Judges and Scientific Committee 2019
Tutti i vini partecipanti a 5StarWines saranno degustati da una giuria composta da esperti internazionali altamente qualificati, selezionati tra Master of Wine, Master of Sommelier, diplomati WSET, VIA expert e ambassadors, enologi, e giornalisti. La differente provenienza geografica, la varietà dei profili professionali dei giudici e il processo di degustazione alla cieca, garantiscono oggettività alla selezione.
La selezione è effettuata ogni anno ad opera del Comitato Scientifico di 5StarWines, presieduto da Lynne Sherriff MW. La giuria viene in seguito suddivisa in Panel composti da 5 giudici ognuno. Ogni Panel è coordinato da un presidente o Panel Chairman, e ha il compito di degustare un numero fisso di vini durante ogni sessione.
CCO 5StarWines and Managing Director @ Vinitaly International
Stevie Kim was born in Korea and raised in the United States. Today she lives in Verona. At first, she attended the New York University – Leonard N. Stern School of Business, earning a Bachelor of Science (B.S.). After settling in Italy, she obtained an MBA at Bocconi University, School of Economics and Management. Later, she achieved a postgraduate specialization in Wealth Management at the University of Pennsylvania – The Wharton School. As Managing Director of Vinitaly International, Stevie has launched and now coordinates a series of new initiatives connected to the Vinitaly brand. She is always seeking innovative ways to communicate and celebrate “Italian wine”, with a strong creative emphasis on social media and educational platforms. In 2017, Stevie launched Italian Wine Podcast, the first podcast in English dedicated exclusively to Italian wine and its personalities; and Italian Wine Unplugged Grape by Grape, a new reference book unpacking the hundreds of Italian native grapes in a visually compelling layout. She regularly travels around the world to spread the gospel of Italian wine, with particular attention to USA, Russia, and China.
SENIOR GENERAL CHAIRMAN 2019 – Lynne Sherriff MW
Originally trained in hotel management, Lynne Sherriff MW’s interest in wine grew through her studies and lead to her gaining diplomas in cellar technology in Stellenbosch, and a state degree in oenology and viticulture in Germany, before working for Nederburg and the Stellenbosch Farmers Winery in South Africa. In 1990, she was head hunted to establish the Hong Kong Wine & Spirits Academy, and after relocating to London in 1992 to establish the wine import and distribution company Vinfruco, she launched the Arniston Bay brand. Sherriff became an MW in 1993 and was chairman of the Institute of Masters of Wine from 2010 to 2012. Sherriff was Chairman of China and Japan Wine Challenge Wine Competitions and DWWA judge since 2004. She was awarded by the Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan, for her contribution to wine education, from Masi Foundation Award, Verona Italy for contribution to international wine education and nominated as one of the 50 most influential people in the world of wine by Wine Intelligence, UK. She currently works as an educator and independent wine consultant specialising in production, blending and marketing focusing on Europe, Africa and Asia.
GENERAL CHAIRMEN 2019
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 Wines, elmundovino.com (Spain), Libre Belgique, De Morgen, Dernière 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.
Editor at Large, 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 his first book: The Wine Lists. He is the Chairman of the Wine Institute of Asia, and has chaired and launched wine competitions in several countries. Robert has been on the UK Who’s Who list 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 he is also regularly invited to lecture at the Wine & Spirits Educational Trust. Joseph is one of the trio behind Hugh Kevin & Robert Wines whose wines now sell over 2.5m bottles per year in 40 countries. His blog is The Joseph Report.
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).
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).
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.
PANEL CHAIRMEN 2019
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.
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.
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, 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.
Charles Curtis MW
Master of Wine, Founder/CEO of WineAlpha
Charles Curtis is a specialist in fine and rare wine as well as the Founder of WineAlpha, a consultancy firm 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.
