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Unreserved Wine Talk

263 EpisodesProduced by Natalie MacLeanWebsite

The Unreserved Wine Talk podcast features candid conversations with the most fascinating people in the wine world. Your host, award-winning journalist Natalie MacLean, dives into how it feels to compete in the nerve-wracking World's Best Sommelier Competition, the shadowy underground of wine forgery… read more


244: Should You Buy Wines Based on Competition Medals? Dr. Winnie Bowman, Cape Wine Master, Has Thoughts

What is a Cape Wine Master? Should you buy wines based on medals won from competitions? What does the future of wine recommendations look like?

In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I'm chatting with international wine and spirit judge, Dr. Winnie Bowman.

You can find the wines we discussed at



Why did Winnie transition out of her previous careers and into the wine industry?

What is a Cape Wine Master, and how is it different from a Master of Wine?

How costly is it to become a Cape Wine Master?

What are some of Winnie’s earliest memories of wine?

Which types of sweet wines is South Africa known for?

What are some challenges faced by women working to make a name for themselves in the wine industry?

How did a vertical tasting in Rome feature in Winnie’s best moment of her wine career so far?

How did Super Tuscan winemakers defy traditional wine regulations and come out on top?

What interesting notes did Winnie notice in tasting 50 years of Sassicaia wines?

How does tasting technique help you avoid palate fatigue?

What have been some of the most interesting wine competitions to judge?

Which hard-to-find grapes has Winnie encountered while judging wine competitions?

How do wine competitions and the medals they award impact consumer decisions?


Key Takeaways

I was interested to learn what a Cape Wine Master is and how that differs from Master of Wine.

Winnie also had some great insights into whether we should buy wines based on medals won from competitions and how those competitions themselves are run.

I loved her story about tasting through 50 years of the cult Tuscan wine Sassicaia and that 1950s vintage still had power and grace - it wasn’t tired.


Join me on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube Live

Join the live-stream video of this conversation on Wed at 7 pm ET on Instagram Live VideoFacebook Live Video or YouTube Live Video.

I want to hear from you! What’s your opinion of what we’re discussing? What takeaways or tips do you love most from this chat? What questions do you have that we didn’t answer?

Want to know when we go live? Add this to your calendar:


About Dr. Winnie Bowman

Dr. Winnie Bowman is a physiotherapist, biomedical scientist and holds a PhD in Education, specializing in Didactics. She is an international wine and spirit judge as well as a Cape Master. Winnie writes about wine, teaches, presents corporate tastings and appears regularly on radio and television wine shows.





To learn more, visit

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