Judges

We are starting to put up some of the names and profiles of our judges. They all live crazy lives and will continue to update as we get them.

Check back often!

Bob Paulinski, MW, Head of Sourcing - Wine, Coles Liquor

Bob Paulinski, MW currently resides in Melbourne. He's the Head of Sourcing - Wine for Coles. Previously, he has held a number of leadership positions across the US. Bob was the Senior Vice president for Bevmo Stores which has 155 outlets across California, Arizona and Washington. Prior to accepting the Bevmo role in late 2013, he was based in Jacksonville, Florida for five years as Category Director of Wine/Spirits/Beer for Southeastern Grocers for 1000+ grocery stores throughout the southern US. Before that, he spent five years in Bentonville, Arkansas as Category Manager for Wine/Spirits/Beer for Sam’s Club US. And, he was an independent owner/operator of a specialty wine retail business for sixteen years in Traverse City, Michigan. In 2002, he became the ninetieth North American to pass the Master of Wine examination and in doing so, ended a four year period in which no new North American candidates had been awarded with a successful completion of the program. He remains active in the MW program as an instructor. He has also judged in several wine competitions throughout the US, Europe and South America.

Laura Piva, Sourcing Manager, Coles Liquor

Laura Piva

Buyer at Coles Liquor. Brands include Liquorland, First Choice, Liquor Market and Vintage Cellars.  Laura Piva has been working in the wine and beverage industry for over 20 years. She has a Bachelor of Science (Chemistry) from UNSW and a Bachelor of Applied Science (Wine Science) from Charles Sturt University and has worked in all aspects of the beverage industry, from winemaking, education, sensory and brewing. She is responsible for sourcing exclusive international brands for Coles Liquor. She holds a WSET Level 2 & Level 3 wine qualification, is a WSET qualified educator for Levels 1 and 2 and completed the AWRI’s Advanced Wine Assessment (AWAC) course in 2015.

Bert Werden,  Buyer and Director at WineStar

WineStar is Australia's #1 Fine Wine Online Retailer . WineStar is a wholly owned subsidiary of WineStar Pty Ltd. Based in Melbourne with bricks and mortar retail wine outlets since 1975, our online venture began in October 1997 making them one of the internet's longest serving wine retailers. They now have national distribution channels as well as service parts of Asia.

Vanessa Green, Wine Director, Apples + Pears Entertainment Group

Vanessa Green and Andrew Cameron are owners of the Apples + Pears Group of restaurants, which includes the restaurants Meat Fish Wine in Auckland and Melbourne, Red Spice Road, Burma Lane and Red Spice QV. Vanessa focuses on wine for the group and says discovering, enjoying and sharing great wines with clients, friends and guests is one of the most rewarding aspects of her work.

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 the restaurant group and developing wine related events and a wine education program for wine lovers.

Vanessa also judges at wine shows around the world, is a certified Ambassador of Italian Wine for Vinitaly, Commandeur of the Commanderie de Bordeaux, Chevalier of the Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne and has professional accreditations from WSET and the Australian Wine Institute.

Andrew Roper, Founder & Chief Selector – Wines To The Stars

Andrew Roper has for 25+ years supplied the who’s who of the international entertainment industry with the iconic and also most boutique wine & spirit brands of Australia, New Zealand and the World. Andrew has carved a unique world of wine marketing and supply, whereby he ensures that any wine & spirit loving touring artists access only wines and spirits that pass his high benchmark of quality before being opened backstage. “It's truly a compliment to be recognised and trusted by the entertainment industry as the pros at sourcing, supply & delivery of the world's finest vintage wines, Champagnes, and premium spirits. Wines To The Stars believes there is no substitute for quality and stand by the world's great products and brands to say that with us, you just won't get any better!”

WTTS is the world's premier supplier of "Backstage Beverages" for the sometimes peculiar and often precise riders of touring artists and entertainers. “We supply wines & spirits of a much higher quality than what you expect on your tour riders.”

 

Damien Giansalvo, WineStar

WineStar is Australia's #1 Fine Wine Online Retailer . WineStar is a wholly owned subsidiary of WineStar Pty Ltd. Based in Melbourne with bricks and mortar retail wine outlets since 1975, our online venture began in October 1997 making them one of the internet's longest serving wine retailers. They now have national distribution channels as well as service parts of Asia.

