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Paul Draper wins Winemakers’ Winemaker Award 2013

Californian legend Paul Draper has been named as the recipient of the 2013 Winemakers’ Winemaker Award, presented by the Institute of Masters of Wine and international trade publication The Drinks Business.

The award, which was inaugurated in 2011, recognises outstanding achievement in the field of winemaking. The award has been won in previous years by Peter Sisseck of Dominio de Pingus and Peter Gago of Penfolds.

Paul Draper was chosen as the recipient of this year’s award by a panel that comprised Master of Wine winemakers from all over the world, and the previous winners of the award.

Paul, who has been chief winemaker at Ridge Vineyards in California since 1969, holds a degree in philosophy from Stanford University. He also attended the University of Paris, and spent two years in northern Italy prior to establishing a small winery in the coastal range of Chile.

His approach has been characterised by an emphasis on traditional winemaking practices, sustainable agriculture and a sense of place. He was a pioneer in the popularising of single-estate winemaking in California, and was instrumental in the growing recognition of Zinfandel as an important regional grape variety.

Ridge Monte Bello 1971 achieved international renown when it was included in the famous Judgement of Paris tasting in 1976, in which Cabernet Sauvignon wines from California were shown to compare very favourably with top French wines from Bordeaux when tasted blind. In the 30th Anniversary tasting of the same wines in 2006, Ridge Monte Bello 1971 emerged as the winner.

The award was presented at a ceremony at ProWein, Düsseldorf, on Monday evening, in front of an invited audience of winemakers and wine trade professionals. Patrick Schmitt, editor of the Drinks Business, introduced the award prior to the presentation by Jean-Michel Valette MW, Chairman of the Institute of Masters of Wine.

Jean-Michel Valette MW said:

“It’s a delight for me, as a fellow countryman, to be presenting this award to Paul Draper. Paul has done so much for winemaking in the United States, and, in his quiet way, has been a beacon of winemaking excellence and inquiry to so many. It’s a privilege to have this opportunity to show the respect in which he is held by his peers worldwide.”

Paul Draper said:

“This honour means so much to me because of my respect for the Masters of Wine – and most especially for the winemakers among them, who have such a breadth of knowledge of wine as well as expertise in my chosen vocation.”

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