GENERAL CHAIRMEN 2019
Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW
VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, Master of Wine
Pedro Ballesteros Torres is a Master of Wine, writes regularly for many wine journals and magazines and he was the chair of many international wine competitions. He gives hundred lectures and tutored tastings all over the world in Spanish, English, French and Italian. Pedro Ballesteros Torres got his Agrofood Engineer Degree, as well as his Master Degree in Viticulture & Oenology, at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. He got the WSET Diploma in Belgium and the Weinakademiker certificate in Germany and Austria, and in London he became member of the Institute of Masters of Wine. He followed other wine specialisation studies at Jerez, Beaune, Napa Valley and Bordeaux. He is columnist at Planeta Vino (Spain), Libre Belgique, De Morgen, Dernière Heure (Belgium), writes regularly for Decanter (UK), Selectus Wines, elmundovino.com (Spain) and writes occasionally for magazines in Switzerland, Italy, France and USA. He was the co-Chair for Spain and for Sherry at Decanter World Wine Awards (UK), and a Chair and Senior judge at international wine competitions such as Concours Mondial Bruxelles, Bacchus, Copa Jerez (Spain), Mundus Vini(Germany), and others in Portugal, Czech Republic, Italy, France, etc. He was Elected Member of the Governing Council of the Institute of Masters of Wine, the Council of the Spanish Taster Union and the Board of the International Federation of Wine Journalists, and a Member of 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 and he works in Spanish, English, French and Italian.
Editor at Large, Meininger’s Wine Business International
In 1983, after living in Burgundy for five years, Robert Joseph returned to London and launched Wine International magazine and set up the International Wine Challenge, became wine writer for the Sunday Telegraph, and wrote his first book: The Wine Lists.
He is now editorial consultant of Meininger’s Wine Business International, which he helped to launch in 2006. In 1984, he launched the International Wine Challenge in London and built its participation to over 10,000 wines, making it the largest wine competition in the world. He subsequently also launched International Wine Challenge competitions in Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, Moscow, Singapore, Mumbai, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Hanoi and Warsaw. Robert Joseph is Chairman of the Wine Institute of Asia and has chaired other wine competitions in places including Sydney, Adelaide, South Africa and Chile. Today, he is on the board of the Mundus Vini competition in Germany. He was winner of the inaugural Jacob’s Creek ‘Golden Vine’, at the World Food Media Awards, for “increasing the appreciation of wine throughout the world”. Other awards include ‘the Best Wine Guide in the World’ (in the 2002 Cointreau Gourmand Book Awards for the Robert Joseph Good Wine Guide), the Glenfiddich Award (twice), The Wine Guild of the United Kingdom Premier Award and the Marques de Caceres. He is a Chevalier de Tastevin; and a member of the Commanderie du Bontemps du Médoc et des Graves in Bordeaux. Robert Joseph regularly appears on television and radio in the UK and overseas, including recent BBC programmes Chateau Chunder and This World. He is also a regular invited lecturer at the Wines & Spirits Educational Trust (WSET) Business & Commercial Knowledge course. Commercially, Joseph is also one of the trio behind Hugh Kevin & Robert Wines whose award-winning Le Grand Noir and Greener Planet wines now sell over 2.5m bottles per year in 40 countries. His client list as a speaker/consultant includes: Accolade, Origin Wines, Wines of Australia, McGuigan Wines, Berry Bros & Rudd, Champagne de Castelnau, Chateau Brane Cantenac, Wines of Georgia, ViniPortugal, Wines of Moldova and Wines of Brazil. Robert Joseph has been in the prestigious UK Who’s Who since 2013. His blog is The Joseph Report.
Doctor Wine e Fondatore di Gambero Rosso
Decanter (and Author of 13 books and Guides on Natural Wines)
Monty Waldin became the first wine writer to specialize in organic and biodynamic wines in the mid-1990s, and writes the entries on organic, biodynamic and natural wine for the Oxford Companion to Wine (ed. Jancis Robinson MW OBE).
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.
Chief, Le Figaro Vin
Bernard Burtschy is a wine columnist for Le Figaro (a French newspaper, and Internet site) and for several magazines in the French press (Paris-Match, Vigneron, Amateur de Vins et Spiritueux) and abroad (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).
PANEL CHAIRMEN 2019
Andy Howard MW
Master of Wine, Director di Vinetrade ltd
Andy Howard became a Master of Wine in 2011. He worked for many years as a buyer for Marks & Spencer in the UK. He now runs his own wine business, Vinetrades Ltd. He is a Contributing Editor to Decanter magazine and writes for Jancis Robinson. Andy is a Regional Chair for the Decanter World Wine Awards and also judges at The International Wine Challenge and Bacchus.
Regine Lee MW
Master of Wine, Head of Customer Business Support at Liberty Wines
Regine Lee currently works at Liberty Wines, a leading UK importer / distributor to the on and off-trade which specialises in Italian wine. Her role focuses on trade marketing, education, and sales analytics. Regine also is a co-founder of Women in Wine London, a wine trade networking group, and is a third year Masters of Wine student currently working on her Research Paper.
