Putting South Africa’s Finest Wine Offerings Into Perspective – Tasting Australia’s Penfold’s Bin 620 Cabernet Shiraz 2008….

I had a wonderful time in Cape Town at Cape Wine 2018 and before that at the Nederburg Auction of older South African wines. Of course Cape Wine 2018 will be remembered for Tim Atkin MW’s first personal 100 point SA wine score, an active debate surrounding scoring and score inflation both in South Africa and globally and also the prickly pear issue of where to price South Africa’s premium wines, many made from old vine heritage vineyards around the Western Cape that are super expensive to farm. Serious questions indeed.

Some of these questions were brought into a new perspective when I returned to my office to find a bottle of Penfold’s Bin 620 Cabernet Shiraz from Coonawarra freshly opened on a colleagues desk courtesy of a private client. This is a Wine Advocate 98/100 point wine as scored by Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW and retails currently in the UK market for £850 per bottle inc taxes (R16,575 pb). So we are talking serious kit here… and amazingly a wine that makes even the Penfold’s Grange look positively cheap!

Tasting the wine, it is a blend that pays homage to the 1966 Bin 620, a legendary Penfold’s show wine from a great vintage. Crafted from the uniquely Australian Cabernet Sauvignon – Shiraz blend, this wine is considered to be the personification of the Penfold’s house style and worthy of a Special Bin status. The wine was bottled by Penfold’s Wines at Nuriootpa, South Australia in July 2009. The 2008 vintage was produced from the low yielding Coonawarra Blocks 5, 10 and 20 and is considered to be made in a very similar style to the famous 1966 vintage. The wine was barrel fermented in new French and America oak and is classically structured and considered worthy of extended cellar aging for several decades.

Penfold’s Bin 620 Cabernet Sauvignon – Shiraz 2008, Coonawarra, 14 Abv.

The wine has a wonderfully deep ruby garnet opaque core and is a blend of 51% Cabernet Sauvignon and 49% Shiraz. Rich, lifted and hedonistic, the nose is brimming with earthy black berry, freshly torn mint leaf, camphor leaves, wood spice, dried tree bark, cassis and black cherry kirsch liquor notes with nuances of milk chocolate, bruleed coffee beans and exotic botanical herbal spices. The palate is dense, creamy and unctuous but retains a certain poise and posture supported by gravelly mineral tannins, graphite spice, crème de cassis and a fine vein of palate refreshing acidity. The finish is super long and intense with just the faintest hints of cherry cola, salty liquorice, black berry confit and freshly baked raspberry crumble. The vinous adjectives and descriptives positively drip out of ones mouth with this complex offering. It is a big wine that walks a very neat, classical line and will impress most fine wine connoisseurs.

(Wine Safari Score: 97+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

So how does this wine compare to some of South Africa’s finest? In wine terms, however delicious this wine is, it still  has the taste of a lot of sunshine on the fruit and the creamy unctuous glycerol mouthfeel is perhaps not as conducive to matching with food other than perhaps with meaty barbeques. This is a micro-cuvee of only 900 cases so merits attention to detail and probably a big price tag. But I would argue there are many equally impressive South African benchmark reds every bit as alluring and complex and which are much more classically proportioned and suitable for a true gourmands palate. As for the price, well, the mind boggles. R16,000 Rand can buy quite a lot of very fine wine.

As I questioned at the Cape Wine 2018 Old Vine Seminar, the problem with South Africa’s premium wine offering is not their quality and certainly not their styles but more the fact that the wines are more appreciated overseas than they are in the local home market. South Africa’s finest crown jewels are all being exported because the local market, unlike Australia, USA or New Zealand is not comfortable paying the prices that these fine wines inevitably will need to sell for. Locals shy away from buying wines over R250 Rand (£12.99) a bottle let alone R16,000 Rand a bottle. The result is a two speed market where all the best offerings are exported to an appreciative, thirsty European audience while the home market scrapes the barrel like a fishy bottom feeder in a muddy pond trying to find the last undiscovered bargains. This needs to change before we can set about bringing better profitability to the local wine industry. A healthy fine wine market inevitably has to be driven primarily by strong local demand… then the rest will follow… a la Penfold’s top cuvees.

