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2021 JUDGES

CHIEF JUDGE: Simon Osicka: Winemaker, Paul Osicka Wines

 

JUDGES:
Belinda Thomson: Winemaker, Crawford River Wines
Marcus Radny: Proprietor, Gonzo Vino
Joshua Cooper: Winemaker, Josh Cooper wines
Meg Brodtmann: Winemaker, Rob Dolan Wines
Amy Sutherland Smith: Winemaker, Warrabilla Wines
David Lawson: Winemaker, Black Wallaby Wines and Balgownie Wines
Fran Austin: Winemaker, Delamere Vineyards

Tessa Brown: Vignerons Schmolzer & Brown

Tash Webster: Winemaker, Empire of dirt wines

ASSOCIATE JUDGES:

Victoria Soffer: Lead Sourcing manager, Coles Liquor Group

Tegan Clydesdale: Assistant winemaker, Fowles Wine

Kirilly Gordon: Winemaker Bowerbird Wines, Patch Wines

 

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Simon Osicka 

Winemaker, Paul Osicka Wines, Graytown

Simon is involved in running his small family winery and vineyard, Paul Osicka Wines, located at Graytown on the Eastern boundary of the Heathcote Wine Region.  The vineyard was first established in 1955 by his grandparents and tended by his father for over 50 harvests.

 

 He also operates another small wine business, The Bull Lane Wine Company.  Previous to this, Simon was the Group Red Winemaker for the Hardy Wine Company and has worked numerous vintages overseas, mostly recently at Domaine J.L. Chave in the Northern Rhone Valley.  Simon has completed the AWRI Advanced Wine Assessment Course, is a former Len Evans Scholar and has judged at a number of wine shows.  He recently planted a small bush vine Grenache vineyard, which is a prefect excuse to drink more Grenache.  

Marcus Radny

Sommelier

"Marcus has a background as a sommelier having worked all around Australia. These days he can be found running Gonzo Vino, a boutique producer of modern, sustainably produced cask wines

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Belinda Thompson

Winemaker/Viticulturist, Crawford River Wines

Belinda is Chief Winemaker and Viticulturist at Crawford River Wines in South West Victoria. Working with her father in the winery from 2004-2011 and influencing the future direction of the vineyard, in 2012 she became the creative force behind the vineyard and wines, crafting sustainable, elegant, single site wines. With extensive international experience in both vineyards and wineries across a range of countries,
regions and varieties, Belinda brings an experienced palate and depth of knowledge.

 

In 2020 Belinda was a finalist for GT Winemaker of the Year and was a Young Gun of Wine Vineyard finalist.

Tessa Brown

Viticulturalist/winemaker, Vignerons Schmolzer & Brown, Beechworth

Tessa Brown is a qualified viticulturist and winemaker and is one half of Vignerons Schmolzer & Brown in Beechworth, north east Victoria where she and partner Jeremy specialise in high altitude, true cool climate
viticulture.

She completed AWAC in 2007, sat the LET in 2017 and has been judging in the Australian wine show system since 2012.

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David Lawson

Winemaker

David Lawson is the owner and winemaker for his family owned and run business, Black Wallaby Wines. David is also one of the wine makers at the well renown Balgownie Estate Winery in Bendigo, and currently shares his time between the two establishments. 

David formed a love and passion for Viticulture and Wine Making from his father Jim, from a young age, where he was involved in the establishment of the family's vineyard at Bridgewater in Victoria. It was from here that David decided to pursue a career in the profession and obtained a degree in Wine Science from CSU in Wagga Wagga in 2008. 

An extensive career, spanning over 20 years, both abroad and on home soil, has assisted David to build a deep passion and love for the wine making profession. After spending four years living and working in Europe, David and his wife returned home to Victoria with the intention of taking on the family farm and wine business. Now with three young daughters in tow, David and his family continue to produce award winning wines from vine to table with passion and love.

Fran Austin

Winemaker, Delamere Vineyard, Tasmania 

Fran Austin moved to Tasmania from her home state of Western Australia in 2001 as Winemaker/Manager at the Bay of Fires Winery. Her passion for Champagne and cool climate wines stretches back to her days studying winemaking at Adelaide University. With many year of winemaking experience in Burgundy, Oregon, Yarra Valley and the Adelaide Hills, Fran chose to settle in Tasmania due to the unparalleled fruit quality within this special region.

 

Over the years Fran's wines collected a swag of wine show awards. In 2005 she was awarded the Gourmet Traveller Young Winemaker of the year and she was selected as a scholar of the Len Evans Tutorial in 2009. Her expertise dovetails perfectly to compliment the brilliant developments her husband, Shane Holloway, has made with Delamere since acquiring the 30-year-old vineyard and winery in 2007. 

 

Fran made the decision in 2012 to join Shane full time at Delamere Vineyard, where their sparkling wines, chardonnay and pinot noir have become industry benchmarks for Tasmanian single site wines.

