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MEET THE JUDGES






HEAD JUDGE
Christopher Waters • Media • Educator 

Christopher is co-founder and editor of VINES, a Canadian wine lifestyle magazine, and the national wine writer for Sun Media. His weekly column, Waters & Wine, appears in newspapers across the country. His work in VINES merited an Ontario Tourism Wine Journalism Award. An international wine judge and educator, Waters is also Wine Appreciation Coordinator at Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute.

watersandwine.com
vinesmag.com

 

Derek Barnett • Winemaker

Derek was born and raised in England, where he studied agriculture before immigrating to Ontario in the early 70s. Derek learned the art of winemaking while at Southbrook Winery, which ignited his passion, dedication and enthusiasm for producing the best VQA wines in Ontario. During his 15-year tenure as winemaker of Lailey Vineyard, Derek won numerous awards at Canadian and international competitions. 

meldvillewines.com

Marlize Beyers • Winemaker

Marlize is a graduate of the Stellenbosch University Viticulture and Oenology program and have been a winegrower in Niagara for the past 11 years. She is the winemaker at Hidden Bench Vineyards and Winery where she pursues her passion since 2010, working with her favourite varieties Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling. Previously winemaker at Flat Rock Cellars and 2013 recipient of the Ontario Winemaker of the Year Award, she continues her commitment to producing ultra premium wines on the Beamsville Bench. 

hiddenbench.com



Fred Gamula • Sommelier 

Fred has spent 20 years overseeing the wine program at the Prince of Wales in Niagara-on-the-Lake. As Chef Sommelier, he has assembled an outstanding offering of varieties from around the world. Fred offers insight into the artful blending of food and wine, providing guests of Escabèche Restaurant with an unforgettable experience.

vintage-hotels.com

  

Emma Garner • Winemaker 

During her studies in the Oenology and Viticulture program at Brock University, Emma Garner travelled to Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany and British Columbia. Her passion for wine and food grew with each trip. After working in vineyards and cellars in the Niagara region, Emma began working at Trius Winery, where she made wine in various capacities until 2005 when she began working for Thirty Bench Wine Makers. In 2010 she garnered the desirable Thirty Bench winemaker position. Emma believes in allowing the vineyard to express itself by making wine with minimal intervention. She loves working with Rieslings and ferments them at low temperatures to retain as many aromatic compounds as possible resulting in wines bursting with complexity and intensity.

Emma Garner, also took home the 2015 Winemaker of the Year award at the Ontario Wine Awards, who recognized her consistent quality production across her portfolio, successes as demonstrated by additional wine awards and overall contribution to the wine industry. 

thirtybench.com

  
Courtney Henderson • Sommelier • Media

Courtney‘s passion for wine and wine education has established her as a fixture on the Canadian wine scene since 2006.  As a CAPS certified sommelier she has served on numerous tasting panels for distinguished restaurants and competitions. Courtney currently works in wine marketing for a US based winery.

thewinesisters.com

  
Erin Henderson • Sommelier •  Media

After working as a sommelier and manager at some of Toronto’s leading venues, Erin Henderson founded the wine events company, The Wine Sisters, specializing in customized wine tastings, party planning, and private wine tours. 

Having also spent nearly a decade as a broadcast journalist, Erin launched WineTalk Radio in April 2015, a weekly live, call-in radio show focused on wine and entertaining. She also writes wine reviews for Vines magazine, and has been featured in theloop.ca, Huffington PostTonic Magazine and "Wine in Canada," a special Maclean's publication focusing on the Canadian wine industry. 

thewinesisters.com

  

Ellen Jakobsmeier • Sommelier

Ellen Jakobsmeier is a Toronto born and trained Sommelier currently spending her summer working in Prince Edward County. After designing beverage pairings for Chef Victor Barry's elaborate tasting menus at Splendido for two years, she made the leap to Bay Street as a Sommelier at MLSE's infamous Platinum Club under Head Sommelier Anne Martin.  This coming Fall 2016, she will be pursuing her Masters in Wine Business in Dijon, Bourgogne.

Jay Johnston • Winemaker

Jay has dedicated himself to winemaking and viticulture in Ontario, specializing in small-lot, ultra premium wines from the Beamsville Bench. His passion for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling and Bordeaux varietals has given him an opportunity to work with some of the best producers in the region, including Hidden Bench Vineyards, Thirty Bench Winery, Le Clos Jordanne, Stratus Vineyards and Cave Spring Cellars, prior to taking on his new role as Winemaker at Flatrock Cellars.

flatrockcellars.com

Lorie O'Sullivan • Sommelier • Writer

Based in Toronto, Canada, Lorie is the head Sommelier for TOCA, the signature restaurant at the highly acclaimed Ritz Carlton Hotel. She has also developed award-winning wine lists for restaurants like The Lakeview in Toronto and Touro Brazilian Steakhouse in Richmond Hill. A Niagara  native who is currently working towards her Master Sommelier designation in the US.

tocarestaurant.com
lorieloveswine.com



 


