Judges and Scientific Committee 2023

All the wines participating to 5StarWines will be tasted by a panel of highly qualified, international experts, having been selected among Masters of Wine, Master Sommelier’s, WSET Diploma holders, VIA experts and ambassadors, oenologists and journalists.
The different geographical backgrounds, the variety of professional profiles of the judges and the blind tasting process guarantee objectivity to the selection.


Stevie Kim

CCO 5StarWines and Managing Director @ Vinitaly International

Stevie Kim was born in Korea and raised in the United States. Today she lives in Verona. At first, she attended the New York University – Leonard N. Stern School of Business, earning a Bachelor of Science (B.S.). After settling in Italy, she obtained an MBA at Bocconi University, School of Economics and Management. Later, she achieved a postgraduate specialization in Wealth Management at the University of Pennsylvania – The Wharton School. As Managing Director of Vinitaly International, Stevie has launched and now coordinates a series of new initiatives connected to the Vinitaly brand. She is always seeking innovative ways to communicate and celebrate “Italian wine”, with a strong creative emphasis on social media and educational platforms. In 2017, Stevie launched Italian Wine Podcast, the first podcast in English dedicated exclusively to Italian wine and its personalities; and Italian Wine Unplugged Grape by Grape, a new reference book unpacking the hundreds of Italian native grapes in a visually compelling layout. She regularly travels around the world to spread the gospel of Italian wine, with particular attention to USA, Russia, and China.



Caro Maurer MW

Master of Wine, Educator

In 2011 Caro Maurer MW became the first female Master of Wine from the German speaking countries. Since more than 25 years Caro is working as a wine writer. Caro also works as a wine educator for WSET Diploma in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Bordeaux, Paris, Tuscany and Norway. She is deeply involved in the education of MW students at the Institute of Masters of Wine where she is also chair of the Admission Committee and member of the Council.
Furthermore Caro is hosting educational seminars and tastings for numerous generic wine associations such as Wines of Alentejo, Wines of Greece or VDP. She is judging in international wine competitions, at Decanter WWA in London she is a panel chair.


Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW

VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, Master of Wine

Pedro Ballesteros Torres is a Master of Wine. He got his Agrofood Engineer Degree and his Master Degree in Viticulture & Oenology at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. He also got the WSET Diploma, the Weinakademiker certificate, and he followed various other wine specialisation studies. He is columnist at Planeta Vino, Selectus Wineselmundovino.com (Spain), Libre BelgiqueDe MorgenDernière Heure (Belgium), writes regularly for Decanter (UK), and writes occasionally for magazines in Switzerland, Italy, France and USA. He was a co-Chair at Decanter World Wine Awards (UK), and a Chair and Senior judge at many international wine competitions. He was in the Governing Council of the Institute of Masters of Wine, of the Spanish Taster Union, of the International Federation of Wine Journalists, and in the Advisory Board of the Basque Culinary Centre. Expert at OIV for Spain, he has given several hundred lectures and tutored tastings all over the world in Spanish, English, French and Italian.


Bernard Burtschy

Columnist at Le Figaro

Bernard Burtschy is a wine columnist for Le Figaro (a French newspaper and Internet site) and for several magazines in the French press (including Paris-Match, Vigneron, Amateur de Vins et Spiritueux) as well as outside his native France (such as Wands in Japan, Feinschmecker in Germany). He is also President of the French Wine Press and Permanent Member of the Grand Jury Européen, the European wine tasting group. His family has always produced wine, both red and white. Bernard has always been fascinated by wine; he started by taking tasting courses at the Académie du Vin in Paris in 1977, then quickly became a tasting teacher and, from the early 1980s, a main contributor to the Revue du Vin de France, then to Gault & Millau. He also wrote about a number of vintages for the Eponymous Wine guides. Outside the world of wine, Bernard Burtschy is a professor of statistics at the École Supérieure des Télécommunications in Paris.


Robert Joseph

Editorial consultant for Meininger’s Wine Business International

Robert is a wine business consultant and an editorial consultant for Meininger’s Wine Business International, which he helped to launch in 2006. In 1983, after living in Burgundy for five years, he launched the Wine International magazine; set up the International Wine Challenge; became wine writer for the Sunday Telegraph and wrote The Wine Lists, the first of his 25 books. He has chaired and launched over 50 wine competitions in Asia, Europe and the UK. Robert has been in Who’s Who since 2013, and the awards he has received include the Jacob’s Creek ‘Golden Vine’; ‘the Best Wine Guide in the World’; the Glenfiddich (twice); The Wine Guild of the United Kingdom Premier; the Marques de Caceres. He regularly appears on television and radio and has lectured at the Wine & Spirits Educational Trust, Burgundy and Sonoma Wine Business Schools. Joseph is one of the trio behind Hugh Kevin & Robert Wines whose le Grand Noir range now sell over 3.8m bottles per year in over 60 countries. His website is winethinker.com.


Daniele Cernilli

Editor at Doctor Wine and Founder of Gambero Rosso

Daniele Cernilli is the Director of the online magazine Doctor Wine. After a Master’s Degree in Philosophy, he taught this discipline along with history and literature for a period but eventually he decided to move his career towards his passion, great food and wine. Daniele is a regular contributor to Italian newspapers, and trade and consumer publications; he has also written a number of technical books on wine and wine tasting. In 1986, he co-founded Gambero Rosso magazine which (together with Slow Food) began to publish an Italian Wine Guide annually; he oversaw this for more than 24 editions. Daniele often gives interviews to various Italian media outlets as a wine expert, and teaches professional courses at the “Città del Gusto” (Taste City). He got several awards for his contribution to food and wine culture, including the Gold Plaque from the “Associazione Enotecnici” and in 1999, Decanter listed Cernilli among the 50 most influential people in the wine world (2007-2008-2009).


Gabriele Gorelli MW

Master of Wine, brand ambassador, strategic consultant

Born in 1984, Gabriele Gorelli MW is one of Italy’s most esteemed wine experts.
Born and raised in Montalcino, Tuscany, in February 2021, he became the first Italian Master of Wine. His passion for wine was born thanks to his paternal grandfather, the smallest producer of Brunello di Montalcino.
After linguistic studies, he gained a long experience in the visual communication of wine. In 2015 he co-founded KH Wines, which deals with strategic product and communication consultancy for high-level brands. Gabriele speaks English, and French and has a basic knowledge of German.
Avid traveller, trail runner and Ashtanga Yoga practitioner.
Today Gabriele is Brand Ambassador of OENO Group for Italy, Worldwide Faculty Ambassador for Fondazione Banfi and Brand Ambassador for Vinventions.



Hayley Black IWE

Fine Wine Specialist at Winebow Imports

Hayley believes that a passion for wine paired with a desire to learn creates a never-ending journey. After a decade of working in restaurants, she dove into the world of wine sales and distribution. Along the way, she found time to earn the highest level of qualification available through the WSET, in addition to the highest level of certification with the Vinitaly Wine Academy. Hayley understands what it means to pursue the pinnacle of quality in the wine industry. Her ability to inspire, educate and connect people through wine has been and continues to be the driving force behind her career.


Gill Gordon Smith IWE

Italian Wine Expert, CEO of La Madrina Wines

Gill Gordon Smith IWE is an awarded wine communicator, winemaker and educator with an international profile and a passion for alternative varieties, grapes and wines with extensive experience in judging both in Australia and Internationally.

She is an Italian Wine Expert with VIA, a Certified Specialist of Wine, French and Italian wine scholar, Certified Sherry Specialist, and she is the winemaker and owner of La Madrina wines as well as the lead educator and co-ordinator for the Wine and Spirit School TAFESA and Lecturer for Wines of the World at Flinders university. She was an integral part of the award-winning team who developed the Qantas sommelier in the sky program rolled out in 7 cities, 4 countries and trained over 7000 staff.

