Chairman of Judges
John Belsham – Foxes Island Wines, New Zealand
An international winemaker, businessman, consultant and critic, John has 35 years of wine industry experience that has shaped and guided some of the most successful wine companies today. As a student, he learned to make wine in Bordeaux, France where he lived from 1977 to 1981. He founded Rapaura Vintners in 1991, the first contract winemaking company in New Zealand. Re-focusing his attention on producing premium, single vineyard wines John founded Foxes Island Wines in 1992. For over 20 years the winery has been largely focused on crafting prestigious Pinot Noir along with fine selections of Estate Riesling, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. An internationally respected wine judge and critic, he is the Wine Panel Chair for Australasia's leading food and wine magazine, Cuisine, and has held the role of Wine Consultant to Air New Zealand since July 2000
2018 Judging Panel
Alison Eisermann MW Wine Maker and Wine Educator, NSW - Panel Chair
Alison completed her Oenology degree at Charles Sturt University while working as an agricultural educator. Her earlier qualifications include a Degree in Biochemistry and Microbiology and Graduate Diploma in Education. In 2013 Alison qualified as a Master of Wine.
Early wine industry roles included winery cellar hand, vineyard operations, wine retail and lecturing. This direct management period included establishing and managing managing a 110ha vineyard in Central New South Wales for 10 years and producing wines in their boutique winery for 6 years.
After relocating to Sydney Alison continued wine making, vineyard consulting, wine lecturing and judging throughout Australia the US and UK International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) and as a Panel Chair for the past 9 years at the International Wine Challenge (IWC). Alison has travelled extensively through the worlds key wine regions and judged wines from most styles and countries.
For the past 11 years she has been a lecturer at the Sydney Wine Academy. For the past four years she has also been lecturing for the Degree course at the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute, Sydney and Asia Wine Service and Education Centre (AWSEC) Hong Kong and China.
Trent Mannell – Senior Buyer, Australian Wine Selector - Panel Chair
Trent Mannell is a graduate in Wine Marketing from the University of Adelaide and for the past 19 years has been Senior Buyer at the Australian Wine Selectors. Prior to that he held roles in Sales and marketing at Draytons, Tyrrells and Cassegrain Wines. He is also an experienced Wine Judge, with judging positions at the Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and Hunter Valley Wine Shows as well as the prestigious London International Wine Challenge as Senior Judge
Greer Carland Winemaker and Consultant, TAS
Greer Carland is based in southern Tasmania and has been making wine in Tasmania for 14 years. She has experience in North and South America, France and three states of Australia. From 2004 - 2016 Greer was a senior winemaker with Winemaking Tasmania where she managed the sparkling and white and red table wine production. The winemaking team she worked with has produced a number of CIRC trophy winning Rieslings, including the Best Wine of the Challenge in 2011 and the Best Dry Riesling in 2015.Greer has been the winemaker for her family's label, Laurel Bank , for many years and is currently launching her own label, Quiet Mutiny.
Steve Baraglia Senior Winemaker Pikes Wines, SA
Born and raised in the Barossa Valley, the wine industry was always a big part of Steve’s life. From an early age Steve was involved with working in the family’s small vineyard at Williamstown, which ultimately lead to a career in the wine industry. After finishing an Oenology degree and a Viticultural diploma at the University of Adelaide he took up a position at Pikes in 2003 where he is currently the Senior Winemaker. He is passionate about making wine and loves working with Riesling, a variety well suited to the Clare Valley. His approach to make Riesling is careful management in the vineyard to create a balanced canopy then minimal winemaking intervention, trying to capture the specific vineyard site. Steve and his family live on their small vineyard property at Sevenhill, he is also the winemaker (and a partner) for Naked Run and Place in Time Wines.
Jim Trezise – President, International Riesling Foundation, USA
James (Jim) Trezise was President of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation from its creation in 1985 until his retirement in 2017, and has been involved with the industry since 1982. Jim is widely recognized for his leadership in the broader American wine industry, having received six national awards or other recognition for his many contributions. Jim is actively involved with several national and international organizations focusing on key issues affecting the grape and wine industry worldwide. He is Founder and President of the International Riesling Foundation, a coalition of top Riesling producers from around the world seeking to promote Riesling and educate consumers, and the President of Wine America. He is a frequent speaker on major issues at conferences throughout the United States, as well as a professional wine judge at more than a dozen international competitions.
Fongyee Walker – Director, Dragon Phoenix Wine Consulting, Beijing
Based in Beijing since 2007, Fongyee is specialist wine educator and consultant in English and Mandarin. She is the co-founder of Dragon Phoenix Wine Consulting, one of China's most successful wine education companies, providing the only WSET Level 4 taught course on mainland China. She has been the guest international judge for the Royal Melbourne Wine Show, AWOCA (Wines of Chile), and the Old Mutual Trophy South Africa, among others. Fongyee has written for Decanter Magazine, The World of Fine Wine, CaijingRibao, reviews wines for RVF China and Wine in China; was a significant contributor to the film Red Obsession and has appeared as a commentator on Chinese wine on CNN. She is the presenter of Wok 'n' Wine, a 14 part series on food and wine matching in China which has, at latest count, over 4 million viewers in mainland China.