The Wine Pinnacle Awards has been set up to work with some of the most respected, influential and expert figures in the world of wine. A Technical Committee that has been brought together to help determine how the awards are run, the categories used to select the wines to judge and the jury members it then asks to help taste and analyse them. Here we introduce the Technical Committee of leading wine figures behind the 2022 Wine Pinnacle Awards.
The Wine Pinnacle Awards is now into its second year and has been devised to only reward wines its jury and Technical Committee believe are setting the standards for the rest of the world.
At the heart of the Wine Pinnacle Awards is its Technical Committee that sets the standards and benchmarks by which the awards are going to be run. It is made up five internationally-renowned wine experts including: Committee chairwoman Jeannie Cho Lee MW, based in Hong Kong, Andreas Larsson of Sweden, Doug Frost MW and MS of the United States, Kenichi Ohashi MW of Japan, and Oz Clarke of the United Kingdom. They are responsible for establishing the award categories, forming a credible panel of jury members, and overseeing the nomination process to ensure there is focus on diversity, quality and merit.
Here we introduce each committee member.
Jeannie Cho Lee MW and Technical Committee Chairwoman
What is so special about the Wine Pinnacle Awards?
“Wine Pinnacle Awards (WPA) is a distinguished wine awarding process with the judges being especially selected for their extensive experience and deep level of expertise. I have been part of numerous wine awards, but none have this special nominating process which goes beyond wines just being submitted to be tasted and judged; WPA includes and embraces wines from everywhere around the world without restrictions.”
Jeannie Cho Lee is the first Asian Master of Wine, holds a doctorate (Ph.D.) in marketing & branding, and is an award-winning author, television host, editor, wine critic, judge and educator. She has been a professor at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University where she helped to launch the Master of Science (MSc) in International Wine Management programme since 2012. Recognised for her contributions to the food and drinks industry, Lee was awarded the Insignia of Knight in the National Order of Merit (Chevalier dans l’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur) in 2021 by the President of France, and was selected as one of the top 100 most influential people in Hong Kong by the South China Morning Post and Debrett’s in November 2015. She was named the 25th most powerful person in wine by Decanter magazine (UK) and was listed among the top 60 most influential people in wine by La Revue du Vin (France) in 2015, and won the Masi Award in 2019 and the International Vinitaly Award (Italy) in 2009.
Andreas Larsson, Best Sommelier of the World 2007
What is different about the nominees this year compared to the first Wine Pinnacle Awards?
“Vintages are always changing so even if the format remains the same, there will be a lot of exciting new wines to vote for.”
Andreas Larsson is the Best Sommelier of the World (2007 ASI). He has a discerning palate and is a passionate wine lover. He is known not only for his incredible tasting abilities and vast knowledge, but also for his friendly and professional approach. He has a relaxed demeanor and is a highly sought-after taster, speaker, and educator within the vast field of gastronomy, food, wine, and other beverages. Despite his busy schedule, he still remains a consultant at PM & Vänner, a renowned restaurant he has been with since 2006 located in Växjö Sweden – where the wine collection is one of only 100 in the word that has received the Wine Spectators Grand Award.
Doug Frost MW and MS
Do you remember the first time a wine really blew you away?
“Yes, the first glass of wine I ever tasted. I was 15 and at the often annual Christmas gathering of the relatives, from whom we were removed by nearly two thousand miles. My uncle offered to let me choose the dinner wine and gave me a two-minute explanation of grapes. I picked a bottle of 1968 Louis Martini Special Select Pinot Noir. If you can find notes about it, you’ll know why it changed my world. I thought: this is wine? Why have I never had this before? I kinda still remember it.”
Doug Frost is a Master of Wine (MW) and Master Sommelier (MS) as well as an author and wine consultant based in Kansas City, Missouri. Frost is one of three individuals in the world to hold simultaneously the MW and MS titles. The Wine Spectator has bestowed the accolade of Master of Spirits on Frost. In 2006, Frost along with a few partners founded the Beverage Alcohol Resource (BAR), a s spirits and cocktail educational organisation. Cheers Magazine selected BAR and its founders as Innovators of the Year for 2007. He was awarded Beverage Innovator of the Year by Cheers Magazine.