Her personal awards and achievements include:

• Qantas airways international achievement award- Qantas sommelier in the sky program
• 2017 WCA Educator of the year
• 2017 WCA Wine communicator of the year
• 2018 finalist AWIWA Winemaker of the year
• 2020 AWIWA Woman of inspiration
• WCA Mentor program: 3 years as Mentor to some amazing women in wine

Team awards include:

• WSET finalist top ten wine schools for WSS TAFE SA 2019
• WCA Educator of the Year
• WSS TAFE SA 2020


Alessandra Piubello


Journalist, writer, and wine judge professional born in Verona, Alessandra Piubello is Editor of several magazines. She is the co-editor of the “Guida Oro i Vini di Veronelli” (the only woman in Italy chosen for this role) and author of the guide “I Ristoranti d’Italia” of L’Espresso. As a freelance journalist, she collaborates with the most important national and international magazines. She has also published some books and is member of prestigious national and international associations related to wine. She judges at important wine selections worldwide.


Richard Kershaw MW

Master of Wine, Founder and Winemaker of Richard Kershaw Wines

Born and raised in the UK, Richard travelled extensively, harvesting in California, Chile, Bordeaux, Hungary, and Germany before settling in South Africa in 1999 to make wine full-time.

He established Richard Kershaw Wines in January 2012 to create clonally selected, site-specific, cool climate wines in the Elgin Valley, and now has a stable of award-winning, much-in-demand wines. In addition to this, Richard was approached by Naked Wines UK in 2012 to make an exclusive range of wines under the Richard’s Label, which is now available to over 400,000 angels. He has recently launched a smaller selection of wines with Naked Wines USA.

One of only 10 Masters of Wine who actively make their own wines and South Africa’s only winemaking Master of Wine, Richard is much in demand when not in the vineyard or cellar. A wine judge for many prestigious competitions around the globe, he is also part of the educational panel for the Institute of Masters of Wine, lectures for the WSET in South Africa, and shares his knowledge with students and consumers via talks, tastings, and blogs. In 2021 he was elected as a member of the Cape Winemakers Guild, which brings together a select number of the top South African winemakers who have demonstrated excellence and innovation in winemaking.


Ned Goodwin MW

Master of Wine at Langton’s and Co-Owner of Wine Diamonds

Born in London, raised in Australia and educated in Tokyo and Paris, Ned splits his time between Tokyo, where he resided full-time for 14 years, and his beloved Sydney.

Ned is a dux of the Len Evans Tutorial, Japan’s first Master of Wine, educator, consultant, judge, critic and a highly regarded motivational speaker and presenter. He consults for select restaurant groups, private clients, lauded Montalcino estate Biondi-Santi and Langton’s, Australia’s premier auction house and purveyor of fine wine. Ned also hosts ‘Taste with Langton’s’, an interactive YouTube tasting platform for top clients.

From 2001 until November 2012, Ned served as Wine Director – educator and buyer – for one of Asia’s largest restaurant groups, Global Dining Japan. In Japan, Ned was also the ‘wine face’ for All Nippon Airways First and Business Classes, for which he created a bespoke ‘MW Cuvée’, a world first, while training a legion of inflight attendants. The airline produced a documentary on Ned’s life in wine, viewed by nine-million people across the inflight entertainment platform and The Food Network. During that time, Ned also hosted Divino Tuscany, with James Suckling and musician, Sting.

More recently, Ned also took on an Asian focused ambassadorial role for a Champagne house, in addition to founding his own company, Wine Diamonds, a niche importer based in Tokyo.

Ned co-writes The Wine Companion as a chief critic and recently served as Bettane et Desseauve critical voice across Antipodean wines for the Chinese market.

Before Japan, Ned was one of three sommeliers at Veritas restaurant in Manhattan’s Grammercy neighborhood, from 1998-2001 and prior, at Juveniles in Paris. Wine Spectator Grand Award winner and Michelin-hatted restaurant, Veritas boasted what was arguably the finest wine list of any restaurant in the world, holding deep reserves of Burgundy, Rhône, Champagne, Bordeaux, Tuscan and Piedmonts’ wines. Ned also worked at Willys in Paris, in addition to Michael’s in Los Angeles, also as a sommelier.

Ned had his own Japanese television show on wine, Vintage’ (2000); served as guest-lecturer on ‘Wine Marketing’ at one of Japan`s most prestigious universities, Keio (2002-2004); hosted wine dinners for winemakers, châteaux owners, Hollywood stars and corporate organizations, while boasting strong traction across media channels, having been featured in the New York Times, Decanter, Wallpaper, The Japan Times, Tokyo Calendar, Newsweek, Elle, CNN, Wine Business International, Gourmet Traveler Wine and Qantas Inflight, among other publications.


Jonas Röjerman MW

Managing Director at Vitis Wines AB, Master of Wine

Jonas is the Managing Director of Vitis Wines, that import and sell wine on the Nordic markets. He is one of only three Masters of Wine from Sweden. Jonas lives in Stockholm with his wife and children.

Previous he was Head of quality control at the Swedish retail monopoly for alcohol, Systembolaget, where he developed the quality processes for procurement and lead the tasting panel, ensuring selection quality before distribution to over 400 outlets.

He joined Systembolaget in 2007 as category manager for the Fine Wine division after previously being the Head sommelier at the five-star Grand Hôtel in Stockholm. In 2001, the WSET Diploma led to lecturing at various wine and sommelier schools in Sweden, and to co-authoring wine literature and writing for wine magazines.

A successful sommelier career has earned him several Swedish and Scandinavian titles, plus high rankings in international championships, which has given Jonas the opportunity to judge at various wine competitions around the world.

Jonas earned the Master of Wine credentials in 2019.


Gurvinder Bhatia IWE

VIA Italian Wine Expert, Editor for Quench Magazine

Gurvinder Bhatia is the editor-in-chief and publisher for Quench Magazine – North America’s longest-running and Canada’s most widely distributed wine and food publication. Although he has written for Quench for over two decades and been on the editorial team for the past 15 years, Gurvinder purchased the magazine in 2021, and is committed to the magazine’s evolution to be a much truer representation of our society. Gurvinder is also the wine columnist for Global Television Edmonton, an international wine judge and the president of Vinomania Consulting.  Gurvinder was the owner/founder of Vinomania wine boutique (opened in 1995, closed in 2016), which was named on numerous occasions among the 20 best wine stores in Canada.  In addition, Gurvinder was the wine columnist for CBC Radio for 11 years and is certified by Vinitaly International Academy as one of only 15 Italian Wine Experts in the world. Gurvinder is a recovering lawyer and in addition to his law degree (JD), he also earned his master’s degree in business administration (MBA) with honours. In 2015, Gurvinder was named by Alberta Venture Magazine as one of Alberta’s 50 Most Influential People. He is actively involved in the community and has served in leadership with numerous community organizations including the Edmonton Community Foundation, the Alberta Social Enterprise Venture Fund, and the Edmonton Shift Lab initiative to reduce racism as it contributes to poverty. Gurvinder developed and moderated a roundtable on ‘The Media and Racism’ as part of the Centre for Race and Culture’s Challenging Discrimination through Community Conversations series.


Niklas Bergqvist IWE

VIA Italian Wine Expert, Head Sommelier and Wine Educator Vinkällaren Grappe and Restaurangakademien

Niklas Bergqvist started out in the kitchens of various restaurants in Stockholm, Sweden. A deep interest in wine drove him to take a sommelier course to understand the concepts of matching wine and food.After a serious skiing accident that left him unable to walk due to a badly broken leg, he used his rehabilitation time focusing on the WSET Diploma; he finished the programme as the best Continental European student in 2012. Since then he has been working with wine full time as head sommelier in a private wine club for wine collectors. Bergqvist is also a WSET educator and Italian Wine Expert through the Vinitaly International Academy.


