Displaying items by tag: Panel Discussion


Every drop of wine we ever drink is the product of observation, intervention and craftsmanship.  Without intervention, every wine would be oxidising and turning to vinegar; without craftsmanship, every wine would be rough and unpalatable.  Advances in craftsmanship have brought us the extraordinary beauty and diversity we are all familiar with and that we celebrate in today’s wine world.

What have been the key winemaking advances of the last two decades, and what changes and challenges await in a world of rapid and unprecedented climate change? Among the many topics, our expert panel hopes to touch on are: 

  • Dramatic advances in the sorting and handling of harvested fruit
  • The deepening understanding of balance in wine (acidity, alcohol, other elements)
  • Changing attitudes to the role of oak in élevage, and the increasing use of large wooden vessels, of well-seasoned oak, of concrete and of earthenware vessels
  • The role of oxygen in fermentation and ageing processes (micro-oxygenation through to controlled oxidation)
  • Skin-contact white wines (orange or amber wines, or qvevri-made white wines)
  • The deepening understanding of tannins, especially in red wines, and the extraordinary advances in textural sophistication of red wines in certain regions
  • The meaning and application of “non-interventionism” as a means to achieving vineyard or terroir expression
  • ‘Precision’ and ‘purity’ as the new aesthetic desiderata for wine, replacing those such as ‘power’, ‘opulence’ and ‘generosity’
  • The role of (primary) fruit flavours in wine
  • Warm and hot vintages: responses in vineyard and winery
  • Redefining varietal styles and regional styles for a changing world

Host and Panelists: 

Wine Scholar Guild Academic Advisor Andrew Jefford, speaking from France, will be bringing together a panel of key thinkers, writers and winemakers in four countries to talk through these and other issues. 

Fiona Morrison MW is a writer, winemaker and wine merchant based in both Bordeaux (where with her husband Jacques Thienpont she manages Ch Le Pin, L’If and Le Hêtre) and in Belgium, where she manages the family Thienpont négociant business; she obtained her MW in 1994. 

St Helena-based Rosemary Cakebread owns and makes the wines for the much-admired Gallica; she is a former winemaker and consulting winemaker for Spottswoode. 

Consultant and writer Pedro Ballesteros MW is a qualified agronomical engineer and holds a Masters degree in viticulture and oenology, as well as having obtained his MW in 2010.  A polymath and polyglot (working in four languages: English, French, Spanish and Italian), Pedro is based in Brussels where he formerly worked for the European Union. 

Tuscany-based Alberto Antonini was cited by Decanter magazine in 2015 as one of the five most influential winemaking consultants in the world.  After training in Tuscany, Bordeaux and in Napa and working for Frescobaldi and Col D’Orcia, Alberto now consults in Italy, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, California, Canada, Spain, Portugal, Armenia, Russia, Israel and Australia. 

Published in Learn from the Experts


  • What are the main tasting methods and what are their key characteristics? 
  • How do different cultures, languages and sensibilities impact how wine tasting is approached? 
  • Can we envision a more overarching and universal tasting method? 

These are some of the questions we will be addressing in the upcoming Meeting of the Minds on July 22nd.

Wine Scholar Guild Academic Advisor Andrew Jefford, speaking from France, will be bringing together a panel of key thinkers, educators, writers and experts in four countries to discuss a world of tasting methods. UK-based Professor Barry Smith not only directs the Institute of Philosophy at the School of Advanced Study at London University, but is also founding director of the Centre for the Study of the Senses/CenSes, which pioneers collaborative research between philosophers, psychologists and neuroscientists. He is himself a philosopher of language and mind. Sommelière (and former philosophy student) Pascaline Lepeltier MS, speaking from New York, grew up and studied in the French tradition of wine appreciation but has spent much of her working life talking about wine to Anglophones. UK-based Matthew Stubbs MW is one of the wine world’s most experienced and popular educators, and has taught both on his own behalf and for WSET and IMW around the world. Finally, speaking from Nanning in China, comes Julien Boulard MW, one of the most brilliant of recent MW graduates and a wine educator in China whose mastery of Mandarin sees him regularly appearing on Chinese media.

Host & Panelists: 

Andrew Jefford

Andrew, Academic Advisor to the Wine Scholar Guild, has been writing about wine since 1988, notably for The Evening Standard and The Financial Times among other UK newspapers.  He has columns in every edition of Decanter magazine and World of Fine Wine magazine, and is co-chair of Decanter World Wine Awards and vice-chair of Decanter Asia Wine Awards. His books include The New France, Whisky Island and Andrew Jefford’s Wine Course.