Adam Pearce • Winemaker

Adam, Ontario born and raised, is focused on advancing Niagara’s winemaking reputation. After graduating from the Winery and Viticulture program at Niagara College, he developed his art at leading wineries along the Niagara Escarpment. Adam then accepted opportunities both in British Columbia and Australia. Returning home he took charge at the new Two Sisters Vineyards, specializing in ultra-premium estate red Bordeaux varieties, the vision of the co-proprietors. Adam believes in allowing the vineyard to take the lead. He is enamored by the extended growing season of the Niagara River appellation as well as the diversity of other varieties from the region’s best growers. With an intense focus and attention to detail, his wines have garnered numerous accolades and awards at Canadian and international competitions. 

twosistersvineyards.com

   

 
Rod Phillips • Wine Author  Historian  
Journalist

An Ottawa-based wine historian, author, journalist, and judge, Rod Phillips is wine writer for NUVO Magazine, wine columnist for the Ottawa Citizen, and occasional contributor to Vines Magazine and The World of Fine Wine. His latest book is Alcohol: A History and his history of French wine will appear in October.

www.rodphillipsonwine.com
uncpress.unc.edu/books/T-6148.html



Rob Power • Winemaker • Sommelier • Educator

Rob worked for 10 years as a sommelier in Toronto before moving to Niagara with his wife to study at Brock University's Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI). After graduation, he immediately joined Creekside as assistant winemaker, becoming head winemaker shortly thereafter. Voted Winemaker of the Year in 2008, Rob also teaches WSET courses at Brock University.

creeksidewine.com

   



Sue-Ann Staff • Winemaker

Sue-Ann Staff is a 5th generation international winemaking star from the Niagara region, winning some of the most respected wine competitions in the world, producing wines at Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery in Jordan, ON. Sue-Ann also serves as president of the Twenty Valley Tourism Association and director for the WCO.

sue-annstaff.com 

  



Lydia Tomek • Winemaker

Lydia has served as head winemaker at Hernder Estate Wines and Harvest Estate Wines since 2006. A graduate of the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute at Brock University and a recent recipient of an Alumni of Distinction Award, Tomek is also an award-winning winemaker who worked at Hillebrand Estates and Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate prior to joining Hernder and Harvest. She was named as one of the Ontario Hostelry Institute’s Top 30 Under 30.

hernder.com
lydiatomek.com

   


James Treadwell • Sommelier 

James is the sommelier-owner of Treadwell Farm to-Table Cuisine in Port Dalhousie – considered by many to have Canada’s finest selection of Ontario wines. Before opening the restaurant, James worked as sommelier at the Relais & Chateaux, Michelin star-rated Chewton Glen Hotel in England and Queen’s Landing Inn in Niagara-on-the-Lake. He has travelled to the wine regions of France, Germany, Austria, Spain, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

treadwellcuisine.com

  




Daenna Van Mulligen • Sommelier • Media

Daenna is a Vancouver-based wine writer, international wine judge, accredited sommelier, speaker and the publisher of WineDiva.ca and WineScores.ca. She also contributes to Vines Magazine, TASTE Magazine and Montecristo Magazine.

winediva.ca
winescores.ca

  



Allison Vidug • Sommelier

Allison has been the Sommelier at The Shore Club Toronto, a downtown steak and seafood restaurant, for the last four years.  She also teaches about wine at George Brown College.  Previously, she was working at wineries and studying in Prince Edward County, Niagara, The Okanagan Valley and Salt Spring Island. When she is not working with wine, she is often sharing bottles with friends and family in her backyard or at the cottage. 

theshoreclub.ca

  



Martin Werner • Winemaker

Martin Werner, who is winemaker and vineyard manager at Ravine Vineyard in St. Davids, Ont., ploughed his way into the wine industry with
his tireless work ethic and boundless enthusiasm. Having grown up on his family’s farm located on the shore of Lake Ontario, a short drive from Old 
Town Niagara-on-the-Lake, Werner credits mentors like Thomas Bachelder, Darryl Brooker and 
Brian Bicknell, from New Zealand’s Mahi Wines, for helping him find his way.

ravinevineyard.com

   


Jennifer Wilhelm • Sommelier • Educator

Jennifer is a CAPS certified sommelier, holds WSET and Prud’homme credentials and is an instructor and advisor within the wine and hospitality programs at Niagara College and sommelier at the Mark Picone Culinary Studio. She is the recipient of several awards recognizing her dedication to the Ontario wine industry; including Top 40 Under 40, Brock University’s Promote the Promoters Awards and a Lieutenant Governor volunteer and dedication award for her contributions.

niagaracollege.ca
canadianfoodandwineinstitute.ca

  



Ross Wise • Winemaker

Ross is a Viticulture and Winemaking graduate of Charles Sturt University in Australia, and also a recent WSET Diploma graduate.  Prior to moving to Canada from New Zealand he gained winemaking experience in the Hawkes Bay, Marlborough and Central Otago regions.  Ross is currently Winemaker at The Good Earth, Organized Crime and Rosewood Wineries in Beamsville, and works as a consultant with Keint-he Winery and Icellars.

goodearthfoodandwine.com

  


Scott Zebarth • Sommelier 

Scott is the Senior Sommelier for Icon Legacy Hospitality, overseeing the wine programs for NAO Steakhouse, Patria, Byblos Toronto, Weslodge, Citta, and most recently Byblos Miami. Previously, Scott was the Wine Director at the Trump International Hotel, and was Sommelier of Auberge du Pommier for Oliver & Bonacini Restuarants.

naosteakhouse.com