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