Alan Kwok IWE

Managing Director of DECO Wines Limited

Alan fell in love with Italian wine during his PhD Chemistry studies in Melbourne, when he discovered an old bottle of Barbaresco wine in a bottle shop. In 2014, he established DECO Wines Limited, a boutique wine importing company with a main focus on Italian wines in Hong Kong.

Alan has been climbing up the Vinitaly International Academy ladder since 2020, it was an unforgettable journey from Maestro to Ambassador and to Expert. He is currently the Master of the Knights of Alba (Cavalieri del Tartufo e dei Vini d’Alba) Hong Kong Delegation.


Yannick Benjamin

Co-Founder of Beaupierre Wines & Spirits, Contento Restaurant and Wine on Wheels

Benjamin, a New York City-based sommelier, is the cofounder of Contento in East Harlem, which opened in 2021. He is also a co-founder and director of development for Wine on Wheels, an organization that helps recently disabled people. In 2003, a car accident left Benjamin paralyzed, but he pursued his dreams to attend college and become a sommelier. Having worked in his early years at Le Cirque, Jean-Georges, Felidia and Atelier at the Ritz Carlton, Benjamin went back to wine service at Le Dû’s Wines for more than seven years and became an accomplished athlete. Benjamin and partners opened Contento with the ethos and tagline “accessible for all”. It is a stunning example of quality hospitality designed with a broadly inclusive approach.

Yannick has been recognized among Wine Enthusiast’s Top 40 under 40 and was named Person of the Year by New Mobility Magazine in 2017. He was the resident sommelier on the hit radio show “On The Town with Michael Riedel” on AM 970 The Answer, and has made multiple appearances on ABC, NBC, and CBS. In 2015, Yannick starred in “Uncorked,” a documentary series featuring sommeliers on Esquire TV. Jancis Robinson of the Financial Times calls Benjamin “the new star of New York’s gastronomic firmament”, and The Wine Spectator talks about Benjamin revealing a “kinder, gentler side of the profession”. The story of Yannick’s journey and the success of Wheeling Forward have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Village Voice, Wine Spectator, Financial Times, and Forbes. He was recognized by the Wine Enthusiast Wine Star Awards as Sommelier/ Wine Director of The Year for 2021.


Pietro Russo

Winemaker at Donnafugata

Born in 1985 in Marsala from a family long dedicated to winemaking, Pietro Russo graduated in Viticulture and Winemaking from Conegliano Veneto and holds a Master’s Degree from Bordeaux. His career includes working periods spent in Bordeaux and Languedoc, Andalusia, New Zealand, and Piedmont, where he has developed a long hands-on experience in winemaking and an insatiable passion for wine.

Since 2010 Pietro has been working for Donnafugata, where he has the opportunity to produce wines from the most compelling appellations across Sicily, such as Etna, Pantelleria, Vittoria, and Contessa Entellina. In 2020, together with Gabriele Gorelli MW and Andrea Lonardi, Pietro revised the Italian chapter for the New Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia. He participates annually in several international wine competitions as a judge.

Pietro is also a candidate in the Master of Wine program, having passed the tasting part of the exam in 2019, and currently studying to achieve the famous two letters.


Andrea Lonardi

COO (Chief Operating Officer) Angelini Wines & Estate

Andrea Lonardi was born in 1974 in Valpolicella.  Lonardi’s education was an international one, with a degree in Agriculture from Bologna, a Master’s degree in management control for agro-industrial agencies from the Grande École of Montpellier (ENSAM), and an Internship with Washington State University. He also benefitted from training internships in Languedoc and Sonoma.

He returned to Italy in 2003 to begin a career in marketing and sales, in the Top Wine Division of Gruppo Italiano Vini. In 2005 he took on the exciting challenge of an ambitious project of reorganization of the viticultural part of a group. This role lead him to work as Group Viticultural Coordinator, in the most important Italian wine territories, covering 1,200 hectares of vineyards from Valtellina to Sicily. In 2008 he was entrusted with the management of two of the Group’s wineries and began a shared marketing and trade marketing collaboration in order to support the development of the product portfolio and image.

In 2012 he assumed the role of Chief Operating Officer within the newly born Bertani Domains, rebranded from December 2021 as Angelini Wine & Estate. For this project he took on production reorganization, the development of the group concept, the construction of the product portfolio and the development of the business in the main markets. He alternates his operations between vineyards, wineries and markets thanks to a dynamic and strongly style & product-oriented approach.

Andrea is a Master of Wine stage 3 student and is working on a final Research Paper on the long-standing issue of “Labor Shortage” in viticulture. The path with IMW is a unique experience for him, thanks to which he has been able to expand his international network, interest in trade-marketing and different methodological approaches of analysis, as well as maintain a continuous update on the world of Fine Wines and major world trends.

He lives the profession in an innovative way, with continuous training cycles and a deep sense of collaboration, belonging, and responsibility aimed at building a working, young, heterogeneous, and extremely dynamic team.

He is on the Board of UIV, collaborates with research centers, and serves as Vice President of the Valpolicella Consortium.

He lives with three beautiful women, namely his wife Alberta and their two little girls; he is an avid collector of Art Brut and an inveterate


Christopher Barnes

Founder and Publisher at Grape Collective

Christopher Barnes is currently Editor and Publisher of Grape Collective an online wine magazine that combines high quality wine journalism with a seamless eCommerce experience. Grape Collective has produced over 300 video interviews on location with winemakers around the world and features writing by some of wine journalism’s top stars including former Wall Street Journal wine critic Dorothy J. Gaiter. Prior to starting Grape Collective Barnes was President of The Observer Media Group, publisher of The New York Observer. Barnes was co-founder and Publisher of amNewYork newspaper, New York’s largest free daily newspaper which was eventually sold to the Tribune Company. Amongst other media start-ups he was also involved in the co-founding of the Cocoa Beach/Cape Canaveral Press weekly newspaper and The London Monthly magazine. He has an MBA from Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts.


Leonardo Romanelli

Food & Wine Journalist

Leonardo Romanelli, 60 years old this year, collaborates with the Gambero Rosso culinary guides. He writes on his blog (leonardoromanelli) and on the Intravino and Fancy Magazine portals. He organizes monthly guided tastings dedicated to territories and/or vines, as well as holding refresher courses on tasting for professionals in the sector and enthusiasts. He is active on IG and fB with videos dedicated to wine and tasting.



Corinne Keddie IWE

VIA Italian Wine Expert, DipWSET, Architect

Corinne Keddie is a VIA Italian Wine Expert and educator, WSET Level 4 Diploma holder, and Stage 2 Masters of Wine Student. She has her own wine consulting company 365 days of wine, and regularly hosts wine tastings, seminars and educational sessions, leads wine tours, writes about food, travel, wine and design, and is just about to launch her own wine club. She also judges at various international wine competitions and typically spends several months every year traveling to various wine regions around the world to further her wine knowledge. When not busy drinking wine, she works as an architect and has designed award winning architectural and interior design projects both locally and internationally.



Åsa Johansson DipWSET

Freelance writer for Swedish and international press

Freelance writer Åsa Johansson moved to Italy in 2001. After graduating from the University of Florence with degrees in Political Science and Journalism, and recently obtaining her WSET Diploma, she writes about wine, food, and travel for magazines in Swedish and international magazines like Decanter, Quench Magazine, Corriere Vinicolo, Guida ristorante dell´Espresso, Svenska Dagbladet, Aperitif, and others. She has visited all twenty Italian regions and is traveling a large part of the year. She has started Sweden’s first podcast about Italian wines, Italienpodden.se and also makes her own Tuscan extra virgin oil, La Collina Blu. She goes to Sweden on regular basis to give masterclasses and to teach at the new Swedish school of sommeliers, The Wine Hub, for which she also has written the material about Italy.