Richard Kershaw MW
Master of Wine, Founder and Winemaker of Richard Kershaw Wines
Born and raised in the UK, Richard 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, the country’s coolest wine region, choosing to focus on apposite noble grapes (ones with the ability to produce world-class examples) and now has a stable of award-winning, much in demand wines including Kershaw Elgin Chardonnay, Syrah and Pinot Noir and Kershaw Deconstructed Chardonnay and Syrah.
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 show 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 (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) in South Africa, and shares the breadth of his knowledge with students and consumers via talks, tastings and blogs.
Charles Curtis MW
Founder of WineAlpha
Charles Curtis is a specialist in fine and rare wine. He is the founder of WineAlpha, a consultancy serving private, trade and institutional clients with an interest in the secondary market for rare wine. This unique consultancy provides advice on the buying, selling, storing, and shipping of fine wine, USPAP – compliant appraisals, and advice on varied topics of interest to wine collectors.
Pierpaolo Petrassi MW
Master of Wine, Wine Buyer of Waitrose
Pierpaolo Petrassi MW has worked in the Wine & Spirit industry for 35 years. He was born in London to Italian parents and holds dual Italian & British citizenship. He followed his father into the wine industry in 1983 and worked in both sales and buying roles for the Carnevale Group, International Wine Services, WaverleyTBS & Tesco, before becoming Head of Buying at Waitrose in 2010. He was also Chairman of the Italian Wines Committee of the Wine & Spirit Association from 1998 to 2005. Pierpaolo became a Master of Wine in 2007 and was the first Italian to achieve this qualification. He has been consistently ranked in the top 5 of Drinks Retailing’s most influential people in Wine, being voted in at number 1 in 2018.
Ned Goodwin MW
Master of Wine
Born in London, raised in Australia and educated in Tokyo and Paris, Ned splits his time between Tokyo where he resided full-time for 12 years and his beloved Sydney. From 2001 until November 2012, Ned served as Wine Director – educator and buyer- for one of Asia’s largest restaurant groups, Global Dining Japan. Ned has also founded his own company, Wine Diamonds, a specialist importer based in Tokyo, he co-writes the Halliday Guide and serves as Bettane et Desseuve’s critical voice across Australian and New Zealand wines for the Chinese market. Before Japan, Ned was one of three sommeliers at Veritas restaurant in Manhattan’s Grammercy neighbourhood, from 1998-2001. A Wine Spectator Grand Award winner and Michelin-hatted restaurant, Veritas boasted one of the finest wine list of any restaurant in the world. Ned had also worked at Les Juveniles in Paris, as well as Michael’s in Los Angeles, also as a sommelier.
Brandon Tebbe MS
VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, Master of Sommelier, Owner andWinemaker of KELT Wines
Brandon Tebbe is the Owner and Winemaker of KELT Wines in Willamette Valley, and also works as a Sommelier and Beverage Consultant for various restaurants. Brandon is a Master Sommelier, and is one of only fifteen people to have passed all three parts of this rigorous exam on his first attempt. He is also holds the Advance Sake Professional, Certified Wine Educator, Certified Spirits Specialist, Certified Beer Server, ISG level 1 & 2, and is currently studying in the Master of Wine program. Brandon has an extensive background in the hospitality industry, and has worked the floor as a Sommelier for the past twelve years. 2018 is his first vintage as a winemaker.
David Glancy MS
Master of Sommelier, CWE Founder & CEO of San Francisco Wine School
When one didn’t exist, David Glancy created a Certified Sommelier Program at the Professional Culinary Institute (now known as ICC), successfully coaching more than 400 students to pass the Court’s Certified Sommelier exam. Glancy’s program remains the only Certified Sommelier program officially approved by the Court of Master Sommeliers. Soon after in 2011, Glancy founded San Francisco Wine School to create the ideal educational setting from the ground up. Read about his vision. Glancy is one of only twelve people in the world to hold both the revered Master Sommelier diploma and a Certified Wine Educator credential. A certified French Wine Scholar, Italian Wine Professional, and Certified Specialist of Spirits, Glancy has earned the credential for every program he teaches, and more. Previously he managed restaurants in the Bay Area and abroad, taught wine and business management at Le Cordon Bleu’s California Culinary Academy, served on the editorial board of Sommelier Journal and was a 3-term member on the board of directors for the Society of Wine Educators. Currently he is on the advisory board for SommCon and the American Institute of Wine & Food.
Author, Wine Writer
Michael Garner has worked in the wine business for 40 years and has specialised in Italian wine for more than 30. He is the co-author of Barolo: Tar and Roses and his second book Amarone and the fine wines of Verona was published in December 2017. Michael is a regular contributor to Decanter, and taught for the WSET for many years. He has been a Decanter World Wine Awards judge for over a decade.
