The judges of the “Agile edition”

The judges of the “Agile edition” of 5StarWines – the Book 2021 are an integral part of the digital transformation of the Selection, formulated in such a way as to preserve and guarantee

  • The different geographical origins and heterogeneity of the professional profiles involved
  • The blind tasting method
  • The objectivity of the event

All wines participating in 5StarWines – the Book will be tasted by a jury of highly qualified international experts, selected from Master of Wine, Master of Sommelier, WSET graduates, VIA Experts and Ambassadors, oenologists and journalists.

The different geographical origins, the variety of professional profiles of the judges and the blind tasting process guarantee objectivity to the selection


  1. Sending anonymised bottles to a panel of international judges.
  2. The selected judges, who have access to the WebApp used, evaluate the assigned wines following the standard tasting rules laid down in the regulations.
  3. Each judge refers to a handbook explaining how to evaluate the wines in an “anonymous” version and instructions for using the application.
  4. Interaction, via streaming, with the General Chairman and the other judges involved in the tasting in Verona.
  5. In order to guarantee adherence to the rules governing the Selection and the objectivity of the same, each judge must strictly adhere to the aforementioned handbook.
  6. The final judgement expressed by the General Chairman regarding the suitability or otherwise of a wine to receive a score of 90 or more shall remain unchanged.


Judges Agile Edition 2020


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 (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.


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


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.


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).


Monty Waldin

Journalist at Decanter and author of 13 books on natural wines

Monty Waldin became the first wine writer to specialize in organic and biodynamic wines. He has worked in vineyards and wineries in both hemispheres, and was the subject of Chateau Monty, the first TV series to follow the making of a biodynamic wine from pruning to bottling for Britain’s Channel Four in 2008. He has written extensively about wine. His books include Biodynamic Wines, which was published in 2004 by Mitchell Beazley as part of its Classic Wine Library series. Monty Waldin’s Wines of South Africa won the 2004 “James Beard Foundation” award for best wine and spirits book. He also wrote the first comprehensive guide in Britain to organic and biodynamic wine, The Friends of the Earth Organic Wine Guide, which features more than 2,000 wines. He has been a regular contributor to The Ecologist, and writes the entries on organic, biodynamic and natural wine for the Oxford Companion to Wine (ed. Jancis Robinson MW OBE).


Joe Fattorini

Presenter of The Wine Show and Wine, Writer for SAGA Magazine

Joe Fattorini is the presenter of The Wine Show, now broadcast in over 100 countries with more than 85 million viewers.  He is also a consumer wine writer for Saga Magazine, the UK’s largest monthly subscription publication, writes a monthly column on Behavioural Economics for Harper’s Wine & Spirit and is profile writer for Club Oenologique. Joe was also wine writer for The Herald newspaper for fourteen years. Alongside writing, Joe has spent over twenty-five years as a leading on-trade wine merchant. Today he is Head of Sales at Fields Morris & Verdin, part of Berry Bros & Rudd. In 2017 he was awarded IWSC Wine Communicator of the Year and IWC Personality of the Year, and in 2019 was named among the 25 most influential voices in the UK wine business.  Previously Joe was an academic, publishing widely on the wine business, and wrote the world’s first text book on managing on-trade wine sales. Joe is a regular speaker and panelist at conferences covering marketing, media copywriting and equality in the wine trade.


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.


Regine Lee MW

Master of Wine, National Account Manager at Liberty Wines

Regine Lee is currently working as Customer Services Head of Operations at Liberty Wines, a leading UK importer / distributor to the on and off-trade which specialises in Italian wine. She has had roles at Liberty Wines in trade marketing, education, and sales analytics, and at the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) in Asian market development. Regine is also a co-founder of Women in Wine London, a wine trade networking group with over 600 members which launches initiatives to develop women professionally and provide a forum for discussing key topics in the industry. She achieved her Master of Wine in 2018, and wrote her research paper on the commercial effectiveness of relationship building through customer trips.