Cristina Mercuri DipWSET

Wine Educator & Presenter, Founder and Head of Education Wine Club

Cristina Mercuri DipWSET – Presenter, Wine Educator, and Master of Wine Student at Stage 3 – is a candidate to become the first Italian Woman MW. Cristina left her career as a lawyer to devote herself to her greatest passion: wine. Today, she is the Founder and Head of Education of Wine Club.

She teaches students at all stages, from beginners to WSET Diploma Candidates, as well as Sommeliers and Wine & Spirits companies. She is a presenter for Italian wineries at the most important wine events in Italy such as Vinitaly and Milano Wine Week. She also runs promotional events, as well as staff training, team buildings, and private tastings.

Cristina has more than 10 years of experience in the sector and is distinguished by her profound multidisciplinary knowledge.


Alice Wong IWA

Co-Founder/Wine Coach of Vinetude Asia

After obtaining her Master’s Degree in Business Administration in New York, Alice relocated to Hong Kong in 2013, gradually establishing her career in wine, and eventually started her company Vinetude Asia in 2017. Her involvement in the wine industry is multifold, including wine education, consultation, communication, event management, and judging. To fulfill her passion in Italian wines, she undertook the prestigious Vinitaly International Academy Italian Wine Ambassador Program and became the first batch of graduates of the enhanced version in 2018. Currently, Alice is the Deputy Master of the Cavalieri del Tartufo e dei Vini di Alba – Hong Kong Delegation, and the Chair of the Food & Beverage Committee of The American Club Hong Kong. To honor her contribution in promoting Italian wines, Alice was the winner of the 2020 “Hong Kong Living Influencer” Award.


Jingjing Sui IWA

VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, Commercial director

Jingjing Sui is a Marketing and Sales Professional. She was born in China, but she moved to Italy when she was a teenager. She first graduated in Language and Literature, in Rome. Then, by chance, she discovered the world of wine and she took a detour in oenology and viticulture studies. She got her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Milan in 2018. She is living in Bordeaux, where she got a Master in Wine and Sprits and the WSET Diploma. She has been working for Bi-Sin Trading Co., Ltd in Beijing as senior buyer since 2019. Bi-Sin imports and distributes wines and spirits from Europe to the Chinese market, mainly from Italy. In Rome she started her own company, focusing on the organization of private and corporate events, wine tastings and wine tourism.


Vanessa Green IWA

CEO of Cliftons and Beverage Director of Crimson Wine & Red Spice Road

Vanessa Green is CEO of Cliftons, a global conference and event solutions company operating 12 venues and multiple offices around the world. She is Director of Crimson Wine – a specialist wine importer, distributor and consultancy service – and Beverage Director for Red Spice Road restaurant in Australia. With vast experience running venues and events across multiple countries, and designing award-winning wine lists, Vanessa is passionate about the Food & Beverage and Event industries.

She is committed to giving back to the industry and nurturing new talent through education, mentor programs, and industry associations, and is a Vinitaly International Wine Ambassador (VIA, Italy). She holds professional accreditations from WSET (UK), AWRI (Australian Wine Research Institute), and is a member of the Commanderie de Bordeaux and Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne. Vanessa is also a board member of MEA (the Meetings and Events Association of Australia), holds post-graduate qualifications in Business Communications and Psychology, is a Member of AICD (Australian Institute of Company Directors), and involved in a number of local and international industry associations.

Following her passion for wine, Vanessa judges at wine shows in Australia, Italy, and Asia and attends and presents at many wine-related events. This has provided the wonderful opportunity to taste and compare thousends of wines from around the world and visit wine regions in Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, South America, the US, Spain, China, and even Burma.


Julianne Farricker IWA

Co-owner of The Italian Cellar

Julianne is a Vinitaly Italian Wine Ambassador and a co-owner of The Italian Cellar, a wine shop that exclusively sells Italian wines. She has also traveled to all 20 regions of Italy and her next goal is to try every DOCG/DOC/IGT wine. When she is not keeping track of that list or educating customers about the beauty of Italian wine and gastronomy, she is also a secondary English and social studies teacher specializing in European history.


Elise Vandenberg IWA

VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, Fine Wine Specialist at Vin Sauvage

Elise Vandenberg is an Italian Wine Ambassador and Certified Sommelier based in Reno, Nevada, USA. Elise enjoys wine from around the world but is particularly passionate about wines made from native Italian grapes. Elise works in fine wine distribution with Vin Sauvage. She writes about Italian wine at elisevino.wordpress.com.


Laura Donadoni IWA

VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, Founder of La Com Wine Agency, journalist and wine educator

Laura Donadoni is an Italian wine writer, published author and journalist based in California, where she founded years ago “The Italian Wine Girl” blog and online community (today counting more than 60.000 followers) and La Com Wine Agency, a strategic P.R. and Communications firm focused on the wine industry. She is a contributor for the Slow Wine Guide America, a columnist for SommJournal and Tasting Panel Magazines, the only Italian woman member of the International Circle of Wine Writers and of the Los Angeles Wine Writers Association and the Director of the Wine Education Program at the Pacific National Food and Beverage Museum in L.A. She is a certified wine educator, a professional wine judge in national and international competitions such as the historic San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, she is a Vinitaly International Ambassador, a certified Sommelier with merit with the North American Sommelier Association and the World Sommelier Association, a WSET advanced sommelier. In her book “Come il vino ti cambia la vita” meaning “How wine can change your life” (published by Il Cairo), she includes her story and the stories of inspiration, courage, and rebirth of six Italian wine producers. Her first book was awarded with the Premio Bruno Lunelli for the wine literature. The book was translated into English and published in the USA by Prima Living publisher. After the success of the first edition, Laura has worked on a second, ambitious project: “Custodi del vino”, the stories of a resilient and rebirthing Italy, published by Slow Food Editore, one of the top seller wine books on Amazon and at bookshops in 2021.


Jessica van der Schee IWA

Wine Academy Programme Coordinator at Bernard-Massard

Jessica is a WSET Certified Educator based in Luxembourg. She is the programme coordinator for the Bernard-Massard Wine Academy, and also helps source Italian wines for Bernard-Massard’s portfolio of international wines.

She is almost finished with the WSET Diploma, and is also studying for the UC Davis Winemaking Certificate programme. In addition to being a Vinitaly Italian Wine Ambassador (IWA), Jessica is a French Wine Scholar (FWS) with the Wine Scholar Guild, having been a top scorer in 2020 (100%). Prior to working in wine, Jessica was a corporate lawyer and worked in London, Shanghai and Zurich.


Asami Yoshikawa IWA

Instructor at Academie du Vin Tokyo, CEO of aiVino CO., LTD.

Asami is an instructor of the Academié du Vin, a major wine school in Tokyo. Before she became an instructor, she was an actress. She became an Italian Wine Ambassador of the Vinitaly International Academy in 2019, now teaching wines of the world for beginner and intermediate-level students, and classes specialized in Italian wines. She is currently on her way to obtaining the WSET Diploma.


Andrea Eby IWA

Italian Programs Director at the Wine Scholar Guild

Andrea is the Director of Italian Wine Education at the Wine Scholars Guild and holds the title of Italian Wine Ambassador through Vinitaly International Academy. Andrea is a Sommelier Instructor with the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS/ACSP) and a member of the CAPS National Education Committee. Andrea has also served as a member of the expert judging panels at the Decanter World Wine Awards, International Wine & Spirits Competition, International Wine Challenge, and Vinitaly 5StarWines & Wine Without Walls.

