Rare wine collectors from across the globe can be confident in the knowledge that the 2017 wine line-up has been curated by an expert panel of international industry leaders when they raise their paddles on 15 & 16 September. This year’s group of eight judges has a truly global footprint and exceptional professional experience, consisted of no less than six Masters of Wine (MW), the highest level of professional knowledge in the industry.
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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.
After graduating with a Travel and Tourism Diploma Gareth Ferreira worked in numerous hotels around the world including The Ritz-Carlton Naples and Doha before starting his Sommelier career in his native country South Africa. Gareth held a Senior sommelier position at the world famous Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai as well as being Head Sommelier and Beverage manager at the 5 star Saxon Hotel in Johannesburg before moving to London in 2014. After a stint as Head sommelier at the Michelin starred Launceston Place restaurant Gareth is now Assistant Head Sommelier at 67 Pall Mall. Gareth represented South Africa in the Finals of the Chaine des Rottiseurs international young sommelier competition in Athens in 2011 and won the 2016 South African Sommelier of the year competition qualifying him to compete in the 2016 A.S.I Best Sommelier in the World Competition in Mendoza where he qualified for the Semi Finals and finished in 15th Place. Gareth passed his Court of Master Sommeliers Advanced exam in 2012 and is currently preparing for the Master Sommelier Diploma. Gareth has been a judge for numerous competitions including the Decanter World Wine Awards, Imbibe Sommelier Wine Awards and the International Wine Challenge.
Richard Kershaw MW
Born and raised in Sheffield in the UK, Richard studied in London. Once qualified, he worked as a chef before moving to the wine trade. Richard acquired a basic winemaking diploma by correspondence and traveled as a cellar-hand to various countries – California, Chile, France, Germany, Hungary and finally South Africa in 1999.
Richard became assistant winemaker at Mulderbosch where he then took the opportunity as winemaker at Nelson Estate in Paarl for two seasons before becoming Cellarmaster at Kanu in 2003, and then as Group Winemaker of both Mulderbosch and Kanu in late 2009.
In 2011 he left to pursue his dream of making his own wine from his farm in Elgin, South Africa. In the same year Richard passed his International (British) Master of Wine and became the second resident South African Master of Wine.
Kenichi Ohashi MW
Kenichi Ohashi is a wine and sake expert based in Tokyo, Japan. Born in Tochigi Prefecture, he is the third generation owner of Yamajin Co., Ltd., a distributing company specialised in wine, sake and local spirits. He also has his own consultancy company, Red Bridge Co., Ltd. and is director of Somersault Co., Ltd., the biggest business group of liquor retailers in Japan.
A champion of global sake promotion, Ken is sake chairman of the International Wine Challenge. He is a Sake Expert Assessor, the highest qualification of National Research Institute of Brewing Japan, and holds the title of Master of Sake from Sake Service Institute.
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.
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 the chair of the Institute of Masters of Wine’s education committee, 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.
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.
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.