Ned Goodwin MW
Master of Wine, Owner at Wine Diamonds Japan
Born in London, raised in Australia and educated in Tokyo and Paris. From 2001-2012, Ned was the Wine Director for Global Dining Japan in Tokyo; the ‘face of wine’ for All Nippon Airways as well as founder of Wine Diamonds, a specialist importer based in Tokyo. Before Japan (1998-2001), Ned was a sommelier at Veritas, the award-winning Michelin starred restaurant and recipient of the Wine Spectator Grand Award in Manhattan. As a sommelier, he also worked in Paris and Los Angeles. Ned is the Asia-Pacific ambassador for a Champagne house; Wine Committee member at Biondi-Santi; Chief Critic for the Halliday Guide; Consultant for Bettane & Desseauve. He hosted Vintage, a Japanese TV show on wine, as well as wine dinners for Hollywood stars and other VIPs, all the while making waves across major media channels. He was also a guest-lecturer on ‘Wine Marketing’ at Keio University in Tokyo.
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.
Brandon Tebbe MS
VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, Master Sommelier, Found and Winemaker – Tebbe Wines, Wine & Beverage Director – Aspen Ski Co.
Brandon Tebbe is one of the Founders and Winemaker of Tebbe Wines, crafting Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon from California, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling from Willamette Valley. He also works as Wine & Beverage Director for Aspen Ski Co. in Aspen/Snowmass, CO, overseeing fourteen restaurant beverage programs. Brandon is a Master Sommelier, and one of only fifteen people to have passed all three parts of this rigorous exam on his first attempt. He also holds the designations: WSET Advance with Merit, Advanced Sake Professional, Certified Wine Educator, Certified Spirits Specialist, Certified Beer Server and ISG level 1 & 2 with Distinction. He is also 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 or Wine Director for the past fifteen years.
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.
After graduating from The University of Tokyo, Isao Miyajima worked in Rome for a 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 food and wine, collaborating with various specialty wine magazines in Japan as well (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 for the Japanese edition of Gambero Rosso Italian Wine Guide. He was awarded Best International Journalist prize by Grandi Cru d’Italia 2013. In 2014 he was awarded the Commendatore dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia by the Italian State President Giorgio Napolitano.
CEO of Apollonio 1870.
President of Movimento Turismo del vino Puglia.
National Councillor Assoenologi.
Director of Salice Salentino Doc Consortium.
Director of Brindisi-Squinzano Doc Consortium.
National Councillor of Unione Imprese Storiche.
Associate Academician of the Georgofili
Academic of the Italian Academy of Vine and Wine.
Academic of AEREC.
National member of the CIA wine committee.
Vice-Chairman of the DOC Chamber of Commerce Lecce Commission.
Member of Enasarco national assembly.
Henry Davar IWE
VIA Italian Wine Expert, Wine Educator
Henry Davar was born in Moscow and was raised in Queens, New York. After a five-year career in finance in New York City, Henry enrolled at the Institute of Culinary Education, and studied with the American Sommelier Association. He worked as Sommelier, Wine and Beverage Director, Business Development Manager, and Wine Educator. In April 2011, he went on sabbatical, traveling in Italy and working harvest at Vietti in Barolo. 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 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.
Francesco Marchio IWE
VIA Italian Wine Expert, Managing Director of VinoVeritas Asia Limited
Francesco has over 10 years of experience in the wine sector. In Italy he worked as a sommelier, and as a manager in a wine shop and in a luxury hotel. In 2009 he moved to the UK: he worked as a sommelier at the 2 Michelin star French Restaurant Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, then as a Sales Manager in Oxfordshire. In 2012 he relocated to Hong Kong as Business Development Manager at VinoVeritas Asia Limited, becoming Managing Director in 2018. He holds the WSET Diploma and he is the first and only VIA Italian Wine Expert in Hong Kong. He participated in Vinitaly’s selection 5StarWines as a Judge, and he was awarded “Best Italian Wine Ambassador in China” by D.E.S.A., Deutschland Sommelier Association, during Pro Wein Hong Kong 2019.
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.
