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2014 Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show judges announced

February 17, 2014
by Christian
in News
with 5 Comments

OMTWS-logoJudges for the 2014 Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show, now in its thirteenth year, are as follows:

International judges
Gerard Basset MW (United Kingdom)
UK-based French-born Gerard Basset is the only person to have qualified as a Master of Wine and Master Sommelier and to hold a Wine MBA (from Bordeaux). Basset was appointed OBE in 2011 in acknowledgement of his mentoring a generation of young sommeliers and his contribution to the British hospitality industry.

Véronique Drouhin-Boss (France)
Drouhin-Boss is winemaker at family-owned Maison Joseph Drouhin in Burgundy, France.

Fongyee Walker (China)
A graduate of Cambridge University and China’s best known wine educator, Malaysian-born Fongyee Walker is a wine judge, writer and highly regarded wine authority.

Local judges
Trizanne Barnard (owner/winemaker at Trizanne Signature Wines)

Christian Eedes (wine writer, founder of

James Pietersen (beverage manager for Belthazar and Balducci’s restaurants)

JD Pretorius (winemaker at Steenberg Wines)

François Rautenbach (head of Singita Premier Wine Direct programme)

Cathy van Zyl MW.

Deadline for entries is 27 March and the relevant kit is available here.

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  1. Marianne HFebruary 17, 2014 at 8:51 pmReply

    Hi Christian, How is the chairman’s aesthetic determined? How important is the global palate du jour? How much is personal? M

    • ChristianFebruary 18, 2014 at 6:43 amReplyAuthor

      Hi M, You are asking some really interesting questions and I’m not sure there are any short answers. The bottom line, however, is that there’s a shared aesthetic among those highly involved in wine as to what represents quality which is not fixed but subject to ongoing subtle modifications over time – a figure like Michael Fridjhon because of his expertise and seniority gets to have more influence than most but ultimately the ongoing debate as to what is good (constanttly happening across the world) is bigger than any one individual.

  2. Michael OlivierFebruary 17, 2014 at 8:29 pmReply

    I think this is a good choice of judges, I could respect any decisions they take. Like the thought of Trizanne and JD there too. Strength to your arms. Michael

  3. KwispedoorFebruary 17, 2014 at 11:28 amReply

    So, Christian, is Michael Fridjhon not involved whatsoever in tasting?

    • ChristianFebruary 17, 2014 at 5:01 pmReplyAuthor

      Hi Kwispedoor,

      Some thoughts from MF on what his role as show convenor and chairman is:

      1. To establish and direct the show’s aesthetic. Do we reward big and bold or fine and delicate? When do we reward the one, even if we’ve taken the decision to focus on the merits of the other?
      2. To choose judges that will express a coherent aesthetic view, and be tolerant of exceptions, i.e. to choose good judges
      3. To calibrate across all classes and at all medal levels – to participate in crucial benchmarking discussions
      4. To tease results out of panels who are sometimes too close to the wood to see the trees
      5. To respect the primacy of the panel, notwithstanding all the issues detailed above: e.g. when a panel awards a unanimous gold to a wine which doesn’t meet the chairman’s aesthetic, to accept the principle that you don’t have a dog and then land up barking yourself.
      6. To mediate technical disputes around show rules

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