Judges for the UK Merchant Awards

The IWC Merchant Awards UK judging panel is headed by Peter McCombie MW and Charles Metcalfe. In 2019, they are joined by the 3 below guest judges. 

Peter McCombie MW

Peter's career in wine started in sales working with legendary Winecellars that champion Italian wines. He now operates an independent wine consultancy service, focused on hotels and restaurants.

Born and raised in New Zealand, now resident in London, he speaks widely, hosting corporate and public events as well as industry seminars. He teaches at the Christie's Wine Course and the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, as well as conducting bespoke courses for anyone from beginners to MW students. He writes for a number of publications and has judged wine competitions around the world.

Charles Metcalfe

Charles Metcalfe's tasting career started at university, where he captained the Oxford tasting team to victory over Cambridge two years running. He co-founded the consumer magazine Wine International with Robert Joseph in 1983. They started the International Wine Challenge in 1984. He is also in demand as an international wine judge, and has judged in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal and South Africa.

As well as writing books on Spanish and Portuguese wines, and on matching wine with food, Charles has appeared on many UK television programmes, presenting drinks and and food items. His latest book is 'The Wine & Food Lover's Guide to Portugal', written with his wife, Kathryn McWhirter, with an update due shortly, and his website, www.charlesmetcalfe.com, allows him the occasional rant.

Tim Atkin MW

Tim Atkin MW

Tim is a British wine writer with an international following, with more than 25 awards to his name, including the 2009 Louis Roederer Wine Columnist of the Year and the 2011 Louis Roederer International Wine Website of the Year. In 2012, he was selected as one of the ten most influential people in the world of wine by Wine Intelligence.

He is Wine Editor at Large of OLN (Off-Licence News) and also writes for Woman and Home, The World of Fine Wine, Gourmet Traveller Wine, Imbibe, The Economist's Intelligent Life and his own website, www.timatkin.com. Tim appears regularly on BBC One's Saturday Kitchen as one of the team of resident wine experts.

Tim judges wine all over the world and is the chairman of the Top 100 South African Wines and the Wines from Spain Awards. He passed the Master of Wine exam at the first attempt in 2001, winning the Robert Mondavi Award for the best set of theory papers, and holds a BA in French from Durham University and an MSc in European Studies from the London School of Economics.

Laura Jewell MW

Laura Jewell took up the position of Head of Market for the UK and Europe at Wine Australia in February 2015, overseeing the marketing strategy for Australian wines. The focus is on trade education, tastings and exhibitions and consumer engagement through retailer promotions within the on and off-trade. Leading a team of 5, Laura has a programme of over 50 events across the UK and Europe to tell the stories behind premium Australian wines, and to increase the demand for Australian wines.

Laura joined the Product Development team at Tesco in September 2010, overseeing the development of the range in conjunction with the wine buying team, for all the markets Tesco trades in, including Central Europe and Asia. Tesco won the Wine Supermarket of the Year award at the IWC following 2 years of dynamic development in store and on line, resulting in a better shopping experience for customers.

Laura gained her Master of Wine in 1997 while working as the wine buyer at the Waverley Group, one of the UK’s largest wholesalers.

Helen McGinn

Helen is the author of The Knackered Mother’s Wine Club, an award-winning wine blog and best-selling wine book. She spent almost a decade sourcing wines around the world as a wine buyer for Tesco, then spent the next half-decade pregnant. Married with three children, she writes a weekly drinks column for the Daily Mail’s Femail magazine and has been the resident wine expert on ITV’s The Alan Titchmarsh Show. Her latest book, Teetotal Tipples, was published in December 2016 and her third book is due out in the Autumn. Awards include Fortnum & Mason’s Online Drink Writer of the Year and Red Magazine’s Best Blogger.