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IWSC Judging Day - Australia



IWSC, 17 Dunsfold Park, Stovolds Hill, Cranleigh, Surrey, GU6 8TB


This was my only opportunity to attend the IWSC as an Associate Judge this year as unfortunately the Chile event I had originally signed up for was cancelled.  We did however have the opportunity to taste some great wines today, the majority of which were from Western Australia.


I met my fellow judges at Guildford Station and we caught the minibus to the IWSC.  I am always blessed with fantastic weather when I head to Guildford and today was no exception; it was a gloriously sunny day.


Our Head Judge was Chris Hatcher, Chief Winemaker for Wolf Blass.  The other members of our panel comprised of Angela Reddin, Peter Nixson, John Freeland and Barbara Muston.


Chris Hatcher:  Chris grew up in Adelaide, has been judging since the 1970’s and has worked with the IWSC for about 3 years.  This was his first time as Head Judge.  Having grown up in a Methodist family, Chris pursued his interest in wine by undertaking a Science Degree at the University of Adelaide, following which he studied winemaking at Charles Sturt University in New South Wales.  He joined Wolf Blass in December 1987 and for the next 10 years was senior winemaker for their white and sparkling wines.


Angela Reddin:  Angela has been judging with the IWSC for over 20 years and is a wine writer and educator and has also spent some time making wine.  Angela is currently the tastings organiser for the Circle of Wine Writers and undertakes numerous judging roles both in the UK and internationally.


Peter Nixson:  I first met Peter when he was Head Judge at the Spanish wines judging day I attended back in April 2015.  He was formerly Wine & Beverage Manager for British Airways but now works part-time with which imports mainly Italian wines.


John Freeland:  John has a Ph.D. in High Energy Physics and used to work for Hewlett Packard.  He passed the Diploma in 1996 and has been judging for almost 20 years.  Now retired, he runs tastings for local groups.


Barbara Muston:  Barbara worked in the financial industry for most of her working life but is now an independent wine educator.  She passed the Diploma in 2009 and qualified as a WSET Certified Educator in 2011.


As a group, we worked our way through 64 Australian wines which were awarded a number of Bronze and Silver Medals plus 3 Golds and 1 Gold Outstanding. 


We started with a Fer from the Greater Perth Zone, a varietal normally found in South West France.  This was followed by a number of Cabernet Sauvignons ranging from 2010 – 2014 from Western Australia, Margaret River and Frankland River.


Our next flight was a collection of 2012 – 2015 Syrah/Shiraz from Great Southern, Margaret River, Frankland River and the Barossa.


Having taken a short break, we reconvened with the whites.  A Grüner Veltliner from Western Australia was first, followed by 2014/2015 Sauvignon Blancs and Sauvignon/Semillon blends from Margaret River and Pemberton. 


Following this, we enjoyed a very nice selection of Chardonnays from Pemberton, Margaret River and Frankland River ranging from between 1- 3 years old.


Finally, we tasted 4 fortified wines; a Pedo Ximenez from Swan Valley, a 12 year old Red Tawny from South Australia, a 20 year old Red Tawny which was aged in a Solera system from the Riverina and finally a 21 year old Red Tawny from South East Australia.


The 3 Golds were awarded to a 2015 Chardonnay from Margaret River, the Pedro Ximenez and the 21 year old Red Tawny.  The Gold Outstanding was awarded to the fabulous 20 year old Red Tawny.


Once we had finished our tasting, we enjoyed a nice buffet lunch in the sunshine.


The second team judging Australian wines at the IWSC today were made up of Anthony Foster MW, Dee Blackstock MW, Luciana Lynch, Brian Elliott, Sandy Harper, Michael Harrison and Bernard Ching.


  • Anthony became a Master of Wine in 1974 and is Senior Wine Advisor at Algodon Wine Estates.

  • Dee is a freelance consultant who became a Master of Wine in 1992.

  • Luciana has judged for the IWSC for some 30 years and is a former wine educator, lecturer and writer.

  • Brian is a wine journalist, taster, judge and writer who lives in Scotland.

  • Sandy is a Cape Wine Master from Johannesburg.

  • I met Michael for the first time at the Spanish judging event in April 2015.  He is Head of Fine Wine at Bibendum and judges for the Decanter World Wine Awards.

  • Bernard was the Associate Judge in this group and is National IT Manager for Greencap Limited in Melbourne.


After lunch, Peter Nixson provided a couple of us with transport back to Guildford Station, from where I caught the train back to London.


It was a fun day, with a really friendly team, a very knowledgeable Head Judge and of course some fabulous wines!


Copyright of - August, 2016


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