Derek Koch is the founder and Principal of the European Wine Academy (www.europeanwineacademy.org, the first wine school using e-learning extensively in 2005). He is a Belgian with South African roots and has wide experience in the wine industry, with a family wine farm background. His first professional experience was as a wine exporter, and subsequently as an importer. He owned and managed a boutique retail wine outlet in Europe and teaches and writes on wine subjects. He is a judge for the “Concours Mondiale du Vin Bruxelles” as well as the IWSC, and holds various wine and educational qualifications including: "Sommelier Conseil" from the Université du Vin; Suze-la-Rousse, France, the "Diploma" of WSET, "World Wine Master" (Belgium), 'Introduction to Wine Production', UC Davis, and he was awarded the ‘Weinakademiker’ title by the Austrian Weinakademie.
He is a former lawyer, and his other wine experience consists of an interest in a family wine farm, operating 2 Wine Restaurants, giving wine-related talks on radio, and setting up and operating a Wine Club.