cabernet Sauvignon for Robert Mondavi’s Winery.
RICHARD MAYSON - consultant for the wines from Portugal
‘University theses can be pretty abstruse at the best of times. One wonders then whether Richard Mayson knew how useful his thesis on Microclimates of the Vineyards of the Douro Valley (written at the tender age of 21) would be later on in life. After working for the Wine Society for five years he wrote Portugal's Wines and Wine Makers (Ebury Press, London 1992) and no doubt he found his labours very fruitful indeed. He is now one of the most respected authorities on Port, Sherry, Madeira and the wines of Spain and Portugal. He writes and lectures on wine and divides his time between London, Portugal and a family business in the Derbyshire Peak District’. (Decanter Magazine)
After graduating from the University of Sheffield, Richard Mayson began his career working for The Wine Society, Britain’s oldest and most respected wine club, from 1984 – 89 and won the Vintner’s Company Scholarship in 1987. He specialises in the wines of Iberia (especially fortified wines) and has written five books on wine including The Wines and Vineyards of Portugal (winner of the André Simon Award 2003) and Port and the Douro, both initially published in the Faber series. His recent books include a new edition of Port and the Douro and Madeira: the Islands and their Wines which have been published by the Infinite Ideas Classic Wine Library where he is also a series editor. He is currently writing a new book on The Wines of Portugal. Signed, dedicated copies of Richard’s books can be obtained by clicking on his website: http://www.richardmayson.com/books-and-publications
Richard also writes regularly for The World of Fine Wine and Decanter magazine, chairing the Port and Madeira panels in the Decanter World Wine Awards. Richard is a Cavaleiro of the Confraria do Vinho do Porto.
Richard also owns a vineyard near Portalegre in the Alto Alentejo region of Portugal where he is producing three red wines named Pedra Basta, Duas Pedras and Pedra e Alma.
Since 2017 Richard Mayson has been Pro-Chancellor of The University of Sheffield where he also chairs the university’s Alumni Board.
DAVID SWINGLER - consultant for the wines from South Africa
David is a long-standing member of the International Wine & Food Society, and was Director of Wine for the celebrated 2009 IWFS Cape Town Festival. He is immediate-past Chairman of the Cape Town Branch and its current Cellarmaster.
While David earns his keep outside the drinks trade, he has blended his love of both the good things of the table and words by writing about food and wine for nearly twenty years. Co-author of One Hundred Wines – an insiders’ guide to South African wine and drinks contributor to the award-winning Posh Nosh, David is a taster and writer for the seminal John Platter South African Wine Guide (“Platter’s”) since the late Nineties. He has, over the years, consulted to restaurants, game lodges and convention centres, taught wine courses and contributed to various radio, print and other media. He is blessed to have tasted the great wines of the world, particularly those of his first love, Burgundy.
“Platter’s” website: www.wineonaplatter.com
HAROLD HECKLE - consultant for the wines from Spain
Harold Heckle is an English foreign correspondent currently reporting from Madrid, Spain for an international news agency. He has also had an abiding interest in wine since very early in his career. Harold has written about wine in a number of publications including Decanter, Wine, Wine & Spirit International and has maintained a wine column, in Spanish, in leading Spanish newspaper El Mundo.