Kenichi Ohashi, Master of Wine
Which award category are you looking forward to the most and why?
“The ‘Best Friend of the Earth’ category is getting to be more and more important alongside a growing sustainability-conscious audience.”
Kenichi Ohashi is a Master of Wine and sake expert based in Tokyo, Japan. He is the third-generation owner of Yamajin Co. Ltd., a distribution company specialised in wine, sake and local spirits. He also owns a consultancy company, Red Bridge Co.,Ltd. He was awarded Personality of the Year 2016 at the International Wine Challenge. Ohashi has been sake Co-Chairman of the International Wine Challenge and is also a Sake Expert Assessor, the highest qualification of Japan’s National Research Institute of Brewing. He was awarded the title Sake Samurai in 2018. In addition, he exports his selection of Japanese wines and Sake to the world market.
Oz Clarke, wine critic, writer and broadcaster
What has been the biggest change in the wine world the past two years and what are your predictions/hopes for the immediate future?
“Covid-19 brought massive disruption to the wine world in the vineyard, the winery and the marketplace. However, the challenge has been met head on and many wineries are actually in better shape than before the pandemic. As to the future, global climate change seems to be more extreme year by year, and vineyards are finally taking it seriously with rootstocks and grape varieties able to cope with the extremes increasingly being employed. We’ll see more vineyards in cooler areas, and we’ll see a revival of ancient grape varieties able to cope with heat and drought.”
Oz Clarke is one of the world’s leading wine experts, whose formidable reputation is based on his extensive wine knowledge and accessible, no-nonsense approach. His passion for the subject dates from his student days at Oxford University, where he won tasting competitions at a precociously early age. Since then, his tasting skills have won him an international reputation and he is acknowledged as having one of the finest palates of anyone writing about wine today. He brings a refreshingly unorthodox wit and directness to the subject and has won all the major wine writing awards both in the UK and the USA. Oz has written numerous books about wine and currently presents a weekly wine report on British primetime television.
How it works
The technical committee reaches a consensus on the award categories for the year, based on current wine trends and the performance of each vintage.
The technical committee then nominates an exclusive list of wine professionals, experts, and critics. From this list, only those with a minimum of three endorsements from the committee are selected for the jury of the Wine Pinnacle Awards.
The Nomination Process
An esteemed panel of Master Sommeliers, Masters of Wine, and premier critics are assembled into an expert jury, responsible for nominating the most deserving of wines.
As Oz Clarke explains: “We’ve spread the net wider this year and are on the lookout for budget-priced wines, as well as rewarding the wineries that are making the greatest effort with sustainability. We have also highlighted individuals who we believe have made a particular effort to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The Award Categories
The award categories are carefully defined to highlight the best wines from the most exciting wine regions. This year 18 inclusive award categories have been selected including ‘Mature Wines’, ‘Best Recent Releases’, ‘Best Friend of the Earth’, and the inclusion of new categories ‘Comfort Wines’ and ‘Pandemic Hero’.
Jury members receive access to the Wine Pinnacle Awards’ secure portal to submit up to nine votes for wines and winemakers in each category, according to their preference. Each wine and winemaker then receives a total number of points, after an audit of each vote. In the event of a tiebreaker, the technical committee gathers to deliberate the result.
Announcement of Top Nominees
The top three nominees in each award category are announced via a press release. The winners with the greatest number of points will only be revealed at a five day celebration including specialist masterclasses, dinners and global wine symposium culminating in the award ceremony at the Resorts World ballroom at the Resorts World Convention Centre in Singapore on November 1.
- For more details about the Wine Pinnacle Awards go to its website here.
- You can follow the awards on social media at @winepinnacleawards; #WPA2022; #RWSmoments.