Home News > September 2019 > A few sips with Charlie Young

Following a busy couple of years of opening new sites for popular wine bar and restaurant, Vinoteca, across London, we met with Founder and SWA team leader Charlie Young for a few sips.

How long have you been working in the on-trade?

Scarily, I’ve been working in the on-trade for 34 years now, with the last few years running Vinoteca. I've also been judging for the Sommelier Wine Awards for around 6 or 7 years.

I love judging at SWA. This was my first year as a team leader, following my role as Senior Judge for the competition for a few years. Each year the awards process runs even better, with excellent organisation and a very engaged and flexible senior team.

What is the most challenging part of being a judge?

The dynamics are always different and it’s a satisfying challenge to be able to bring the team’s collective experience together in order to successfully judge the diverse wines put in front of us.

What were your favourite flights or wines you tasted in 2019?

English Sparkling Wines, Champagnes and Greek Whites really stood out for me in terms of quality. Fortified wines are also always a favourite of mine. 

What are you looking forward to tasting in the 2020 competition?

In 2020 I’d love to see more still English whites & reds; Cabernets, blends & ‘not just Malbecs’ from Argentina; top-notch skin contact and oxidative styles; red blends from Germany; ‘Pet Nats’/Methode Ancestrale/non-disgorged bottle fermented sparkling wines.

And what’s your favourite wine/region/country?

I'd have to say Vouvray or Chenin Blanc with my favourite region being the Loire and France in general. 

To find out more about Vinoteca, visit their website and to find out more about judging the competition, see here