Andrea is a Stage 2 Masters of Wine student who has worked for more than a decade in the wine world; as a wine buyer, in retail sales, and as a drinks educator at one of Canada’s top wine stores. In 2020 she founded Vinsanity School of Wine, becoming a leading provider of the prestigious Wine & Spirit Education Trust courses.


Irving So IWE

Instructor at Académie du Vin Tokyo

Irving was born in Hong Kong. He felt in love with Japanese culture since his youth, after his first visit to Japan. His enthusiasm in mastering Japanese landed him a job in Tokyo in 2000. He never looked back.

Irving is a WSET Certified Educator at the Académie du Vin Tokyo. He holds the prestigious title of Italian Wine Expert of the Vinitaly International Academy (VIA), shared by only 16 people in the world as of today. He is also an Italian Wine Educator (VIA), a Langhe Wines’ Ambassador (Barolo & Barbaresco Academy), Valpolicella Wine Specialist (Consorzio Tutela Vini della Valpolicella), an Italian Wine Scholar (Highest Honor, Wine Scholar Guild), as well as a WSET Diploma holder (DipWSET). He is the Japan Ambassador for Delle Venezie DOC. He has conducted masterclasses for various Consortia including Valpolicella and Lugana, as well as producer associations from Veneto.


Dongmyung Hong IWA

VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, CEO of Vinovino co., ltd

Hong Dongmyung runs Vinovino, a company that imports only Italian wines to South Korea. This company was established in 2002 as a family business. Now, Hong is the CEO and works with over 50 producers from Italy. After graduating from the Korea National University of Arts, he immediately joined the family business. Hong has also owned an Italian restaurant, and so discovered early on that he can communicate with wine people. Hong has garnered certifications such as the WSET advanced and VIA Italian Wine Ambassador. After many years of dedication to the wine industry, a desire to express his experience and teaching about Italian wine developed and He joined a wine school to share his knowledge with other professionals.


Marc Millon IWA

Wine, food and travel author and journalist

Marc is a wine, food, and travel writer. The author of 14 books on food, wine, and travel, he and his photographer wife pioneered a series of illustrated wine-food-travel books including “The Wine Roads of Europe”, “The Wine Roads of France”, “The Wine Roads of Italy” (winner of the Barbi Colombini award), and “The Wine Roads of Spain”. Other titles include “The Taste of Britain”, “The Wine and Food of Europe”, “Flavours of Korea”, “The Food Lovers’ Companion Italy”, and “The Food Lovers’ Companion France”. He has also written widely for a number of magazines, including Food & Travel Magazine and Italy Magazine. Marc organises, leads and lectures on gastronomic cultural tours to Italy with the UK’s leading cultural travel operator Martin Randall Travel. He is a patron of the Oxford Cultural Collective, a centre for food and culture studies. Marc has been on international judging panels in Italy as well as in the UK. He is the host of a weekly show on Italian Wine Podcast, “Wine, food, and Travel with Marc Millon”.


Hugh L. Preece IWA

VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, Operating Partner at Salt Creek Grille

Hugh L. Preece IWA is a Restaurant Executive and Director with over 30 years of successful experience providing fiscal, strategic, and operations leadership in uniquely challenging situations. He is Founder of Native Grapes, LLC, Italian Wine Ambassador – Vinitaly International Academy, Italian Wine Scholar – Wine Scholar Guild, Certified Educator through VIA Educator Program, Sommelier, and 5StarWines & Wine Without Walls judge. He is also author to “Counting Castles in Abruzzo”. He is featured on WPST 94.3 Radio, ABC NY, ESPN Television, NY Daily News, Buck’s Life Magazine, Princeton Magazine, Univision.com, and US News and World Report.


Ciro Pirone IWA

VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, Director of Italian Wines at Horizon Beverage Company

Ciro Pirone, Director of Italian Wines for Horizon Beverage Company, is a graduate of the Istituto Alberghiero (Hotel and Restaurant Management school) of Salerno, Italy and an Italian Wine Ambassador by the Vinitaly International Academy. Traveling and working in Italy, England and the US, Ciro developed an incredible passion for wine, food and culture. After all, growing up in Italy, wine was always a very important part of his family’s lifestyle and traditions. In 1999, Ciro moved to the US permanently. He landed in Boston, where he continued his wine studies at Boston University, the International Sommelier Guild, the London – based Wine & Spirits Educational Trust (WSET), as well as he completed and passed with Honors the Italian Wine Specialist Certification by the North American Sommelier Association (part of the worldwide recognized Italian Sommelier Association). In June 2017 (and again in 2019) he completed the Vinitaly International Academy certification course and received the Italian Wine Ambassador title. In 2019 he also passed with Honors the Italian Wine Scholar program by the Wine Scholar Guild. In 2007, Ciro accepted the position of Italian Wine Specialist at Horizon Beverage. After successful growth at HBC, Ciro accepted on a new challenge as the US Brand Manager for the Arnaldo Caprai Winery of Montefalco (Umbria), the top producer of worldwide recognized Sagrantino di Montefalco. In June 2011, Ciro returned to Horizon Beverage with a new position of Director of Italian Wines in support of their expanding presence in the New England marketplace. Ciro is happy to share his passion for Italian wine and culture in the effort to give the American wine consumer a better understanding and appreciation for Italian wine!


Gianluca Queiroli IWA

Owner of Wine Empire

After being an international tax consultant for almost 20 years, Gianluca made a career switch and joined the wine industry 5 years ago. Originally from Italy, he is now based in the Boston area where he owns and runs Wine Empire, a fine wine retailer. Gianluca holds a law degree, a Master in Accounting & International Tax, and speaks fluently three languages. He also dedicated himself to many aspects of the wine world: tasting events, writing, wine education. He became an Italian Wine Ambassador & Educator (through Vinitaly International Academy) in 2019 and is a certified French Wine Scholar, American Wine Expert, Bordeaux & Burgundy Specialist, Sherry Wine Specialist, holds the WSET Diploma & currently a MW candidate. In 2021, he launched in the U.S. the Italian Wine Maestro Certification.


Erin DeMara IWA

VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, District Manager at 1821 Fine Wine & Spirits

Erin DeMara is a twenty-nine-year professional of the wine and restaurant industries. Currently in his seventh year with 1821 Fine Wine and Spirits, an Italian-focused importer, he manages the portfolio of 100+ wines and spirits within Florida, USA. Erin is a Certified Wine Educator by the Society of Wine Educators and an Italian Wine Ambassador and Educator by VinItaly International Academy – the only wine professional in America to hold both titles. He is also a Certified Spirits Specialist, a Certified Sommelier by the Court of Master Sommeliers, and an awarded member of the Guild of Sommeliers.


Alberto Martinez Interiano IWA

VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, Wine Journalist

Alberto is a VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, wine educator, and writer based in Seattle, WA. He currently works as an instructor at The Cellar Muse Wine School in Seattle, and also teaches Italian and Spanish wine courses at the Wine & Spirit Archive in Portland, OR. His passion for wine started when he lived in Tuscany as a student, where he fell in love with Chianti and rustic Italian food. After being bitten by the wine bug, his curiosity led him to read all the wine books he could get his hands on, join multiple tasting groups, and later pursue a formal wine education in San Francisco and Seattle. Alberto is a big fan of Italian wines, in particular old-school Barolo & Barbaresco, Etna (Rosso & Bianco), and Campanian whites. He’s traveled extensively throughout Northern and Central Italy and next on his travel wish list are trips to Sicily and Sardinia. He holds the WSET Diploma and has an MBA in Marketing and International Business. He speaks Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese and is now working on his French. He writes for his blog www.vinointeriano.com and is a contributing blogger at the Vintner Project: www.vintnerproject.com


Kevin Di Lucente IWA

Wine Consultant with Winebow

A Western New York native, he began his 13+ year career in wine at a boutique wine shop, where his love for wine took root. Eventually he would find his way into the wholesale side, and for the past 10 years has worked in distribution, representing producers from all over the world, and sharing their stories. He has also been a repeat featured guest among world renowned winemakers, sommeliers, celebrities and wine enthusiasts on the locally celebrated Spiel the Wine television series, broadcast in parts of New York, Pennsylvania and Ontario, Canada. His passion to learn has never ceased, and his credentials to date include Certified Specialist of Wine, Italian Wine Ambassador, and Italian Wine Professional. In addition, he’s also an ongoing student of the Italian language. When it comes to wine, those of Italy, and their native grapes are his number one fascination, and the fuel for his continued passion. If he’s not going on about Italian wine, you can find him exploring his many other interests, including music, comedic improv, cycling and many others.


