Vanessa Altmann – Head Judge
Vanessa started making wine when she was 19 at an organic winery in Langhorne Creek, South Australia. From there she worked crafting wines while studying a winemaking degree through correspondence at Charles Sturt University.
She worked her way through the company, in roles from Assistant Winemaker to Winemaker and eventually Winery Manager over 15 years. During this time, she was always tasting, making, reviewing and learning about wine in varied contexts from the cellar through to her family’s kitchen table and all the wine bars in-between.
She was granted a place in the Len Evans Tutorial in 2010 which fast tracked her wine judging skills through being given the opportunity to learn from some of Australia’s most accomplished palates.
In 2013 she was granted a scholarship to undertake The Governor’s Leadership Foundation Program, which takes participants from all over South Australia. The course encourages participants to reflect on our state and how aspects of culture, economy, society, environment, business and Government are connected, the present, and future opportunities and challenges. Between hectic vintages Vanessa started her own business – Switch Organic Wine, in 2010 and also completed a Master of Business Administration majoring in finance.
Kirrilee Hay – Head Steward
Kirrilee Hay grew up in the Adelaide Hills and attended high school in the Barossa.
She has always been surrounded by wine. Her first position after university was coordinating the South Australian Regional Awards program that saw her travel across the state to celebrate businesses, organisations and individuals in regional communities, including those in the wine industry.
Kirrilee works in the marketing team of the Royal Adelaide Show and Wine Show, and has been a panel steward for the Royal Adelaide Wine Show for the past three years.
Gill Gorden-Smith, Winemaker & Educator (Fall From Grace)
Gill Gordon-Smith IWE is an Educator, retailer and small producer based in the Mclaren Vale region with a particular love of Italian Native Grapes and wines that have texture and personality.
She is the Co-ordinator of the Wine & spirits School TAFESA and WCA 2017 Educator and Wine Communicator of the year. She judges both locally and internationally and is one of 14 people and the first Australian, to pass the rigorous VIA Italian Wine Expert exam.
Charlotte Hardy, Owner & Head Winemaker (Charlotte Dalton Wines)
I own and make the wine for a little wine label, Charlotte Dalton Wines. I learned about loving and making wine through a few twists and turns over the past 20 years. I have worked in New Zealand, France, USA and Australia with and for many, many legends who have all impacted who I am and the wines I make today.
I have a Bachelor or Wine Science from Charles Sturt University which I completed in 2003. Wine is part of the fabric of my life, my partner and I have two little people and two little wine brands, these things all work together to create a lovely lifestyle filled with lots of fun, family, friends, wine and love.
Margot Muir, Manager (Ed Cellars)
Shawna Domnelli, Winemaker
Shawna Dominelli started her winemaking career focusing on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir on the Central Coast of California. With a strong performance in both vineyard and winery, she has since worked throughout California, New York, New Zealand, Kangaroo Island, Margaret River, Grampians, Pyrenees and has churned through 24 vintages, 15 wine regions and 3 countries.
A new focus on brewing and distilling has led to a venture, Grampians Ale Works, focusing on utilising local raw ingredients from the Grampians Region. She hopes to continue exploring and pioneering techniques to produce beers with unique flavour profiles.
Alex MacKenzie, Winemaker (Saltram Wines)
In 1996 Alex decided to pursue a course in Viticulture at University of Adelaide’s Waite Campus while also working in the cellar at Tintara, McLaren Vale. Completing the course in 2000, he travelled to France to work a vintage at Maison M. Chapoutier, one of France’s most respected Shiraz producers.
Following vintage in France, and under the guidance of many noted winemaking mentors, Alex completed the 2001 vintage at Quelltaler in the Clare Valley and remained making wines for Annie’s Lane until 2017. During this time, Alex completed a Post Graduate in Wine Making at Waite Campus. Eager to explore and employ new styles during his winemaking career, Alex also spent vintages in Piedmont, Chianti, and along the Mosel in Germany. Alex is currently Saltram’s 10th Winemaker, based in the Barossa.
