IWSC announces shortlist for 2024 Wine Communicator Trophy

Wine news

Thu 7 Sep 2023

By Mila Gorchakova

After considering nearly 20 applications from brilliant communicators from across the world, the IWSC is delighted to share the shortlist for its 2024 Wine Communicator Trophy. This year’s trophy was judged by 2023 winner Jane Anson, 2022 winner Sarah Heller MW, IWSC Judging Committee Member Sarah Abbott MW, as well as Editorial Director of Club Oenologique Laura Richards and CEO of the IWSC Christelle Guibert. The judging panel was completed by Marco Battocchia from Vinitaly, the sponsor of this award.

The winner of this year’s Wine Communicator Trophy will be revealed at our Awards Celebration on 19 October at the Roundhouse, London.

The shortlisted entrants for the 2024 IWSC Wine Communicator Trophy are:

Amanda Barnes


Journalist, editor, presenter and entrepreneur, Amanda Barnes is on an impressive career track and has become an inspiration for a lot of people in the world of wine, said our judges. For the past 14 years, Amanda has dedicated herself to promoting the wines of South America. Her most notable achievements include the creation of South America Wine Guide – the first online winery guide for this part of the world. She also authored the book with the same title which she self published in 2021. Amanda puts a great effort into educating both consumers and trade through masterclasses and articles in leading international media. In the past year, Amanda has been working on a series of video guides to the regions of South America, as well as studying to become a Master of Wine. Brilliantly using a variety of channels to engage with different audiences, Amanda is a very positive force in the wine world, said our judges.

Agustina de Alba


Our judges were utterly impressed by Agustina’s energy and passion. Argentinian sommelier with nearly 2 decades of experience she works across different communication channels, from social media and radio podcasts, to books, workshops and tastings. At the age of 20, Agustina won The Best Sommelier Of Argentina award and she hasn’t stopped ever since. Her first book, Hola Vino – a practical guide to all things wine, from storage to food pairings, was published in 2019 and has already seen four editions. Following the success of the book, Agustina launched an educational program bringing the consumers and the winemakers together at fun, interactive tasting events. She is now on an international trajectory, having taken her events to Madrid and Uruguay. The judges loved Agustina’s social media account and the level of detail in her infographics, describing her as a ‘real entrepreneur’ and a ‘breath of fresh air’ in the world of wine.

Anne Krebiehl MW


Our judges described Anne Krebiehl MW as a real role model and a natural storyteller who attracted many people into wine. Anne has dedicated almost 15 years to wine writing – something she does passionately and in an incredibly engaging manner. As a freelancer she produced numerous publications for Wine Enthusiast, The World of Wine, Decanter, The Drinks Business and many others. The path of a freelance wine writer is not always the easiest one, and the judges were impressed by Anne’s resilience and dedication. “She is very inspirational; what she has done is really impressive”, said one of the judges. Several years ago Anne led the editorial team of Falstaff International, successfully launching the magazine and the website. Today, in addition to her freelance work, Anne is the editor for Germany, Austria and Alsace for Vinous Media. Anne has undeniable credibility and a reputation for producing some of the most engaging wine publications.

Essi Avellan MW


Finland’s first Master of Wine, Essi Avellan’s list of accomplishments is incredible. Essi is a renowned sparkling wine and champagne specialist and author of several books; her in-depth publications in various media are a real treasure box of valuable insights - for consumers and trade professionals alike. In 2022, Club Oenologique published Essi’s extensive report on Champagne, for which she assessed hundreds of champagnes from the major houses. This was followed by a Grower Champagne report. In addition to her work as a writer, the judges were impressed by Essi’s ability to reach thousands of people during her big public events. Essi is the organiser of the annual Grand Champagne Helsinki event, as well as working actively as a wine educator. The judges spoke highly of Essi's work this year, particlularly the launch of her personal website where she shares in-depth information on champagne, as well as her tasting notes. “She is an amazingly accomplished person and very focused, very dedicated to promoting champagne and other sparkling wines,” said the judges.

Tom Surgey


When it comes to video content, Tom has secured himself a place on top of the wine communicators’ Olympus. From his regular appearances on TV as a drinks expert, to hosting 67 Pall Mall’s ‘The Daily Pour’ show, Tom’s undeniable charisma and warm sense of humour make each of his broadcasts a fun and engaging watch. Our judges were captivated by Tom’s talent as a communicator, appreciating the variety of channels he uses to strike consumers’ interest in wine. In addition to TV work, Tom organises live tasting events, as well as hosting Foodies Festival and the drinks stage at BBC Good Food Show. “I like that he gets out there and is literally just pouring wine and talking to people all the time,” said one of the judges. Tom has also written and contributed to numerous articles for trade and consumer publications. Although not directly wine-related, the judges were impressed by the charity work that Tom does, having co-founded Table Talk Sussex – a non-profit foundation that puts chefs in primary schools to teach food education.

The winner of our 2024 Wine Communicator Trophy will be announced at our Awards Celebration on 19 October at the Roundhouse.