Sarah Abbott MW

Master of Wine, founder and CEO of Swirl Wine Group

Sarah is the founder and CEO of Swirl Wine Group, a wine business strategy and communications company that helps wineries activate their brand and access markets in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. Sarah judges at a senior level in wine competitions across the world, and is a member of the IWSC (International Wine and Spirits Challenge) judging committee. She has worked in the wine trade for over 20 years. Her specialist areas are Bordeaux, Burgundy, Italy, and emerging regions, such as Georgia, Turkey and Japan. She also writes about wine. In 2021 she co-founded and launched The Old Vine Conference, a global non-profit for the protection and promotion of heritage vineyards around the world.


Elizabeth Gabay MW

Master of Wine, Independent journalist, educator, consultant and author

A Master of Wine for 22 years, and for most of that time based in south east France, half-way between Piedmont and the Rhone Valley. She specialises in the wines of Southern France and the Mediterranean as well as the Central European countries of Hungary and Slovakia, all regions which have in common a wide range of indigenous varieties and unique wines. Her main areas of speciality being a focus on rosé wine. She writes for numerous publications, both hard copy and on-line, including Decanter, The Buyer, Drinks Business, Imbibe, Vince (Hungary), Civiltà del Bere, Provencewinezine and others. She also gives masterclasses and presentations to both trade and public, and participates in international competitions.


Michelle Cherutti-Kowal MW

Master of Wine, Wine Consultant, Lecturer and Judge

Michelle is a dual Italian/Canadian citizen who left corporate life in Toronto moving to London (UK) to pursue her passion for wine. Today she is a highly-respected wine lecturer, having taught wine industry professionals since 2004 at the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) in London where she a consultant tutor, specialising in Italy, regions in France and the New World. She has authored articles on wines, wine regions and wine-related events in trade publications and WSET journals. Michelle is a frequent guest wine expert at major wine shows and wine competitions including Decanter Wine Awards and the International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC). Michelle consults to restaurants, wineries and is an ambassador for trade bodies utilising her specialist knowledge of wine areas.


Lin Liu MW

VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, Master of Wine, Managing Director of Wine Maniacs Company

Lin is a Chinese national originally from Hangzhou, and she is Managing Director of Wine Maniacs Company. Today she resides in Cahors, in the South West of France, at the Château de Chambert winery. She is a wine producer, a, wine educator, journalist, a taster and judge. Her previous work experience includes senior positions in business consultancy (Foreign Direct Investment in China), Scotch Whisky business and brand development. She holds an MBA from the UK, having received a full scholarship award, and thereafter, she won the Top Graduate Award from the Austrian Wine Academy (2014, WSET Diploma). Lin is now awaiting the results from the last stage of her MW Research Paper.


Andy Howard MW

Master of Wine, Director at Vinetrades Ltd and Decanter Contributing Editor

Andrew Howard became a Master of Wine in 2011. He worked as a buyer for Marks & Spencer in the UK for many years. He left Marks & Spencer in 2013 an now he runs his own wine business, Vinetrades Ltd., which is involved in education, consulting, buying and investment in wine. Andy is a very active wine judge: he is a Regional Chair for the Decanter World Wine, and also judges at The International Wine Challenge and Bacchus. His major focus is now on journalism: he is a Contributing Editor to Decanter magazine as well as writes for Jancis Robinson.


Jonas Tofterup MW

Master of Wine, Export Manager at Viña Valdivieso

Jonas, who is based in Spain, is the first and only Danish Master of Wine. He holds a M.Sc. in Viticulture and Oenology and has worked as a winemaker at a number of wineries, from the main wine regions in Northern Spain to Yecla, Stellenbosch, Baden, Rheingau ass well as in Denmark. In 2015, Jonas moved to the commercial side of the wine world where he became the European export manager for Viña Valdivieso of Chile. Along with working for Valdivieso he co-owns Iberian Wine Academy, a wine school which offers WSET qualifications based in Andalucía and he is the wine consultant from ALDI Denmark.


