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Chris Carpenter named Master Winemaker of the Year 2024

The winemaker, representing Mt. Brave and Hickinbotham Wines, took the top prize as db unveiled the new edition of the Master Winemaker 100.

Chris Carpenter, whose work spans several properties and two continents, was the headline winner at last night’s Master Winemakers awards ceremony. The event, held at VinExpo Paris, declared him Master Winemaker of the Year 2024, in a wide field that rewarded producers all around the world.

Carpenter, along with 99 other winemakers, features in the 2024 edition of the Master Winemaker 100, launched last night. The volume, published by the drinks business, rewards the very best winemakers, as determined by the Global Wine Masters competitions.

The year-long series of blind-tastings, in which every 2023 entry was tasted by at least one Master of Wine, rewards its finest wines with a Master medal. The judges must agree on exceptional quality to confer the title, meaning seldom more than a handful of wines secure the award at each competition. According to the medal descriptors, a Master-winning wine must be ‘an outstanding example of its type, showing impeccable winemaking’. From those winemakers who won Master medals, 100 were selected for inclusion in the guide.

Representatives from many of the featured wineries attended, eager to find out if they had secured an award in the guide. Beyond the honour of featuring, there were 27 individual awards to be won. These represented the best wines at each competition, as well as titles for Best New Entrant, Best Value and Master Winemaker of the Year.

Carpenter won that overall award in recognition of winning two Master medals at a single competition, the Global Cabernet Sauvignon Masters 2023. This, a remarkable feat in itself, is all the more impressive given that they came from two estates on two different continents. Both the Mt. Brave Cabernet Sauvignon 2019, made in Napa Valley, and Hickinbotham Trueman Cabernet Sauvignon 2020, from McLaren Vale, secured the top medal.

The Chicago native, who describes his winemaking philosophy as “vineyard, place, simplicity”, has built up an impressive record, having also featured in the guide last year. He also works with other brands across the Jackson Family Wines portfolio, and, outside the winery, is a keen trombonist and jazz aficionado.

Other notable winners included those from unexpected regions. Gilles Besse of Domaine Jean-René Germanier in Switzerland won the award for Best Syrah, while Andrzej Lipinski, of Big Head Wines in Canada, took the prize for Best Chenin Blanc. There were also triumphs for a pair of occitan Bertrands. Bertrand Gabriel Vigouroux won the Best Malbec award for his work at Crocus Wines and Château de Haute-Serre, and last year’s Master Winemaker, Gérard Bertrand, won Best Rosé. After an impressive debut, further French success came as Stéphanie Sucheyre was awarded Best New Entrant for her work at Champagne Gardet.

Patrick Schmitt MW, editor of the drinks business and Chair of the Global Wine Masters, presented the awards. He was keen to celebrate the efforts of the 100 outstanding individuals. “Essentially, this guide is designed to shine a light on those talented people who toil deep within the dark environs of the wine cellar,” he said, introducing the new guide. “It is a way to raise the profile of the people behind brilliant wines – many of whom are personalities that, in our view, don’t receive enough recognition.”

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