The judging team

The IWC China has a staged level of experienced judges. The majority of these judges have been with us for many years and have moved up the scale. We not only judge wines but we judge judges too! We expect our Panel Chairman to report on each judge on their panels and also the judges to report on how the panel chairman leads the panel. We take action based on these recommendations, either promoting, demoting or de-listing judges based on their performance at the IWC China. We do not confine our judges to one area, region or style.

We expect our judges to have a global knowledge of wines and styles, and to judge them accordingly. If they are not certain on a style, they have their panels and co-chairmen to back them up. At the IWCC we believe in keeping your palate fresh and the day interesting. A typical day will start off with a flight of Sparkling wines, then a flight of reds, then whites, back to reds and so on. Then the day will finish with Sweets, stickies and ports. Then you can have a beer!

Tasting panels are usually made up of a Panel Chairman, Senior Judge, 2 Judges and an Associate judge. 5 people is the optimum number of judges to make the process quick and the discussions diverse. All communication is in English and we separate judges from the same countries so there is no country specific bias.

Co-Chairs

4 Co-chairs are responsible for all wine related matters. The Co-chairs are there as a safety net so that not one wine gets missed. In round one they taste all wines that have been given out or commended to check the decision is correct, and if required, give them another chance in round 2. In round 2 they re-taste everything for consistency. A Panel chair may see 2 flights of Chenin Blanc. The Co-chairs will see 20! The Co-chairs mostly agree with the Panel Chairs but if they think a decision by the panels is 'harsh' or 'over awarded' they can adjust the score up or down. But importantly they need to get another Co-chairman to agree and sign to say they agree before any change is made. Arguments are not uncommon. But this means the IWC China's judging is fair and consistent and every wine has a chance.

Yang LU MS

Yang LU MS

Yang Lu is the first and only Chinese Master Sommelier in the world and is widely regarded as the most influential wine sommelier in China.  As the leading wine authority, Yang Lu has been successful in multiple fields of the wine industry.  He is Corporate Wine Consultant for Shangri-La Hotel Group, and also provides all-round consulting services for multiple Michelin and Black Pearl Guide restaurants.  Yang is regarded as China’s top wine educator and founded Grapea & Co, the foremost wine education and service institute in China, providing a learning platform for professionals and wine lovers in more than 10 cities.  He serves as Chief Wine Editor for the world-renowned Food & Wine (China Version), and translated and published World Atlas of Wine and How to Tast. Yang also holds WSET Level 4 Diploma, and graduated with Viticulture and Winemaking Degree from Niagara College.  Yang is the champion of the Best Sommelier Greater China Competition and all three major sommelier competitions in China. For his contribution, Yang Lu has been awarded with many international recognitions, including “Young Hope” by by French Agriculture Ministry, “The Most Notable Sommelier in China” by Meininger Wine Business International, “Notable Alumni” by WSET, and most recently “2018 Man of the Year” by the Drink Business.

Kenichi Ohashi MW

Kenichi Ohashi MW

Kenichi (Ken) Ohashi MW is a leading Japanese wine and Sake distributor in Tokyo with accolades from the industry. Awarded Best Wine Merchant 1999 by Japan Sommelier Association he has shown his intricate knowledge of the subject both at home and abroad. He is author of "Natural Wine" and is the online wine columnist of Japan's top wine publication 'Wine Report'. He holds a Diploma from WSET in London and He is a Master of Wine and was also awarded the Personality of the Year 2016 by the IWC. He has also been certified as a Master of Sake (SSI) and Sake Expert Assessor (NRIB). In addition, he has started exporting his selection of Sake and Japanese wines to the world market.

Iain Riggs AM

Iain Riggs AM

Australian Iain Riggs is a veteran of 47 vintages, including 36 with Brokenwood Wines, of which he is managing director, chief winemaker and part owner. Iain has had a wide and varied career in winemaking, judging, mentoring, educating, and as a thought pioneer in Australian wine.
He is widely recognised as one of the exceptional people of the Australian wine industry. His many achievements and accolades were crowned with an Order of Australia (AM) in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours.
The recognition is for his significant service to oenology as a winemaker, to the development of the Australian wine industry, and to the promotion of the Hunter Valley region.
Other career highlights include being an inaugural board member of the Winemakers Federation of Australia and chairman of the Hunter Valley Wine Show, having taken over from Len Evans in 2002.
Iain was also chairman of the IWCC’s predecessor, the Shanghai International Wine Challenge, for eight years.
Iain’s current roles include chairman of trustees of the Len Evans Foundation that conducts the prestigious week-long Len Evans Tutorial.

Fongyee Walker

Fongyee Walker MW

Fongyee Walker MW (Master of Wine) is the co-founder, with Edward Ragg, of Dragon Phoenix Wine Consulting, Beijing’s first and fully independent wine consulting and education service (est. 2007). She is mainland China’s most qualified wine educator having passed her Master of Wine (MW) examinations on top of years of experience as a teacher in a variety of areas. She is a leading Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Certified Educator teaching all over China; including the WSET’s flagship qualification, the Level 4 Diploma in Wines & Spirits. She is now a specialist wine educator and consultant (in English and Mandarin). Under her direction Dragon Phoenix has become mainland China’s most successful WSET provider by results – with classrooms in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Chongqing, Dalian, Shenyang and Qingdao – and is the only provider teaching the full WSET Level 4 Diploma. Fongyee is now a specialist wine educator and consultant and has had a wide and varied career in educating, judging, winemaking in China.

Godfather

Oz is one of the world's most recognisable wine experts. He’s a regular on television, appearing on BBC Two’s ‘Food and Drink’, as well as with James May on ‘Oz and James Drink to...’, and he currently has a weekly gig with celebrity chef James Martin.

Oz Clarke

Oz is one of the world's most recognisable wine experts. He’s a regular on television, appearing on BBC Two’s ‘Food and Drink’, as well as with James May on ‘Oz and James Drink to...’, and he currently has a weekly gig with celebrity chef James Martin. Oz is also a prolific author and has written “more books than I can remember” – including New Classic Wines, Bordeaux, The Wine Atlas, Grapes and Wines, The History of Wines in 100 Bottles, Wine by the Glass, and Red and White. Obviously, he also tastes and judges wine, most importantly as a co-chair of IWC (after starting as a judge in the very first IWC). When he has time, he performs concerts of Baroque music and wine with the Armonico Consort. 

IWC China Judges

Judges for IWC China 2020 will be confirmed soon.

Kenichi Ohashi MW

Kenichi Ohashi MW

Kenichi (Ken) Ohashi MW is a leading Japanese wine and Sake distributor in Tokyo with accolades from the industry. Awarded Best Wine Merchant 1999 by Japan Sommelier Association he has shown his intricate knowledge of the subject both at home and abroad. He is author of "Natural Wine" and is the online wine columnist of Japan's top wine publication 'Wine Report'. He holds a Diploma from WSET in London and He is a Master of Wine and was also awarded the Personality of the Year 2016 by the IWC. He has also been certified as a Master of Sake (SSI) and Sake Expert Assessor (NRIB). In addition, he has started exporting his selection of Sake and Japanese wines to the world market.