Elgin Ridge Winery Resurrects Their Impressive Biodynamic Elgin Chardonnay…

Organic and Demeter Biodynamic certified winery Elgin Ridge produced a 2010 and 2011 unwooded Chardonnay and then ceased production in 2012 when all their Chardonnay juice was redirected into their Method Cap Classique (MCC) bubbly.

However, the wine was finally resurrected in 2016 with a wooded version. The 2017 is due to hit select markets in Spring 2019. Limited to only 1,300 bottles, the wine was aged 10 months in 20% new French barrels.

Elgin Ridge 282 Chardonnay 2017, WO Elgin, 13 Abv.

True to it’s terroir, this wine has Elgin written all over it with a superb crystallinity, purity and brightness. The nose is youthful and primary but already shows lashings of white citrus, green fig, green apple pastille, lemon-lime cordial, smokey minerality and mouth watering vanilla pod spice. The palate is super intense with bracing acidity but also more than sufficient backing yellow grapefruit, pineapple and tart green apple fruit concentration to balance. Still a baby, this wine should blossom into an ultra focused, finely honed cool climate expression of Chardonnay. Really delicious already but will be worth ageing it for 3 to 6+ years.

(Wine Safari Score: 93+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Stop The Presses!!! – Tasting the First Ever 100 Point Wine From South Africa…

Today I had the great privilege to help chair the Whole Bunch tasting of The Wines That Raised Us – A Heritage Experience … at the Klein Welmoed Farm in Stellenbosch featuring great iconic old bottles from the Winshaw Cellar.

What a night and what profound, mind blowing wines. But sitting back and discussing the merits of the individual wines with the other producers and industry commentators in attendance, left me with no choice but to finally make my first 100 point South African wine score pronouncement!

The Zonnebloem Cabernet Sauvignon 1957, another near 100 point expression!

Chateau Libertas 1957, 12 Abv.

An incredibly youthful, vibrant and aromatic expression, this red wine at 61 years old is the most distinguished stately gentleman of wines I have ever encountered. Loaded full of youthful creme de cassis, boiled black berry sweets, macerated black cherries, earthy ripe prunes, raisined cranberries, fynbos spice, dried mint leaf and a profoundly pure and balanced palate minerality that follows the fruit complexity of the nose. It’s not just the mellow concentration and regal balance that astounds the senses, but the sweet fruited glycerol texture, the vibrantly fresh palate and tightly packed sweet mellow tannins that seduce the senses and invite you in for more. This is the stuff of legends, a wine you will want to tell your kids you drank. It’s also a wine that not only brought tears to grown winemakers eyes, but also the first perfect score on the Fine Wine Safari and possibly the first ever de facto 100 point score for a South African still wine! 🤭 Yes!

(Wine Safari Score: 100/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Pinot Passion and Precision Personified – Tasting the New Release Elgin Ridge Biodynamic Pinot Noir 2016…

Organic and biodynamic wine practices have become big business for the wine trade globally over the past few years. But what I really admire about Brian and Marion Smith’s focus at Elgin Ridge in South Africa is not only their unreserved commitment to the philosophy of organic and biodynamic winemaking but also the way they strive to genuinely be respectable and sustainable wine growers, wine makers and wine sellers. It’s certainly not done just in the name of marketing.

Elgin Ridge has had great success with their wines in the UK but latterly even more so in Scandinavia and especially Japan. Tasting their new release Pinot Noir 2016 points straight to varietal purity and precision, two key factors so important when trying to crack complicated connoisseur markets like the UK and Japan.

They may not be the poster boy of Pinot Noir production in South Africa, but rest assured this is one of the most honest, varietally pure and best value Pinot Noir reds you can buy on the market.

Elgin Ridge Pinot Noir 2016, WO Elgin, 13.5 Abv.

