2015 Judging Panel
Richard Siddle – Chair of Judges
Award winning business editor with over 20 years experience working across a number of fields including computing, grocery retail, convenience, travel and most recently spent the last eight years editing Harpers Wine & Spirit.
Throughout his career has built a reputation for campaigning journalism covering issues as wide as violent crime against retailers and bootlegging of alcohol and tobacco. At Harpers he was responsible for working with independent wine merchants and suppliers to establish a set of Best Practice Guidelines by which they would work more openly and effectively together.
Richard is now running his own business and media consultancy offering advice to companies on their communications strategy as well as carrying out contract publishing and freelance writing.
Sarah Abbott MW
Sarah worked in the wine trade for nearly 20 years, in roles involving wine sourcing, business development, marketing and commercial strategy. She got her grounding in Burgundy, Italy and Bordeaux but also got to know, and love, lesser known emerging regions such as Turkey and Georgia.
Sarah judges in wine competitions across the world, and appreciates the chance they give to learn from others, and to share and compare ideas of what makes wine beautiful. She loves reading, and infrequently but gladly writes about wine for her own blog, and for others, including timatkin.com.
Pedro Ballesteros MW
Pedro BALLESTEROS TORRES MW got his Agrofood Engineer Degree, as well as his Master Degree in Viticulture & Oenology, at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. In Belgium he got the WSET Diploma. In Germany and Austria the Weinakademiker certificate (with the Schloss Vollrads Award for the best results), and at London he became member of the Institute of Masters of Wine (with the Errazuriz Award for the best paper on Business of Wine). He followed other wine specialisation studies at Jerez, Beaune, Napa Valley and Bordeaux. He is columnist at magazines in Belgium and Spain, and writes for magazines in Italy, UK, Switzerland, France and USA. Co-Chair for Spain and for Sherry at Decanter World Wine Awards (UK). Chair and Senior jury at international competitions such as Concours Mondial Bruxelles, Bacchus, Copa Jerez (Spain), Mundus Vini (Germany), and others in Portugal, Czech Republic, Italy, France, etc. Elected Member of the Governing Council of the Institute of Masters of Wine and of the Council of the Spanish Taster Union. Member of the Advisory Board of the Basque Culinary Centre. Expert at OIV for Spain. He has given several hundred lectures and tutored tastings all over the world. He works in Spanish, English, French and Italian.
Willi Klinger can look back on many years of domestic and international experience in the marketing of wine. A restaurateur’s son from the State of Oberösterreich (Upper Austria), Willi studied Romance Languages and Literature (French & Italian) in Salzburg, and learned his oenophile trade working for the well-known wine merchant A.V. Stangl in Salzburg. Klinger was later instrumental in the development of the Austrian wine retail chain WEIN & CO, before becoming managing director of the DOMÄNE WACHAU (then the “Freie Weingärtner Wachau”). Here he achieved pioneering results for the promotion of Austrian wine, both on the international stage and at home. From 2000–2006 he worked as the right hand man of Italian cult winegrower Angelo GAJA and was responsible for more than 50 export markets. Willi Klinger has held the leadership post at the AWMB (Austrian Wine Marketing Board) since the 1st of January 2007. He is married, has two children and resides in Vienna.
A Frenchman living in Belgium, but born to a family of Burgundy-lovers, Hervé Lalau started his career as a food journalist, but soon specialised in wine. For four years now, he has been Deputy-Chief Editor at In Vino Veritas. He also wrote for the Canadian wine magazine Vins & Vignobles. From 2006 to 2010, Hervé was the Secretary General of FIJEV (the International Federation of Wine Journalists). He is also a Committee Member of the Circle of Wine Writer and a member of the French Association de la Presse du Vin. Since 2007, Hervé has been publishing his wine thoughts on a daily basis, on his own blog, Chroniques Vineuses. In 2010, he won the Wine Blog Trophy in Angers with this blog. Hervé serves regularly as a wine judge in international competitions like Sélections Mondiales Canada, Vinalies Internationales, Concurso Internacional de Vino (Sevilla), Mundus Vini.
Award-winning journalist Elin McCoy is the author of The Emperor of Wine: The Rise of Robert M. Parker, Jr. and the Reign of American Taste, which has garnered international praise. Foreign editions are available in Brazil, the U.K., Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Russia. It won the World Gourmand Cookbook Award and was a finalist for James Beard and IACP wine book of the year.
She is the wine columnist for Bloomberg News, the New York columnist for Decanter magazine, and writes frequently for World of Fine Wine and other international publications.
Her own website and blog are at www.elinmccoy.com. In her long career, she has written widely for other national and international publications and has co-authored four other books on wine and gourmet topics. She is at work on two wine books, one set in Sonoma.
She serves regularly as wine competition judge in the U.S. and abroad and is a frequent keynote speaker and moderator on wine at industry events such as VinExpo, and the Hong Kong Wine and Spirits Trade Fair.
Andre Ribeirinho is known in the wine business under many different titles: Ambassador, Entrepreneur, Evangelist, Knight, Traveler, Founder and Strategist. Specifically, André runs Adegga.com, a successful Wine Marketplace that brings selected winemakers and wine consumers together through a mix of consumer wine tastings, digital marketing and online sales. André runs a series of successful consumer-oriented wine tastings that gather over 1000 participants each. The Adegga WineMarkets have taken place in Lisbon, Porto, Algarve, Brussels and Rio de Janeiro and are set to start in Germany in 2015. André’s company is responsible for such innovations in the wine industry as the AVIN (a wine identification code similar to the ISBN) and the SmartWineGlass, an award-winning technology that helps consumers track wines tasted at wine events. Through his innovative work in the wine industry Andre as received the TWA Personality of the Year 2012 (in Portugal) and the Wine Personality of the Year 2010 (Daily Newspaper) awards. André is a regular wine judge at the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. Finally, André is the co-founder of the #winelover community which has 19.000 members and a loyal following. André is a Knight of the Port Wine Brotherhood and a proud ambassador for Port wine.