Jamie Hay, Category Assistant - Dan Murphy's Cellar

Overseeing the Dan Murphy’s category buying, responsible for identifying ranging options.

Greg Fitzsimmons, Manager, Private Cellar/ Fine wine, Graysonline

Greg manages the overall private cellar wine business for Graysonline, Australia’s largest independent wine auction house. Strong business experience with more than 20 years of hands-on sales, Management and Key Account management within the liquor industry.

James Scarcebrook, Victoria Sales, Enoteca

James Scarcebrook

James Scarcebrook has a Masters degree in Wine Business from the University of Adelaide, and has worked in the wine industry since 2004. Over the past 13 years he has gained experience in retail, wine tourism & hospitality, marketing and wholesale imports.

He spent 16 months travelling across the globe visiting wine regions. As the Melbourne representative for importer Enoteca Sydney he has the privilege of working with the top sommeliers and wine buyers in the city, selling some of Europes finest wines.

Outside of his ‘day job’ he splits his time between his wine communications as The Intrepid Wino (Blog, YouTube channel and podcast The Vincast), and spending time with his partner Victoria and their new baby son Oliver.

Luke Campbell, Head Buyer at Vinified Wine Services

Luke_CampbellKnown for his passion, outstanding knowledge and infectious enthusiasm, Luke Campbell knows wines and thrives on enhancing others’ gastronomic experiences.

Hunter born and raised, Luke as a qualified sommelier and wine buyer has immersed himself in the wine industry over the past 2 decades. His work in Australia and the UK spans across ‘Michelin’ starred restaurants, Independent retail, education and several vintages. Luke regularly judges at wine shows and writes for trade and consumer publications.
In addition to extensive travels throughout European wine regions, Luke further developed his knowledge through his studies at London’s famed ‘Wine and Spirits Trust’.

With an insatiable urge to convey his passions in an easy-to understand and accessible manner, Luke started Vinified: Australia’s most exclusive Cellar Management Business, he and his team of sommeliers manage your collection from winery to glass.

Lisa Cardelli, Sommelier and Buyer at Neil Perry's Rosetta Restaurant

Originally from Tuscany, Italy, Lisa gained her first certification as Professional Sommelier in Italy, with the Italian Sommelier Association. She then moved to Australia and started to work as sommelier in fine dining restaurants such as the Sydney-based Pilu at Freshwater and 3 hats Vue de Monde.

She is currently working as Head Sommelier for Neil Perry’s Rosetta restaurant and also being part of the Rockpool Sommelier team which select the wines for Qantas first and business classes.

In Australia, Lisa also got the Certification with Court of Master Sommelier and the Wset Diploma both in 2015. She is being included as one of the Australian student of distinction at the Wset diploma ceremony held in London last January.

The passion for wine she also brought her to the SBS Italian radio, where she is a guest speaker in regard of Italian wines.

Kate Lawton, Senior Buyer at Vinomofo

Born and bred in London, Kate was lucky enough to spend half of her childhood in the South of France, in a a wine producing town which no doubt fuelled her life long affair with food and wine.  With a passion for all things vinous, she joined the wine industry immediately after a Literature degree at Surrey University, heading straight to Oddbins.  With over 10 years of wine trade experience, she's worked in almost every capacity:  from managing retail stores, to on-premise accounts, as a brand manager, wine trainer and finally a wine buyer for the past 5 years.  Completing her WSET Diploma in 2008, she came to Australia to learn more about the country's wine industry and today she works as a Senior Buyer at Vinomofo and truly believes that her new home produces some of the world's best wines.

Victoria Sharples, Buyer & Founder, The Wine Station

Victoria

A wine industry professional with over seventeen years experience in Australia, UK & Europe. She brings an extensive understanding & knowledge across the industry having held positions as importer & distributor, exporter, brand ambassador, brand manager, wine buyer, retail manager, wine educator and international wine judge. Currently buyer for specialist wine importer as well as sourcing to brief for large restaurant clients. Victoria is senior judge with the International Wine Challenge in the UK as well as having judged in several Australian shows & for WineSate Magazine.

Fiona Lim Co-Founder and Principal Buyer for Wine Republic

Fiona is the Co-Founder and Principal Buyer for Wine Republic, a wine and liquor retail store in Fitzroy, Melbourne.   Wine Republic stocks one of Australia's largest range of boutique wines, beers, ciders and spirits.  Since opening in late 2013, Wine Republic have enjoyed great public and professional acclaim, continuing to grow strongly as they expand their range of products.  Wine Republic currently stocks over 1500 varieties of wines and 300+ ciders and beers.

