Rare wine collectors from across the globe can be confident in the knowledge that the 2018 wine line-up has been curated by an expert panel of international industry leaders when they raise their paddles on 8th September. This year’s group of eight judges has a truly global footprint and exceptional professional experience, consisting of no less than four Masters of Wine (MW), the highest level of professional knowledge in the industry.
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Cathy van Zyl MW
A B.Comm graduate from the University of Witwatersrand, Cathy’s first ‘real’ job was writing press releases for banks, units trusts and auditing firms having been hired because her then-boss was adamant she’d “rather teach someone who understands finance to write than teach someone who knows how to write about finance”.
Discovering she was good at the writing part, and enjoyed it, she then spent several years as a journalist and editor in the trade publication sector before starting her own small public relations consultancy in 1989.
Her wine journey began on a bicycle when she asked her husband to ride the country’s famed Argus Cycle Tour with her; he agreed but the quid pro quo was that she attend a wine course with him. She has since notched up over 21 Cycle Tours and gone on to become the first South African to successfully pass the Master of Wine examinations while living on the tip of Africa.
Cathy judges locally and internationally, is a member of the Institute of Masters of Wine’s Council, occasionally contributes to wine journals and web sites around the world, but spends most of her wine-time as the associate editor of Platter’s South African Wine Guide.
Tim Atkin MW
Tim Atkin MW is a UK wine journalist with an international following. He writes for Gourmet Traveller Wine, Decanter, Imbibe, The World of Fine Wine and Jamie Magazine and appears frequently on the radio and television.
His website timatkin.com is widely read, quoted and retweeted and he was recently named as the sixth most influential person on social media in the world of wine. He has a second career as a photographer and his photos have been published in The Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, The World of Fine Wine and exhibited in London, Paris, Beirut and Gigondas in the southern Rhône wine region of France.
Tim has contributed to a number of books on wine, including the New World of Wine, as well as writing two of his own titles – Chardonnay and Vins de Pays d’Oc.
Tim is widely respected for his amusing and often controversial presentational style and is regularly invited to speak at wine events around the world, most recently as keynote speaker at the Mornington Peninsula International Pinot Noir Celebration, the Nederburg Auction and the Primer Encuentro de Viticulturas in Labastida, Rioja.
Tim has won over 30 awards for his journalism and photography, including the 2014 Louis Roederer Online Wine Communicator of the Year award, the 2014 Fortnum & Mason Online Drink Writer of the Year award and the 2015 Louis Roederer Feature Writer of the Year Award.
He holds a BA in French Literature and Language from Durham University and an MSc (with distinction) in European Studies from the London School of Economics.
Richard Kershaw MW
Born and raised in Sheffield, England, Richard worked as a chef before moving into the wine industry. With a basic winemaking diploma by correspondence he travelled as a cellar-hand in various countries, arriving in South Africa in 1999.
He established Richard Kershaw Wines in January 2012 to create clonally selected, site-specific, cool climate wines in the Elgin Valley, the country’s coolest wine region, choosing to focus on apposite noble grapes (ones with the ability to produce world-class examples) and now has a stable of award-winning, much in demand wines.
One of only 10 Masters of Wine who actively make their own wines and South Africa’s only winemaking Master of Wine, Richard is much in demand when not in the vineyard or cellar. A wine show judge for many prestigious competitions around the globe, he also works as a mentor and educator for the Institute of Masters of Wine, lectures for the WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) in South Africa, and shares the breadth of his knowledge with students and consumers via talks, tastings and blogs.
Greg Sherwood MW
While Greg personally expresses no firm wine drinking preferences other than for “well-made wines”, his knowledge and expertise in the field of South African wines in particular is considerable.
Born in Pretoria, and as the son of a career diplomat, Greg spent his first 21 years travelling the globe with his parents. All the related wining and dining, in the line of duty, is where he first realised his passion for fine wine.
Greg began his working career as a commodity trader. During this time, he rediscovered his passion for the wine trade and passed his Diploma wine degree at the Cape Wine Academy in Johannesburg in 2000.
