The People

The judges and team behind the only awards truly focussed on our boutique winemakers

Current Judges

Toni Patterson MW
Toni Patterson MWChairperson 2023 -
Toni Paterson MW is one of Australia’s leading wine commentators. Toni has judged at many international wine shows including the Decanter World Wine Awards, International Wine Challenge & International Wine and Spirit Competition.
Huon Hooke
Huon HookeChairperson 1996 - 2022
One of Australia’s major wine writers and critics, Huon is judge of the Australian Winemaker of the Year and a number of other major wine competitions. Huon tastes wines blind and writes for Decanter, Sydney Morning Herald and the Real Review.
Xanthe Hatcher
Xanthe HatcherAgnew Wines Chief Winemaker
With Agnew Wines, Xanthe’s playground includes Audrey Wilkinson, Cockfighter’s Ghost and Pooles Rock with award-winning vineyards, cellar doors, and wineries situated amongst some of the Hunter Valley’s most breathtaking landscapes.
Peter Leske - Revenir Winery
Peter Leske - Revenir WineryWinemaker of the year 2020
Peter is a highly proficient technical winemaker, consultant and sought-after wine show judge, who has been a stalwart of the awards from the beginning. Peter filled in as Chairperson in 2021.
Nadja Wallington - Chalou Wines
Nadja Wallington - Chalou WinesVigneron & Winemaker
Nadja spent 7 years at Philip Shaw Wines in Orange, before establishing Chalou Wines, her joint venture with Steve Mobbs. Nadja also served as a board member of the The Australian Society of Viticulture & Oenology (ASVO).

Glenn Thompson
Glenn ThompsonWine Network Consulting
Glenn is an exceptionally talented Winemaker (Levantine Hill, Domaine Chandon, DeBortoli Wines, Bass Philip), Wine Show Judge, Len Evans Tutorial participant & industry consultant. He also loves Iron Maiden!
Janelle Zerk - Z Wines
Janelle Zerk - Z WinesOwner & Winemaker
Janelle completed her batchelor of Oenology at Adelaide University in 2002. She has completed 18 vintages since then at Z Wines in the Barossa Valley.
Jack Glover - Hill Smith Estates
Jack Glover - Hill Smith EstatesExecutive Director
Jack brings a wealth of industry experience to the Awards with a commercial understanding of all aspects of winemaking, viticulture, sales and marketing. Jack is a global wine judge & stage 2 MW student.
Sabine Duval - Hungerford Hill
Sabine Duval - Hungerford HillBrand Sales Manager
Sabine is an experienced Buyer and Wine Educator, skilled in aspects of Food & Beverage, Wineries and brand development. WSET Diploma qualified, Sabine is a part-time lecturer at the Sydney Wine Academy.
Chris Carpenter - Lark Hill
Chris Carpenter - Lark HillOwner & Winemaker
Chris joined the family business and winemaking team in 2002. He now has 21 vintages under the belt. Chris released Australia’s first commercial grüner from the 2009 vintage and was a Young Guns of wine finalist in 2017.
Michelle Li - Knappstein Wines
Michelle Li - Knappstein WinesWinemaker
Michelle brings a strong technical background in Oenology and viticulture to the Awards. Previous to Knappstein, Michelle was Assistant Winemaker with Project wine for 4 years and a Lab Technician with Cumulus wines.
Ryan Aggiss - Aravina Estate
Ryan Aggiss - Aravina EstateWinemaker
Ryan completed his degree from Charles Sturt Uni in 2011 whilst serving as Assistant Winemaker with Hardy’s and Winemaker at Flying Fish Cove. Ryan then spent 4 years with Houghtons, before securing the gig with Aravina in 2016.
Rob Mack - Aphelion Wines
Rob Mack - Aphelion WinesWinemaker & Director
Its Barolo & a Cruise that we have to thank for Rob Mack and incredible Grenache! Aphelion, was born in 2014 after stints with Kilikanoon, Laithwaites & Direct Wines. Rob is currently chasing the MW dream and was the Young Gun of Wine for 2018.

Ross Anderson
Awards Director

Our awards are more than just a competition; they are a commitment to maintaining the highest standards of quality and integrity in the wine industry and highlighting the incredible wines being made in this sector. Each entry is meticulously evaluated by a panel of expert judges, ensuring that only the best wines receive the accolade they deserve. This rigorous assessment process not only upholds the prestige of the awards but also guides consumers in discovering outstanding wines that stand a cut above the rest.

Our extended family of Judges includes:

Andrea Pritzker MW
Andrea Pritzker MWMaster of Wine
Annette Lacey MW
Annette Lacey MWMaster of Wine
Bob Campbell MW
Bob Campbell MWNew Zealand
Gary Baldwin
Gary Baldwin
Nick Butler
Nick Butler
Andrew Thomas
Andrew Thomas
Mike de Iuliis
Mike de Iuliis
Jonathan Holgate
Jonathan Holgate
Aaron Brasher
Aaron Brasher
William Wilson
William Wilson
Kasia Sobiesiak
Kasia Sobiesiak
Andrew Graham
Andrew Graham
Justine Prior
Justine Prior
Usher Tinkler
Usher Tinkler