Thomas Curtius MW

Master of Wine, Written Communications Expert

The highest degree of expertise in wine together with his experience as international keynote-speaker and three decades in various sectors – the media, digital communications and senior management of the automotive sector. These are his biggest assets and the solid foundation for his 360-degree way of thinking. Tomas is a Master of Wine (MW) and a communications specialist. The trained TV-journalist applies his communication skills to the wine sector as a coach, lecturer, writer and judge. His accomplishments in wine include the Outstanding Achievement Award, Institute of Masters of Wine; the Scholarship for Languedoc-Roussillon, French Wine Society; the Best European Student WSET-Diploma in Wine and Spirits; the Top Student Award, Wine Academy Austria; the Esterházy-Award for Best Results in the Wine-Business.


Michael Garner

Director at Tria Wines Limited, wine writer

Michael joined the Wine Trade at the end of the 1970s and throughout the 1980s developed an interest in the wines of Italy. He went on to combine with his love of writing and had his first articles published in the Wine Trade press. His first book “Barolo: Tar and Roses”, co-authored with Paul Merritt, was published by Century in 1990. In 2003, Michael and Paul set up Italian specialists Tria Wines. These days, he is a regular contributor to Decanter Magazine and Regional Chair for Northern Italy at the Decanter World Wine Awards. His second book on wine “Amarone and the Fine Wines of Verona” was published by Infinite Ideas in 2017. Michael lives in rural Devon in England’s Southwest with his wife and dogs.


Arnaud Orsel

Intendant général at Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin

Raised in Lyons, Arnaud Orsel obtained a master’s degree in Wine Knowledge and Trade at the Agrosup Dijon. He then worked for 10 years on the development of the François Frères Cooperage, world leader in the barrel making. He thus acquired expertise in wine aging with more than 2,000 domains visited, including numerous italian wineries. In 2010, he joined the management team of the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, which promotes Burgundy wines and has 12,000 members worldwide. Today, Arnaud is the director of this institution which organizes the famous Chapitres-dinners, the Saint-Vincent Tournante or the Tastevinage and which restores the Château du Clos de Vougeot, seats of the Climats de Bourgogne, world Heritage site. Arnaud has been giving MasterClasses on Burgundy wines for the past 3 years at Vinitaly.

Simon Woolf

Wine writer and author of “Amber Revolution”

Simon J Woolf is an English wine and drinks writer currently based in Amsterdam. A well-known commentator on natural, organic, biodynamic and orange wines, he contributes regularly to Decanter magazine, World of Fine Wine, Meininger’s Wine Business International and many other publications on and offline. His first book “Amber Revolution”, covering the fall and rise of orange wine, was published in 2018. The New York Times hailed it as one of the year’s top five wine books and it was shortlisted for the André Simon Food and Drink books award. His writing career began accidentally in 2011 with the founding of The Morning Claret – an online wine magazine which has become one of the world’s most respected sources for natural and artisanal wine.Simon was the Louis Roederer International Wine Writing Awards “International Feature Writer of the year” in 2018. His career has previously included working as a musician, sound engineer, IT consultant and alternative currency designer.


Sue Tolson IWE

VIA Italian Wine Expert, Managing Editor of WineSofa

Based in Budapest, Sue Tolson is a freelance writer, educator, translator and editor, specialising in wine (especially Italian and Hungarian), food and travel. She holds the WSET diploma as well as being a Wein Akademiker and Vinitaly Italian Wine Expert and is currently studying on the Master of Wine programme. She judges at various international wine competitions including IWC, Berlin Wine Trophy and 5StarWines and is also a member of the prestigious Circle of Wine Writers and the Managing Editor of WineSofa – an online magazine focussing mainly on the wines and culture of Central and Eastern Europe. She is also author of The Italian Wine Job and Budapest Wine Snob blogs.