Isao Miyajima, after graduating from The University of Tokyo, worked in Rome for the Japanese newspaper from 1983 to 1989. During his stay in Rome, he began to taste wines seriously. After his return to Japan, he began to write about wines and foods. He collaborates with various wine specialized magazine in Japan (Winart, The Wine Kingdom, WANDS etc.) . In Italy he worked for Espresso Italian Wine Guide and Gambero Rosso Italian Restaurant Guide and today he is responsible of the Japanese edition of Gambero Rosso Italian Wine Guide. He won the best international journalist prize 2013 of Grandi Cru d’Italia. In 2014 he was awarded the Commendatore dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia by the Italian State President Giorgio Napolitano.
VIA Italian Wine Expert, Wine Educator
Henry Davar was born in Moscow and was raised in a Russian-Georgian community in Queens, New York. He graduated with a degree in Economics with a concentration in Marketing from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. After a five-year career in finance in New York City, Henry enrolled at the Institute of Culinary Education which gained him access to the finest kitchens in New York, including Restaurant Daniel, Chanterelle, and Gramercy Tavern. After studying with the American Sommelier Association, he took his first suited sommelier position at Danny Meyer’s The Modern Restaurant at the Museum of Modern Art . His passion for Italian wine earned him a position as Sommelier on the opening team at NYC’s Del Posto in 2005 and he was soon promoted to Wine and Beverage Director at the company’s B&B Ristorante, Enoteca San Marco, and Carnevino in Las Vegas. During this period he was recognized as a Top Young Sommelier by Wine & Spirits Magazine. After three years he returned to New York as Wine Director of the Wine Spectator Grand Award-winning program at Del Posto where he helped the restaurant earn four stars from the New York Times. After hosting the inaugural La Festa del Barolo with Antonio Galloni and Vinous.com in April 2011, he went on sabbatical, traveling in Italy and working harvest with Luca Currado at Vietti in Barolo. He returned to Las Vegas in the winter of 2013 to work with Breakthru Beverage (then Wirtz Beverage) as a Business Development Manager overseeing the boutique portfolio of Spanish, German, and Austrian wine and Grower Champagnes. In 2016, his role with Breakthru Beverage expanded to include Wine Educator. In April 2017, Henry became (at that time) the only candidate to be achieve the Expert level in Vinitaly International Academy’s Italian Wine Ambassador course on the first attempt. He continues to work with VIA where he serves as a Panel Chairman for Five Star Wines and an invited lecturer at Vinitaly. In April 2018, he joined the VIA Faculty where he helped develop the expanded VIA course curriculum which premiered in Hong Kong in November 2018 and continues to assist in its ongoing development and implementation.
VIA Italian Wine Expert, Managing Director of VinoVeritas Asia Limited
Francesco brings over 10 years of wine experience, working firstly in Italy as Sommelier as well as managing a wine shop in a luxury hotel. In 2009, he moved to the UK to work as a Sommelier at the prestigious Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons (2 Michelin stars French Restaurant) before taking on a Sales Managing role at a specialist Italian importer based in Oxfordshire. In 2012, he accepted the challenge to relocate to Hong Kong as Business Development Manager at VinoVeritas Asia Limited, becoming Managing Director in 2018. He holds the WSET Diploma qualification and was awarded in November 2018 the title of IWE by Vinitaly International Academy.
General Manager e Sommelier of Otto e Mezzo Bombana Hong Kong
“Wine is a journey with different travel companions and different destinations”, says Marino, who wishes to make this trip unforgettable for all guests. From his first work experience in his homeland of Sardinia – Italy, Marino Braccu carries with him a true passion for food and wine throughout his travels. From 2007 to 2014, Marino moves to Australia to start his career as Sommelier of Mille Vini, a reputable enoteca in Sydney, and later on his latest assignment at Rosetta, of famed Chef Neil Perry, in Melbourne. In summer 2014, the opportunity to work at 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA brings him to Hong Kong, excited to further sharpen his palate with Chef Bombana’s cuisine. Joining the team as Sommelier and promoted to General Manager in 2016, Marino has carried out a meticulous work of reorganization and development of the wine list, his objectives being the expansion towards Italian indigenous grape varieties, a customer-friendly approach, and bringing more unique and exclusive products to the Hong Kong connoisseurs, whether Italian or from the rest of the world. 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA is proud to have Marino leading the team in its daily operations and sharing his wine expertise, complementing perfectly Chef Bombana’s culinary creations and enriching the guests’ dining experience.
Decanter Contributing Editor
Stephen Brook has been writing about wine for 30 years, has published fifteen books on wine, and has been a Contributing Editor of Decanter magazine for twenty years.
Editorial Director of SOMMSELECT
Sommelier and author David Lynch is perhaps best known for co-authoring the Italian wine tome Vino Italiano (Clarkson-Potter; 2002). His love of wine and food has taken him all over the world, originally as a journalist and later as a sommelier and restaurant owner. An ex-New Yorker now living in Northern California, David is Editorial Director of the e-commerce wine retailer SommSelect. He oversees all content creation for the site while also selecting wines to offer to SommSelect subscribers nationwide.