This organic naturally fermented Pinot Noir was produced in a very limited 3,440 bottles and was aged for 10 months in French oak barrels. The wine is structured and broody sticking to a serious old world stylistic framework for Pinot Noir. The aromatics are deep and dark with a really savoury baritone black bramble berry expression with a nose loaded with blood and iron, cranberry, incense and waxy red forest berry fruits. The palate shows delicious red fruited Cote de Beaune purity, piquant foresty spice and a dusty, bramble berry complexity. The textural precision and incredible winemaking polish does perhaps mask some of the wines earthy, artisanal charm, but in the end, this wine delivers an astonishing amount of Pinot Noir pleasure at a fantastic price point. So yes Brian and Marion, the biodynamic commitment is rewarding. Drink now to 2026+

Wine Safari Score: 93/100 Greg Sherwood MW

It’s Cabernet Sauvignon But Not As You Know It – Tasting the Craven Wines Maiden Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 “En-primeur”…

I love it when wineries make varietal wines that you would least expect them to. This is exactly what Mick and Jeanine Craven have done with their new Cabernet Sauvignon 2018.

I know Mick and Jeanine are not massive fans of wine ratings per se but as a critic, I’d certainly be remiss not to write about this epic wine and sing it’s praises as there was next to nothing produced from the 1.2 tons of fruit. Only for release probably early next year, put it in your diary else you’ll miss out! 😭

Mick Craven, one half of this dynamic wine making duo at Craven Wines

Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, 12.5 Abv.

(Barrel Sample)

Sourced from a vineyard in the Polkadraai, Stellenbosch. Currently still in cask with an envisaged ageing in barrel of 10 to 12 months before bottling. First thing that strikes you about this wine is how ripe and juicy it is without being 14-15 degrees Abv. The nose boasts the most delicious, mouth-watering aromatics of red cherry, cranberry, crunchy cassis, rose petals and an almost Cinsault’esque kiss of Turkish delight. Palate is lean and lithe, wonderfully linear and precise with Parma violets, cherry bon bons and Victoria plums a la Mick’s Adelaide roots. Not a jot of greeness in sight. Vibrant, expressive and firmly a smashable vin de soif style but certainly no frivolity in evidence. So crystalline, pure, unadulterated Cabernet fruit at its very best.

(Wine Safari Score: 92-94+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

The Mallorcan Wine Odyssey – Tasting the Spectacular Island Wines of 4 Kilos Vinicola…

The summer of 2018 was officially confirmed as the warmest on record and what better way to enjoy all this sunshine than wining and dining outdoors drinking plenty of fine wine. This was also the year of island wines and in August I chose to focus on the delights from the island of Mallorca. One of my most exciting visits was to the 4 Kilos Vinicola winery on the south eastern side of the island near the town of Felanitx.

Francesc Grimalt founded the Ánima Negra winery in 1994 making the wine there as a partner until 2006 before leaving to start afresh, setting up the 4 Kilos Vinicola winery. At Ánima Negra, Francesc was one of the first winemakers to focus on crafting serious wines from the indigenous red Callet grape and this interest has continued at his new winery.

In the Vineyards with Francesc Grimalt

The name 4 Kilos refers to the 4 million pesetas (€24,000) that Francesc and his partner Sergio Caballero invested in their new winery (in Spanish, one kilo is a coloquial expression to say one million). According to Francesc and Sergio, there’s no need to be a millionaire to make wine; more importantly you need plenty of passion and be prepared to put in the hard work.

The converted barn that is now their winery

Their first vintage was made in the garage of a friend using stainless steel milk tanks and then in an old sheep barn that was later converted into a winery. This was part of a property owned by Francesc’s parents on the outskirts of Felanitx in the south east of the island. They currently own around 30 hectares of vineyards and also source fruit from growers all over the Island explaining their use of the Vi de la Terra Mallorca designation for all their wines.

Some of the vineyards around the winery with vines planted on varying patches red ferrous clay, gravelly sand and clay limestone.

Varieties currently used include local grapes Callet, Manto Negro, Monastrell and Fogoneu together with Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The trend is to gradually move more towards using predominantly indigenous varieties. Indeed the fact that their 15,000 bottle flagship red 4 Kilos production is now produced from single-varietal Callet sourced from old vines grown on the red ferrous-clay soils locally known as call vermell (in Catalan vermell means red) is testament to their commitment to indigenous varieties.

Red ferrous-clay soils around the winery

Their 12 Volts (around 45,000 bottles) label is a blend of normally 60% Callet with a percentage of international grapes including 20% Syrah, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot. Despite the fact that indigenous grapes produce lighter wines, the wines are nevertheless more expressive and accentuate the true Mediterranean terroir characteristics of the island. Oak is limited to foudres and large barrels of up to 600 litres with only the occasional 225 litre barrique used.