Luzia Schrampf IWA

VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, Wine Writer for Der Standard et. al. and Wine Educator

Luzia Schrampf is an Austrian journalist and wine educator for Wine Academy Austria (Rust). She passed the Diploma WSET in 2003. Since December 2015 she is Italian Wine Ambassador of Vinitaly International Academy, Verona. Her articles appear in wine publications in Austria and Germany, but also internationally in „Civiltà del Bere“ or „Decanter“.  From 2007 to 2015 she was wine columnist for the Austrian quality daily „Der Standard“. She is author of several books, her latest „111 österreichischer Weine, die man getrunken haben muss“ (emons Verlag, Cologne) co-written with Austrian wine writer Daniela Dejnega, was published in October 2019.  She was technical consultant for a TV programme on Austrian wine (2012) and she also reports on Austria for Jancis Robinson’s World Atlas of Wine, 7th & 8th edition.


Emily O’Hare IWA

VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, Wine Writer and WSET Educator


Alexandra Alexandrova IWA

VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, Deputy Managing Director at Gourmet Alliance Group

Alexandra Alexandrova works in Moscow in the restaurant business. She began her career as a sommelier, and now she is the Deputy Managing Director at Gourmet Alliance Group, being responsible for the wine selection of the restaurant chain. She holds a WSET Diploma and a Weinakademiker title, and in 2018 she became a VIA Italian Wine Ambassador. The title of her Thesis on The Austrian Wine academy  was The Slow Revolution of Soave. Latterly as a Stage 2 student of the Institute of Masters of Wines, she spends several months every year travelling to various wine regions around the world to further her wine knowledge.


Tara-Maria Jabbour IWA

VIA Italian Wine Ambassadors, Export Manager at Agriment Italia

Lebanese sommelier Tara-Maria started her career in 2011 with her master’s degree in Marketing and Management of Wine Industry from the University of Florence and her certification as a sommelier from the Associazione Italiana Sommelier. Inspired to bring her experience back home to Lebanon, Tara launched her first wine training program, L’Angolo di Vino, and worked with several Lebanese wineries on establishing their market name and presence. Tara’s cultural curiosity and ambition led her to Dubai in 2015, where she joined the team of Michelin Star chef Heinz Beck at the Waldorf Astoria as Head Sommelier, and then as Beverage Manager for the Renaissance Hotel. In 2019, after she became an Italian Wine Ambassador (VIA) she decided to move back to Italy, to promote Italian wine around the world.


Tommasella Perniciaro IWA

VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, Director/ Wine Educator at The Good Wine Habit

Tommasella was born in Italy, but her career took her to Spain and Sweden, where she currently lives. After taking the WSET Diploma in 2015 and the French Wine Scholar in 2016, she became WSET Certified Educator and founded The Good Wine Habit school in Gothenburg, where she runs the WSET Levels 1-3 courses. Moreover, she teaches the online WSET Diploma in Wine for the WSET London School. Tommasella is VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, VIA Italian Wine Educator and Valpolicella Wine Specialist for the Swedish market, where she organizes masterclasses and tastings about Italian wines for the trade and wine lovers. She is regularly invited to judge at international wine competitions such as the International Wine Challenge (UK), Mundus Vini (Germany), AWC (Austria), International Wine City Challenge and WOW (Italy).

Emilia Marinig IWED

Italian Wine Educator, VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, Head of Marketing at Agricola Querciabella

Emilia is a wine professional with a consolidated international experience in brand marketing and communications. She is intrigued by how advancement in technology can transform the wine industry, but also aware that nothing compares to personal interactions. Born in Friuli, she spent half her life abroad, the past 15 years in London. After a long freelancing career, she found a professional ‘home’ in Greve in Chianti where he accepted the role of Head of Marketing at Querciabella. She firmly believes that sustainable farming, in tune with the land and natural environment, is the foundation of great wines, that the lack of faults alone does not make a wine interesting but that faults are in no way substitutes for lack of personality. She is a VIA Italian Wine Ambassador and Educator.


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.