Previously, David owned a San Francisco wine bar called St. Vincent—the culmination of a restaurant industry journey that began at New York City’s Babbo, the flagship of Joe Bastianich and Mario Batali’s restaurant group. David was the longtime Wine Director, then General Manager, at Babbo, winning a James Beard Award in 2004 for Outstanding Wine Service. In 2009, he relocated to San Francisco to run the wine programs at the Michelin-starred Quince and its casual sibling, Cotogna, where he worked for several years before opening St. Vincent. While at Quince/Cotogna, he was featured on the cover of San Francisco magazine when he was named “Beverage Director of the Year” in that publication’s annual Restaurant Awards issue.
VIA Italian Wine Expert
Jinglin Zhang, based in London and Beijing is the director of Grape Paradise, a boutique importer focusing on innovative family size producers in Italy. She found passion for raising region such as Sicily, Emilia Romagna and North Piedmont. She is Italian Wine Expert certified by VIA and currently a MW student.
VIA Italian Wine Expert, Editor for Quench Magazine
Gurvinder Bhatia is the Wine Editor for Quench Magazine, Edmonton Journal and Global TV. He works as Wine Buyer and Director of Wine Business Development & Education of the UnWined wine boutiques. He is also the founder and Director of Northern Lands, the Canada’s largest all-Canadian wine and culinary festival, and is certified by Vinitaly International Academy as an Italian Wine Expert. Graduated in law at the Washington University of St. Louis, Gurvinder also earned his Master Degree in Business Administration (MBA) with honors from Bradley University in Illinois. Nowadays, Gurvinder is the wine editor for Quench magazine, wine columnist for the Edmonton Journal and Global TV, a wine and food consultant, international wine judge and the head wine buyer and Director of Wine, Business Development & Education for the UnWined wine boutiques. Gurvinder is also the founder and director of Northern Lands, Canada’s largest all-Canadian wine and culinary festival, and is certified by Vinitaly International Academy as an Italian Wine Expert. In 2015, Gurvinder was named by Alberta Venture Magazine as one of Alberta’s 50 Most Influential People.
VIA Italian Wine Expert, Managing Editor of WineSofa
Based in Budapest, Sue Tolson is a freelance writer, 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. She judges at various international wine competitions including IWC, Berlin Wine Trophy and 5StarWines (2018 panel chair) 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. As well as enthusing about wine in writing, Sue also enthuses in person while educating and giving wine tastings.
Marcia J. Hamm
VIA Italian Wine Expert, General Manager for Hicks Fine Wines
Marcia is a relative baby in the industry having only really started in 2010 with night classes and a building curiousity for wine. Since then, she has completed the WSET Diploma and is an Italian Wine Expert with the VinItaly International Academy. A recent internship to South Africa allowed Marcia to experience all facets of a harvest, and she hopes to do more harvests in different parts of the world over the next few years. With her company Joy of Wine, she runs various educational tastings in the store at Hicks Fine Wines, at corporate events and private residences. Marcia is thrilled to be a judge for 5StarWines and hopes to do more international judging in the future!
VIA Italian Wine Expert, Fine Wine Specialist at Northwest Beverages
Italian Wine Expert, Vinitaly International Academy
Hayley believes a passion for wine paired with a desire to learn creates a never ending journey. After over 10 years of working in restaurants as an operator and wine buyer she just recently switched to working in sales and distribution. She is responsible for guiding sales in all aspects of the upper end wine category. Her ability to inspire, educate and connect people through wine has been the driving force behind her career.
VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, Sommelier at 67 Pall Mall
Ying Guo just had joined the sommelier team at 67 Pall Mall London.She was the Senior Sommelier of Luxury Four Seasons Hotel Group China. As a native Chinese sommelier, Ying has organized numerous wine tastings, from the first growth Chateau Margaux to the smallest champagne growers. In addition to these tasting events, she has been involved in other high-profile events, including Robert Parker’s Grand World Tour, Dinner in the sky. Ying has been a Decanter Asia Wine Awards Judge since 2013, and Decanter World Wine Awards since this year, and many other wine awards and sommelier competitions. Ying is a Advanced Sommelier by Court of Master Sommeliers, the very few Chinese Master Sommelier candidate. Ying’ many accolades include winner of the China National Sommelier Competition 2012, Champion of China’s best Sommelier of French Wine 2011, and 4th place at the World’s Best Young Sommelier competition 2013, also Champion of China Youth Sommelier Team Service Competition. China’s Best Hotel Wine List 2014 by China Wine List Award.