Two new wines have been launched in recent years. The Motor Callet brand is used for alternative, experimental batches vinified in terra cotta and stainless steel tanks from grapes sourced around the island with the wine changing slightly every vintage.

A Premium wine called Grimalt Caballero (1,000 bottles) combines the surnames of the two founders and exhibits a rather particular coat of arms on the label. It is also their most delicate expression of Callet with purity and an authentic Mediterranean character.

Tasting Notes:

4 Kilos Gallinas Y Focas Sa Cussa Antonia Blanco 2017, Vi de la Terra Mallorca, 12 Abv.

Grapes for this wine come from a callaboration between Amadip.Esment and 4 Kilos Vinicola and the wine is made by Francesc Grimalt. A blend 60% Prensal and 40% Macabeu, this organic certified white has a charming nose of waxy orange peel accentuated by 24 hours skin contact maceration for the Macabeu. The aromatics are beautifully complex showing peach stone, beer hops, bruised apples. crushed limestone and savoury leesy notes. The palate is finely balanced with a creamy soft yellow orchard fruit glycerol richness, soft clean acids, crushed gravel minerality and a delicately pithy finish with orange peel and green pear nuances. A minimal intervention wine with wonderful harmony and balance achieved through thoughtful, accomplished winemaking. Drink now to 2022.

(Wine Safari Score: 92/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

4 Kilos 12 Volts 2017, 12.5 Abv.

60% Syrah Carbonic & 25% Callet, Cabernet and Merlot. Bottled in June 2018, this shows a bright lifted vibrant nose of strawberries, bramble berries, loganberry and a pithy graphite spice. Lovely density and plush texture, finely balancing mineral grip, fresh strawberry pip notes and dry powdery grip. Wonderful earthy note, plummy spice and bramble berry length.

(Wine Safari Score: 93/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

4 Kilos Motor Callet 2017 Blend, 11 Abv.

Mostly Callet grown clay soils then aged in terra cotta and concrete then blended in stainless. Red plum, raspberry, strawberry purée. No stems used but shows a delicious sappy spice and complex earthy note from the Amphora. Lovely juicy, easy drinking style with layers of red apple, stewed strawberries, redcurrant and a resinous long finish. Really delicious.

(Wine Safari Score: 90/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

4 Kilos Vinicola 2017 Blend Components Tasted From Barrel:

A) 4 Kilos Components 2017

Callet from red ferrous soils, to be bottled in Feb 2019. 12.5 Abv. Rich ripe and deeply fruited with black and red fruits, earthy strawberry and sappy bramble berry. Vibrant and fresh, plenty of crystalline purity and sleek textural elegance. Wonderful harmony.

(Wine Safari Score: 91-93/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

B) 4 Kilos Components 2017

Callet from red ferrous soils but with more sand Component from 60 to 80 year old vines. Lovely strawberry pith, dusty minerality, slate, mint leaf and dried herbs. Palate full of strawberry, red cherry, graphite and pithy and gravelly mineral finish. A very precise wine.

(Wine Safari Score: 92-93+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

C) 4 Kilos Components 2017

Callet from red soils and gravel picked 3 weeks later than previous two components. Darker more earthy raspberry, bramble berry and strawberry fruits. Wonderful sappy depth, dusty gravelly minerality and focused red fruit core and more linearity. A perfect blending partner but perhaps a bit serious on its own.

(Wine Safari Score: 90-92/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

D) 4 Kilos Components 2017

Callet plot on deep gravels from very old vine single vineyard. Darker black berry fruits, hints of mulberry and bramble berry but also more saline, reductive notes. Dusty, mineral, sappy and leafy with piquant spicy notes, peppery black berry and a direct, linear delivery on the taut, mineral finish. Has it’s merits but more appealing in a blend.

(Wine Safari Score: 89-90/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

4 Kilos Vinicola 2016 Tinto, 12.5 Abv.

Callet based blend that shows lovely deep strawberry and mulberry fruits, plenty of opulence and mouth watering sappy, plummy black berry fruits with superb harmony, balance and raspberry confit finish. Just the most subtle notes of dried herbs, graphite and crushed gravel minerality. Super focus and streamline tannins on a long, delicious finish.

