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2012 Judging Panel (new panel will be announced shortly)

Elin McCoy

An award-winning journalist and author, focusing on the world of wine, she writes a bimonthly wine and spirits column for Bloomberg News, a monthly column for Bloomberg Markets, and is a columnist at Zesterdaily.com. Her most recent book is The Emperor of Wine: The Rise of Robert M. Parker, Jr. and the Reign of American Taste, which has international praise. She is also the co-author of Thinking About Wine. She was a contributing editor on wine at Food & Wine for 25 years and has been a columnist for House Beautiful, Las Vegas Life, Shattered, and Drink. In addition, she has written on a wide variety of subjects for many national publications, including The New York Times and House & Garden. McCoy serves regularly as a wine judge in American and international competitions, appears on radio and television, and is a frequent speaker at wine festivals, symposia and industry events.

Patrick Schmitt

Patrick Schmitt started his career in journalism writing for a clutch of horticultural trade journals and a golf club title having specialised in plant and soil science as part of his degree in Geography from Oxford, which he completed in 2000. His taste of wine writing came a couple of years later when he offered to write for The Drinks Business, while at the same time studying for the WSET Advanced Certificate. His first article was a comparative piece on drinks and car brands – in keeping with a passionate interest in motoring – and not long after he was appointed staff writer, and then deputy editor, and finally editor. He rapidly took his academic qualifications in drinks up to WSET Diploma level and is now hoping to embark on the Master of Wine course.

Hervé Lalau

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.

Fongyee Walker

Fongyee Walker is mainland China’s only Master of Wine candidate. Having passed her theory paper, in 2011 she is continuing her studies, having co-founded Dragon Phoenix Fine Wine Consulting (www.longfengwines.com), Beijing’s leading independent wine consulting and education service, with Edward Ragg, in 2007. Walker is a specialist educator, consultant and translator (English-Mandarin), a WSET Certified Wine Educator and is also much in demand as a presenter for corporate and other tasting events. Walker is a former Captain of the Cambridge University Blind WineTasting Team and has judged at numerous wine competitions including the International Wine Challenge, Hong Kong IWSC and the China Wine Challenge. She is a blind-tasting panellist for Food & Wine Magazine China and Wine in China and guest-lecturer at China Agricultural University s popular wine appreciation programme. Walker was visiting winemaker at Brown Bros. Kindergarten Winery in Victoria in March 2010 and in the same year won a place on the 2010 Landmark Tutorial.

Ulf Sjodin

Born in Piteå, a small town in the north of Sweden not far from the arctic circle and moved to Stockholm in 1985, Ulf studied chemical engineering at the Royal Institute of Technology where he received his masters degree. He started career as a research engineer within the paper industry, working with mathematical modeling of fibre networks, but left that business in 1996 when he was employed by V&S Group as PR Manager, following the de-monopolization of imports after Sweden’s entry into the EU. After 13 years of working as PR Manager, Marketing Manager and Wine Manager Ulf left V&S to start his own consultancy business, and in August 2010 he joined the Swedish retail monopoly Systembolaget as Head of Category Management, responsible for the development of the assortment of all alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Ulf is one of 2 Masters of Wine in Sweden.

Tim Atkin

Tim Atkin MW is an internationally respected wine writer, taster, public speaker, educator and photographer with more than 25 awards to his name. He is the wine editor at large of Off Licence News, contributing editor of Wine*Luxe (Hong Kong) Magazine and publisher of www.timatkin.com, for which he recently won the 2010 Born Digital Best Editorial Writing Award. He also contributes to Decanter, Woman & Home, The World of Fine Wine, Intelligent Life and Square Meal. He passed his MW at the first attempt in 2001, winning the Robert Mondavi award for the best set of theory papers. Tim’s first photography exhibition, Le Monde du Vin, will be held at the Gabriel Meffre cellars in Gigondas in July and August 2011.

Wink Lorch

Wink has been a freelance writer, editor and educator on wine for over 20 years, having previously worked in the wine trade. She is the owner and editor of Wine Travel Guides, and won the 2010 Born Digital Wine Award for Best Wine Tourism feature. She divides her time between London and a village in the French Alps. A member of the Circle of Wine Writers, Wink has contributed to many books and journals. Her particular speciality is the wines of the Eastern France regions of Jura and Savoie, on which she has written widely including for Tom Stevenson’s Wine Report, Opus Vinum/The Wine Opus, Jancis Robinson’s Oxford Companion to Wine, Oz Clarke’s Pocket Wine Book, Sommelier Journal, Decanter and World of Fine Wine. A founder of the Association of Wine Educators, Wink is a keen presenter of entertaining but educational wine tastings to wine clubs and corporate groups. Her blog and personal site is Wink’s Wine and Travel World.

Richard Ross

Richard Ross started his journalistic career as a radio news reporter on the BBC, latterly on Radio 4’s PM programme, before moving into wine writing more than ten years ago. He first wrote for Wine Magazine in 1999, and in its various incarnations since, and became online editor for the magazine, launching its website and a string of other drinks magazine websites since. Always interested in how technology and the online space can deliver smarter and more interesting wine content, Richard is now involved in building and developing the wine content for iPhone apps through APPetise.co.uk. Author of the wine blog, Wine Lines.

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