USA Wine Ratings: Roger C Bohmrich MW What Sets This Competition Apart

10/06/2021 "It stands apart from others in its varied criteria, which makes it interesting to judge." - Roger C Bohmrich MW

Wine buyers are not born they are made after 1,000s upon 1,000s of hours of tasting, analysing and dissecting wines from all over the world. The best wine buyers have often worked in multiple companies on different sides of the wine industry, helping to widen not just their knowledge but their experience in understanding the full wine supply chain and the commercial realities that make for a good bottle of wine.

This very much describes Roger C Bohmrich MW career in wine that has seen him work for a wide number of businesses, before starting up his own consultancy company. That wide career includes being a managing partner for Millesima USA LLC, the  American affiliate of the leading European direct to consumer business for fine wine. One of his key roles was at Frederick Wildman & Sons, the US wine importer business, where he was a wine buyer responsible for covering a dozen wine countries around the world, before graduating to senior vice president for marketing where he helped manage and develop strategies for the company’s wine brands.

Roger C Bohmrich MW

He has also shared his Master of Wine skills - he is one of the first to pass the course in the US -  by being an education coordinator of the North American educational program, before going to serve as chairman of the North American Advisory Board, which then lead to the formation of the Institute of Masters of Wine for North America, where he spent three terms as its first president.

“My wine travels have taken me often to Italy as well as Germany, Spain, Portugal, Australia, Argentina, Chile, Greece, South Africa, California, Oregon, and China. Working with wine has given me tremendous satisfaction and stimulation, and the Master of Wine title has enhanced the experience,” is how Bohmrich looks back on his career to date.

More than enough miles in the tank to then look to work for himself. Here he shares his experiences in wine and why he is so keen to be a judge in the USA Ratings competition.

1. How did you get into the wine industry and why did you want to have a career in wine?

I have spent my entire adult life in the wine trade. I happened to taste a wonderful Bordeaux wine and was hooked while in graduate school. I decided then that a career in wine was the ideal choice.

2. Can you describe your current role and your main responsibilities?

After a long period as an importer in various roles - sales, marketing, buying, training - I am currently a consultant, speaker and educator working with a diverse set of clients. I have my own consultancy (www.vintrinsic.com) and also collaborate with a partner to provide strategic direction to wineries in many countries seeking to enter the US market (www.sinkoff.com).

3. What do you find most rewarding about your role and what you can achieve?

I enjoy the freedom of being fully independent and the cultural diversity of my clientele, as well as the opportunity to apply the experience I have gained in the wine business over many years.

4. What do you find the most challenging?

Being totally on my own after many years of working for companies that provided security and predictable routines and outcomes.

5. How have the last 12 months been for you adapting to life with the pandemic - what changes have you made?

My active life as a speaker, interacting with audiences of both consumers and trade, came to a sudden end. However, my partnership (with Martin Sinkoff) has prospered since our model is a perfect fit for a world without in-person contact. I have also created many video seminars during recent months for virtual conferences and streaming platforms on topics such as how climate change is affecting wine and understanding the soil-wine connection.

6. What trends and changes in wine buying habits have you seen in the last year?

I haven't actually "seen" changes in habits, other than virtual interactions including meetings, tastings, and seminars. I am, of course, very aware of the major shift from drinking wine in restaurants to at-home consumption. In addition, the US consumer continues to explore new beverages including low- and no-alcohol drinks of varied types. Add CBD-infused beverages to the mix as well. That said, the pandemic has certainly not diminished the desire to drink alcoholic beverages.

7. What do you see as being the key trends for 2021 in terms of the styles of wine being bought and the countries and regions where they come from?

The move toward "better-for-you" beverages will likely gain in strength. It is in fact the extension of a well-established trend in favor of organic food and drink. It is very difficult to identify specific new countries or regions which may take hold in 2021.

There are many candidates: Portugal, which has for many years been waiting in the wings; the Eastern Mediterranean led by Greece, complemented by dark horses Turkey and Israel; the Caucasus, especially Georgia if their offer becomes more coherent. The dominance of California in the US will not be threatened and new AVAs will spark interest. Oregon will stay hot, as will Pinot Noir, and Washington State has all the makings of greater success.

Elsewhere, New Zealand will continue to show energy as consumers make Sauvignon Blanc a "growth" variety. And Australia's higher-priced wines will carve out a larger and well-deserved place in the US market. Finally, rosé from everywhere shows no signs of losing steam, at least not in 2021, and the new Prosecco rosé will take off.

8. With so many competitions why do you want to be a judge in USA Wine Ratings?

It stands apart from others in its varied criteria, which makes it interesting to judge.

9. What do you think about its judging criteria that judges wines on their quality, but also value for money and design and packaging?

These are all valid and useful and serve to set UWA Wine Ratings apart.

10. Do you think this way of judging is more in tune with how professional wine buyers decide which wines to list?

Yes, buying decisions are made based not only on quality and style, but also on value and packaging.

11. Why would you encourage producers and distributors to enter the awards?

Producers who want to be evaluated for the many attributes of their wines can find this judging to be very useful.

12. Is judging a good opportunity to see what styles of wine are being made that can help you in your day job?

Indeed, I find judging an excellent way to stay in touch with the world of wine.

2021 USA Wine Ratings submission is closed now. View the list of judges here. View winning benefits here.