Gill Gordon Smith
VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, CEO at Fall from Grace
Gill is an educator, retailer and artisan wine producer from McLaren Vale South Australia who specialises in Italian varieties including Arneis and Nero. She has been awarded Wine communicators Australia 2017 Wine Communicator and Educator of the year. She has judged at many wine shows including panel chair of McLaren Vale and the Adelaide Review hot 100. Gill is the director of education for the Wine & Spirit School-Tafe SA running programs that include WSET , FWS and Australian wine programs with over 350 students a year that mainly come from industry & wine programs at Adelaide University . The WSET program has a cohort of around 150 international students per year, mainly from China, studying wine business and winemaking in Adelaide. Gill has written for various publications including Italianicous magazine, Adelaide review and is the wine writer for Fleurieu living. She was an integral part of the award winning team who developed the Qantas Sommelier in the sky program and has travelled extensively over the last 25 years seeking out producers and regions that inspire. Gill is a proud ambassador of the VIA program and passed the IWE in November as well as a McLaren Vale wine ambassador and is passionate about Italian varieties and their potential for Australia and in particular McLaren Vale. She believes strongly that education is the key to understanding and connection for both Industry and consumers.
VIA Italian Wine Expert, DipWSET, Architect, Area Representative at The Opimian Society
Corinne Keddie is based in Calgary, Canada and is an Area Representative for Opimian, the largest private wine club/wine buying cooperative in Canada. She is responsible for member engagement, education, wine promotion and events, including yearly wine tours. She is a dynamic speaker and has a passion for food and wine pairing, which are key to her sold-out events. She regularly hosts tastings, seminars and educational sessions for both corporate and private clients, and writes about wine and design for various publications. She also judges at other international wine competitions and spends several months every year travelling to various wine regions around the world to further her wine knowledge. Corinne has taken courses through the International Sommelier Guild, holds a Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Level 4 Diploma and is a certified Italian Wine Expert through VinItaly International Academy (VIA). She is also a registered architect and has designed award winning architectural and interior design projects both locally and internationally.
VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, Import Director at Diletant.wine, Sommelier at Molto Buono Restaurant
I am WSET Diploma student and VinItaly Ambassador 2017. I had a chance to open my own wine restaurant in 2014 in Saint-Petersburg. And in 2017 i with my partners open the wine trading company Diletant. I have a strong passion for wine and I am eager to learn as much as possible about the wine world. My enthusiasm and initiative have allowed me to get some knowledge through self-education, completing training courses (e.g. Viti Agro Lycee in Beaune, France – CFPPA). Also my other passion is organizing wine and gastronomy tours to Italy, France, Germany.
VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, Wine Educator at Millesime School
I’m from St.Petersburg, Russia. Graduated as Human Resources Manager from High School of Business Administration I understood “in vino veritas”. So I’ve dived in wine business since 2005 and worked both as sommelier and wine-seller in different companies of St.Petersburg. In 2018 I finished my study in Weinakademie Österreich – WSET Diploma in Wines and Spirits. Now I’m the Weinakamiker and WSET Diploma holder. Also I completed Vinitaly International Academy twice in 2017 and in 2018 and both times was awarded the designation of Italian Wine Ambassador. I lead my own site www.winecode.ru. I’m currently lecturing in wine schools “Millesime” and “Marine Express”. Also I’m chief-sommelier in “Caffe Italia”, authentic Italian restaurant in St.Petersburg.
VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, Director at Millesime Wine School
Worked as a sommelier in a 5* hotel in SPb in 2005-2006, Won Saint Petersburg Sommelier Contest twice (2006 and 2007)
Together with friends created a sommelier school in 2010.
Work in wine import since 2007.
VIA Italian Wine Ambassador (since 2015)
WSET Diploma holder
Weinakademiker (since 2018)
VIA Italian Wine Ambassador
VIA Italian Wine Ambassador
Matthew Landry is the manager and beverage director of the Stable House Bistro in Vancouver, Canada. He is a CMS-Certified Sommelier, a Vinitaly Academy Italian Wine Ambassador and winner of British Columbia’s Best Sommelier 2019.
VIA Italian Wine Ambassador
VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, Director Crimson Wine, Wine Director at Apples and Pears Restaurant Group.
Vanessa Green is the Managing Director of Crimson Wine and the Apples + Pears Restaurant Group in Australia. She works as a commercial wine buyer and importer, wine director for the restaurant group and judges at wines shows in Australia, New Zealand and Europe. Vanessa is also a Director of Cliftons Venues and manages their wine program across Asia Pacific. Vanessa is a VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, has professional accreditations from WSET and the Australian Wine Research Institute and is a member of the Commanderie de Bordeaux and Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne. When not studying, Vanessa enjoys discovering and sharing wine from all corners of the globe with clients, friends and guests – the most rewarding aspect of her work in the wine industry. Current key projects she is working on include sourcing and importing wines from around the world to Australia and New Zealand, developing the cellars and wine lists for a selection of award winning restaurants across Asia Pacific and running wine and beverage education and appreciation programs for consumers and trade in the same region.
VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, Director of Wellspring Wines
Roddy was born in England and has lived in Asia for the past 30 years. He currently resides in Japan where he has lived and worked for a total of nearly 15 years since 1990. His first career was with Christie’s auction house. The initial ten years as a specialist of Chinese porcelain were followed by ten years in management roles. He was formerly Managing Director of Christie’s Japan based in Tokyo and helped organize their successful wine auctions there in the late 1990’s. He currently writes for Meininger’s Wine Business International about the Japanese wine market. He is also an Italian wine Ambassador certified by Vinitaly International Academy.
VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, Hutchinson Wine Consulting
A native of California’s Sonoma County, Jay has accepted roles across the United States over the course of his wine career. From founding a leading culinary events series in Boston, to serving as senior sommelier for Michelin-starred Ai Fiori in New York City, to his current role as private client consultant with Soutirage in Napa, he enjoys finding opportunities to be an advocate for Italian wines. While serving clients coast-to-coast, Jay is based in the Midwest, where he is preparing for the Master Sommelier examination and is a MBA candidate at Ohio University.
VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, Wine Sales, Sommelier
Rob Miller has over twenty years experience in the beverage industry. A certified Sommelier with the International Sommelier Guild, Miller also holds accreditation with The Wine & Spirits Education Trust in the UK, the American- based Society of Wine Educators and the Court of Master Sommeliers, as well as a Certificate in Oenology & Viticulture from the University of Guelph. Rob has also completed the rigorous Vinitaly International Academy Ambassador certification. He currently works with wine distributor The Vine Agency, as well as working the floor as Sommelier at Canada’s finest restaurants including Langdon Hall, George and Alo.
VIA Italian Wine Ambassador
Sommelier in charge of the creation and management of the Orford Music investment wine cellar, President of the Accredited Sommelier Association of Canada, Richard Sagala is a Vinitaly VIA Ambassador (2015). Richard graduated with a Wine MBA from Kedge Bordeaux Business School and is the owner of the International Montreal Butler Academy (IMBA) and École In Vino Veritas (ÉIVV). The first certified butler in Québec, Richard Sagala created the International Montreal Butler Academy in 2016 around a proprietary fine wines cellar management concept. Holder of ten different wine related diplomas and certifications, Richard created in 2012 École In Vino Veritas, the only private Wine and Spirit Education Trust accredited center in Québec and the only fully bilingual wine business school in Canada operating at graduate level. On a dozen occasions, École In Vino Veritas academic research was presented around the world, catching the attention of the American Association of Wine Economists, who twice distinguished its papers. More in the 08/2018 Forbes article on Richard Sagala: https://www.forbes.com/sites/susangordon/2018/08/14/in-2018-what-does-a-butler-have-to-do-with-wine/
VIA Italian Wine Ambassador
Restaurateur, wine promoter and educator, VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, wine and lifestyle blogger at Blogly.dk & Bloggersdelight.dk
VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, Technical Director at Zahil Importadora, Instructor at The Wine School, Owner of Prensa Enogastronomia
Bernardo Pinto ha studiato gastronomia in Brasile e ha frequentato una specialistica in Wines and Spirits a Londra. È stato la prima persona in America Latina ad ottenere il WSET Diploma in Wines and Spirits. Technical Director al Zahil Wines a San Paolo, gestisce il portfolio della compagnia. Insegna anche ai corsi WSET e fa da consulente per compagnie e privati in Brasile. Bernardo è un Official Sherry Educator e un Vinitaly International Academy Ambassador, nonchè parte integrante del corpo studentesco dell’Institute of Masters of Wine dal 2012.
VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, Wine Communicator, winexine.sg
Hailing from Bergamo, Italy, Laura Donadoni was born and bred on classic Italian wine and creative cuisine. Her career started as a columnist and wine and food reporter for several prestigious Italian magazines and anchor woman on the radio news for local and national radio networks; she also had her own food and wine show on the Italian broadcasting network Mediapason (second largest private tv network in Italy). Upon moving to the U.S., she translated her passion into The Italian Wine Girl blog and Instagram channel, spreading wine education and wine culture and becoming one of the most trusted Italian wine influencer in the US. She founded LA COM Wine Agency, a strategic P.R. and communications firm focused on wine and food industry. Laura is a certified professional journalist and editor with a summa cum laude PhD in Communication Sciences, a professional speaker, a certified Sommelier with merit with the North American Sommelier Association and the World Sommelier Association; she is one of the few Vinitaly International Italian Wine Ambassadors a certified wine educator and wine taster; a certified Italian and Spanish Wine Specialist; an official judge at the largest American wines competition, the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition; a member of the Los Angeles Wine Writers Association and an official Zipkick influencer. Most recently Laura Donadoni is U.S. Brand Ambassador for Franciacorta and an honorable Knight of the Order of the Truffle and the Wines of Alba , a prestigious historic order of ambassadors of authentic Piedmont typical products and wines in the world.
