Madame Bollinger Foundation celebrates 30 year partnership with the IMW

10 May 18

In 1988, Christian Bizot founded the Madame Bollinger Foundation to permanently recognise the contribution and values of his aunt, Madame Bollinger, who led the House from 1941 to 1973; choosing London as its base and its mission to be the fostering of the highest standards in wine education.

It was in this same year the Foundation partnered with the Institute of Masters of Wine, and the inaugural Madame Bollinger Medal for the most outstanding performance during the practical tasting examination was presented to Michael Hill-Smith MW.

On Thursday 3rd May, 30 years on, the recipients of this illustrious award were invited to London by Chairman of the Madame Bollinger Foundation Etienne Bizot, son of Christian Bizot and great-nephew of Madame Bollinger to celebrate the anniversary.

“When my father launched the “Madame Bollinger Foundation” at Vintners Hall in 1988, the purpose was to foster quality, education and ethics in all matters relating to wine at an international level. The Institute of Masters of Wine is without question the leading reference in this field, and 30 years on, the Madame Bollinger Foundation remains loyal to its support to the Institute. Within these last 30 years, the Institute has continued to open its doors and is now gathering Masters of Wine from all over the world. I am therefore very pleased to celebrate with our award winners this anniversary in honour of my Great-Aunt Madame Bollinger.”
 - Etienne Bizot, Chairman of The Madame Bollinger Foundation.

This very special anniversary reunion brought together 17 from the total of 29 Masters of Wine [full list below] who have been awarded the Madame Bollinger medal in the 30 years of the prize. Proud winners flew in from around the globe to attend the lunch at Mark’s Club in London.

International winners attending included: Essi Avelan MW from Finland, Andreas Wickhoff MW from Austria and Toni Paterson MW, who made the 17,000km journey all the way from Australia especially for the occasion, a long way to come for lunch!

Clearly being awarded the Madame Bollinger medal has been a source of great pride for all and 1989 winner and 2nd recipient of the medal, Mark Pardoe MW summed it up perfectly when speaking on behalf of all he said : “Everyone in this room would agree that the Madame Bollinger Medal is the medal you want to achieve, and without the support of Etienne and his family through the Madame Bollinger Foundation we would not be here. The pride and camaraderie of the MW community has manifested in this room today, and we thank you for bringing us all together for this extraordinary celebration.”

An occasion as unique as this called for equally distinguished wines, and the Bollinger family cellar provided magnums of the rare Bollinger La Cote aux Enfants 2009, a 100% Grand Cru pinot noir from Aÿ, of which only 150 bottles were produced. However, perhaps the highlight for many was the blind tasted Bollinger R.D. 1976 en magnum. The most recent medal 2017 winner, Jeremy Cukierman MW recognised this instantly “A long hot summer…very early harvest, it has to be ’76!”

When reflecting on his medal winning achievement, Jeremy Cukierman MW said : “It was a tremendous honour to receive the Madame Bollinger Award, particularly given the previous recipients. I felt proud but also terribly humbled. It is a very special award not only for what it represents, but also because it's named after Elisabeth Law de Lauriston-Boubers, a great lady of Champagne. As the most recently disgorged winner of the award, 2017 will always remain a Grande Année for me.”

Madame Bollinger Medal winners

1988 - 2018

1988 – Michael Hill Smith MW

1989 – Mark Pardoe MW

1990 – Joanna Locke MW

1991 – Alun Griffiths MW

1992 – Jonathan Pedley MW

1993 – Andrew Caillard MW

1994 – John Hoskins MW

1995 – Peter Marks MW

1996 – Matthew Stubbs MW

1997 – Anne Tupker MW

1998 – Gerard Basset MW

1999 – John Atkinson MW

2000 – Not awarded

2001 – Linda Jotham MW

2002 – Konstantinos Lazarakis MW

2003 – Toni Paterson MW

2004 – Simon Larkin MW

2005 – Susan Hulme MW

2006 – Essi Avellan MW

2007 – Ulf Sjodin MW

2008 – Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW

2009 – Isabelle Legeron MW

2010 – Alex Hunt MW

2011 – Samantha Caporn MW

2012 – Andreas Wickhoff MW

2013 – Anne McHale MW

2014 – Louise Sydbeck MW

2015 – Rebecca Gibb MW

2016 – Mary Margaret McCamic MW

2017 – Jeremy Cukierman MW



Jessica Hill-Smith

Mentzendorff Communications Manager

Sarah Kirkpatrick

IMW Marketing and Communications Manager


The Institute of Masters of Wine is a membership organisation with an unsurpassed international reputation. The Masters of Wine (MWs) hold the most respected title in the world of wine. The IMW promotes excellence, interaction and learning across all sectors of the global wine community. MWs have proved their understanding of all aspects of wine by passing the MW examination, recognised worldwide for its rigour and high standards. In addition to passing the examination, MWs are required to sign a code of conduct before they are entitled to use the initials MW. The code of conduct requires MWs to act with honesty and integrity, and use every opportunity to share their understanding of wine with others. There are currently 370 Masters of Wine today, working in 28 countries. The membership encompasses winemakers, buyers, journalists, shippers, business owners, consultants, academics, and wine educators. There are over 350 students in the MW study programme from over 40 countries.


The Madame Bollinger Foundation was founded in honour of Madame Lily Bollinger who tirelessly headed the eponymous Champagne house from 1941, following the death of her husband, to retirement in 1973. Founded in 1988, and established as the first partner of The Institute of Masters of Wine, the purpose of The Madame Bollinger Foundation is to promote excellence in oenology and to foster quality, education, professional qualification and ethics in all matters relating to wine at an international level. The Foundation and the board of trustees have determined that the Institute of Masters of Wine is the best organisation to help reach this aim, and are proud of their long and continuous association with the Institute for 30 years.


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