Our judging panel for 2018

Ajit Balgi

Ajit Balgi

India

Working on experiential marketing/brand advocacies for liquor houses. Beverage education
WSET (London) wine courses & other bespoke courses
Wine & spirit workshops for consumers/corporates
Beverage Clients and Alliances: Paul John Whisky, Hill Zill Wines, Pernod Ricard, Remy Cointreau, Chateau D’Ori, Grover-Zampa, Reveilo, Fratelli, Charosa, York, Soma, Vallonne, Ace Beveragez, Flipsydee
Columnist for TOI, Asian Age, Deccan Chronicle, Pursuitist, Sommelier India, Food Lover, BW Hotelier etc

Amanda Barnes

Amanda Barnes

Argentina

Amanda Barnes is an award-winning wine journalist and expert in South American wines and regions. Based in Mendoza, Argentina, since 2009 she is a regular correspondent, critic and writer for international wine and travel publications. Amanda has led masterclasses and hosted tastings internationally that range from wine dinners for private collectors through to a series of masterclasses at VINEXPO, Bordeaux. Amanda has been a critic and panel taster for international wine competitions in England, South Africa, Austria, Chile and Argentina.

Austin Zhang

Austin Zhang

China

In 2011 Austin completed his Masters at China Agricultural University in Viticulture and Enology, Wine Science. He worked at Christie's until February 2017 when he joined Zachys as Sales Director, China.

 Beatrice da Ros-Bournier

Beatrice da Ros-Bournier

France

Bernard Schaefer

Bernard Schaefer

Germany

Daniel Lopez Roca

Daniel Lopez Roca

Argentina

Daniel López Roca has spent most of his life working in the world of gastronomy. Holding a Masters degree in Systemic Family Therapy, a career in Social Psychology was relatively short lived. At age thirty, he trained as a Chef and worked in that profession for nearly twenty years. Wine was always Daniel’s other great interest. His restaurant experience brought him into close contact with wine and, in 1992, in the same way he had formalised his interest in food with professional training, he followed a series of specialised courses in viticulture and oenology.

Real Wolfe

Real Wolfe

Canada

Wine Expert / Brand Builder Director Division of Fine Wines Univins and Spirits First Wine and Spirits Agency in Quebec. Ex Executive Director of Société Francs-Vins. Today he is Director of the Wines and Spirits division Univins agency. Internationally recognized expert in tasting by profession. Was general secretary of the contest Selections World of the wines, created the World Federation of the great competitions of wines. Received the title of knight of agricultural merit of France. Has a degree in political science from the UDM and a master's degree in international affairs from ENAP.

Liz Palmer

Liz Palmer

Canada

Liz has been a well-respected wine journalist since 2004 and has an international reputation as a critic and judge. Her articles have appeared in: Forbes, Huffington Post, China Wine News, Wine Picker Magazine – both in USA and Canada. She is one of four founding international hosts for #ChampagneDay 2011-2017 and has served as a judge for the 2013-2017 Global Traveler’s Wines on the Wing airline wine competition (New York); 2014-2017 Michelangelo International Wine Awards (South Africa); and for the The Stevie Awards for Women in Business (New York) (2014-2017).

Sergio Correa

Sergio Correa

Chile

With over thirty-five years of experience, Sergio Correa has obtained the membership of the Saint Emilion Guild, membership of "Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tatevin in Burgundy, being named Knight of the Order of Agricultural Merit by the French government, and being awarded the Chilean Viticulture and Wine Making Award as best enologist of the year in 2002. An agricultural engineer, enologist, he has participated in the creation of viticulture and wine making companies and organizations in Chile and abroad. He has participated for over twenty years as international jury of the most famous wine contests.

Iva Kovarikova

Iva Kovarikova

Czech Republic

Co-founder of the magazines Restaurant, Revue pro Hotel a Restaurant and Sommelier in early 90´s, since 2004 the sole owner and CEO of the GastroPress Publishing. As a journalist she covers important national and international exhibitions and other occassions for her magazines, among others the VinoElite Valencia, MIA Fiera Rimini, Sial Paris etc. In recent years she has extended her activities into the area on national and international wine contests as a taster and judge. She´s holder of the wine-taster certificate according to EU standards.

