Chairman of the judges at the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show. Author, co-author and contributor to a number of wine books including The Oxford Companion to Wine, The Global Wine Encyclopaedia, and Platter’s South African Wine Guide. Recipient of the Chevalier de l’Ordre du Merite Agricole (France). Judge at numerous competitions including the Australian National Wine Show, the Six Nations Wine Challenge (Australia) as well as benchmark tastings in France, the United States, Chile and South Africa. First international co-chairman of the International Wine Challenge (2007). Visiting Professor of Wine Business at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business and head of the Wine Judging Academy run in association with the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business. Winner of the Louis Roederer International Wine Columnist of the Year award (2012).
Michael FridjhonShow Chairman
Charles Chevallier (France)
Until his retirement in 2016, director of properties, viticulture, oenology and public relations for the Domaines Barons de Rothschild Lafite group and now its group ambassador and senior advisor. He was born in 1953 to a wine-producing family with estates in Muscat de Lunel and Côteaux de Languedoc. A graduate in Agricultural Science at the University of Toulouse (PURPAN), he has lived in Bordeaux since 1973 when he was appointed as a trainee at Château La Tour de By. After a three year tenure as technical advisor to the Cooperatives of the Loire for Côteaux du Layon and Saumur, he joined Domaines Barons de Rothschild in 1983. After working at Château Rieussec in Sauternes, he was appointed the technical director and estate manager for Château Lafite Rothschild – the leading First Growth estate of the Medoc in the 1855 Bordeaux classification – as well as the other Rothschild properties (Duhart Milon in Pauillac, Evangile in Pomerol, Rieussec in Sauternes, Aussieres in Corbieres).
Charles Chevallier (France)International Judge
Debra Meiburg MW (Hong Kong)
A Hong Kong resident for nearly 30 years, Master of Wine Debra Meiburg is an award-winning author, journalist, TV personality, international speaker, and is widely considered the global authority on the Asian wine market. She is founding director MWM Wine School, by Debra Meiburg MW; Meiburg Wine Media, Asia’s leading wine marketing and events agency and education provider, and the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine and Spirit Competition, the world’s first truly pan-Asian wine competition. Her other key roles include wine consultant for Cathay Pacific Airways and Cathay Dragon, and Chair of the Education Committee for the Institute of Masters of Wine. Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show judge in 2011.
Debra Meiburg MW (Hong Kong)International Judge
Isa Bal MS (United Kingdom)
Turkish-born Isa Bal is a Master Sommelier and the former Head Sommelier at The Fat Duck in Berkshire, a 3-starred Michelin restaurant owned by celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal, where he worked for 13 years. Started his wine career in 1999 as a commis sommelier at the Vineyard at Stockcross near Newbury, has competed and judged in several competitions and won the Best Sommelier of Europe title in 2008. Currently focuses on consultancy contracts and is a member of the board of The Court of Master Sommeliers.
Isa Bal MS (United Kingdom)International Judge
Winemaker at Blaauwklippen Agricultural Estate. Honours BSc Agriculture (Oenology) cum laude graduate of Stellenbosch University. Completed harvests at Glen Carlou, Dornier, AA Badenhorst Family Wines and Stellenzicht. Joined Quoin Rock Winery in 2008 as assistant winemaker and was winemaker there from 2010 until 2014. Served on judging panels of South Africa’s Young Wine Show, FNB Top 10 Sauvignon Blanc, Cape Vintners Classification, Blaauwklippen Blending Competition and Veritas Awards. Distinction graduate of the Michael Fridjhon Wine Judging Academy in 2013 and attended the advanced Wine Judging Academy in 2014. Trophy Wine Show associate judge in 2013, 2014 and 2016 and judge in 2017.
Narina CloeteSA Judge
Heidi Duminy CWM
Cape Wine Master and wine communications specialist recognised for her particular expertise in Champagne and sparkling wine. Formerly group communications manager for DGB, brand manager for Veuve Clicquot and Krug and trade marketing manager of the LVMH portfolio of Champagnes and spirits. Currently group marketing manager for Meridian Holdings. Convenor for Amorim Cap Classique Challenge 2017, chaired Classic Wine Magazine’s Cap Classique panel and has judged sparkling wine for Veritas since 2011. Associate judge at the Trophy Wine Show in 2012, 2014 and 2015, and judge in 2016 and 2017. Lectures for the Cape Wine Academy and writes and presents under HeidiVine Communications. Distinction graduate of the Michael Fridjhon Wine Judging Academy in 2011 and Advanced Wine Judging Academy attendee in 2014.
Heidi Duminy CWMSA Judge
Co-owner and editor of Winemag.co.za. freelance wine writer contributing to Decanter and other titles on an occasional basis. Completed a small-scale winemaking programme run by Stellenbosch University’s Department of Viticulture and Oenology and is a graduate of the inaugural Michael Fridjhon Wine Judging Academy. Further experience includes judging for the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show (2007 to 2014, 2016 and 2017) and Platter’s South African Wine Guide in addition to various other local and international competitions.
Christian EedesSA Judge
Wine Brand Ambassador for Creation Wines and representative for Reciprocal Wines and Riedel. Founded Shamase Wine Club (formerly JHB Wine Series and 031 Wine Society). Highway Wine Society Chairman since 2014. Judge at the RECM 10 Year Old Wine Awards in 2013. Graduated with distinction from the Michael Fridjhon Wine Judging Academy in 2011 and attended the Advanced Wine Judging Academy in 2014. Achieved certificate in small scale winemaking from the University of Stellenbosch in 2015 and WSET Level 3 in 2016. Trophy Wine Show associate judge from 2011 to 2014 and judge from 2015 to 2017.
Nkulu MkhwanaziSA Judge
Head of sales and SA portfolio manager for Wine Cellar fine wine merchants and cellarers. A former wine buyer for the Vineyard Connection. Graduated with distinction at the Michael Fridjhon Wine Judging Academy in 2007 and attended the Advanced Wine Judging Academy in 2014. Roving chair for Platter’s South African Wine Guide and Winemag.co.za panellist. More than 10 years of judging experiences include various Chenin Blanc Challenges and Sauvignon Blanc Top 10. Previous board member of SASA (South African Sommelier Association). Trophy Wine Show judge in 2008, 2009, from 2012 to 2015, and in 2017.
James PietersenSA Judge
Winemaker at Druk My Niet and former viticulturist at De Toren Private Cellar. Graduated from the University of Stellenbosch with a BSc degree in Viticulture and Oenology in 2010. Awarded Dombeya Scholarship to work 2011 Australian harvest in Margaret River and Barossa Valley, returning to South Africa to take up the position of assistant winemaker at Mulderbosch. Further international experience includes stints in the Napa Valley in 2012 and a return to Australia in 2013 for seasons at Kalleske Wines in Barossa Valley and Henschke Wines in Eden Valley. Also worked at Dombeya and Waterkloof and more recently as junior winemaker at Spier. Distinction graduate of the Michael Fridjhon Wine Judging Academy in 2015. Trophy Wine Show associate judge in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Alexandra McFarlaneSA Judge