Pablo Soares Fernandez IWA

Wine Consultant and Educator

Pablo is from Florianópolis, Brazil. An engineer by training, in 2019, Pablo decided to take a sabbatical, where he drove 13,000 kilometers across Italy, understanding that his true love was there.

He decided to follow his passion for the Bel Paese and turn this into his professional work. So, during the pandemic, he began his education in wine, quickly making several certificates (Professional Sommelier, WSET Level 3, Italian Wine Scholar Guild). He is now starting his WSET Diploma journey in 2022. Also, in 2022, Pablo became an Italian Wine Ambassador at the Vinitaly International Academy.

Pablo is a consultant at Winext marketing consultancy, where we strive to fill the gaps between wine producers and consumers in Brazil, assisting wineries in accessing the Brazilian market and supporting them throughout the implementation of authentic brand experiences.

Pablo also promotes consulting, mentoring, tastings, and classes for wine lovers and students in Brazil with his remote and in-person tasting project, tente.online. He also writes about wines for the South America Wine Guide and Única – Guia de Vinhos websites. His friends call him a wine geek and nerd, which he vehemently denies as he reads Professor Scienza’s new book for a second time.


Andrey Batkilin IWA

Owner of “Prosecco & Lambrusco” wine club, wine writer

In 2018 he obtained the WSET Level II certification, in 2019 he became an Italian Wine Scholar at the Wine Scholar Guild, and in 2021 he became an Italian Wine Ambassador of the Vinitaly International Academy.


Angelo Secolo IWA

Sommelier and Wine Buyer for Altomontes Italian Market and Wine Consultant

Angelo Secolo was born in Sicily and he has been living in the USA since 2009. He is a Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers since March 2017, a Vinitaly International Academy Italian Wine Ambassador since July 2021, and an Orvieto Wine Ambassador since July 2022.

He has 14 years’ experience in restaurants and has been working with wine for the last seven years. He has built two wine programs and won the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for the wine list at Cicala Restaurant in Philadelphia in 2020.

He is currently working as Sommelier and Wine buyer for Altomontes Market in Doylestown, PA. He is passionate about his job and constantly eager to learn more about wine.


Jacopo Fanciulli IWA

WSET 3 Wine Educator and Wine Writer

Jacopo Fanciulli, Italian Wine Ambassador of the Vinitaly International Academy, is currently Executive Manager at Azienda Agricola Montesantoccio. Master of Wine students, he holds a Master Degree in Enology and Enological Marketing, and another one in Gastronomic Sciences and Quality Products. He also holds the WSET 3 certification and the title of AIS Official Sommelier & Taster. He is one of the authors of the Jumbo Shrimp Guide to Italian Wine and the Jumbo Shrimp Guide to International Grape Varieties in Italy. He participates as a judge in the International Wine Challenge in London and the Concours Mondial des Vins Extremes at Cervim.


Temitope Akintola

Area Manager for Mediterranean Europe and Africa at ZONIN1821

Akintola Temitope (Temi) started his first business in Nigeria at the age of 17, grew it until when he ran into troubles with the regulatory bodies in the country abandoned it at the age of 26 to follow a career as an Engineer in the Oil and Gas Industry.

For a lack of fulfillment, Temi decided to come to Italy to pursue a Double Master’s degree in Engineering at the prestigious Politecnico di Torino and Politecnico di Milano and was selected as one of the top 100 Engineers in Italy by the ASP. Over the course of his studies, he fell in love with the _bella vita_ that Italy offered, especially with the food and wine and for this reason he enrolled for an MBA in Food and Wine at unique Bologna Business School.

After the MBA, Temi returned to Nigeria to set up Going Global Consultancy, a family run firm that specializes in Route to Market and Risk Assessment analysis for European countries willing to expand into the African market. Going Global consultancy has since then spread its tentacles into many West and South African markets.

Currently Temi is the Area Manager for Mediterranean Europe and Africa at ZONIN1821 where he and the team are responsible for the growth of the business on the continent. Temi is also responsible for ZONIN1821’s e-commerce business worldwide.


Alessandro Rossi

Partesa National Category Manager – Wine

Alessandro Rossi is Partesa’s National Category Manager – Wine: bon vivant, scholar and connoisseur of the wine world. He loves to interact with the most authoritative exponents of the wine and the gastronomic industry, and has written numerous publications and books on the subject.


Eros Teboni

Wine consultant, Sommelier, Educator

Eros began his journey to wine knowledge through his father, with whom he had his first discussions about which wine to pair with a particular dish, maintaining respect for both the food and the wine, as well as the history of South Tyrol, his homeland.

Sacrifice, comparison, travel, daily training, good reading, and studying in Italy and abroad gave him a broad view of the world’s terroirs and tasting techniques, and a certain knowledge that he had chosen the right path.

Eros achieved international certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers in London (Certified Sommelier) and, on 30 June 2018, he achieved the incredible accolade of Best Sommelier in the World from the Worldwide Sommelier Association after competing in Rome.

Study, research and training continue, but he currently seeks to share what he has learned, give back what he has received, and spread his wine knowledge to others.


Simon Staffler

Falstaff Head of Tastings Italy

Simon Staffler, from South Tyrol, is a deep connoisseur of the Italian wine and culinary landscape. Since 2017 he has worked as a taster, expert, and critic of Italian wines, spirits, and gastronomy for Falstaff and Wineline. Every year he tastes, describes, and evaluates thousands of wines and is one of the most influential wine critics in the German world. Bachelor in Human Sciences and Geography, Staffler holds a Master’s degree in General Management. He maintains close friendly contacts with many Italian winemakers, especially the younger generation.


Peter Yeung DipWSET

Wine consultant

Peter Yeung (pronounced “young”) is a leading wine business consultant, developing strategic business plans and innovative marketing plans for the wine industry. He is the author of the book “Luxury Wine Marketing” and the host of the XChateau podcast. He was previously Vice President of Strategy & Business Development at Realm Cellars in Napa and Kosta Browne Winery in Sonoma, managing the allocation systems and business analytics functions. Peter holds the WSET Diploma as well as the CIA’s Certified Wine Professional designations. Prior to wine, Peter led Strategic Marketing, Market Development, and Sales for a clean technology company in Silicon Valley and was a management consultant with McKinsey & Company. Peter also holds a MSc from the London School of Economics and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley in Economics and is based in San Francisco.


Brad Horne

Founder of WineTimeLondon

Founder of WineTimeLondon, a Social Media platform to educate, inform and engage with wine and the people in the industry. Brad is a Wine Communicator, Educator, Presenter & Host of #winesocial Live on IGTV. Working with winery’s and wine boards to showcase the very best of a region and its wines to both trade and consumers.
He is also a Judge at the IWSC (@theIWSC), IEWA(@theIEWA) & 5StarWines – the Book (@5starwines) and also presents shows for IWSC, Davys, and other wine outlets.