Katarzyna Kordaś IWA

VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, Sales and import manager at Project Warszawa sp. Z oo


David Furka IWA

VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, Freelance Wine Consultant and Wine Journalist

David Furka is an Hungarian freelance wine consultant and wine journalist. He has arrived to the wine world from the construction industry, and he worked for more than thirteen years as project manager and department head. He managed various high value investments, as well as teams and employees. He is holding MA in Economics, and BSc in Engineering. The initial enthusiasm towards wines turned to serious professional engagement. He acquired the WSET Diploma, the Weinakademiker title, and became a VIA Italian Wine Ambassador in 2018. Now he writes articles about wine, wine events, and main wine attractions. He works as a judge in wine competitions, and consults with restaurants and supermarkets about wine acquisitions, reliable vendors or suppliers, prices and contracts, and wine lists.

Elmar Hofer IWA

VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, Sommelier at Restaurant St. Hubertus – Hotel & Spa Rosa Alpina

Elmar Hofer was born in the South Tyrol city of Vipiteno. He was a professional alpine skier till 2011, with career highs having achieved the Italian Downhill Championship and representing Italy in world cup races such as the classical Bromio or Wengen Downhill. After discovering his passion for food and wine, he embarked on a new career in the wine industry. He gained his certification as AIS Sommelier in 2016 and became an Italian Wine Ambassador through the Vinitaly International Academy in 2019. He then moved to Hungary where he gained further experience, learning the beauty of Hungarian wines. Elmar has now returned to Italy where he resides in the heart of the Dolomites, where he works for a well known 3 Michelin Star restaurant, St. Hubertus- Rosa Alpine, as a Sommelier.


Kevin Gagnon IWA

VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, Chief Editor and Content Manager at

Kevin’s passion for wine started with Grenache in 2007. Since then, annually, he has spent months in the vineyards of Europe. A popular competition judge and presenter, he has made a name for himself as a passionate representative of indigenous grapes, championing smaller producers and lesser-known regions from across Europe. He holds the WSET Diploma and is the first Canadian to have received the prestigious “Weinakademiker” title from Austria’s Weinakademie. He became a VIA Italian Wine Ambassador in 2017, and was awarded the title of “Valpolicella Wine Specialist” just two months later. In addition to collaboration with the editorial board of Vinum, Kevin maintains a blog at and a consultancy specialising in European wines for the markets of western and northern Europe, as well as North America.


Luiz André Batistello IWA

VIA Italian Wine Ambassador,  Sommelier at Wine Tours Paris

Luiz Batistello is a 39 year old former Lawyer from Brazil. His professional conversion in the wine industry started in 2007. He holds a WSET Diploma, IWA – VIA, currently a judge for 6 wine contests in France and two in the UK, IWC and IWSC, marker for WSET level 3 in 4 languages. In the past, he has worked as a Sommelier in restaurants and hotels in the UK, Spain and Italy. I’ve worked as head Sommelier for one of the biggest wine importers in Brazil for 2 years, and as Brand Ambassadors for important Italian wine producers. In 2014 I moved to France, where I now run a Wine Tour Company specialized in Burgundy and Champagne, also running wine tastings of French and Italian Wines.



Stefan Metzner IWA

VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, Owner at Seminare & Beratung

Stefan Metzner was born and raised in Munich and started his working carreer in hospitality where he soon became fascinated of the wines of the world. The first decade of his career in wine, Stefan Metzner worked as a Sommelier. He then went to work in the trade, import, retail and wholesale for 10 years and now he is focused on education, running a WSET wine school in Munich. He’s doing masterclasses and consults for restaurants in wine business and staff training. He holds a WSET Diploma and is a “Certified WSET Educator“. With the Vinitaly International Academy he became an Italian Wine Ambassador in 2015 and managed to become a Certified Italian Wine Educator in 2019.


Paul Caputo IWA

VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, editor-in-chief of Vinorandum

Paul Caputo is a UK based wine writer, judge, critic and entrepreneur. He is a certified Italian Wine Ambassador of the VinItaly International Academy, and writes regularly for various publications. He previously ran an online wine merchant and successful pop up wine bar, located on Chester’s historic rows. He works mainly in the wine space where he combines his passion for travel, technology, sustainability, and marketing. He is now working on Vinorandum, a wine business startup. Vinorandum is a wine search engine and media platform bringing stories and opinion from the world of wine. In 2020 he won a Millesima Award for his writing.