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 is an award-winning wine journalist who 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. Graduated in English and Philosophy at the Trinity College in Cambridge, Stephen has worked for many years as a publisher’s editor, in both the United States and Britain. He became a freelance writer in 1982 and now he is a regular wine columnist for Fine Wine Magazine and Falstaff. Stephen Brook is also an active and experienced wine judge in competitions in England, France, Australia, California and Canada.
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.
Jinglin Zhang IWE
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 is the wine Editor for Quench Magazine, Wine Columnist for Global Television, the Wine Director for Prestige Wines and Guru Restaurants and the President of Vinomania Consulting. Gurvinder is certified as an Italian Wine Expert (IWE) and Italian Wine Educator by Vinitaly International Academy. In addition to possessing a law degree (JD), Gurvinder also earned his Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA) with honours. In 2015, Gurvinder was named as one of Alberta’s 50 Most Influential People by Alberta Venture Magazine.
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 5StarWinee 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.
Marcia J. Hamm
VIA Italian Wine Expert, Owner of Joy of Wine
Marcia J. Hamm is relatively new to the industry having started taking night classes in 2010, this is when she began building a real curiosity for wine. Since then, she has completed the WSET Diploma, becoming an Italian Wine Expert through 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 in 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, Canada 365daysofwine, DipWSET, Architect
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 regularly hosts tastings, seminars and educational sessions for both corporate and private clients, and writes about wine for various publications. She also judges at 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 WSET 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.
Hayley Black IWE
VIA Italian Wine Expert, Pacific NW Territory Manager, LLS – Winebow Imports
Hayley believes a passion for wine paired with a desire to learn creates a never ending journey. After 10 years of working in restaurants she is now working in sales and distribution. She is responsible for guiding sales and education in all aspects of the upper end wine category for one of the largest family owned distribution companies in the Pacific Northwest. Her ability to inspire, educate and connect people through wine has been the driving force behind her career.
Gill Gordon Smith
VIA Italian Wine Expert, CEO and Owner at Fall from Grace
Gill Gordon-Smith is a Vinitaly International Academy Italian Wine Expert, a winemaker, wine merchant, writer, judge and educator based in Australia. Gill owns Fall from Grace, a specialist retail store and tasting bar that has a firm focus on Italian wines and direct imports from Italy. Passionate about Italian grapes and wine, she also produces Italian grape varieties in McLaren Vale. With Diplomas in Training Design and Development as well as Vocational Education and Training, she is a WSET Certified Educator and has worked with Qantas Airways developing the renowned Sommelier in the Sky program. She leads TAFE SA Wine & Spirit School and works with many industry clients developing educational programs for both professional and consumer markets. She is Wine Communicators Australia Educator and Wine Communicator of The Year for 2017.
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.
Oenologist at Enoproject Srl
Franco Bernabei, originally from Abano Terme, took his first steps into the world of wine alongside his father; importer/distributor of French and Italian wine, as well as hotelier and winemaker in the Euganean Hills. In 1978 Bernabei decided to freelance in the Chianti area within the region of Tuscany. He collaborated with various companies and made Sangiovese triumphant by interpreting the territory into the wine, helping to launch this vine to international stardom. In 1978 he began with the Fattoria di Selvapiana, from which a great Sangiovese, in purity, Bucerchiale, was born. In 1981, in collaboration with the Manetti family, through their winery Fontodi, Flaccianello della Pieve was launched on the market. Two years later, from the Fattoria di Felsina, Fontalloro was created.
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.
Anna Baranova IWA
VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, Wine Educator at Millesime School
Anna Baranova is from St. Petersburg, Russia. She graduated as a Human Resources Manager from the Higher School of Business Administration; this is when she realised her love of wine, she especially identified with the phrase “in vino veritas”. She dove into the wine business in 2005, working as both a sommelier and a wine-seller in different companies within St. Petersburg. In 2018 Baranova finished her studies at the Weinakademie Österreich earning her WSET Diploma in Wine and Spirits. Now she is a Weinakademiker (wine academic) and WSET Diploma holder. Baranova also attended and completed the Vinitaly International Academy, Italian Wine Ambassador course twice, in 2017 and in 2018. Her website can be viewed at www.winecode.ru. Currently she is lecturing at wine schools’ “Millesime” and “Marine Express”. She is also the chief-sommelier at “Caffe Italia”, an authentic Italian restaurant in St. Petersburg.