 

In 2016 Fran was the recipient of the Don Martin Fellowship for her project to investigate the ‘Factors Underpinning the Grower/Producer Sector in Champagne’. The project encompassed in-depth interviews with many renowned family producers, including Pierre Gimonnet and De Sousa, as well as the prestigious houses of Louis Roederer and Verve Cliquot. 

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Josh Cooper

Winemaker, Josh Cooper Wines, Macedon

Based on the Macedon Ranges, Josh produces a selection of single vineyard wines largely based around Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from unique sites within the region as well as it surrounds. A previous Len Evans Scholar and Capital wine show judge and Gourmet Traveller Wines Young Winemaker of The Year 2020.

Tash Webster 

Winemaker, Geelong

Tash is the founder and winemaker of the Moorabool Valley based label Empire of dirt wines. She gained experience working in many wineries and vineyards across Geelong's three sub-regions (as well as her hometown of Orange, NSW) while completing her CSU winemaking degree as Dux and with distinction. Having failed with her first business attempt (always a good life lesson) she now makes boutique wines that represent the Geelong region. Tash was a finalist in the 2020 Young guns of wine awards.

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Amy Sutherland Smith

Winemaker, Warrabilla Wines, Rutherglen

Amy Sutherland Smith is a sixth generation Rutherglen winemaker carrying on a family tradition of nearly 160 years. Like so many from this region, she grew up with a  Muscat-dipped pacifier and has carried that attachment into adulthood. Amy studied wine science at Charles Sturt before returning home to the family winery, Warrabilla where she integrates her "modern" and "green" approach to winemaking and viticulture while  testing her father's sanity in the process. Having started her affiliation with the wine show system as a teenager in the 00's stewarding the Rutherglen Wine Show and National Fortified Wine Show, Amy worked her way up to now sit on the committee of these shows and takes great pride in promoting the fortified sector as a whole. 

Meg Brodtmann

Winemaker, Rob Dolan Wines, Yarra Valley

Meg Brodtmann MW is a winemaker with experience encompassing winemaking techniques from some of the world’s top wineries and spanning more than twenty years across three continents.

Meg began her winemaking career in Australia before making a name for herself across Europe and South America as winemaking consultant for Cellarworld International in the UK. Her knowledge of wine saw Meg not only define wine styles for the burgeoning UK market but also be a wine judge with the International Wine Challenge (UK) and various wine magazines. 

 

In 2001 Meg moved to Chile where she spent the next 8 years working as a senior winemaker, broker and consultant.  After working as Senior Winemaker with Viña Morande, Meg established her own winemaking and wine education company – Southern Cross Wines - where she developed and delivered programmes across Latin America.  In conjunction with The Wine School, Meg created the first approved programme provider for The Wine and Spirit Education Trust in Latin America.

 

Meg has won the Deinhard Award for Best Dissertation from the Institute of Masters of Wine and her years of hard work and talent culminated in Meg becoming Australia’s first female Master of Wine in 2002.

Upon her return to Australia in 2008 as a renowned and respected member of the Australian and international wine industry, Meg established Southern Cross Wines (Australia). Since then she has worked with Cellarmaster Wines as their Victorian Brand Champion and teaches WSET Levels 2 to 4 (Diploma) in Melbourne. Meg was the Chief Winemaker for Helen and Joey Estate for 6 years.  Meg is actively involved in the Master of Wine educational programme as the Panel Chair for Paper 2 of the Masters of Wine examination. 

Thoroughly distinguished throughout her career, Meg has been the Chair of the International Cool Climate Wine Show and judges at various regional and international wine shows. 

Meg is currently the Education & Global Outreach consultant for Rob Dolan Wines, based in her beloved Yarra Valley.

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Kirilly Gordon
Associate Judge

Kirilly began her career in winemaking while doing work experience for a degree in Agricultural Science at the University of Melbourne in 1997.  A fascination began for growing grapes and the art and science of turning them into wine which led to enrolling in the Charles Sturt Uni Wine Science degree and a winemaking job in the Macedon Ranges where she grew up. Many vintages later including two overseas, a finely tuned palate and love of fermentation of all kinds, she has come full circle to work full time at Bindi, has her own wine brand called Bowerbird Wines and is one half of Patch Wines.

Tegan Clydesdale
Associate Judge

Assistant Wine Maker, Fowles Wine

Tegan began a career in the wine industry in 2008, starting in the laboratory at Fowles wine in the cool rolling hills of the Strathbogie Ranges. She quickly gained valuable experience and a passion for wine at Folwes. It was from here that Tegan decided to enrol to study Wine Science at Charles Sturt University in 2017 and picked up the role of Assistant Winemaker. Currently still completing the degree while expanding her skills along the way and having a hand in producing some award winning wines.

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