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.

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.

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.

Trish Lorimer, Wine Sourcing Manager at Coles
Trish is responsible for sourcing domestic and international wines at Coles Liquor. Trish started her wine career with Hotel du Vin, and now has four years’ wine buying experience for multiple retailers in both Australia and the UK, where she was recognised by The Grocer as one of 2013’s Top New Talents. She is currently studying her WSET Diploma and was The Wine Academy’s Student of the Year in 2012.

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.

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, Sommelier and Buyer, RACV Clubs and Resorts

Currently working full time at the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV) Melbourne City Club and Healesville Country Club, where he oversees wine purchasing, management of wines, wine lists, wine promotions and events, day to day wine and beverage operations, staff training while consulting for the RACV Resorts across the country.

Peter Nixon, Dan Murphy's Natural 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.