Nikolay Chashchinov IWA
VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, Director at Millesime Wine School
Nikolay Chashchinov is a professional wine educator and representative of the wine trade industry, who has been in the wine business for 16 years. Nikolay Chashchinov worked as a sommelier in a 5* hotel from 2005 to 2006, thereafter, he won the Saint Petersburg Sommelier Contest for two consecutive years; 2006 and 2007. In 2007 Chashchinov also began working in wine imports, all the while, together with some friends, he opened a sommelier wine school in 2010. Already a WSET Diploma holder, he also tackled and successfully completed the Vinitaly International Academy Italian Wine Ambassador Course in 2015 in addition to becoming a Weinakademiker in 2018.
VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, Director of Wellspring Wines
Roddy was born in England but has lived in Asia for the past 30 years. He currently resides in Japan where he has lived and worked since 1990; a total of nearly 15 years. His career began at the Christie’s auction house. His initial ten years there were spent as a specialist of Chinese porcelain which was then followed by ten years in management roles. He was also the former Managing Director of Christie’s Japan, based in Tokyo, helping to organize their successful wine auctions 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
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, Director Crimson Wine, Wine Director at Apples and Pears Restaurant Group.
Vanessa is based in Australia working across Asia Pacific as Managing Director of Crimson Wine and the Apples + Pears Restaurant Group, and Acting CEO of Cliftons Venues. She works as a commercial wine buyer and importer, wine director for the restaurant and venues group, and judges at wines shows in Australia, New Zealand and Europe. 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. Current projects she is working on include running wine and beverage education and appreciation programs for consumers and trade in Australia and New Zealand, sourcing and importing wines to Australia and developing wine and beverage lists across Asia Pacific.
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.
Vladislav Markin IWA
VIA Italian Wine Ambassador
Irving So IWE
VIA Italian Wine Expert, Instructor at Académie du Vin Tokyo
Irving So is a certified Italian Wine Expert (VIA), a DipWSET and a WSET Certified Educator teaching Level 2 and 3 courses based in Tokyo. He is also an Italian Wine Educator (VIA), a Langhe Wines’ Ambassdor (Barolo & Barbaresco Academy), Valpolicella Wine Specialist (Consorzio Tutela Vini della Valpolicella), an Italian Wine Scholar (Highest Honor, Wine Scholar Guild), as well as a Wine MBA (Kedge) holder. He has conducted masterclasses for various Consortia including Valpolicella and Lugana, as well as several producer associations from Veneto. In addition to this, Irving works as a wine consultant, he helps Tokyo based wineries in exporting their wines.
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.
Veronika Denisova IWA
VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, Deputy Director and Educator of Enotria Wine School
Veronika Denisova graduated from Timiryazev Moscow Agricultural Academy in 2000, she received a Diploma in Agronomy, Viticulture and Winemaking Basics. Veronika practiced as a winemaker’s assistant at Vinselekt Michlovský, in the Czech Republic, in 1999 and at La Biòca Winery, Piedmont in 2016. Since 2006, she’s been a Member of the Russian Association of Sommeliers (RAS). Veronika has also been working as a wine educator and a freelance journalist for the past 12 years.
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, 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.
Laura Donadoni IWA
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.
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.
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.
General Manager and Winemaker of Silver Heights Vineyard Co., Ltd
Emma Gao is General Manager and chief winemaker of the Silver Heights Winery in Ningxia, China. In 1999, when Emma was doing logistics for a Korean export company in China, her father asked if she would like to study French and winemaking in France: she left China, she obtained the Diplôme National d’Oenologue from Bordeaux, and she had the oppotunity to intern at several historic Bordeaux wineries. After six years in France she got called from a Chinese company in Xinjiang looking for a winemaker. Three years later she decided she wanted to make quality wine and, with the help of her family, in 2007 she founded the Silver Heights Winery was founded in 2007. The winery was quickly acclaimed as one of the first boutique wineries in China.
