Meet the 2020 LWC Judges: Demetri Walters MW
LWC interviews Demetri Walters MW, the wine judge at 2020 London Wine Competition which is going to be held on Mar 24, 2020, in London.
Demetri Walters MW is a Wine Educator & Presenter at Berry Bros & Rudd. With 18 years of experience in the wine industry, Demetri conducts product training in the on and off trades. He is responsible to carry out the following activities:
Presenter at wine events
On-trade product training, education, and wine list design
Private Wine Events, Wine School & Brochure Events at Berry Bros. & Rudd
Representing BB&R via various media including: TV, the internet and in print
Wine presenter at third party wine trade events in the UK, Ireland and beyond
Demetri Walters MW is a part of 2020 London Wine Competition judging team. He will be judging wines at this event on March 24, 2020 in London with his fellow wine judges on the team. Below is a small interview session with the LWC judge Demetri Walters MW.
Tell us about yourself. How did you get into wine?
My grandfather in Cyprus owned vineyards and, even at an early age, I found the idea of making wine creative, close to nature (I am very keen on gardening & horticulture) and romantic.
My first wine experience that I can remember was with Commandaria. I was 12 and I loved the experience of imbibing an adult drink. The taste was extraordinary and the resulting head-spins well worth the adventure!
My interest in wine was thus set.
What do you see as the most important skills a Master of Wine can have?
One above all others is objectivity. The ability to make observations and recommendations based on what is best for your customer and not just predicated on what you prefer. Objectivity also means being armed with all the possible facts concerning a situation, many of them somewhat ephemeral and not at all obvious.
What’s a Wine trend that you’re currently seeing in the industry?
Wines that respect nature. This means wines made along the principles of biodynamics, organics and employing well-suited native grape varieties. Sometimes ‘natural’ wines fall into these categories, though I am minded that this is a movement that hasn’t yet found its true meaning.
How has the role of the Master of Wine evolved?
I’m not sure how to answer this one. I can only speak for myself. What I can say is that the course is taught and conducted better than it used to be and that consequently there are more MWs. This can only be a good thing.
What you look for when you plan to buy wine for your business or yourself?
Authenticity, authenticity, authenticity! A wine that that talks of where it comes from. This is what people want these days. It also best enables a wine to compete in the market place.
What is most challenging about what you do?
I conduct a lot of wine tastings, wine events and classrooms. Opening people’s minds is both a privilege and a joy, but it comes with great challenges. Wine is complex and cannot be funnelled into black and white principles.
Have you noticed any change in the preferences of wine consumers?
Yes indeed. Consumers are keen to find out more about resurgent/long dormant old world regions and their native grapes, but are also keen to understand the reality of new world wine regions long prone to established, incorrect and thoroughly clichéd images.
Other preferences include biodynamic, organic, sustainable and natural wines, wines that reflect respect for nature.
Non-cork closures are making great headway, though many traditional markets still resist them.
In the UK the industry is in huge flux, but it seems that independent merchants are making headway. They offer authenticity in their ranges.
Which regions and varietals should we be on the lookout for over the coming year or two?
I would say this wouldn’t I? But Southern and Eastern Mediterranean wines are really on the up and up. Incomparable history, ancient genetic material, something ‘new’ from something ‘old’, value for money…it goes on and on. Look out for Greece, Cyprus and the Levant. Sicily and Southern Italy too. The Balkans will follow.
What are you drinking at home right now?
Anything that comes my way! I am a big fan of top flight Burgundy, Bordeaux with some maturity. I also drink a good deal of Hellenic wine and anything with a story. English sparkling wine is a big favourite as is new world Pinot Noir but, really, I drink anything that’s good. That extends to Gin, Ouzo and really good Lebanese Arak.