Prior to Co-Founding Wine Republic, Fiona worked as a lawyer at one of Australia's top firms, gaining a great perspective on what consumers look for when buying wine.  She prices herself in her unique insight into customer trends and buying habits. Fiona has both a Law and a Commerce degree from The University of Melbourne.

Andrew Cameron – Managing Director, Apples + Pears Entertainment Group

co-owner of the Apples + Pears Group of restaurants, which includes the restaurants Meat Fish Wine in Auckland and Melbourne, Red Spice Road, Burma Lane and Red Spice QV. Vanessa focuses on wine for the group and says discovering, enjoying and sharing great wines with clients, friends and guests is one of the most rewarding aspects of her work.

Matthew Lamb, Group Beverage Manager, Apples + Pears Entertainment Group

Christian Maier, National Sommelier and Buyer, RACV Clubs and Resorts

Christian_MaierChristian has spent many years in Michelin starred restaurants in France and London UK. Upon arrival in Australia he further developed his skills by focusing on oenology and was appointed to the position of Sommelier at Hotel Sofitel Melbourne in 1994 subsequently being awarded Best Hotel wine list in 1997. In 2000 the Age Good Food Guide handed Christian the inaugural award for Service Excellence.

In 2002 his long love affair with Champagne has seen him being the Australian winner of the Vin de Champagne Award.
Following his role of Head sommelier at Langtons Restaurant and wine bar in 2005 the establishment was awarded the Age Good Food Guide Best Restaurant Wine List.

At his current position as Wine Director for the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Christian oversees the wine purchasing, wine lists and wine promotions, staff training, events in 9 properties for RACV Club and Resorts.

He is also a senior judge at the French Chamber of Commerce Victorian Wine Show ‘Concours des Vins du Victoria’ (chaired by Bernard Burtschy – Grand Jury Européen) and has judged at several other wine shows.

In the televised media, Christian has been the co-host of the food and wine segment on SBS television with celebrity chef Gabriel Gaté, and writes regular wine column for various publications.

Christian also operates a wine consultancy business which has seen him consulting for Six Senses in Thailand, and conducts corporate speaking engagement on various wine themes.

Peter Nixon, Dan Murphy's National Fine Wine Manager

GBlue_140114_D4_46955_LgePeter Nixon was born in London to parents of Australasian heritage. He attended secondary school in England and later became entranced by the London wine trade. Family holidays to the great wine regions of Europe consolidated this interest and Peter decided to pursue a career in the wine industry, commencing with a role at UK wine retailer Oddbins prior to returning to Australia to study wine marketing at Adelaide University.

Like many in the wine trade, Peter also has a passion for fine cuisine and subsequently trained as a chef. Peter now has over 25 years experience in the wine and hospitality industry, including local and international wine show-judging, independent wine retailing, imported wine wholesaling, restaurant wine list design and training, as well as commercial procurement experience with both hotel groups and airlines.

For the last five years Peter has been a leading Business Manager with Dan Murphy’s, overseeing the Dan Murphy’s Wine Panel, responsible for identifying ranging options. In this role Peter also acts as editor and principle contributor to the Dan Murphy’s Buyer’s Guide, Australia’s highest circulation Drinks publication. Peter continues to be actively involved in local and International wine show judging. He is a passionate advocate for both Australian and International wine.

Kara Maisano, Sommelier at Masani Italian Dining & Terrace, Melbourne, Australia

Kara has graduated from the UK based WSET Diploma, Court of Master Sommeliers and Vinitaly International Academy, and continued to study towards her Master of Wine and Master Sommelier.

Mark Samaha, Auction Manager, Langton's Fine Wines

Daniel Parrott (Wine Buyer for the Laithwaites Wine Group)

wine_judgeDaniel is a Wine Buyer for the Laithwaites Wine Group, the largest direct to consumer wine retailer in the world.  He grew up in Victoria’s Yarra Valley and initially worked in the field of wine fermentation.  After vintages worked in Bordeaux, Yarra Valley and theEden Valley he moved from Wine production to wine buying with the Coles Liquor Group.  He joined the Laithwaites Group as Senior Buyer of Australian and New Zealand wine in 2010.  He is an active judge on the Australian Wine Show circuit and is passionate about wine brand development.