John Stimp­fig

‘In be­tween two re­mark­able book­ends is a roll call of fine wine ti­tans’

Decanter - - CONTENTS - John Stimp­fig is con­tent di­rec­tor of De­canter

After 34 yeArs ser­vice, De­canter is re­tir­ing its hugely pres­ti­gious Man or Woman of the year ac­co­lade. from 2019, it will be­come the De­canter Hall of fame Award.

Back in 1984, the first ever Man of the year was the late, great serge Hochar, who put Chateau Musar and the wines of Le­banon on the world map. the most re­cent and now last ever re­cip­i­ent is ed­uardo Chad­wick, who did the same for er­razuriz, and Chile.

In be­tween those two re­mark­able book­ends is a roll call of yet more fine wine ti­tans in­clud­ing Bob Mon­davi, emile Pey­naud, Miguel tor­res, Len evans, Piero Anti­nori and Ni­colás Catena. All of them have quite lit­er­ally changed the wine we drink.

Most re­cip­i­ents have been vint­ners or wine­mak­ers, but not all. In 1996, Aus­trian glass­maker Ge­org riedel claimed the prize, and in 2013 it was the turn of su­per-som­me­lier Ger­ard Bas­set. Wine writ­ers too, most no­tably the Brit­pack of Michael Broad­bent (1993), Hugh John­son (1995), Jan­cis robin­son (1999) and steven spurrier (2017).

How­ever, it hasn’t al­ways gone to a sin­gle per­son. In 1985, it went to Château Mar­gaux’s mother and daugh­ter team of Laura and Corinne Mentzelopou­los. And in 2014, the dy­namic Jean-Pierre Per­rin and his brother françois of Château de Beau­cas­tel rightly col­lected the ac­co­lade.

so why make the change after all this time? two rea­sons; firstly, be­cause we wanted a ti­tle that con­veyed the idea of a long-term con­tri­bu­tion to wine. And se­condly, we felt it im­por­tant in to­day’s so­ci­ety to have a name that is com­pletely gen­der neu­tral.

Although the name has been up­dated, the rig­or­ous cri­te­ria and judg­ing pro­ce­dures re­main ex­actly the same. At this time each year, De­canter con­sults with pre­vi­ous Women and Men of the year, as well as our reg­u­lar colum­nists and peo­ple of note, to put to­gether a short­list of wor­thy con­tenders. We then de­lib­er­ate, in the full knowl­edge that the per­son cho­sen must sit well with the names of past win­ners (who will all au­to­mat­i­cally be en­rolled into the De­canter Hall of fame). there is no com­mer­cial con­sid­er­a­tion, po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness or gen­der bias. the award is given purely on merit.

the iden­tity of the 2019 re­cip­i­ent will be an­nounced in De­canter’s April is­sue.

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