Valeria Tenison IWA

VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, wine educator, wine blogger and journalist

Russian-born, Valeria has lived and worked in eight countries of Europe and Asia. She started her career in wine in 2009, having obtained a sommelier diploma in Saint-Petersburg, later adding to that a ASI Gold certificate, a WSET Diploma and a VIA Italian Wine Ambassador title. She was the winner of the 2018 Best Female Sommelier of Russia and a runner-up in Ruinart Sommelier Challenge France 2019. Based now in Bordeaux, she writes for several wine magazines in Russia and France, judges wine competitions and organizes wine tastings, educational activities and tours for private clients.


Eleonora Scholes

Publisher at

Eleonora Scholes is an award-winning Russian wine journalist with 20 years of experience. Since 2012 she’s been publishing, the premier Russian language website about Italian wines and lifestyle. Eleonora is an official ambassador for the Langhe wines (Barolo and Barbaresco). She contributes to the international bestselling wine guide Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book. Before making Italian wines her principal area of specialisation, Eleonora was writing on fine wines for numerous publications in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, UK, USA and other countries. Her articles appeared in Forbes, Decanter, Falstaff, The World of Fine Wine. Eleonora’s marketing background was used in consulting projects and at international wine events. She was a Russian correspondent for Meininger’s Wine Business International. Her consulting services were retained by Wine Intelligence and Vinitaly International. She was a speaker at a number of high profile international events (the MW Symposium, FineWine, the London International Wine Fair, Vinitaly, etc.). She was a judge at a number of international wine competitions. Eleonora lives in Italy, on Lake Como.


André Ribeirinho

Co-Founder, CEO and Digital Strategist of Adegga and WineSpots

André Ribeirinho wears many hats, he is an award-winning food, wine and travel entrepreneur, a Portuguese wine expert and a Certified Port Educator. As a wine writer André contributes to Decanter Magazine and the Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book. Often known as a Digital Strategist, André is also known as a marketing specialist, a businessman, an ambassador, an evangelist, an influencer, a traveler, a contributor and a (Port) Knight. Furthermore, he is a wine judge at the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. Co-founder and CEO at Adegga, Reiberinho is also the head pilot at innovative projects like WineSpots, SmartWineGlass, Portugal Wine Week and Fine Portugal.


Vincenzo Donatiello

Head Sommielier, Piazza Duomo – Three Michelin Star Restaurant

Vincenzo Donatiello is Manager and Head Sommelier at Ristorante Piazza Duomo at Alba, a Michelin 3-star restaurant. Lucano, Sommelier, class of 1985, he grows professionally between Apulia, where he has attended the Istituto Alberghiero di Vieste, and Romagna, with his first experiences throughout the Adriatic coast. He has been the student of important sommeliers like Gianfranco Bolognesi, Best Sommelier in Italy in 1974, and Roberto Gardini, Best Sommelier in Italy in 1993. Nowadays he is the Restaurant Manager and Head Sommelier of Ristorante Piazza Duomo in Alba, a Michelin 3-star and sixteenth in the The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. He was awarded Best Junior Sommelier in Italy in 2004 and Best Sommelier in Romagna in 2010, Person of the Year 2013 for Italia a Tavola Magazine, Maître of the Year by the Guida Alberghi e Ristoranti del Touring Club 2016 and Maître of the Year in 2018 by the Guida ai Ristoranti d’Italia de L’Espresso.


Wojciech Bońkowski

Director at & Ferment

Wojciech Bońkowski is a wine writer from Poland, author of four wine books and editor-in-chief of the largest Polish wine medium with 600K readers yearly, Winicjatywa. In June 2017 with fellow wine writers Ewa Rybak and Ewa Wieleżyńska, he launched Ferment, Poland’s new printed wine magazine. He regularly contributes to Meininger’s Wine Business International and, and is a Decanter World Wine Awards judge. He currently serves as President of the Polish Wine Trade Association, and is a Stage 3 Master of Wine student. He specialises in the wines of Italy, Greece, Croatia, Central Europe, and Port. And he actually has another life in which he researches 19th-century music.