Lubos Barta

Lubos Barta

Czech Republic

Doctor Lubos Barta graduated from the Faculty of Law of the Prague Charles´ University in 1982 and holds an MBA degree (public relations and marketing communication) earned in 2012. He is a member in good standing of the Czech Journalists Syndicate, American Wine Society, American Association of Wine Economists, WAWWJ journalists association, Association of Sommeliers of the Czech Republic. International taster, a renowned wine-writer and wine-critic. Lecturer of the Prague Culinary Institute. One of five holders of the title "Benchmark Taster 2013" by Vinopres, Bruxelles, Belgium.

 Jean-Luis Da Ros

Jean-Luis Da Ros

France

Herve Romat Conseil

Herve Romat Conseil

France

 Antonio Apollonio

Antonio Apollonio

Italy

Roberto Lepori

Roberto Lepori

Italy

Roberto Lepori is an International Wine, Food and Tourism Journalist, Sommelier, Wine and Spirits Educator, Judge, and Wine and Food Communications Specialist. Roberto lives in Rome, but, like Ulysses, he is always traveling around the world to discover the "knowledge", the culture, and the traditions of the different countries. He states that "wine is an art, like poetry, painting, music, love, dance, singing, history, and astronomy; the language of wine a celestial sublimation of body, mind, spirit and soul". He graduated as Master Class Sommelier from the Italian Sommelier Association of Rome. He regularly writes on Italian food and wine as well as on the international wine competitions in which he judges.

Paul Robert Blom

Paul Robert Blom

Netherlands

Paul Blom has 40 years of expertise in the wine industry and is a Registered Wine Trader, one of 12 in the Netherlands. From 1977 until 2008 he was a lecturer and examiner at the wine academy in Maarn. Besides his broad knowledge of wines, he is an expert on wines from Central Europe "The New Old World".

René van Hoven

René van Hoven

Netherlands

Rene was born in the Netherlands and studied Food & Beverage at the Technical University of Amsterdam. He is a trained chef and waiter with an education in wine and spirits. In this field, he is also qualified as a teacher. During his study F&B, he worked at a liquor shop in Amsterdam , Cave Rokin. From that moment on, wine and spirits were it. After receiving his wine degree, Rene specialized more in spirits, particularly Rum and Whisky. Cave Rokin is the shop where Rene does Rum tastings each month.

 Maria Vicente

Maria Vicente

Portugal

 Marinela Ardelean

Marinela Ardelean

Romania

Marinela V. Ardelean is a wine expert, trained in Champagne and nominated in Reims as “Dame Chevalier de L’Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne”. She is an internationally acclaimed figure and judge, and a member of panels for a number of wine-tastings.

Dmitry Fedotov

Dmitry Fedotov

Russian Federation

Dmitry Fedotov is a wine expert, wine journalist, promoter, member of Supervisory board of the Winemaker’s and Winegrower’s Union of Russia, brand-ambassador of Gambero Rosso in Russia, teacher at the sommelier school “WinePeople”, chief editor of the “Wine guide of the Russian consumer”, judge of the international tasting competitions, laureate of “Sue Eccelenza Italia 2012” by Gambero Rosso and “Foglio d’Oro 2012”.

Gregory Mutambe

Gregory Mutambe

South Africa

Gregory Mutambe first came into contact with the world of wine while he was working as a cellar-hand in his home country of Zimbabwe. This is also how he 'fell in love with wine and never looked back'. Although he admits to the fact that he loves numbers and could have become an accountant like his dad, he chose to follow his heart and that’s why he’s now a Qualified Cape Sommelier! Gregory is currently a sommelier at The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa, he’s also busy with the Cape Wine Master programme.