VIA Italian Wine Ambassador
Jenna developed her love of wine over her last ten years in restaurants. She is a Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Diploma Graduate and a VinItaly International Italian Wine Ambassador. She lends her expertise to projects such as Top Drop Canada, a terroir focused wine festival, and various restaurant wine programs. Jenna is the General Manager of Café Medina in Vancouver, Canada. In 2016, Jenna was recognized by Vancouver Magazine as one of the top six front-of-house all stars in the Vancouver scene.
VIA Italian Wine Ambassador
Veronika graduated from Timiryazev Moscow Agricultural Academy in 2000 and holds a Diploma in Agronomy, Viticulture and the Basics of winemaking. Veronika practiced as winemaker’s assistant at Vinselekt Michlovský, Czech Republic in 1999 and at La Biòca Winery, Piedmont in 2016. Since 2006, she’s been a Member of Russian Association of Sommeliers (RAS). Veronika has been working as a wine educator and a freelance journalist for 12 years.
Founder Grape Collectieve
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 has been involved in he co-founded the Cocoa Beach/Cape Canaveral Press weekly newspaper and The London Monthly magazine. He has an MBA from Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts.
Senior Sales Advisor at Panebianco Wines
Of the 14 years, 11 she has devoted to the selling, promotion, and study of Italian wine. Melissa has held many positions in wine that give her unique insight into the business from many perspectives: from opening NYC’s first dual wine bar/wine shop, to rebranding NYC’s legendary Italian Wine Merchants; and then onto buying and marketing at one of NYC’s oldest and largest wine retailers, and then being recruited by The Winebow Group as National Import Brand Manager focusing on premier Italian wines of Leonardo LoCascio Selections. Most recently, she concluded two years of strategic advising for winery clients in Italy. In the fall of 2018, Melissa returned to NYC full-time, signing on with the importer/distributor Panebianco Wines as Senior Sales Advisor, representing some of the most classical and territorial-focused small wineries of Italy.
Melissa has been profiled and her work lauded in many national publications and sites, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Civiltà del Bere, and Hawk Wakawaka Wine Reviews. Melissa is the author of the forthcoming book, Bianchista Forever: Drinking and Appreciating Italy’s White Wines.
CEO & Co-Founder of VinePair
Adam founded VinePair with Josh with one simple goal: create a publication he actually wanted to read in a space he was extremely passionate about. Since founding the publication Adam has become recognized as an authority on how to make the drinks world accessible to everyone as well as on the ever evolving media landscape. He is the winner of the Left Bank Bordeaux Cup American Wine-Tasting Championship and holds an MBA from NYU Stern.
General Manager and winemaker of Ningxia Gaoyuan Silver Heights Vineyard Co.,Ltd
Emma Gao, General manager and winemaker of the Silver Heights Winery, who obtained Diplome National d’Oenologue. And Silver Heights Winery was founded by Gao Family in 2007, and quickly acclaimed as one of the first boutique wineries in China.
Head Sommielier, Piazza Duomo – Three Michelin Star Restaurant
Vincenzo Donatiello is Manager and Head Sommelier at Ristorante Piazza Duomo at Alba, three Michelin stars. 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 student of important sommeliers like Gianfranco Bolognesi, Miglior Sommelier d’Italia in 1974, and Roberto Gardini, Miglior Sommelier d’Italia in 1993. Nowadays he is Restaurant Manager and Head Sommelier of Ristorante Piazza Duomo at Alba, three Michelin stared and sixteenth in tha chart of The World’s 50 Best Restaurant. He was awarded Miglior Sommelier Junior d’Italia in 2004 and Miglior Sommelier della Romagna in 2010, Personaggio dell’anno 2013 for Italia a Tavola Mangazine, Miglior Direttore di Sala by the Guida Alberghi e Ristoranti del Touring Club 2016 and Miglior Maitre dell’Anno 2018 by the Guida ai Ristoranti d’Italia de L’Espresso.
Edegar Scortegagna is born in Brasil, and graduated in Viticulture and Enology at Università di Trento – Fondazione Edmund Munch and Università degli Studi di Udine in Italy in 2008, where he has passed 5 years studying and collaborating with famous italian farms. He has an MBA in Business Management from the Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV Brasile) and is a Sommelier International. From 2009 is Director at Luiz Argenta Vinhos Finos, Ex President and now part of the Administration Committee of the Brazilian Association of Oenologists (ABE), founding member and professor of ConceptWine Wine School in South America and is also professor at Sommelier Internacional. Since ten years, Edegar participates to multiple worldwide wine contests as a judge and is President of the Brazil Wine Challenger.
He provides consultant activities for some wineries: Santa Maria alla Pieve Bertani and Villa Mosconi – Bertani, La Bioca, Malavasi, Lornano, Cherri e Ruffini, in addition he follows Enoproject in its activities of managing and coordinating all the other wineries professionals and associates. Enoproject consultancies not only offer assistance for what concerns oenology and viticulture, but also for what concerns marketing aspects and the development of a new productive chain. “ We believe that the strength of this consultant activity relies in the teamwork, that involves everybody, from the family to the analyst technicians of our staff, and that through its professionalism, it is able to spread love for the terroir and the vine.” Administrator of Società Riolite Vini Srl, society that selects and distributes italian wine in the world (Canada, USA, Europe, Russia and China).
