Select Page

Heidi Iren Hansen MW wins the 2020 Bollinger Medal

Heidi Iren Hansen MW wins the 2020 Bollinger Medal

Last night, Heidi Iren Hansen MW was announced as the 2020 winner of the Madame Bollinger Medal, which is awarded for excellence in tasting and outstanding achievement in the Institute of Masters of Wine practical exams. Heidi was announced as the winner by managing director of Mentzendorff and secretary of the Madame Bollinger Foundation, on behalf of Etienne Bizot, the chairman of the Madame Bollinger Foundation and president of the Bollinger Family Group (SJB), at the annual IMW awards ceremony held at Vintners’ Hall in London.

This year marks the 32nd occasion that the Madame Bollinger Medal has been presented since its inauguration in 1988. Although Heidi was awarded her MW in 2020, due to the pandemic, the winner of the Madame Bollinger Medal was not announced last year. Heidi was unable to attend the ceremony in person but expressed her delight and thanks via a live stream during the ceremony.

Commenting on the importance of such recognition of achievement in wine education, Etienne Bizot, great-nephew of Madame Bollinger, said: “The “Madame Bollinger Foundation” was launched by my father, Christian Bizot, at Vintners’ Hall in 1988, and 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 global reference in the pursuit of wine excellence in education and I am therefore delighted to award the Madame Bollinger Medal to Heidi, a superlative taster, in honour of Madame Bollinger.”

Upon being announced as the winner, Heidi Iren Hansen MW said: “I am extremely proud and happy to join the small group of MWs that has won this award before me. I could not have done it without the help from several MWs, co-students, colleagues in the wine world and the support from my very patient partner Bjørn.”

Heidi lives and works in Oslo and has enjoyed an interesting and varied career in the wine industry to date. She manages all wine courses and education 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 working as a sommelier, Heidi also participated in various competitions and holds medals from the Norwegian and Nordic sommelier championships.

Heidi will be presented with the medal itself by Etienne Bizot at a private visit for herself and her family to the House of Champagne Bollinger in Aÿ, which will take place next year.


For more information contact:
Sarah Kirkpatrick
Head of Marketing, Communications and Membership
Institute of Masters of Wine
+44 (0)207 383 9131

Anna Woodbridge
Communications Manager
+44 (0)207 840 3600

Notes to editors:

The Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) is a membership organisation with an exceptional international reputation. For almost 70 years, its members – the Masters of Wine (MWs) – have been at the forefront of leadership and expertise in the world of wine. The IMW’s mission is to promote excellence, interaction and learning across all sectors of the global wine community. MWs prove their comprehensive understanding of wine by passing the MW exam, recognised worldwide for its rigour and exacting standards. In addition to passing the exam, members must sign the code of conduct before they are entitled to use the initials MW. This requires them to act with honesty and integrity, and use every opportunity to share their knowledge of wine with others. Today, there are 418 Masters of Wine working in 30 countries. The membership encompasses winemakers, sommeliers, buyers, journalists, shippers, consultants, academics, educators and more. There were 376 students from 41 countries in the 2020-2021 MW study programme.

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 1987, and established as the first partner of The Institute of Masters of Wine in 1988, 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 over 25 years.

Previous winners:
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
2018 – Lindsay Pomeroy MW
2019 – Christine Marsiglio MW
2020 – Heidi Iren Hansen MW