Melissa M. Sutherland IWA
Senior Sales Advisor at Panebianco Wines
Melissa has devoted 11 years to the selling, promotion, and study of Italian wine. She has unique insight into the business due to her experience, from opening NYC’s first dual wine bar/wine shop, to rebranding NYC’s legendary Italian Wine Merchants; as well as becoming a buyer & marketer at one of NYC’s oldest and largest wine retailers. She was recruited by The Winebow Group as National Import Brand Manager, focusing on the premier Italian wines of Leonardo LoCascio Selections and 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 smaller wineries of Italy. Melissa’s work has been featured 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 also the author of the forthcoming book, Bianchista Forever: Drinking and Appreciating Italy’s White Wines.
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.
Chief Oenologist at Luiz Argenta Vinhos Finos, Partner and Educator at ConceptWine School
Edegar Scortegagna was born in Brazil. In 2008 he graduated in Viticulture and Enology from the Università di Trento – Fondazione Edmund Munch and Università degli Studi di Udine in Italy. Over the span of his 5 years at these Universities, he was able to study and collaborate with famous Italian farms. He has an MBA in Business Management from the Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV Brazil) and is an International Sommelier. Since 2009 he has been the Director at Luiz Argenta Vinhos Finos, he is now part of the Administration Committee of the Brazilian Association of Oenologists (ABE), the founding member and professor at Concept Wine School in South America, and also lectures at Sommelier Internacional. For the last ten years Edegar has been the President of the Brazil Wine Challenge. He has also participated in multiple worldwide wine contests as a judge.
Oenologist at Enoproject Srl
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.
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.
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.
Leading Luxembourg Wine Writer, Wine Producer and Journalist for VINO (Luxembourg Wine Magazine)
ASSOCIATE JUDGES 2019
VIA Italian Wine Ambassador
Alice Wong IWA
VIA Italian Wine Ambassador
Alice’s involvement in the wine industry is multifold, including education, writing, event management, and judging. With an immense interest in Italian wines, Alice became an Italian Wine Ambassador in 2018. She has worked with various Italian government bodies to promote Italian wines in Hong Kong. She has also spoken on behalf of Italian wine consorzio at various B2B platforms. In 2020, her wine education company Vino Missionari proudly became the first provider to launch the Italian Wine Maestro Course in Asia. In recognition of her achievement in the food and beverage industry, Alice took home the Hong Kong Living Influencer Award last year.
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
Carrie Wong IWA
Catherine Stratton IWA
Educator, Owner of C.S. Selections LLC and Sales Manager for Strade Bianche Wines
Catherine Stratton Wenger was raised in her family’s restaurant business, in Los Angeles. A first trip to Italy in 2001 led to her moving there at age 19 to pursue a degree in Art Restoration in Florence. She achieved a Certificate in Wine Education and Management from UCLA; she is also an Italian Wine Specialist from the North American Sommelier Association and a certified Yoga Instructor. In 2016 she founded Vino and Vinyasa Tours, a boutique travel company focused solely on Italy with winery visits and personal yoga instruction. In 2018, she founded CS Selections a wine brokerage working with several small importers in Southern California. In 2019 she finished second in her course at the Vinitaly International Academy in Los Angeles, becoming Italian Wine Ambassador. Currently she lives in Portland, Oregon, where she works as Sales Manager for Strade Bianche wines, a direct importer of Italian wine, and she manages the Oregon and Southern California markets for Charles Neal Selections, a French importer. Moreover, she co-founded the brand Due Terre Wines – producing certified organic wines from indigenous grapes in Sicily. On May 11 she will graduate with an Executive MBA – beyond the standard business coursework she has specialized in supply chains & operations, startup entrepreneurship, and strategic thinking.
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