The Judges

The key USP of the Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships is that all wines entered are tasted and evaluated by the same specialist sparkling wine judges, year in and year out, who must agree on all the medals awarded.

Some of the world’s greatest wine tasters struggle when tasting large numbers of Champagnes and other sparkling wines. It has nothing to do with their tasting skills, and everything to do with the number of wines of this style that they taste regularly on a professional basis.

According to Tom Stevenson, Founder & Chair of The Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships “Essi Avellan MW and Tony Jordan are the two greatest and most consistent specialist Champagne and sparkling wine tasters I have encountered, and I have tasted literally thousands of Champagnes with both of them. Essi is the most naturally gifted Champagne taster I have seen, while Tony’s experience and technical understanding of sparkling wines is unsurpassed.”

“I don’t think anyone could criticise the qualifications of the judges of Tom Stevenson’s new fizz competition” – Jancis Robinson.

Tom Stevenson

“Champagne's higher divinity” Anthony Rose, The Independent

Tom became the first wine journalist to specialise in Champagne when, after six years of research, he published Champagne (Sotheby’s Publications, 1986). His Christie’s World Encyclopedia of Champagne & Sparkling Wine (Absolute Press, 1998) reproduced a 17th-century document proving that the English invented sparkling Champagne six years before Dom Pérignon set foot in Hautvillers. This historical revelation ensured the encyclopedia itself made history by becoming the only wine book to warrant a leader in any UK national newspaper (The Guardian, 14 October 1998). Tom has a regular Champagne column in The World of Fine Wine, and has judged at wine competitions in Australia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, South Africa and the USA. In the UK, he held the chair of the Champagne panel for the Decanter World Wine Awards from its inception until 2012.

Essi Avellan

Essi Avellan MW

“Mind like a steel trap” – Karen Palmer, Champagne Editor, Galaxy Guides

Essi is Finland’s first Master of Wine and the second ever from the Nordic countries. For her MW studies she wrote her dissertation on single-vineyard Champagnes and won both the Lily Bollinger Medal for best taster and the Tim Derouet Memorial Award for best overall student. Essi is Editor, Co-Founder and Managing Editor of FINE Champagne, the world’s only magazine dedicated solely to Champagne. She has written a book on Champagne called Matka Champagneen (Tammi, 2010) and has fully updated and revised the 3rd edition of Tom Stevenson's award-winning Christie's World Encyclopedia of Champagne & Sparkling Wine which was published in November 2013. Essi also holds a Master of Science degree in Business Administration.

Tony Jordan

Dr Tony Jordan

“the Éminence Grise” Anthony Rose, The Independent

After a pHD and early career in chemical research Tony became a lecturer in oenology at Charles Sturt University. With Brian Croser he established a winemaking/viticulture consultancy Oenotec Pty Ltd in the 70s before joining Moet Hennessy as MD/Winemaker at Domaine Chandon in the Yarra Valley in 1987, a role that soon expanded to include consulting to the Chandon wineries worldwide. He was appointed CEO of Domaine Chandon, Cape Mentelle and Cloudy Bay NZ in 2003. In 2008 he ‘retired’ and re-established Oenotec Pty Ltd. He now consults on red and white still and sparkling wine production across Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Asia. Tony has judged at all key Australian and international wine shows in the UK, South Africa, Hong Kong and New Zealand and Chaired the Perth Royal Wine Show, the Royal Hobart Wine Show and the Hong Kong International Wine Competition. Tony is a past President of the ASVO and the Yarra Valley Winegrowers Association and has been a board member of the Wine Australia Corporation and Chair of the ASVO Wine Show Standards committee.