Verity Cowley, Winemaker (Temple Bruer Wines)
While completing her degree in wine science at Charles Sturt University, Verity moved from Sydney to South Australia to pursue her dream of becoming a Winemaker. She found a passion in crafting certified organic and preservative free wines for Temple Bruer in Langhorne Creek, where you will still find her.
Since completing her degree she has travelled the world, exploring wine regions and working in Germany. She has completed WSET level 3 and is constantly thinking about her next wine adventure.
Anita Goode, Owner & Winemaker (Wangolina)
Anita is the owner and winemaker at Wangolina, Mount Benson. Inspired by a “careers for women” poster in her high school and a work experience gig, winemaking became the dream. Wangolina is now 20 years old and is no longer dominated by classic varieties. Sourcing fruit from their Mount Benson vineyard and other vineyards in the Limestone Coast has allowed the range to expand to become one of the Limestone Coast’s most varietally diverse producers. Anita’s love of alternative grape varieties has led her to become the current Chief Steward of the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show.
Not content with shepherding her 700-acre family farm into the future with viticulture alone, Anita also farms grass fed/free range, low stress beef cattle distributed both domestically and internationally.
If there is a spare moment Anita enjoys hanging with her cat Shrapnel, gardening and baking (she can turn out a prize winning Ginger Fluff Sponge). She enjoys trying other people’s wines and excessively long lunches with friends, drinking too much craft beer and is a cheese advocate. Anita’s hair is generally a purple hue.
Sharon Romeo, Owner & Manager (Fino)
Sharon’s contribution to SA’s hospitality industry covers over 30 years of experience and is referred to as an industry professional and legend. Sharon’s core value of uncompromising integrity has been fundamental in creating two successful regional restaurants FINO Willunga (2006-2016), FINO Seppeltsfield (2014-present) and a new produce driven city restaurant + bar FINO VINO (opens Nov 2019) with business partner, David Swain.
As a result of Sharon’s commitment to providing a thoughtful, genuine dining experience centered around service, produce, people and place she has amassed numerous accolades over the years.
Brian Parkes, CEO (Jam Factory)
Brian Parkes has been CEO at JamFactory in Adelaide since April 2010. He has overseen significant development of the organisation’s exhibition and training programs and substantial growth in its audience and operational budget. He is passionate about good design and fine craftsmanship and has worked in senior curatorial and commercial management roles in the visual art, craft and design sector in Australia for over 25 years.
Rob Mack, Winemaker & Owner (Aphelion Wine Co)
Rob is the Director and Winemaker for Aphelion Wine Co, based in McLaren Vale. Prior to striking out on his own with Aphelion Wine Co., Rob worked at Kilikanoon in the Clare Valley, Laithwaites Wine People in Sydney and McLaren Vale Winemakers.
In 2017 Rob worked vintage with one of the top wineries in Barolo – G.D. Vajra, where many secrets were shared over a glass of their single vineyard crus. A regular on both the regional and capital city show scene, Rob fine-tuned his palate by completing the AWRI Advanced Wine Assessment Course and took out the Yong Gun of Wine award in 2018.
Diego Garcia-Bellido, Senior Researcher in Palaeontology / Associate Professor University of Adelaide
Diego was born and raised in Madrid, but has lived many years overseas (mostly in the US and Canada). He started coming to South Australia in 2006, moving permanently with his family to Adelaide in 2013, and now has a joint appointment at the South Australian Museum and the University of Adelaide.
As a palaeobiologist he has needed to immerse himself in the knowledge of rocks and soil (essential elements in the making of a good wine), and from his late teens has been keen on the rich range of his native Spanish wines: from the Rioja and Ribera del Duero reds, to the Rueda and Cava whites, to the Fino and Oloroso of Jerez.
Ryan Davidson, Owner & Brewer (Little Bang Brewing Company)
Co-Founder and Head of Sales and Brand Strategy at Little Bang Brewing Company. Ryan has also worked in the video games, literature and film industries. He likes to flirt with the grapey side of the beverage industry also. Ryan learned a lot and met some amazing people at last year’s Hot 100, and looks forward to irritating the professionals slightly less this year.
