Members of Our Advisory Board
Bill Harlan acquired Meadowood resort on the east side of Napa Valley in 1979 and developed it to be one of the premier properties in the United States. Bill helped found Merryvale winery in 1983 and in 1984 he purchased a 230-acre forested property, with a stated ambition to "create a first growth wine". Since then, Harlan Estate wines have been described by Jancis Robinson as "one of the ten best wines of the twentieth century", and won acclaim from Wine Spectator and Robert Parker. As one of the original organizers of the Napa Valley Wine Auction, Bill has been a participant in Napa Valley philanthropy for over 30 years.
Nicholas Lander writes a weekly column in The Financial Times on the restaurant business. Known as the “restaurant insider”, Nick established himself as a premier restaurateur during the 1980s when he owned and ran L’Escargot in London’s Soho. Nick is an independent food service consultant to leading arts organisations including the Royal Opera House, the Ashmolean and the South Bank Centre.
Jeannie Cho Lee, MW
Regarded as one of Asia's preeminent authorities on wine, Jeannie Cho Lee was the first Asian to be awarded the Master of Wine (MW) title in 2008. In November 2009, Jeannie published her first book, Asian Palate which was short-listed for the Andre Simon award in the UK and won the Gourmand Award for Best Food & Wine Pairing Book in the World. In 2009, Jeannie was awarded the Vinitaly International Award for contributions to the wine industry. Jeannie Cho Lee was born in Seoul, Korea, but has lived in numerous cities around the world including New York, Boston, London and Kuala Lumpur. Hong Kong has been her permanent home since early 1994, but her travels as an international wine judge, speaker, journalist and educator, take her to Europe and North America on a regular basis. www.asianpalate.com
Fiona Morrison, MW
Fiona Morrison MW is an independent wine writer and consultant with over 25 years of international experience in the fine wine business on both sides of the Atlantic. Born in America of British Parents, she was raised and educated in France and Britain before starting off her career first as a journalist and then in the fine wine business. Since her marriage to Jacques Thienpont, Belgian wine négociant and owner of Le Pin in Pomerol in 1997, Fiona divides her time between Belgium and Bordeaux. Winner of numerous awards for her wine journalism including the James Beard Award and the Prix Lanson, and co-chairman and organiser of the 2010 Master of Wine Symposium in Bordeaux entitled "Forging Links", Fiona writes, consults and lectures about wine throughout the world when not working with her husband at Le Pin or their recently purchased vineyard on the plateau of Saint Emilion.
Jancis Robinson, MW OBE
Jancis Robinson is one of the wine world’s most prolific writers. She is fanatically independent, channelling her opinions primarily through her website, www.JancisRobinson.com but also through her weekly articles in The Financial Times and a bi-weekly, globally syndicated column. She has written more than twenty books and is the Editor of The Oxford Companion to Wine and co-author (with Hugh Johnson) of The World Atlas of Wine. As an independent consultant, she advises Her Majesty’s Royal Cellars.
Dhruv Sawhney has a Masters in Engineering from the University of Cambridge and an M.B.A with distinction from the Wharton School. He received the "Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur" from President Chirac of the French Republic. Dhruv was President of the Confederation of Indian Industry in 1991/92 when India started its liberalization programme. He chairs the Commonwealth Leadership Development Conferences, which broaden the decision making ability of future leaders, and Evian Group, a think tank on global trade. Dhruv is Founder Chairman of the Indian Institute of Management, Kashipur, and past Chairman of the premier Doon School.
Dhruv is CEO and promoter of the publicly listed Triveni Group, a large producer of sugar and renewable energy (dealing with 250,000 farmers). It is also a large global manufacturer of small steam turbines, gears, and water and wastewater treatment projects. Dhruv chairs the Board of Trustees of North India's oldest private charitable hospital (named after his great grandfather). It is funded by Triveni and Sawhney family and provides secondary care to the weaker sections.
David Spreng is the co-founder of the Wine Forum and a 17-year veteran of the venture capital business. He is the Founder of Crescendo Ventures and has been active in the formation and development of nearly 50 technology companies with 17 IPO's and 13 trade-sales. David has been ranked on Forbes Midas List (number 8 among VCs in 2005). He is a regular participant and panelist at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos and a member of WEF's Technology Pioneers selection committee and on the steering committee for Entrepreneurship and Successful Growth Strategies. He sits on the Advisory Board of the Silicon Valley Executive Network, is a member of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and a past board member of the National Venture Capital Association. Philanthropically, he is Chairman of the Board of both the Bay Area Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship and Woodland School. He is currently studying for the Masters of Wine.
Vidhi Tambiah is the co-founder of the Wine Forum and is also the CEO of the World Microfinance Forum Geneva, a Swiss not-for-profit association dedicated to promoting inclusive financial markets. Previously, Vidhi was at the World Economic Forum where he helped set up the Centre for Strategic Insight, an internal think tank focusing on global long term sustainability issues. Prior to this he worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers in London, Boston and Shanghai. He is a UK chartered accountant, holds a CFA charter and he earned an MBA from Duke University with top distinction.
Jean-Michel Valette, MW
Jean-Michel Valette is one of just 24 North American Masters of Wine. He is the Deputy Vice Chairman of the Institute of Masters of Wine and was previously Chairman of Robert Mondavi and CEO of Franciscan Estates. He currently sits on the board of directors for The Boston Beer Company, Select Comfort Corporation, Vinfolio (Chairman) and Peet's Coffee & Tea (Chairman). Mr. Valette is a keen mountaineer and has conquered many challenging peaks including Mount Everest.