Meet the Judges 2023
The Victorian Wine Show prides itself on the expert panel of judges, comprised with industry leaders from year to year.
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.
Panel Chair Judge
Winemaker, Curly Flat Vineyard
Matt is the winemaker at Curly Flat Vineyard, in the Macedon Ranges, Victoria. He attended the LET in 2003. Since then, he has judged at many regional and capital city wine shows and was the past chair of judges (2018-2021) at the Royal Melbourne Wine Awards.
He lives on a small farm in the Macedon Ranges with his family, and grows Chardonnay for his own label Silent Way.
Panel Chair Judge
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.
Winemaker, Yabby Lake / Heathcote Estate
Luke is a winemaker at Yabby Lake / Heathcote Estate based on the Mornington Peninsula where he has worked for the past 18 years. He also runs his family owned businesses, Devil's Cave Vineyard and barrel racking business, Devil's Racks based in Heathcote. Luke studied at Charles Sturt University, completing a bachelor degree in wine science in 2008. He completed the advanced wine assessment course (AWAC) in 2012 as well as completing several vintages over seas in Burgundy, Northern Rhone and New Zealand. He also has been a keen judge at regional and capital city shows over the past 12 years.
Chief Winemaker, Mitchelton
Mitchelton’s Chief Winemaker has just over 24 years’ experience in the wine industry.
A former track rider for the Hayes family at Lindsay Park, Nat joined Yalumba in 1999 when
family commitments required, she have a change of pace. She began her wine industry career in
the laboratory where she soon discovered a love of the winemaking craft, undertaking her
Bachelor’s degree in Wine Science at Charles Sturt University.
Nat has enjoyed both commercial and artisan experience, now with Mitchelton and previously
Katnook Estate, Yalumba and Hill Smith Family’s Estate vineyards. Nat has over a decade as a
dedicated cool climate red wine specialist.
Nat started her winemaking journey at Oxford Landing Estates in South Australia and
Dalrymple in Tasmania. She has undertaken an international vintage at Clos Figueres in Priorat,
Spain, an ultra-premium winery producing world-class DOQ wines.
Nat is an experienced wine show judge, having judged in numerous capital city and regional
wine shows as well as being a graduate of the world renowned Len Evans Tutorial. She is a two-
time finalist for Australian Women in Wine awards, Winemaker of the year.
A passion for premium handcrafted wines has seen Nat develop a sense of patience and faith in
the ability of great fruit to become outstanding wine.
“Over the years, I have developed a love a hands-off approach to winemaking, the excitement of
facing the challenges that each vintage brings and the ultimate reward of allowing a vineyard to
speak”,” she said.
“I find winemaking not dissimilar to the racing world – both involve the growing and handling
of fine stock in the hope you can create something special and memorable.”
Kasia is a wine writer, a regular contributor to the online wine platform, The Wine Front, a wine judge and educator, a speaker at events, masterclasses, and a former sommelier. She finalised a Master of Environmental Engineering degree that complements her wine knowledge achieved through the WSET Diploma and Court of Master Sommeliers programmes. Kasia's ongoing focus is in the spheres of formal and critical wine tastings, education and wines of Central and Eastern Europe.
Winemaker, Kooyong and Port Phillip Estate
Tim is currently Chief Winemaker for Kooyong and Port Phillip Estate on the Mornington Peninsula. Prior to this role Tim spent seven years as senior winemaker for Oakridge in the Yarra Valley.
He has been a winemaker since 2007 and has wide array of both commercial and premium winemaking experience.
Tim has been a judge at both regional and capital city wine shows since 2012.
He was named dux of AWAC in 2016 and was a scholar at the prestigious Len Evans Tutorial in 2019
Winemaker, Willow Creek Vineyard
Winemaker at Rare Hare wines on the Mornington Peninsula since 2008, prior to that worked at Stonier Wines from 1997. Have completed two vintages in France, in the Loire in 1996 and Burgundy in 2002. Have completed the AWAC in 1998 and LET in 2004, and judged at Gippsland, Yarra, Melbourne and Vic Wine Show.
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
She completed AWAC in 2007, sat the LET in 2017 and has been judging in the Australian wine show system since 2012.
Judge (International Judge)
Wine and Sake educator, judge and retailer
Takuya is a wine and sake educator (Academie du Vin, Tokyo and Osaka since 2002), judgeof wine and sake, and the owner of an internet wine shop, who lives in Tokyo, Japan. He isthe first certified Bourgogne Wine Educator in Japan, and has been the co-chair, Panel Chairand judge of many wine/sake shows since2007, such as the International Wine ChallengeLondon (judge wine and sake since 2011, sake co-chair since 2015), International Wine &Spirits Competition Hong Kong (2013-), Japan Wine Competition (2021-), to name a few. Histranslation of Robert Parker Junior’s Bordeaux in 1988 was the first Parker’ book to bepublished in Japanese. Needless to say, he is interested in wine, sake, beer and food, andhas visited more than fifty wine regions in the world many, many, times. He visits hisbrother at Kusuda Wines in Martinborough, New Zealand every year for vintage, andparticipates in harvesting and sorting grapes and wine making since 2002.