SWA veteran Olivier Marie bows out

Drinks: Drinks, Wines

We’re very strict about our judges in the Sommelier Wine Awards. No divas, no nutters… and most definitely no merchants allowed. So when Olivier Marie – long-time sommelier at Le Coq d’Argent, and a SWA regular for 10 years – moved to join Genesis Wine, we had to bid him a tearful farewell.

But before he left, we caught up with him to find out what he thought of his time on the Tasting Floor.

When did you start judging at SWA?
‘It was in the first year in 2007. Then it was so small it was held in two rooms above a pub – the Atlas in Fulham. I’ve judged every year since.’

You made the step up to being a team leader, too, didn’t you?
‘Yes – two or three years ago. I can’t remember  – I’m getting old!’

What do you like about SWA?
‘Obviously, tasting 70 wines a day, I liked the diversity of wines on offer, but I will also miss the nice camaraderie and atmosphere during tasting. There was a high level of professionalism amongst my fellow judges.’

Any stand-out flights?
‘Fortified in general, and sherries in particular, were always amazing. Every year.’

What would you say to someone who is thinking about judging at SWA?
‘Go for it! You will gain a massive wealth of experience!’

About Author

Chris Losh

After five years working on My Weekly magazine (during which time he learned how to write horoscopes and make things out of mince) in 1995 Chris Losh entered the world of drinks writing and, despite all advice from his doctor – and the wishes of most South African winemakers – has stayed there ever since. He began on Wine and Spirit International, editing it for several years before moving on to edit Wine Magazine. Both publications have since gone the way of the Dodo, but he claims to have nothing to do with their demise, and his alibi appears solid, since he was freelance writing for anyone who would pay him at the time. In 2007, he helped to set up both Imbibe magazine and the Sommelier Wine Awards, and has spent much of the last three years eating, drinking, and listening to French sommeliers talk about minerality. In 2009 he was shortlisted for the Louis Roederer Feature Writer of the Year, but didn’t win. Perhaps he should have stuck to horoscopes. And mince.

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