Kris Lloyd, Manager & Head Cheesemaker (Woodside Cheese Wrights)
Kris Lloyd is CEO and Head cheese maker of Woodside Cheese Wrights a specialist cheese maker of goat, cow and buffalo cheeses, based in the Adelaide Hills. She is self-taught and her career now spans over 20 years.
In 2010 Kris won the National Telstra Business Women’s Award for Innovation. She is also and International Cheese Judge and was inducted into the International Cheese Makers Guilde in France in 2014.
Kris continues to be involved in many aspects of the cheese and food industry in South Australia and Australia and was named one of South Australia’s Food Ambassadors, she is a fervent supporter of regional foods and wines, farmers markets and producers.
Pablo Theodoros, Co-owner Mother Vine Bar & Stanley Bridge Hotel
After over 10 years of working in fine wine retail Pablo left for a venture in the Adelaide Hills, as the owner/publican at the Stanley Bridge Tavern. He is also a co-owner of Mothervine Wine Bar in Adelaide.
Being involved in both businesses give Pablo a great view of wines from all over the world with a focus on the Adelaide Hills. Pablo also has wine project with two friends called Hills & Back wines that explores Italian grape varietals grown in the Adelaide Hills. A scholar of the prestigious Len Evans tutorial, Pablo has previously judged at regional wine shows around South Australia along with the Australian Alternative Wine Show in Mildura and previous years at the Adelaide Review Hot 100 Wines.
Claudia Lill, Qantas Wine Buying Manager, Qantas
Claudia Lill managed the wine selection for Qantas international and domestic flights and lounges for nearly a decade, crafting it into the most successful airline wine program in the world.
Under her direction, Qantas was awarded the highest wine accolade for five years running, including trophies for best overall cellar, best business-class cellar and best first-class cellar. A passionate advocate for Australian producers, Claudia says: “I love using my relationships with hundreds of wineries across Australia to bring Qantas Wine members exciting, vibrant, quality wines – with a few surprises thrown in.” And her favorite varietal? Chardonnay.
Kate Goodman, Winemaker
Kate Goodman grew up on the south coast of New South Wales where she developed respect for the land. She studied Biomedical Science but realised working in a lab was not for her and took a job at McLaren Vale winery Wirra Wirra where she worked alongside Steve Pannell (S.C. Pannell) and Ben Riggs (Mr Riggs) and knew wine was to be her future.
Kate studied winemaking and as a graduate, took a job at historic Seppelt Wines in Victoria’s Grampian region. Over seven years she honed her skills as part of a passionate group of winemakers.
In 2001, she moved to the Yarra Valley as chief winemaker at Punt Road winery and in 2003 became a member of the alumni of the Len Evans Tutorial Scholars. She is an active and respected senior wine show judge and consultant in Australia. Her own wine company, Goodman Wines, founded in 2012 focused on premium single vineyard parcels.
Kate also took on the role as chief winemaker at Penley Estate and feels she is now able to fully express her winemaking philosphy: to create wines with freshness and vibrancy while retaining varietal integrity – adding less and allowing the vineyards to direct the wine. In 2019 , Kate was awarded the Winemaker of the Year at the Australian Women in Wine awards.
Jessica Hodge, Winemaker
Jessica Hodge is a graduate of the Viticulture & Oenology programme at the University of Adelaide. She has completed several harvests in McLaren Vale and Oregon USA, experiencing both warm and cool climate wine regions.
Jessica’s passion for alternative varietals and minimal intervention winemaking she has led her to become a part of the team at La Madrina wines. When she isn’t running around the Vale she also works as an assistant distiller for gin aficionados Never Never Distilling Co. Jessica might be a fresh face but she is certainly making up time with her enthusiasm in exploring all facets this industry has to offer.
Katie Spain, Wine Writer
Katie Spain is a journalist, wine writer and author. She works as a feature writer for SA Weekend Magazine, Australian Wine Business Magazine, and is a food and wine writer for The Advertiser, Sunday Mail, and The Advertiser Food Guide.
She was the 2017 Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show fellow and is the author of The Producers: A Taste of South Australiaand co-author of Adelaide Central Market – Stories, People & Recipes. When the former farm kid is not cumulating keyboard strokes she can usually be found scouring the country for stories (and cellar doors) in a tiny vintage caravan called Charlie.