Dewey Markham Jr.


Dewey Markham, Jr. was born and raised in New York City. After working as a cook in Manhattan he enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America. From 1986 to 1989 Markham lived in Paris, where he was a director of the cooking school L’Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne. Upon returning to the United States he worked in two of New York’s leading wine shops, Morrell and Company, and Sherry-Lehmann; in addition, Markham has been Associate Director of the Swiss Wine Information Council. In 1993 he wrote Wine Basics, a book for beginning wine drinkers. Since 1993 Markham has lived and worked in Bordeaux, where he wrote 1855: A History of the Bordeaux Classification. He holds a degree in winetasting from the School of Oenology at Bordeaux University.


Chris Scott

Podcast Host at the UK Wine Show

Chris Scott is an award-winning wine communicator and presenter with a lively and energetic style and down-to-earth approach to wine. He runs the wine tasting company ThirtyFifty and produces a weekly wine podcast, The UK Wine Show, which is consistently ranked in the top 10 iTunes Food & Drink Podcast chart. He has the WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines & Spirits which is the WSET’s flagship qualification. Chris now heads up a team of 20 wine experts across the UK, between them running over 500 corporate events, wine courses and private tastings per year. In 2015 and 2018 the company was awarded the International Wine Challenge Wine Educator of the Year.


Rodrigo Sepúlveda Schulz

Founding Partner at Expon Capital and President at Sepulveda Capital

Rodrigo is a serial entrepreneur and investor, having founded or co-founded 5 companies. Currently, he is a Founding Partner at Expon Capital (HQ in Luxembourg) and President at Sepulveda Capital (HQ in Paris), focused on impact investing at growth-stage. He’s invested early in 3 unicorns (GetAround, Glovo, Spire), and expects at least 4 more from his current portfolios. After earning his Computer Science Engineering degree at EPITA in Paris, France in Systems – Networks – Security, he started his career working with industrial, banking, retail and media clients for two large consultancies co-creating the Internet security, Internet strategy and online marketplaces practices. In the following 10 years, Rodrigo also led a number of digital strategy assignments as a free-lance consultant for public multi-billion revenue companies working closely with both Boards and CEOs. He also gained operational experience at large technology companies such as Intel, Novell and AOL. He became an entrepreneur after getting two MBAs (from the IAE at the Sorbonne University, and later at INSEAD with an exchange term at The Wharton School). He’s also a graduate of the Singularity University executive program (Summer 2015), and of the INSEAD International Directors Programme (IDP28). Rodrigo is an avid traveler, B&W photographer, genealogist, wine enthusiast (WSET Diploma in 2019) and enjoys jazz, opera, fine dining, biking and snowboarding.


Bisso Atanassov

Wine Writer at Simple Wine News

He has been in the wine business since 2000, first as an importer, then as a wine journalist (since 2005), and then as a winemaker and consultant (since 2011). Currently he is an editor of the biggest wine magazine in Russia, Simple Wine News. He has been a contributor to the World Atlas of Wine (J. Robinson, H. Johnson) and to several books. He has been on the judge panel of several editions of the Vinitaly Wine Challenge & the Greek International Wine Challenge, and he has been invited to nearly all Italian ‘anteprimas’ for the last 8 years. He makes wine in Piedmont and works as a consultant for wineries in Ukraine & Armenia. He is also involved in scientific research on autochtonous varieties through Turin University.


Abi Duhr

Leading Luxembourg Wine Writer, Wine Producer and Journalist for VINO (Luxembourg Wine Magazine)



Alberto Marchisio

Oenologist and General Director of Cantine Vitevis s.c.a.

