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Judges' Résumés 2008 SIWC

Dr Paul White (New Zealand)

Dr Paul White - New Zealand

Paul White is an expat-American, internationally focused freelance winewriter, show judge and editor, now based in New Zealand. Since 1987, he has tasted and assessed thousands of wines annually, from all over the world. Unusually for an American writer, most of his writing is published by non-American publications.

He regularly contributes to magazines Australian Gourmet Traveller WINE, World of Fine Wine, Decanter, WINE, International Wines & Spirits Magazine, Harpers and Slow Food. Over the last few years he has gathered three nominations as 'World’s Best Drinks Writer' (World Food Media Awards, 2001, 2003 & 2005) for his work in these publications. A former weekly columnist for New Zealand’s two main newspapers: New Zealand Herald and Dominion-Post, he has also authored sections of two wine encyclopaedias: Wines of the World and The Global Wine Encyclopaedia.

Paul’s judging experience began in 1989 with London’s International Wine Challenge, where he soon became a senior Super-Juror and Panel Chairman, and he has continued to judge there. His latest international judging includes a stint at Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, 2006 and 2007.

Paul has previously judged various Australasian wine competitions. He has chosen to focus on the Sydney International’s TOP 1OO annual judging because, “I always learn something new, interesting, and useful when judging there.”

Paul developed an international perspective on wine from time spent living in the USA, Canada, Holland, England particularly, and, since 1993, New Zealand. His interest in wine followed the growth of pioneering US wine regions in California, Oregon and Washington State in the 1960s and early '70s. His love of European wine came in the 1980s whilst working and studying in Europe as a classical music performer, a Baroque-era musical instrument builder, a music historian and museum curator, duly taking a PhD degree in Music at Oxford University.

Whilst at Oxford, he captained the world's oldest competitive wine tasting team, the 'Oxford University Blind Wine Tasting Team', and organised 'The Wine Circle', the University's wine education society. Experience at Oxford as a successful competitive blind taster led to the opportunity to judge wine at London's International WINE Challenge and to publish his first article in Wine Magazine.

Paul White is among the first North Americans to have taken Australasian wines seriously. He initially encountered Australian and New Zealand wines on the British market in the late 1980s when they were still virtually unavailable in the US. Both country’s styles were so radically different from anything being produced in either Europe or North America that he made the commitment to head south. Settling in Wellington in 1993, close to vineyards in New Zealand's North and South Islands, his intent was to try to understand the factors involved in the sudden emergence of these ground breaking new wines.

Fifteen years later, he is still there, learning, enquiring, writing, recording, more involved than ever. This was Paul's eighth participation on the Sydney International's Panel.

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