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Olivier Humbrecht MW Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Olivier Humbrecht MW has been named as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award at The Drinks Business 2012 Green Awards.

The awards, held in central London, recognised those in the industry who are changing their business practices to minimise their impact on the environment.

Olivier completed a degree in oenology in Toulouse in 1987 and qualified as a Master of Wine in 1989, the same year that he assumed responsibility for winemaking at his family business in Alsace, Domaine Zind Humbrecht.

The Humbrecht family viticultural roots can be traced back to the 17th century and today they own 40 hectares across five villages in Alsace. Olivier has arguably overseen the most notable improvements in the estate’s illustrious history: a new cellar in 1992 while retaining the traditional foudre oval barrels; initiating biodynamic practices in 1997 (certified in 2002); and the buying of a horse in 2006 to plough the vineyards.

Siobhan Turner, Executive Director of the Institute of Masters of Wine said: “It was an honour to be presenting at The Drinks Business Green Awards yesterday, but the greatest joy was definitely learning of Olivier Humbrecht MW’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Olivier embodies a sustainable, ethical, environmental approach in everything he does, and his passion for his vineyards is possibly only matched by his great desire and impressive ability to communicate this passion.”

Master Class Opens New Links with Italian Wine Professionals

The Institute’s first ever residential master class in Italy has been hailed a success after it attracted nearly 40 Italian wine professionals.

The two-and-a-half-day event was staged with the support of the Istituto del Italiano Vino di Qualità Grandi Marchi (Istituto Grandi Marchi) – a major supporter of the Institute – and held at Tenuta Tignanello in Tuscany.

It attracted 37 wine professionals from across Italy, many of whom work for Istituto Grandi Marchi members, and afforded them a detailed insight to what is involved in studying towards the Master of Wine trade qualification. The programme included blind tastings, seminars and discussions, which were led by Jane Hunt MW, who divides her time between the UK and Italy, and Mai Tjemsland MW from Norway.

There are currently 299 Masters of Wine in the world, based in 23 different countries. Almost 300 students from 29 different countries are currently enrolled in the Institute’s study programme which prepares candidates for the annual Masters of Wine Examination.

The event at Tignanello grew out of the shared commitment of the Institute and the Istituto Grandi Marchi to increase awareness of the Master of Wine in Italy and to encourage wine professionals to study for the qualification.

Siobhan Turner, Executive Director of the Institute said: “Italy is a significant force in the world of wine and we are delighted to have had this opportunity, supported by the Istituto Grandi Marchi, to inspire some of its talented professionals to study for the Master of Wine.”

Marchese Piero Antinori, President of the Istituto Grandi Marchi said: “The international approach of the Institute of Masters of Wine, as shown at the recent seminars held at Tignanello, can help the Italian wine sector become less ‘provincial’ and gain a broader and more comprehensive perspective of the world of wine both in terms of production and markets.”

Peter Gago Named as Winemakers’ Winemaker in 2012

Peter Gago has been named as the recipient of the 2012 Winemakers’ Winemaker Award, presented by the Institute of Masters of Wine and international trade publication The Drinks Business.

The announcement was made at a reception during ProWein in Düsseldorf, Germany, (5 March 2012) where Lynne Sherriff MW, Chairman of the Institute, and Charlotte Hey, Director of The Drinks Business, presented Gago with the award.

The award, introduced in 2011, recognises outstanding achievement in the field of winemaking. The recipient of the inaugural award in 2011 was Peter Sisseck.

Peter Gago joined the then Penfolds Wines Pty Ltd in 1989. He started his tenure making sparkling wine, then reds, and served as Penfolds’ red wine oenologist before being appointed Penfolds’ chief winemaker in 2002, making him only the fourth winemaker to be responsible for Penfolds’ flagship wine, Grange. Fresh out of university, Peter, a natural educator, initially taught maths and science prior to attending Roseworthy College, where he graduated as Dux of the Bachelor of Applied Science (Oenology). Peter has travelled and tasted extensively, literally visiting every continent and most countries in an effort to introduce people to Australian wine. Peter globally hosts master classes, tastings and various wine events, regularly appearing on radio, television and webcasts. Peter strives to simultaneously maintain the Penfolds wine style and explore new territories.

Speaking before an invited audience of more than 200 wine professionals at ProWein, Lynne Sherriff MW, who is herself a trained oenologist, said: “I am delighted to present Peter with the 2012 Winemakers’ Winemaker Award. His achievements speak for themselves and he is very highly regarded by his peers across the world. As such, he is an extraordinarily worthy recipient of this award and a great international ambassador for winemaking.”

Anthony Hawser, Chairman of The Drinks Business said: “Peter is a stalwart guardian of one of the finest wines in the world and has been responsible for improving Penfolds’ overall reputation as one of the world’s great winemakers. As such The Drinks Business is delighted to recognise Peter’s achievements with this award.”

Peter Gago commented: “This award offers outstanding global recognition for Australian winemaking – winemaking on the other side of the world, winemaking spanning almost two centuries. Naturally, it’s a terrific accolade for the Penfolds’ winemaking team past and current. By years of Penfold’s service (only 23!), I am still almost the most ‘junior’ member of this team. I’m naturally chuffed and thankful. I’m also feeling guilty – it’s harvest and I’m 12,000 miles away. Payback, no doubt, awaits when I return in a day or so.”