Mike Duggan-Bampfield

Mike Duggan-Bampfield

South Africa

As a young aspiring chef, Michael laid a solid foundation for his career at the Cordon Bleu Cooking School in London. Over the next 30 years he had a series of high profile hospitality management posts, was the Public Relations Manager for Boschendal and ran three successful restaurants in the Cape. A lifetime devoted to the promotion and appreciation of the South African wine and food industry has earned him many accolades, including the Lannice Snyman Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2013 Eat Out Awards.

Tinashe Nyamudoka

Tinashe Nyamudoka

South Africa

Nyamudoka previously worked and trained at Reuben’s at One&Only Cape Town, where in 2013 he won the award for best Wine Steward in the Cape Legends Inter-Hotel Challenge. His recent appointment by Luke Dale-Roberts to join the dynamic team at internationally acclaimed The Test Kitchen indicates the respect that Tinashe commands in the food and wine industry. Zimbabwean-born Tinashe Nyamudoka arrived in Cape Town in 2008 and knew nothing about wine. He could not have imagined that seven years later he would be one of South Africa’s finest and most-respected wine sommeliers.

Winnie Bowman

Winnie Bowman

South Africa

A qualified physiotherapist and biomedical scientist, and holder of a PhD in Education, Winnie developed an interest in wine during her student days at Stellenbosch University and later through frequent travels to international winegrowing areas. She is a Cape Wine Master (and immediate past chair of the Institute of Cape Wine Masters), and judges wine regularly at local and international competitions. Wine is Winnie's passion and she enjoys every moment talking about or tasting it.

Germain Lehody

Germain Lehody

South Africa

Lehodey, recipient of a number of industry awards, is a self-confessed food and wine lover who has been involved in the business for most of his life. He has worked at top establishments around the country and sets course papers for the Cape Wine Academy. He also regularly organises “ingredient” tastings for anything from salt to bottled water so that people can expand their food knowledge.

Miguel Chan

Miguel Chan

South Africa

Miguel hails from Mauritius and is a Certified Sommelier. He is also a Wine Location Specialist in Champagne and Port region accredited by CIVC and IVDP, and Chevalier de l'Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne. He was the 2007 South African Young Sommelier of the year - Chaines des Rôtisseurs and represented South Africa at Concours Internationale des Jeunes Sommeliers, Frankfurt Germany. Miguel also works as Group Sommelier for Tsogo Sun Hotels since June 2009.

Roderic Proniewski

Roderic Proniewski

Singapore

Having developed his penchant for wine at a young age “tasting” his parents’ cellar wine and harvesting the vineyards of Provence, he continuously nurtured his interest first as the Sales & Marketing Director for a boutique Champagne house in Reims, followed by a stint as a consultant for various French wineries, later settling into acting as an Ambassador for French wineries in this region. Since 1996, he has settled in Singapore, frequently conducting wine talks and seminars.

Tobias Gorn

Tobias Gorn

United Kingdom

Tobias Gorn started his drinks industry career in 2003. Throughout his wine and spirit studies and since early years, he has always loved whiskies. As a Scotch Malt Whisky Society veteran and ex-head sommelier for Michelin star rewarded establishments, he gained a good understanding of unique premium drinks. Over the last decade, Gorn has dedicated his main attention to whisky, gin and cuban cigars. He's also an enthusiastic clay pigeon shooter, official shooting instructor and referee and cigar writer.

Lynne Sheriff

Lynne Sheriff

United Kingdom

Lynne was raised in South Africa and is based in London, where she has lived since 1991, when she was recruited to head VinFruco, a company exporting wine from South Africa to Europe. Lynne Sheriff, newly-appointed Chairman of the Institute of Masters of Wine, has made history in South Africa’s wine industry by becoming the first South African to head the prestigious wine institute. Sheriff is also one of only four South Africans who hold the Masters of Wine accreditation. Sheriff fondly remembers 1974 when she was working for the Arthur Seat Hotel in Sea Point, Cape Town, sparking her interest in wine.