Valentin Bufolin

Chief Commercial Officer at Drinx.si

Valentin Bufolin was born in Šembeter pri Gorici, Slovenia. He is the holder of Slovenia’s Best Sommelier title and has been a judge at numerous wine competitions. An Italian Wine Ambassador candidate, he has been involved in the world of wine since 2007. He currently works for a wine distributor and importer, and is the Vice-President of the Slovenian Sommelier Association.


Dino Borri

Global VP, Eataly Brand Partnerships

Dino Borri currently serves as Eataly Global VP. He was born and raised in Bra, a small town in Piedmont, Italy, and got his start in the food industry in 2000, when Slow Food hired him to organize and coordinate all their gastronomic events.

In 2008, Dino started collaborating with Eataly Turin, where he soon became the person in charge of opening new Eataly stores all around the world.

In 2010, Dino moved to America to launch the first US location in New York City’s Flatiron District.  Living and breathing high-quality food and Italian lifestyle, Dino is now concentrating on developing key partnerships and relationships with like-minded brands abroad.


Luca Ardiri DipWSET

Regional Manager and Brand Ambassador

Luca Ardiri is Regional Manager and Brand Ambassador of a group of italian wineries “Italian Essence”. He is also a Certified WSET Educator, WSET Diploma, and Weinakademiker. Since 2012, Luca has overseen sales and marketing for a group of prestigious Italian wineries, aiming to improve the quality of their distribution in the markets under his responsibility. Prior to joining this group of artisanal Italian wineries, he acquired extensive experience in both the domestic and international arenas of the wine business. Luca’s long experience in the international wine industry motivates him as a WSET educator to pass on his knowledge to newcomers in the wine business. His great passion for wine and strong ability to communicate it to others enhances his skills in both sales and teaching, and he continuously seeks to expand his abilities and activities in the wine sector.



Roberto di Meo

Co-owner of Azienda Agricola Di Meo

President of Assoenologi Campania, member of the Board of Assoenologi and the Presidential Committee, wine consultant. In 1986 he and his brothers founded the Di Meo winery in Salza Irpina, in the production area of Fiano di Avellino, where he is both winemaker and commercial director. Since the early 2000s he has undertaken an experimental project on the refinement of Irpinia white grape varieties, the Riserve della Linea Tempo. For almost twenty years, along with his brother Generoso, he has been the Ambassador of “Art and Wine” in Campania, also thanks to the “Di Meo Calendar”, a unique editorial work of its kind.


Maddalena Laluce


Born and raised in Basilicata in the heart of Vulture, Ginestra, where Aglianico del Vulture is produced, Maddalena grew up smelling the scents of wine while walking through the local vineyards. She obtained her diploma as a commercial technician in Venosa, the city of Horace, the Roman poet. She continued her training by carrying out two-year internship in Languedoc-Roussillon, in the South of France, and, when she returned, she concluded her studies, graduating in Viticulture and Oenology at the University of Basilicata.
Her trademark curiosity and the desire to travel have led her to grow and discover new territories, stories, and advanced winemaking techniques. She is currently collaborating on a variety of projects, in particular the promotion of Parco del Vulture, and she interacts with various wineries providing them with an important understanding of issues currently affecting the wine sector.


Chiara Peresani


Chiara Peresani is 37 years old and lives in Friuli Venezia Giulia. She holds a high school degree in Agriculture – with a specialization in Viticulture and Enology – and a degree in Food Science and Technology. Her passion for viticulture and enology led her to work in Italy, Spain, Argentina, and Brazil. Following her travels, she returned to her home region to work in production and in the laboratory for a few years. This is where she began her specialization in wine legislation, a professional “outlet” and passion that gave her the opportunity to work as a consultant for a company based in Veneto.


Soledad Adriasola


She was born in Chile, and studied Agronomic Engineering – specialty in viticulture and oenology – at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, graduating in 2011. She began her winemaking experience at Veramonte Vineyards and Winery, in the Casablanca Valley of Central Chile where she worked two consecutive vintages. In 2012 she went to California to work as a harvest intern at Flowers Winery, Veramonte’s partner winery in Sonoma County. Upon her return to Chile, she decided to go deeper into biodynamic and organic viticulture and winemaking and joined the Matetic Vineyards and Winery team. In June 2013 she arrived in Italy to join the MGM Mondo del Vino Group as a winemaker at the Poderi dal Nespoli winery in the Emilia-Romagna region. In 2014, she took on a four-month experience in the Product Development Department in Piedmont, at the main facility of the MGM Mondo del Vino, and then she spent the harvest season at Barone Montalto winery, the MGM facility in Sicily, taking over the management of the “appassimento” project. In October 2014 she returned to Poderi dal Nespoli to continue with her winemaking job. Since then, she has worked uniting tradition and innovation.


Mauro Di Giacomo


Mauro Di Giacomo is a winemaker from Abruzzo with an international experience in Spain, Argentina, Chile, and Russia. In 2021, he came back to Abruzzo and joined the Fantini group. He is now the winemaker at Fantini’s Spanish winery, Finca Fella.


Andrea Pizzolato


Andrea Pizzolato was born in 1989 in San Gimignano, Tuscany, and is a winemaker. He graduated from the University of Viticultural and Oenological Sciences and Technologies in Verona, where he worked as a research collaborator. He also carried out oenological missions in U.S., Spain, Germany, France, and Russia. He declares to feel at home wherever there is art, vineyards, and joviality.


Gabriele Valota


Gabriele works as a Freelance wine consultant doing extensive business throughout Italy. He is a lecturer of “Enology and Sustainable Viticulture” and “Wine Marketing and Tourism” at the Accademia Symposium.

Since 2022 he has been Coordinator of the youth committee of Assoenologi Nord Italia and since 2019 coordinator of the youth section of Assoenologi Lombardia Liguria.


Marco Domenico Parisi


Marco Domenico Parisi was born in Palermo in 1984. After obtaining a three-year degree in Viticulture and Oenology with full marks at the University of Palermo, he continued his academic career with an inter-university master’s degree at the University of Turin and a masters achieved in Lisbon with distinction. Various international experiences and, above all, a period spent in South Africa allowed him to expand on knowledge acquired during his academic career.

Back in Italy and, after collaborating with certain prestigious Sicilian wineries, since 2016 he has been part of the team of oenologists of Domini Castellare di Castellina alongside Alessandro Cellai, and is currently Production Manager at the Feudi del Pisciotto estate in Sicily. He is also a member of the board of directors of the Consortium for the Protection of Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG.


Giovanni Tezza


Born in 1969, Giovanni Tezza is an oenologist at the Cantina Veneto Wine Group in Verona.
Born and raised in Verona, he graduated in Oenology at the Conegliano wine school in 1989. His passion for wine was inspired by his father, founder of Cantina Tezza located in Valpolicella.

After his studies, he gained extensive experience in the wine sector. Since 2008 he has been the manager of a winery of the Collis Veneto Wine Group, one of Italy’s largest wine consortiums.

He has participated in several international wine competitions as a judge and is a president of one of the tasting commissions for the denominations of origin (DO) of the Veneto Region.


Paolo Scaiola


Paolo Scaiola is Technical Director at Tenuta Carretta and Malgrà of the Terre Miroglio Group, specialized in the production of wines from the Langhe, Roero, and Monferrato. He holds a specialist degree in Viticulture and Oenology from the University of Turin. His passion for wine was inspired by his experiences working in starred restaurants during his studies. The first experience that laid his foundations in the wine sector was five years with one of the most innovative and prestigious family businesses in Serralunga d’Alba. In the following two years he was involved in international activities in California, Sonoma County, and Margaret River in Western Australia on behalf of LVMH Group. A return to Piedmont was motivated by his enormous passion for the region and the varieties of vines grown there. Tradition, innovation, and research today represent the cornerstones of his work.


