Sydney International Wine Competition founders Warren Mason and Jacqueline Pimbert met in Rome in 1973, Warren a Melbourne based insurance executive returning from business meetings in the US, Jacquie a holidaying Manhattan based PanAm international stewardess from France’s Loire Valley.
Founders of the Sydney International Wine Competition, Warren & Jacquie Mason, in 2015. Warren passed away on April 10th 2019 and will be missed by all.
“Wine makes every meal an occasion, every table more elegant, every day more civilized.”
André Simon 1877-1970.
In 1933, André Simon co-founded of ‘The Wine Society’ in London, later to be known as the ‘International Wine & Food Society’, a global organisation for lovers of the gastronomic arts. Warren and Jacquie Mason have had a long association with the Society at Branch, Zone and International levels.
It was during his eighteen year stint as founding Chairman of the New South Wales Branch that Warren convened a 1982 Dinner to introduce several innovative small wine makers who were trialling new vineyards in cooler regions, Yarra Valley, Adelaide Hills, Margaret River included. They, along with other notables from Australia’s emerging fine wine culture, were invited to submit wines they felt could complement particular descriptions of the Dinner’s five small food courses.
It was a successful dinner and the dinner received national coverage in the back-page ‘Indulgence’ column of the Weekend Australian. Winemaking Medicos John Middleton (Mount Mary), Peter McMahon (Seville Estate) Bill Pannell (Moss Wood) and Max Lake (Lakes Folly) plus Brian Croser (Petaluma) and James Halliday (Brokenwood) were in attendance.
The following year, a similar dinner was announced. Many more wine samples arrived, to be judged for their ability to complement style-classified food dishes to be presented at the dinner.
Wines Judged for Food.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again that a wine should be judged at the table; not by its grape; not by its age; and not by the name on the label.” Anon
It was in these circumstances a unique wine competition was born, a wine competition not judged on what minor technicalities might flaw the wine but one where the wine’s attributes, when seen in context with appropriate food, was the principal consideration.
For more than twenty years, Jacquie Mason, an accomplished cook, created the innovative food dishes beside which the Competition’s finalists, grouped blind by the judges themselves into Style Categories, were rejudged. More recently, this responsibility has been passed to Celebrity Chefs who work in-house with the Conveners prior to and during the judging.
Michaela and Brett Ling took over responsibility of the competition in 2016. Since then they have worked closely with Warren and Jacquie to preserve the philosophy of the competition whilst transforming the competition for the next generations. With its philosophy of “Wines Judged for Food”, the Sydney International Wine Competition offers a unique consumer-oriented information service for wine lovers.
“Food without wine is a corpse; wine without food is a ghost. United and well matched, they are as body and soul: living partners.”
André Simon 1877-1970.