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Wojciech Bońkowski MW announced the winner of 2023 Madame Bollinger Medal

Wojciech Bońkowski MW announced the winner of 2023 Madame Bollinger Medal

Wojciech Bońkowski MW was announced as the winner of the Madame Bollinger Medal at the Institute of Masters of Wine awards ceremony last week. The Medal is awarded for excellence in tasting and outstanding achievement in the Institute of Masters of Wine practical exams.

Wojciech received his award from Justin Liddle, Managing Director of Mentzendorff, on behalf of Etienne Bizot, CEO of Bollinger Group, at Vintners’ Hall in London. This year marks the 35th occasion that the Madame Bollinger Medal has been presented since its inauguration in 1988.

Etienne Bizot commented on the award: “This accolade remains very close to my heart, as the “Madame Bollinger Foundation” was launched by my father, Christian Bizot, 35 years ago in Vintners’ Hall. The medal aims to foster quality, education and ethics in all matters relating to wine at an international level, which is why it is my pleasure to award the 2023 Madame Bollinger Medal to Wojciech for this great achievement. It should be known that the Institute of Masters of Wine is without question the global reference in the pursuit of wine excellence in education, and to continue to uphold this tradition is an honour.”

Wojciech Bońkowski MW commented: “It is an incredible honour to receive this coveted award and join the illustrious roster of previous winners I so much respect. I taste wines for a living, so training for the notorious MW practical exam provided a steep but ultimately rewarding learning curve that has allowed me to completely overhaul my approach. To reach a level worthy of the Bollinger Medal is a very special feeling”.

Wojciech is a wine writer and is the first and only Master of Wine to be based in Poland. He is active internationally as a wine market consultant and judge, notably at Decanter World Wine Awards and 50 Great Greek Wines. He obtained an MA in Italian literature and PhD in musicology from the University of Warsaw with a dissertation on Chopin’s editions published in Polish and English (2006). His book on Chopin’s favourite food and wines, Chopin Gourmet, was published in English by the Chopin Institute in 2010. Simultaneously he developed a career in wine, working in London before returning to Poland where he published eight books and founded the country’s leading wine website, Winicjatywa (2012), and wine magazine, Ferment (2017, with Ewa Rybak and Ewa Wieleżyńska). The Ferment media group now also includes a wine events agency, wine school, and publishing house.

Wojciech will be invited with his family for a private visit to be presented the medal itself by Etienne Bizot, at the House of Champagne Bollinger in Aÿ.


Notes to Editors

Eminent, distinctive, and distinguished fine wines of Champagne since 1829. Guaranteed through the integrity of a resolutely independent family house in Aÿ and through the artisanal know-how of people dedicated to growing and blending excellence. Devotion extending beyond the wines to support a sustainable environment and integration with local communities. 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 30 years.

The 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 uphold the highest standards of commercial conduct within the industry. Today, there are 414 Masters of Wine working in 31 countries. The membership encompasses winemakers, sommeliers, buyers, journalists, shippers, consultants, viticulturalists, academics, educators and more. There are 349 students from 40 countries in the 2022-23 MW study programme. The IMW works with 37 supporters and four research and industry associates, who help promote the IMW’s mission. The four principal supporters are Austrian Wine, AXA Millésimes, Champagne Bollinger and Constellation Brands.


For more information contact:
Belinda Eaton
Marketing and Communications Manager
Institute of Masters of Wine
+44 (0)207 383 9136