Champagne Bollinger welcomes 2022 Madame Bollinger Medal winner Heidi Iren Hansen MW to visit the House
On Thursday 20th April 2023, Champagne Bollinger was delighted to welcome the 2022 Institute of Masters of Wine Madame Bollinger Medal winner, Heidi Iren Hansen MW, to the House in Aÿ in Champagne. The visit was hosted by Charles-Armand de Belenet, Managing Director of Champagne Bollinger and Denis Bunner, Chief Wine Maker.
Not open to visits from the general public, the trip to the House of Bollinger has historically been an important part of the Medal winner’s prize. They and their family are invited behind the scenes of the great Champagne House to discover the vineyards, history and production methods behind the iconic Bollinger cuvées. Following the visit, a lunch was hosted to honour Heidi’s achievements accompanied by a tasting of several rare cuvées and the official presentation by Charles-Armand de Belenet of the Madame Bollinger Medal.
Heidi lives and works in Oslo. She manages all wine courses and educations at The Culinary Academy of Norway and teaches both the sommelier education and all levels of WSET. She started as a cook, completed her sommelier education in 2009 and worked as a sommelier for five years before her current job. Heidi also loves running courses focusing on food and wine in combination for wine enthusiasts and connoisseurs. When she was working as a sommelier Heidi also participated in various competitions and holds medals both from the Norwegian and Nordic sommelier championship.
Heidi passed the MW examination in 2020 and won both the Madame Bollinger Medal and the Austrian Wine Outstanding Achievement Award for the best result across all elements of the exam in addition. Following COVID disruptions which delayed the 2020 ceremony, Heidi accepted her award virtually in 2021 and was later able to do so in person at the Institute of Masters of Wine awards ceremony in March 2022. Heidi was presented the award by the 2015 medal winner, Rebecca Gibb MW.
Charles-Armand commented, “I was incredibly delighted to welcome Heidi in Champagne, and it is always a great honour to meet the next generation of some of the most talented wine tasters in the world. The Madame Bollinger Medal remains a highly prized award and I am very happy that the memory of Madame Bollinger can live on in this way.”
The association between the Madame Bollinger Foundation and the Institute of Masters of Wine dates back over 35 years. Created by Christian Bizot, to commemorate the memory of his aunt, Lily Bollinger, The Madame Bollinger Foundation was the original supporter of the IMW in 1987, with the first Madame Bollinger Medal awarded in 1988. The highly prized Medal is presented each year and is awarded for outstanding achievement in the Masters of Wine practical examinations to the candidate with the highest practical exam mark. Today, the Madame Bollinger Foundation remains one of only five Principal Supporters of the IMW.