(Wine Safari Score: 93+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Tanuki Bob (3,000 bottles) is the second wine of their joint project. Launched with the 2014 vintage, this 90% Manto Negro is partly fermented with stems to get some carbonic maceration and results in a fresh, fragrant, very drinkable expression.

4 Kilos Tanuki Bob Manto Negro Negre 2014, 13 Abv

Blend of 90% Manto Negro with a splash of 10% Syrah. Wonderfully perfumed nose of roses, violets, cassis, black berry and slightly dusty, leafy reductive notes. Palate is light footed, sleek, but deliciously concentrated with a caramelised black berry depth, sugared nuts, and an impressive, vibrant sappy depth.

(Wine Safari Score: 93/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

4 Kilos Gallines Y Foques 2015 (in Catalan)

4 Kilos Gallinas Y Focas 2015, 14 Abv.

Made from 40-50 year old Manto Negro grown on red ferrous soils but with a lot of Gallet / pudding stones from 3 different vineyards. Such purity and vibrancy on the aromatics that show dried herbs, roses, violets, peppercorn, and crunchy strawberry complexity. Uniquely distinguished, there is plushness and power, balance and harmony, but also electric vibrancy and intensity of red berry fruits laced with stony minerality. 20,000 bottles. (1st vintage 2009). Definitely a wine to track down!

(Wine Safari Score: 94+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Innovation never stops at 4 Kilos. Francesc is an obsessive fan of Amphora wines and inspired by the Sicilian wines of Cos Pithos white and red, he has used a number of Amphora for his reds but is current building an unlined “clay brick” fermentation tank made from clay-limestone bricks quarried at the 4 Kilos winery and fired by a friend, to mimic the characteristics of Amphora fermented wines. Promises to be a fascinating project.

Visits by appointment only.

4 Kilos Vinícola s.l.
1a.Volta, 168/Puigverd
07200 Felanitx
Mallorca, Spain

UK Importer is Indigo Wines

Ten New Masters of Wine Announced Today by the IMW…

Today the IMW announced ten new Masters of Wine, including the first female winemaker of Greek descent and the first female winemaker based in Spain.

The new Masters of Wine are Almudena Alberca MW (Spain), Barbara Drew MW (UK), Olga Karapanou Crawford MW (USA), Regine Lee MW (UK), Elsa Macdonald MW (Canada), Thomas Parker MW (UK), Lindsay Pomeroy MW (USA), Nicolas Quillé MW (USA), Job de Swart MW (Netherlands) and Tim Triptree MW (UK).

There are now 380 Masters of wine, based in 30 countries.


Almudena Alberca MW (Spain)

Almudena Alberca is the first woman in Spain to achieve the title of Master of Wine. After graduating in agriculture engineering, she continued her studies gaining a degree in oenology and a master in viticulture. Her first harvest was in New Zealand at Vidal Estate, part of the Villa Maria group. Since then she has travelled extensively through wine producing regions worldwide. Almudena began her career producing boutique wines in Viñas de Cenit, in Zamora, Spain, where she went from assistant winemaker to managing the entire winery. She worked at Dominio de Atauta in Ribera del Duero where she played an integral role in shaping their wine styles and achieving international success. During this time, she was also the Spanish specialist for importer AvivaVino in New York, selecting and blending wines for this market. Almudena has been the technical director at Viña Mayor since 2015, one of Spain’s large-volume players in Ribera del Duero, Rueda and Toro. She is also responsible for developing new brands and wines in regions like Rías Baixas and Valdeorras and is involved with PR, marketing and sales both in Spain and abroad.

Research paper
Comparative analysis of filtration techniques for young oaked Tempranillo wines from Ribera del Duero

Barbara Drew MW (UK)

Barbara started her wine career in 2011 at Berry Bros. & Rudd, working in the events department. She currently coordinates and hosts a wide range of events in BB&R’s extensive cellars, spanning introductory wine courses to in-depth tastings and masterclasses, dinners, lunches, one-day schools and WSET courses. To balance out the grape, she also dabbles with grain, hosting spirits events as well. In her spare time, she runs unnecessarily long distances.

