The Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show judging panel comprises three international and six local judges covering a broad range of expertise and working with a 100-point scoring system. The panel has been chaired by leading wine authority Michael Fridjhon since the inception of the show in 2002.
The participation of a team of associate panellists, drawn from the pool of rising South African wine-making, wine marketing and wine-writing talent, ensures that the next generation of the country’s wine judges gains experience in this most rigorous of environments.
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).
Neil Beckett holds a first class honours degree in English and Medieval History (University of St Andrews, Scotland), a doctorate in Medieval History (Magdalen College, Oxford) and completed an MBA with a dissertation on White Burgundy. He was a Centenary Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (University of London), worked at Lay & Wheeler wine merchants and took top prize in the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Diploma, before going on to Harpers Wine & Spirit Weekly. In 2004 he became the first editor of The World of Fine Wine, a British quarterly publication for wine enthusiasts and collectors, which won the Louis Roederer Award for International Wine Publication of the Year all three years the title was awarded (2012 to 2014). He also edited the seven titles in the Finest Wines book series, published by University of California Press, and 1001 Wines to Try Before You Die. Beckett is a member of the Grand Jury Européen and was a judge for the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show in 2007.
Based in Santiago, Eduardo Brethauer is an independent wine writer and taster. He studied wine marketing at the University of Viña del Mar and is a former journalist for the Chilean wine industry. Owner and wine editor at Vitis Magazine, Chile’s only technical magazine, he is author of the popular guide Vinos con Cuento and is a member of The Circle of Wine Writers and Cronistas Gastronómicos de Chile. With the objective of raising interest in wines from less prominent regions of the world, Brethauer is the founder of Vignadores de Carignan, an association of producers that reintroduces viticultural traditions of more than four centuries in Maule Valley. Judge at several international wine competitions including the Six Nations Wine Challenge.
Finnish-born 29 year-old Heidi Mäkinen is one of the top ten sommeliers in the world, having been placed eighth in the 2016 Best Sommelier of the World Contest. A meteoric career trajectory has seen her advance from 3rd place in the National Young Sommelier Competition in 2010 to first place in that competition and Best Sommelier in Finland in 2015. She is presently a senior sommelier at private members’ wine club 67 Pall Mall in London. A WSET Level 4 (with merit) diploma recipient, Mäkinen is also currently a Master of Wine student.
Winemaker at Blaauwklippen Agricultural Estate. An Honours BSc Agriculture (Oenology) cum laude graduate from 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. She has served on judging panels of South Africa’s Young Wine Show, FNB Top 10 Sauvignon Blanc, the new 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.
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 then Trade Marketing Manager of the LVMH portfolio of Champagnes and spirits. Currently National Marketing Manager for Meridian Wine Merchants. 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. 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.
Co-owner and editor of Winemag.co.za, freelance wine writer contributing to Decanter and other titles on an occasional basis. He 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 and 2016) and Platter’s South African Wine Guide in addition to various other local and international competitions.
Durban-based wine educator and KZN wine ambassador for Creation Wines, Crystallum, Remhoogte, Gabriëlskloof and Oldenburg. Chaired the UCT Wine Society in 2005. In 2009 founded the 031 Wine Society. Founded the Shamase Wine Corp and the Johannesburg Wine Series (monthly themed tastings) in 2010. Chairman of the Highway Wine Society, Durban’s oldest wine club, since July 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. Completed a 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 in 2015 and 2016.
SA Portfolio Manager for Wine Cellar. Previously Head Sommelier for the Slick Restaurant Group and 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. A taster for Platter’s South African Wine Guide and Winemag.co.za panelist. A previous board member of SASA (South African Sommelier Association). Trophy Wine Show judge in 2008, 2009 and from 2012 until 2015.
Heads up the ‘Singita Premier Wine Direct’ programme for Singita Game Reserves, sourcing and supplying wines for the Singita properties in Southern and East Africa. Deeply invested in hospitality having lived and worked in Africa, France, U.K. and Australia – always with emphasis on food and wine excellence. Cape Wine Academy Diploma graduate. Graduated with distinction at the Michael Fridjhon Wine Judging Academy in 2008, served as associate judge at the Trophy Wine Show that year and has been a senior judge at the show since 2011. Attended the Michael Fridjhon Advanced Wine Judging Academy in 2014.