Sam is a top MW student

Sam Cole-Johnson packs up in Napa

Our Pacific Northwest specialist was one of two top US performers in this year's Stage 1 MW exams and has won a trip to Bordeaux from her home in the Willamette Valley. Above she is seen moving from Napa to Oregon, an image that accompanied this article.

We are completely delighted to announce that our Oregon-based writer Samantha Cole-Johnson has just won a Commanderie de Bordeaux Andre Crispin Travel Scholar Award. As the two best US performers in this year's Stage 1 Master of Wine exams, she and Jane Dunkley will be travelling together to Bordeaux on an itinerary arranged by and coordinated with the Grand Conseil du Vin de Bordeaux. They are to receive $5,000 apiece to cover hotel, airfares and any other expenses. (It's difficult to imagine that they will go short of lunches and dinners.)

The award is given by the Commanderie de Bordeaux in the US in memory of the late Andre Crispin, a Belgian-American who was Grand Maître of the Commanderie.

As well as contributing to – today, for example her useful insider's guide to Oregon Pinots under $30 a bottle – Sam is a wine educator and is the Oregon contributor to Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book, now the responsibility of Margaret Rand.

Jane Dunkley is a winemaker working for Cakebread Cellars but has already worked on over 24 vintages in four countries. Sam of course has worked harvests in Oregon, Napa Valley and Australia, all the while writing for excellent and detailed accounts of her work. She was caught up in lockdown in Australia and the terrible fires of 2020 in Napa.

I'm sure the two MW students will have much to discuss and we wish them every success with the next stage of their MW journey.