World-Renowned Judges (2017)
CATHERINE GOURMET ( FRANCE)
PH.D. Plant Bueduig; Wine Commercial Agent
I was born in Africa, precisally in Zaire, a country which today is called "Democratic Republic of Congo" (hmm, not sure the definition of democracy can be applied in this case, but I will restrain in any further comments just to be politically correct!). It was at the equator, in the middle of a coffee plantation, in the middle of the jungle. Myparents were coffee growers. The nearest civilized town was 3 days away on the river, the river being the main mean of travelling. I lived there up to the age of 10. So from an early young age, I was exposed to a variety of exotic smells which when detected in a wine, bring me back to a very happy state of mind, filled with memories galore! From the Age of 10 to my 20th years, I lived in Belgium, discovering a new set of rules by which to live by, and obviously far from the freedom I had enjoyed in the first part of my life. I do not have much recollection but the discovery of snow the first time at the age of 10 has probably been an exhilarating experience! I moved to the USA when I was 20 years old and started to study agronomy. I was probably and subconsciously in search of experiencing more adventures! I obtained my Ph.D in plant Breeding and went on to work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and later on at the University of Madison Wisconsin doing research on genetically modified wheat, oat, corn and soybean plants. It is only during the 90's, when living in Portugal, that I developped an interest for wines. I went on to get a professional license in wine commerce and distribution networks from "SupAgro", the school of Agronomy in Montpellier, south of France. I now study wines in all its aspects and everytime a bottle is open, it is a new mini adventure in itself. What a lucky one I am, to have been given the gift of appreciating this human creation in all its virtues.