2022 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
Victoria Soffer: Lead sourcing manager, Coles Liquor Group
Matt Harrop: Winemaker, Curly Flat
David Lawson: Winemaker, Black Wallaby Wines and Balgownie Wines
Takuya Kusuda (International Judge): Wine and Sake educator, judge and retailer

Tessa Brown: Vignerons Schmolzer & Brown

Tash Webster: Winemaker, Empire Wines

ASSOCIATE JUDGES:

Matt Kilby: Winemaker, Michelini Wines

Tegan Clydesdale: Assistant winemaker, Fowles Wine

Ray Chen: Winemaker, Rongo Wines and Product Innovation Manager, Pinnacle Drinks, Endeavour Group

 

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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.

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.

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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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Takuya Kusuda

Wine and Sake educator, judge and retailer

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Matt Harrop

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.

Ray Chen
Associate Judge

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Matt Kilby
Associate Judge

Winemaker, Michelini Wines

Matt's interest in wine began with his first job out of high school in liquor retail and was re-ignited many years later when he landed a vintage job at Dominion Wines in the Strathbogie Ranges. Shortly afterwards Matt started a 10 year stint at Mitchelton during which he completed the wine science degree at CSU and worked a vintage in the Mosel region of Germany.
Since 2018 Matt has been the winemaker at Michelini Wines, giving him the opportunity to gain a broad range of experience working with Italian varieties.

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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