A move back to Europe in mid-2000 to pursue a wine career in London, “the centre of the world fine wine trade”, according to Greg, allowed him to work with and amongst some of the great wine personalities of the modern era. As Marketing Manager for fine wines from 2000 to 2006, and more recently Senior Wine Buyer for fine wines at Handford Wines in South Kensington, London, Greg, along with Handford Wines owner James Handford MW, has had the opportunity to daily buy, sell and taste some of the most finely crafted and sought-after wines in the world.
With over forty years experience in the production, wholesale and retail sectors of the industry and considerable local and international expertise, Michael Fridjhon is one of South Africa’s most widely consulted liquor industry authorities, a highly regarded international wine judge and one of the country’s leading wine writers. He teaches and directs the Wine Judging Academy run in association with UCT’s Graduate School of Business and has been an adviser to the South African Minister of Agriculture. He is the author, co-author or contributor to over 30 books, writes a weekly column for Business Day, contributes to various international wine publications and provides all the wine scores for wine wizard.co.za. A recipient of the French Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mérite Agricole, he was the Louis Roederer International Wine Columnist of the Year in 2012 and is an honorary life member of the UK’s Circle of Wine Writers.
Studying economics at the University of Stellenbosch meant that Roland was surrounded by Wine. He gave in to its lures, and as soon as he had finished his degree found his way into the industry. Roland worked in marketing, retail, exports and as a sommelier before joining Wine Cellar – one of South Africa’s foremost importers and retailers of fine wines. He is a partner and has been the Director since 2005. Local and international study as well as regular travel has added to his extensive insight into the wine world. You will find Roland at most of South Africa’s top wine events, judging, learning and exploring the world of wine, forever expanding his palate. When he isn’t popping corks, he enjoys cooking, writing about wine as well as running on the beautiful Cape mountain trails.
William is a sommelier champion, restaurateur, chef and winemaker. Originally from Antwerp, Belgium he now resides in Ois do Bairro, in the Bairrada wine region, Portugal with his wife and two sons.
Since 2003 William has been President of the Belgian Sommelier Guild. In 2017 he was also named Vice President – Europe for the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale and he will be hosting the next competition for “A.S.I. Best Sommelier of the World” in Antwerp, Belgium to be held in March 2019.
Over the years, William has won numerous awards including: Best young Sommelier of Belgium “Paul Vandersijpen prize” 1988, Best Sommelier of Belgium 1992 “Belgian Sommelier Guild”, 1/2 finalists Best Sommelier of the World A.S.I. (1995, 1998), 1/2 finalists Best Sommelier of Europe “Trophée Ruinart” (1992, 1994, 1998) and more recently was named the Belgian Wine Personality of the Year 2014.
In addition to wine, William also has a passion for food and was partner/owner of Restaurant Carême in Kontich, Belgium from 1986 to 1997. From 1998 to 2014 he owned Restaurant and Wine Bar Pazzo in Antwerp, Belgium. He was also honoured to be the Belgium national soccer teams’ head chef for both the World Cup in Brazil (2014) and at the European Cup in France (2016).
Since 2006, William and his wife Filipa have been making authentic wines at Filipa Pato & William Wouters Vinhos, Ois do Bairro.
His language skills include English, French, Dutch, Portuguese, Italian and German which come in very handy with his passion for travelling and meeting new cultures. William’s other hobbies include Soccer, Jazz, Blues and of course food & wine.
François heads up the Singita Premier Wine Direct programme for conservation company Singita Game Reserves, sourcing and supplying wines for the group’s properties in Southern and East Africa. He is deeply invested in hospitality having lived and worked in Africa, France, the UK and Australia – always with emphasis on food and wine excellence.
François has been a judge at numerous top wine shows and competitions including: Senior judge at the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show 2011-2017, ABSA Top10 Pinotage judge panellist 2016 & 2017, Green Wine Awards judge panellist 2012-2017.
François graduated with distinction at the Michael Fridjhon Wine Judging Academy in 2008 and served as associate judge at the Trophy Wine Show that year. He also attended the Michael Fridjhon Advanced Wine Judging Academy in 2014 and is a graduate of the Cape Wine Academy Diploma.