Heidi Iren Hansen Vestvik MW – meet our jury member from Norway

Szerző: Ágnes Németh
Heidi lives and works in Oslo. She manages wine education at The Culinary Academy of Norway and teaches both the sommelier education, all levels of WSET as well as Capstone California. She started as a cook, completed her sommelier education in 2009 and worked as a sommelier for five years before her current job. 

Heidi also loves running courses focusing on food and wine in combination for wine enthusiasts and connoisseurs. When she was working as a sommelier Heidi also participated in various sommelier competitions and holds medals both from the Norwegian and Nordic sommelier championships. Heidi completed the sommelier education in 2009, passed the WSET Diploma in Wine and Spirits in 2013 and passed the Master of Wine exam in 2020.

You are so young yet you have amazing titles, awards and qualifications. When you graduated from the institute of Masters of Wine, you won the Bollinger Award for the best result on the tasting exam as well as the Austrian Wine Outstanding Achievement Award for the best result across all elements of the exam. How did you do that? What was your preparation method and how long did it take you to get the MW degree?
It took me five years to finish the MW. All of my previous experience and educations off course helped me, especially with the theory, but with the MW tasting I had to work really focused in order to get the skills needed for this very difficult and specialised exam. The year I passed the tasting, which was my third attempt. I really focused on recognising and describing quality in a wine, which I believe helped me will the Bollinger. It is important to be able to recognise a place and a variety as well, but I believe that to objectively recognise quality is one of the most important things in todays' wine world.  
You worked as a sommelier before your previous job. Did you work with Hungarian or any other Central Eastern European wines? 
Unfortunately, we don’t have much other Central European wines in our market, but I worked a lot with Tokaji and some other Hungarian wines and I think the future is really bright for Hungary as a quality wine producer. 
As an educator, what is your experience, do your WSET and sommelier students have any knowledge of the wines of our region? Is there any grape varieties or styles that they are aware of?
Tokaji is the most well known wine region of Hungary for most Norwegians, both in the trade and consumers. Egri Bikavér also used to have a quite strong position in Norway and even its not a major wine in the market today I think especially young people are attracted by the uniqueness of Hungarian dry wines as well as the sweet style Tokaji. 
I suppose during your MW course you learned about Hungary as well, as far as I know Furmint is included in the material. Do you think this grape has a chance to stand out and to gain more recognition? 
Yes, Hungary is covered and Furmint (both sweet and dry versions) are regularly used in the tasting exams. I really like Furmint as a variety myself and think it has a very good potential to continue to gain reputation as an interesting, high-quality variety also for dry wines. 

Have you ever been to Hungary?
Yes, three times. One time purely on vacation as a young adult, one time on a vacation to Budapest where I also took the train to Eger and visited a few vineries and one time on a wine trip where I stayed in Tokaji for a few days and travelled again to Eger as well as to Etyek.  

See Heidi's profile here

Upcoming key dates

  • 18 June 2024 Entry deadline
  • 28 June 2024 Judging
  • 28 June 2024 Masterclasses and exclusive tastings
  • 29 June 2024 Judging

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