Judges 2019

5StarWines 2020 judge Monty Waldin

Scientific Director of Wine Without Walls “Agile” Edition 2020

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).

Panel Chairman

Richard Kershaw MW born and raised in the UK, travelled extensively 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. 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.

5StarWines 2020 judge Monty Waldin



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.


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


Mark Cuff

Owner at The Living Vine Inc. Organic.Biodynamic.Natural Wines

Mark Cuff founded The Living Vine, a wine importer/agency based in Toronto (Canada), in 2006. This company represents only biodynamic, organic and natural wines, and started before cow horns were cool and organics became the new norm. The Living Vine’s mandate from the beginning was to introduce, educate and promote the sale of biodynamic, organic and natural wines. The Living Vine imports the largest selection of established biodynamic & organic estates. Over the last 14 years, Mark has seen the Canadian wine sector mature from a niche to a mainstream market and is looking forward to contributing his experience to Wine Without Walls, the section of 5StarWines dedicated to certified organic or biodynamic wine.