Research paper

The influence of vocabulary on perception of wine: tasting tannins in Barolo and Brunello


Olga Karapanou Crawford MW (USA)

Olga Karapanou Crawford is a wine consultant and winemaker based in Napa, California. Olga is the first Greek winemaker, and third Greek national to earn the Master of Wine title. Born and raised in a winemaking family, she endeavoured to study viticulture and oenology from an early age. With a bachelor’s degree in chemistry awarded in her native Greece and a master in viticulture and oenology in California, Olga has set out on a career that emphasises quality winemaking at a variety of price points and styles. With various roles that touch nearly every aspect of the industry (winemaking, sourcing, marketing, sales and winery management) she is most drawn to working with wineries that display a mix of business acumen and a passion for wine. This has led to working for companies such as E&J Gallo, Marcassin Vineyards, Achaia Clauss and most recently Penrose Hill Ltd. She has travelled the world as a wine consultant and is currently based in California leading the winemaking team for Penrose Hill Limited, a modern negociant, as well as continuing consulting for her family’s wineries, Achaia Clauss and Antonopoulos Vineyards.

Research paper

Challenges and opportunities for selling wines in premium New York City restaurants made from niche grape varieties. Xinomavro is used as an example

Regine Lee MW (UK)

Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Regine’s love of wine developed after countless day trips to Napa and Sonoma to ‘taste’ wine. She has a degree from the University of California, Berkeley in politics and international relations, which led to a fateful study year at the London School of Economics and eventually a British husband and a life in the UK, where she now lives. After working at Deloitte as a management consultant, she made the career switch to the wine industry. She worked at WSET to develop their Asia-Pacific markets and is currently in national account sales at Liberty Wines, but has had roles focussing on operations, trade marketing, education and sales analytics at the company. Regine is a co-founder of Women in Wine London, a trade-networking group which organises events which develop women professionally and provide a forum to discuss the key developments in the industry.

Research paper

The value of relationship building in the wine industry: an analysis of trade customer visits to producers and their impact on sales


Elsa Macdonald MW (Canada)

Elsa Macdonald was a management consultant in the telecom and financial sectors until 2003, when she heeded the call to pursue her passion for wine and changed careers. Now Director of Wine Education at Arterra Wines Canada, Elsa shares her knowledge and zeal for wine with sommeliers, WSET Diploma students and trade professionals across the country. She serves on the national board of directors for the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers and is certified by the same body. When she isn’t teaching or tasting you can find Elsa exploring the world’s wine regions where she continues to cultivate her experiences and engage others in her passionate pursuits. Elsa also holds a master of science (telecom) from Syracuse University, New York and a bachelor’s degree from Ryerson University, Toronto.

Research paper

Consumer appeal of Appassimento wines produced in Niagara Peninsula, Ontario

Thomas Parker MW (UK)

Tom started working in the wine industry while reading modern languages at Oxford. Following a stint at Farr Vintners during the 2009 Bordeaux En Primeur campaign, he joined the Oxford University Blind Tasting Society and subsequently competed in the varsity blind tasting match. He joined Farr Vintners permanently in 2011, where he is now a buyer. He has also worked several harvests in Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Napa Valley, both in the vineyard and the winery. Tom – who is now the youngest Master of Wine in the world – writes when time allows and has been published in the World of Fine Wine magazine and Hayden Groves’ book Back in the Saddle. He enrolled in the MW study programme after winning the Derouet Jameson award for high achievement in his WSET Diploma. Away from work, Tom can normally be found cooking with a glass of Syrah in hand, at Selhurst Park following his beloved Crystal Palace, or on the golf course.