Alberto Marchisio has Piedmontese origins but has been in the Veneto region for years. His studies have made him an oenologist, even though his background includes managerial roles. In 2002 he became technical director of Cantine Terre del Barolo and then he moved to the Verona area to work at Cantine Giacomo Montresor. In 2012 he joined Colli Vicentini as general manager and after a few years he founds Vitevis, a company that is the result of the merger of Colli Vicentini, Cantina di Gambellara, Valleogra and, in 2019, Cantina di Castelnuovo del Garda.


Paolo Brogioni

Director of Assoenologi


Patrizia Marenco



Barbara Tamburini


Barbara Tamburini graduated in Viticulture and Oenology from the University of Pisa in 2002 after having already obtained a University Diploma in Food Technology (Viticulture & Oenology) in 2000. During her time at university she was able to undertake various apprenticeships with Tuscan wine producers and subsequently to initiate her working career as a freelance oenologist in 1999 with some important consultancies. Her consultancies, initially exclusively in Tuscany, have grown year on year to include others in Umbria, Piedmont, Lombardy, Emilia Romagna and Sicily. It was during her periods of study that she had the good fortune to meet Vittorio Fiore, a fellow oenologist of long experience and international repute who she came to consider as her ‘mentor’ and ‘teacher’. It was with him that she began a collaborative working arrangement which continues even today. Enlivened by an intense professional curiosity, she has been able to succeed in a multiplicity of directions passing from viticulture to oenology, from Sangiovese to Pinot Noir, from Merlot to Nebbiolo and Barbera, to Aleatico, from Vermentino to Pinot Blanc and to Ansonica, from Moscato Passito to Vinsanto. Whilst doing this, she pays constant attention to ensure that wines express the character of their provenance both in terms of the individual producer and the area of production whilst still aiming to achieve the highest possible quality and address the expectations of the consumer. Furthermore, she does not ignore market issues. Given her increasing notoriety, she has the advantage of being in regular contact with a wide network of leading experts both in Italy and, increasingly, abroad who have specific experience in the distribution and marketing of Italian wines in the world. As a result, the wine sector press comes increasingly to Barbara for news, for her views and for information considered to be of value and importance. Currently, Barbara Tamburini is consultant oenologist for more than 15 different wine producers and has been the subject of more than 100 interviews and articles.


Daniela Pesce



Massimiliano Apollonio

Amministratore di Apollonio Casa Vinicola S.r.l.

Massimiliano Apollonio is the chief technical guide of the Apollonio company.  After studying oenology he expanded his professional experience with internships at major Italian, French and Spanish companies. He is in charge of the quality of the wine and all the production operations: the cultivation of the vine, the grape harvest, the vinification and the bottling take place under his supervision, thanks to a level of ability and experience that allow him to to create innovative and superior quality wines. A former delegate of ONAV, former President of Assoenologi for Puglia, Basilicata and Calabria for two terms, today Massimiliano is a member of the Presidential Committee and of the National Council of Assoenologi, as well as an aggregate member of the Georgofili Academy and the Italian Academy of Vine and of wine. Massimiliano is also among the promoters of the chair of Oenology and Viticulture recently established at the University of Salento. He is also a juror in numerous international wine competitions, including the 5StarWines, the Mundus Vini and the Michelangelo Award and current President of the Puglia Wine Tourism Movement.


Sandro Cavicchioli


Sandro Cavicchioli is the technical director of Cavicchioli Winery, Italian Wine Group, San Prospero, Modena. In 1990 he founded the Azienda Agricola Castelfaglia in Calino di Cazzago San Martino in Franciacorta, where he is currently the technical director, as well as the owner. Since 2004 he has been the technical director and owner of the Francesco Bellei company in Bomporto (Modena) which produces exclusively wines made with the classic method and the traditional bottle fermentation method. For six years he was a member of the Appeal Commission of the Designations of Origin of Northern Italy, at the Ministry of Agriculture. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Consortium for the Protection of Lambrusco and the Board of Directors of the Consorzio Marchio Storico dei Lambruschi Modenesi.


Roberto Di Meo



Valerio Fuson



Dieter Sölva