Sommelier at Jumeirah Group of Hotels
Sommelier at Burj Al Arab, the world most luxurious Hotel, Jumeirah Group in Dubai. Taking care part of the beverage program for the hotel and service operation of the award winning fine dining restaurant ‘Al Mahara’ by Michelin Star Chef Nathan Outlaw from London. Prior to Dubai, I have worked with different wine markets in Hong Kong, Maldives, India under hotel chain of Shangri-La, Kempinski, Sheraton etc. My current wine list has over 1000 reference from around the globe and received Wine Spectator Best Award of Excellent consecutively for the last 3 years. I am currently pursuing diploma courses from WSET and Court of Master Sommelier.
Lorenzo Landi is a winemaker and wine consultant from Italy. Graduated in Agrarian Sciences and holding a Master in Oenology and a University Diploma in Oenology and Viticulture, he worked for ten years as a responsible oenologist for several companies in Tuscany and Umbria, among which Fattoria del Cerro, Colpetrone and La Poderina. Since 2000, he works as a wine consultant across several regions of Italy, such as Tuscany, Umbria, Friuli and Sicily.
Leading Luxembourg Wine Writer, Wine Producer and Journalist for VINO (Luxembourg Wine Magazine)
ASSOCIATE JUDGES 2019
VIA Italian Wine Ambassador
VIA Italian Wine Ambassador
VIA Italian Wine Ambassador
Michelle has a deep affection for all things around the table, especially wine and pasta! A native of Port Jefferson, New York, she has worked in hospitality for as long as she can remember. Four years ago, Michelle joined the Giovanni Rana company as a Sommelier and Wine Director. This opportunity has granted her the fortune to teach pasta and wine classes in the US, UK, and Italy. In 2017, she became an Italian Wine Ambassador for the United States through the Vinitaly International Academy. Michelle is a graduate of the International Culinary Center Intensive Sommelier program in New York City and a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers. In May of 2019, Michelle will have completed her MBA in hospitality through Johnson & Wales University. The pursuit of education has always been a driving force in Michelle’s passion for the hospitality industry. Even more so, she finds enjoyment in sharing her knowledge and experience with others.
A recent graduate of UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, Kristin fell in love with the smell of wine in the barrel rooms of her audit clients during inventory counts, while obtaining her CPA with KPMG more than 25 years ago. From there, her passion for wine and food excelled quickly as did her career in the High Tech Start-up world of Silicon Valley. Kristin held various management and executive positions in finance and operations until 2001 when she began independently consulting for young technology companies, helping CEOs build their businesses from the ground up. In 2013, she partnered with Master Sommelier David Glancy to write the business plan and run operations for his visionary San Francisco Wine School, which is now considered to be the largest wine school in the U.S. Kristin is also a California Wine Appellation Specialist CWAS® and the San Francisco Bay Area Ambassador for Women of the Vine & Spirits. Forever in search of the perfect bite, she enjoys cooking, fine dining and experimenting with food and wine pairings.
Consultant at Wine Marketing and Communication – Annette Lizotte
Davy is a wine educator, wine connoisseur, wine lover and wine writer who contributes to the wine services and education sector, wine magazines and the renowned business schools in both Hong Kong and China. He believes work-life-balance that he and his clients promote all the time. During working hours, Davy is a CPA and a specialist of Corporate Finance. He understood that wine could bring everyone together regardless of races, occupation and income brackets. As such, Davy makes every endeavor to provide consultations to private groups, corporates, and training to business schools in Hong Kong and Greater China, and currently in-charging of a program that focus on the Asia-Pacific consumers to promote the wine culture and market integrity. Davy is a Certified Specialist of Wine and Certified Specialist of Spirits in the Society of Wine Educators, Certified Spanish Wine Educator, Wines of Portugal Ambassador, Koshu Expert by KEC, associate member of the Institute of Wines & Spirits and La Juraud de Saint Emilion. With his contribution in the wine industry, Davy was elected the Chairman of the Society of Wine Educator Hong Kong Chapter since 2017.
VIA Italian Wine Ambassador
Consultant at VINOvations
Entrepreneurial journalist Senay Özdemir has a vast breadth of experience spanning many different facets of the wine industry. After writing for multiple Dutch and global publications, she founded the women’s magazine SEN before moving to Austin in 2009 to teach at UT’s School of Journalism. When she couldn’t source wines from her native country of Turkey, she began importing wine, and then went on to found the wine marketing agency called House of Red & White to promote winemaker’s untold stories. She is also a TEDx speaker, the executive producer of the first documentary about women leadership in the wine industry and is the founder of the inaugural Women in Wine Expo in Europe this spring.
Carmine De Iure