Research paper

Stock movement for 2005 Red Bordeaux purchased En Primeur through a UK wine merchant 2006-2016

Lindsay Pomeroy MW (USA)

Lindsay Pomeroy grew up in an idyllic place in New Hampshire has an identical twin, an adorable niece and a very lively family. She began her career trek towards wine when she lived in Italy and attempted to teach English to Italians. She made lasting friends with Italians who taught her the art of espresso-drinking and chocolate-tasting (her other loves), and helped her develop an addiction to salami, which she has reluctantly given up as a newly minted vegetarian. She loved Italy, but her passion for wine started in San Diego, California where she currently still resides. Historically more of a beach-and-beer town than a wine-drinker’s mecca, Lindsay has helped foster a community of knowledge-thirsty wine drinkers in San Diego throughout her 12-year tenure as the Chief Wine Educator and founder of Wine Smarties, a wine education school that provides WSET and French Wine Scholar (FWS) courses. Leading up to the MW study programme, Lindsay successfully earned her WSET Diploma, FWS certificate and Certified Wine Educator (CWE). Outside of wine, Lindsay loves to spend time with her colourful family and friends, go rollerblading, meditate, and sport a fanny pack, which she claims is fashionable again.

Research paper

A study of water monitoring technology in the drought affected counties of San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and San Diego: current usage, attitudes towards technologies and factors that influence adoption


Nicolas Quillé MW (USA)

Nicolas Quillé was born in Lyon, France, into a family with three generations working in the wine business. Nicolas holds a master’s in oenology (Diplôme National d’Oenologie) from the University of Dijon in Burgundy, a postgraduate degree in sparkling winery management from the University of Reims in Champagne and an MBA from the University of Washington in Seattle. Nicolas has worked for wineries in Burgundy, Provence, Champagne, the Rhône valley, the Douro valley, Oregon, Washington and California. Nicolas has more than 25 years of experience in the wine industry with an emphasis on winemaking, quality control, winery management, wine portfolio management and merger and acquisitions. He has judged at numerous wine competitions and is speaking at wine conferences on a regular basis. Currently Nicolas is the Chief Winemaking and Operations Officer for the Crimson Wine Group based in Napa, California. At Crimson, Nicolas is responsible for the operations and the quality of six wineries and estate vineyards located in California, Oregon and Washington. Nicolas lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and two children.

Research paper

Impact of selected fining agents on the phenolic content and the aromatic intensity of Muscat Blanc à Petit Grains



Job de Swart MW (Netherlands)

Job is the third Dutchman to become a Master of Wine. He graduated in 2005 with a degree in international business administration from Maastricht University, but wine has always been a major interest in his life. Job studied at the Dutch Wine Academy and did an internship at the Faculty of Viticulture and Oenology of UC Davis. He also worked as a cellar hand at Château Giscours and De Toren. In 2010, he earned his WSET Diploma and became Weinakademiker in 2011. Currently, Job works as a wine buyer and marketer for Les Généreux – an association of 38 independent fine wine shops. For his research paper, he co-founded Grape Compass, an online decision support system that forecasts fungal disease pressures in vineyards. He teaches, supervises wine tastings and writes for professionals and enthusiasts.

Research paper

Grape Compass: evaluating the results of a fungal disease pressure forecast software application for Western Cape grape growers

Tim Triptree MW (UK)

Tim Triptree is the International Director of Wine at Christie’s. Tim’s main role is curating, sale planning and the execution of Christie’s wine auctions internationally. Based at Christie’s London, his role includes sourcing consignments, inspection and authentication, developing client relations and hosting wine events and masterclasses. Following an initial career in banking, Tim became interested in wine whilst living in Mendoza, Argentina studying Spanish and completing a sommelier course. He joined Christie’s wine department in 2005 after graduating with an MBA distinction (wine business management). He completed the WSET Diploma, gaining a distinction in 2008 and was awarded the Sherry Institute Scholarship and Constellation Scholarship, which involved wine visits to Jerez and New Zealand respectively. He received the Trinity Champagne Scholarship whilst on the MW study programme. In January 2013, Tim was seconded to Christie’s Hong Kong for four years, to focus on raising the department’s profile in the region as well as involvement with wine auctions in Hong Kong and Shanghai. He became head of sale in Hong Kong before returning to London in January 2017 and was promoted to international director in June 2018. Tim has been a wine judge at the International Wine and Spirit Competition since 2011, a panel judge at Decanter World Wine Awards 2017-2018 and at Bacchus Wine 2018 in Madrid.


Research paper

Reserve wine use in Brut NV Champagne: trends, causes and implications

Congratulations to them all from The Fine Wine Safari!