Kirsty Woodgate

Ramón Bilbao crowns inaugural Spanish Wine Master UK

06 July, 2023

Wine and Communications professional Kirsty Woodgate has been named the 2023 Spanish Wine Master UK after the grand final of the competition from the Spanish Wine Academy by Rioja’s Ramón Bilbao.

The in-person event took place at London’s Four Seasons Hotel, as ten finalists were whittled down to six before announcing the ultimate winner.  

"Winning this award is very special. I am honoured to have won it against some very talented competitors, and it is a privilege to be acknowledged by such well respected judges. I am thrilled to have been given the title UK Spanish Wine Master 2023, and I can't wait to make my own wine with the experts at Ramon Bilbao," said Woodgate. 

The judging panel included Spanish specialists and MW Sarah Jane Evans and Pedro Ballesteros, plus Ramón Bilbao chief winemaker and technical director Rodolfo Bastida and the winery’s winemaker and innovation director Rosana Lisa.

Launched this year, the Spanish Wine Master seeks to find the most knowledgeable person about Spanish wine in the UK wine trade.  

After almost 200 initial entries, and 1500 across the participating four countries, the ten finalists had previously made it through a timed online qualifying quiz, plus an online semi-final. Monday’s event saw them work to correctly identify soils, analyse wines tasted blind and finally accurately give a technical description of a particular wine to the judges.

Woodgate wins a bursary of £3,000 plus the opportunity to make their own wine with the team at Ramón Bilbao in Rioja, along with an invite to take part in the global final against winners from other markets around the world next year.  

Fellow wine communicator Anna Harris-Noble was awarded second place, winning a bursary of £1,000.

Bastida, who has been head winemaker at Ramón Bilbao since 1999, and has headed up the Spanish Wine Academy educational initiative since its launch five years ago, said: “We are so proud of the wines that our country produces - so many distinctive styles from the different DOs, so much to discover.

“This competition was devised as another way of teaching the trade everything Spain has to offer and celebrating how much people know.  We were highly impressed by the way Woodgate approached the tasks and demonstrated a deep understanding of Spanish wines.”

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