Pascaline Lepeltier MS, MOF:

  • 2018 Best French Sommelier
  • Master Sommelier and Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF) 
  • Highly qualified and experienced speaker and presenter
  • Managing Partner at Racines (NYC) and Former Beverage Director at Rouge Tomate (NYC)

Matthew Stubbs MW:

  • More than 30 years experience in the wine trade, from importing and distribution to running a supermarket wine department.
  • Master of Wine since 1996, winner of the Bollinger Medal for the best tasting paper and the Listel Scholarship for the best Vinification paper.
  • Actively involved with the Institute as Practical Examiner, seminar lecturer or mentor.
  • Mentor to many MW students over the years and continues to help them fine tune the tasting skills needed to succeed in the Practical exam.
  • Regular on judging panels for wine competitions, Panel Chair for the International Wine Challenge and co-President of the Sud de France Top 50 in China.
  • Practical Chair of the MW Education Committee.

Julien Boulard MW:

  • Born in Alsace, Julien arrived in China in 2003 after studying Mandarin at University
  • After completing a Master's degree in International Affairs, he worked for five years for a wine importer in Nanning, China
  • Founder and owner of Zhulian Wines wine school in China, offering both WSET and WSG programs
  • His fluency in Mandarin, both spoken and written, as well as his wine knowledge and experience as a wine educator, enabled him to become a key professional on the Chinese wine scene
  • He is a judge for various wine competitions in China and Hong Kong
  • Read Julien's full interview HERE

Prof Barry C Smith:

  • Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Institute of Philosophy at the University of London’s School of Advanced Study.
  • Founding director of its Centre for the Study of the Senses, which pioneers collaborative research between philosophers, psychologists and neuroscientists.
  • His current research on flavour perception involves collaborations with psychologists, neuroscientists, oenologists and chefs, and he has published theoretical and experimental papers on flavour perception in Nature, Food Quality and Preference, Chemical Senses and Flavour
  • Editor of Questions of Taste: the philosophy of wine for Oxford University Press (2007).
  • Frequent broadcaster, who regularly appears as a sensory expert on BBC Radio 4’s The Kitchen Cabinet and BBC Two’s Inside the Factory
  • Presenter of a 10-part series for BBC Radio 4 called The Uncommon Senses
  • Frequent contributor to The World of Fine Wine and for seven years was wine columnist for Prospect Magazine.

Learn More About Wine Tasting:

Published in Wine Tasting


Tired of being in lockdown mode? Travel with us as we take a virtual trip to Italy and explore the beautiful Lugana DOC.

We will be joined by the Director of the Consortium, two of the area’s top producers and Lugana DOC's US brand Ambassador. Participants will have an exclusive opportunity to learn more about the region’s viticulture, winemaking and marketing from industry insiders. 

Don’t miss this chance to learn first hand. Perfect for students studying toward the IWS qualification or for anyone interested in learning more about some of Italy’s most exciting wines! Those of you lucky enough to get your hands on a bottle of Lugana liquid gold are welcome to taste along with us! 

Meet The Panel:   

  • Andrea Eby - WSG Italian Wine Programs Coordinator
  • Andrea Bottarel - Director of the Consorizo Tutela Lugana DOC
  • Luca Formentini - Selva Capuzza
  • Nunzio Ghiraldi - Azienda Agricola Nunzio Ghiraldi
  • Susannah Gold - Lugana Brand Ambassador 

Learn More About Italian Wines:

Published in Northern Italy wines
Thursday, 07 May 2020 10:07

Meeting of the Minds - Trends in Champagne


Champagne specialist Essi Avellan MW hosts a live discussion on the latest trends in Champagne and the outlook for the region's future. Her prestigious panel will be covering a broad range of trends from vineyards to wineries as well as business. She will be joined by cellar master Cyril Brun of the prestigious house Charles Heidsieck, Vallée de la Marne Meunier specialist Cédric Moussé of Moussé Fils, renowned Côte des Bar proprietor and innovator Michel Drappier and professor of wine marketing and Master of Wine Steve Charters.

Presenter: Essi Avellan MW

Champagne and sparkling wine specialist Essi Avellan was Finland’s first Master of Wine. Together with Tom Stevenson she is the author of the Christie’s World Encyclopedia of Champagne and Sparkling Wine.

Essi is the organiser of the annual Grand Champagne Helsinki event and a jury member at the Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships. She has been knighted as Chevalier l’Ordre du Mérite Agricole by the Minister of Agriculture of France. 

Meet The Panel:

Cyril Brun  

Cellar Master of Maison Charles Heidsieck

Cédric Moussé

of Moussé Fils

Michel Drappier

of Champagne Drappier

Steve Charters MW  

Professor of wine marketing

Learn More About Champagne:

MEMBER SPECIAL: We remind WSG members that they are enjoying a 20% discount on the 4th edition of “Christie's Encyclopedia of Champagne and Sparkling Wine", written by Tom Stevenson and Essi Avellan MW. Details and coupon code HERE.

Published in Champagne wines

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