Luca D’Osvaldi


After working for various Treviso wineries, he was appointed as wine manager for the Italian Confederation of Farmers of Treviso. He is currently a member of the tasting commissions of the Veneto region.


Giuseppe Camilli


Giuseppe Camilli is an enologist involved in research and experimentation in the wine sector. In particular, he is involved in clonal selection, research/characterization of “minor” grape varieties, and more recently has gained experience on PIWI varieties for vine genetic improvement. In the same field, he is involved in micro-vinification and sensory analysis of the resulting wines. He has also gained experience in the vinification of international and native grape varieties and specializes in vineyard planting and management.


Massimiliano Luison


Massimiliano Luison is Winemaking Manager at Santa Margherita Wine Group. Born in 1977, enologist, he graduated with honors from the University of Udine in Viticulture and Enology. Passionate about viticulture, he follows the entire process from vineyard to bottle, trying to have an eye for every detail that can lead to an increasingly sustainable and integrated “viti-enology”.


Daniele Artioli


Daniele Artioli, winemaker with a degree in Viticulture and Oenology from the University of Bologna, lives and works in the province of Modena in the Lambrusco production area. Born into a family of winegrowers, he has long cultivated a passion for vines and wine, commencing his professional career at the Cantina di Carpi e Sorbara in the analysis laboratory before becoming Plant Manager responsible for the group’s bottling operations. Since 2021 he has been the Technical-Commercial Director of the same Cantina di Carpi e Sorbara, one of the main producers in the Lambrusco area, both in terms of bases for spumante and sparkling wines and finished and bottled spumante and sparkling wines based on Lambrusco and Pignoletto. He is also Vice-President of the Emilia section of Assoenologi, President of the Valoritalia DOC Tasting Commission for the Lambrusco di Modena and Reggio Emilia, and taster for the DOCG Colli Bolognesi.


Leonardo Neri


Born in 1993, his passion for wine was passed on to him by his grandfather Francesco. In 2017 he graduated from the University of Verona in Viticultural and Enological Sciences and Technologies. In 2018 he decided to undertake an educational and work experience in a major company in New Zealand. From July 2018 to date, he worked as an oenologist at Cantine Vitevis S.C.A, where he oversees the group’s bulk wine management.



Scott Thomas IWA

Owner and Lead Educator at Grappolo Wine School

Scott is a twenty-year veteran in the wine industry working from fine dining sommelier to sales and distribution. Today he is a full-time wine educator at his own Grappolo Wine School, based in Denver, Colorado. Scott’s professional qualifications include a Master’s degree in Wine Culture from the University of Gastronomic Sciences of Pollenzo, Italian Wine Ambassador, Italian Wine Maestro Educator, Certified Wine Educator, and Certified Sommelier.


Robert Maggi IWA

Wine Merchant, Director at WinesnVines

Half Welsh, half Italian. Born and bred in Puglia, he is now settled in Cardiff where he has been for the past 4 years. After graduating in 2012 from Aberystwyth University in Business and Management with Spanish, It was a simple wine course back in 2013 that sparked his passion for wine and he now holds the AIS certification as a Sommelier, level 3 WSET, and recently qualified as an Italian Wine Ambassador with the Vinitaly International Academy.

He has an extensive experience in the sector, including time with the award-winning Australian winery Jim Barry
Wines as well as dedicating the last 5 years to the promotion of wines from Puglia around the globe.
His passion is now his job, and he now runs his own company, WinesnVines, with the aim to import and distribute wines from Italy in the UK market, focusing on smaller producers and native varieties from Italy.
He founded and organize the Cardiff Wine Festival.
He is a real wine enthusiast and always on the hunt for new varieties.


Joan Harnish DipWSET

Corporate Events Consultant

Joan is a native-born Californian and now resides in Spain. She graduated from UCLA in Political Science and also holds a double Masters Degree MBA/MIM in Business Administration and International Management. She has lived overseas for over half of her life working in International Corporate Event Management in London, Paris, Munich, Rome, and Barcelona.

Joan is a Certified Sommelier, DipWSET graduate, and Weinakademiker with distinction of her Marketing Thesis by the Austrian Marketing Board. She is now involved in wine tourism, professional tastings, and sourcing. As a Climate Change Activist, Joan strategizes with the wine industry across the board to consciously adapt to the urgent shifts our planet and humanity face.


Jasmeet Kaur Rehan

Specialzed Wine Tasting Artist and Wine Content Creator

Jas Rehan, a.k.a “A Poet’s Terroir” is a self-taught artist and a Wine content creator. She specializes in conducting unique wine tasting experiences where the tasting culminates with an artistic expression of the wine on canvas. For her, wine presents an intriguing expedition of all senses (sight, taste, smell, touch) and the emotions it invokes; and art fulfills this immersive journey with expression. The canvas is her way of exploring and expressing one’s love for wine.


Victoria Mulu-Munywoki

Wine Consultant and Sommelier

With more than a decade’s experience in the wine trade, Victoria Mulu-Munywoki is the first Kenyan native Sommelier. A DipWSET candidate with diverse international experience, she is an independent wine consultant, the founder of the online store CELLAR254, and Captain of Team Wine Kenya.

Victoria launched the elite, members-only Capital Club Wine Club. She runs the ABSA Bank Social Wine Club and curates the wine lists of many of the top hotels, safari camps, and restaurants, where she also trains and mentors aspiring sommeliers. She served as a principal wine consultant for Kenya Airways and co-host of the weekly Wine Wednesday segment on Kenya’s Capital FM radio station.

Driven by a passion to inspire the appreciation of wine, Victoria is a catalyst at the forefront of successfully advancing the wine culture in Kenya.


Hermione Ireland

Managing Director di Académie du Vin Library

Hermione runs the Académie du Vin Library, a publisher dedicated to producing books that tell stories about the great wines, wine makers, and wine regions of the world, working with some of the greatest wine writers and supporting and nurturing up-and-coming voices. She will shortly be adding top-tier wine appreciation courses to the Académie’s offering in London, following in Steven Spurrier’s footsteps, and is passionate about communicating about wine across media and with as diverse a range of communicators as possible.


Anna Obuhovskaya

Sales and development manager at Dobro vino

Anna has 13 years’ working experience in wine retail, sales, and marketing. She has worked at Metro Cash and Carry, Luding, Joia Fine Wines and Spirits, and is founder of “Drink Italy” club. She is a candidate of the Vinitaly International Academy Verona course 2023 and has attended the Enotria wine school.


Tawanda Marume

Sommelier and Founder of Expression Wines Africa

Tawanda is the inaugural winner of the Best Sommelier of Zimbabwe which was held in 2020. He went on to represent Zimbabwe at the Best Sommelier of Europe and Africa, which took place in Cyprus in 2021. He started his first role in the wine industry as a tasting room assistant at Neethlingshof Wine Estate in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Tawanda grew to love wine and decided to pursue the studies completing the Cape Wine Academy Diploma and recently ASI Sommelier Level 1 course. He started his work as a junior sommelier at La Colombe Restaurant in 2012 and he has since worked on and off the floor. He is passionate about wine education and training which is what he is currently doing with a number of restaurants in Gauteng.


Matt Dawson

On Premise Account Wine Manager

Matt has been working as a certified Sommelier of The International Sommelier Guild since 2010. Currently, he is working for a large US wine distributor in Canada as On-Premise Account Wine Manager. He has also had over 20 years of experience as an International Chef prior to becoming a Sommelier. Food and Italian wine are in his DNA and he is incredibly honored to be part of 5StarWines & Wine Without Walls 2023.


5StarWines 2019 edition
5StarWines 2018 edition
5StarWines 2017 edition