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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 the Postmedia Network. His weekly column, Waters & Wine, appears online and in newspapers across the country. An international wine judge and educator, Waters is also Wine Appreciation Coordinator at Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute and represents Canada at the Six Nations Wine Challenge.

watersandwine.com
vinesmag.com

   

Jordan Alessi • Sommelier

Jordan Alessi is the Wine/Beverage Director at the Chase Hospitality group where he oversees the wine programs for The Chase, Chase Fish and Oyster, Planta and Kasa Moto in Toronto. He studied wine marketing at EIT in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand and in his previous life was the Assistant Sommelier at Café Boulud and D/Bar at the Four Seasons in Toronto.  

chasehg.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 has been a winegrower in Niagara for the past 12 years. Previously winemaker at Hidden Bench Vineyards and Winery (2010-2017) and Flat Rock Cellars (2005-2009), she has a wealth of knowledge and experience working with cool climate varieties. The 2013 recipient of the Ontario Winemaker of the Year Award, she continues her commitment to producing ultra- premium wines in the Niagara wine region.
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 

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.

thirtybench.com

   

Darrin Mak • Educator • Media

Darrin is a WSET Diploma holder and certified educator through the WSET and Wine Scholar Guild. He teaches various wine programs at George Brown College and has received several awards including the Royal Tokaji Scholarship and the Brian Kirkwood Memorial Award for outstanding achievement in wine education. He is the current Cellar Manager at Toronto's Fine Wine Reserve where Canada's top private collections are under his care. Recently, Darrin has joined Star Wine List, an international guide for wine lovers as their Ontario ambassador.

finewinereserve.com
starwinelist.com



Lorie O'Sullivan • Sommelier • Media

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 before working in British Columbia and Australia. Returning home he took charge of the cellars at Two Sisters Vineyards, specializing in ultra-premium estate red Bordeaux varieties.

twosistersvineyards.com


 




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

  


Melissa Pulvermacher • Sommelier • Educator

Melissa Pulvermacher is a Toronto-based sommelier, educator and wine-writer. Melissa teaches the WSET program as well as the Wine & Oenology course for the Hospitality and Tourism department at The University of Guelph. She also works as Import and Operations Manager for Cru Wine Merchants, managing an international portfolio of 40+ wine producers.

pulvinowine.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

   




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

  




Anjana Viswanatha • Sommelier

Anjana received her sommelier certifications through the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers and The Court of Master Sommeliers in 2014, after a 15-year career in communications. She quickly went on to distinguish herself at two premiere Canadian restaurants – working at Canoe and opening Alo Restaurant in Toronto. Anjana is now the sommelier at Bacchanal in Toronto and runs Wednesday Night Wine, providing consulting services to wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake as well as private and corporate clients in Toronto. She is also part-time faculty at George Brown College.

bacchanal.ca
wednesdaynightwine.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 is currently a stage two Master of Wine student. A New Zealand native, Ross gained experience in Hawkes Bay, Marlborough and Central Otago before moving to Canada in 2006. After a decade of winemaking and consulting in Ontario he recently relocated to the British Columbia, and is now winemaker at the much-anticipated Phantom Creek Estates in the Southern Okanagan Valley. 

phantomcreekestates.com

  


Scott Zebarth • Sommelier • Media

Scott is a sommelier, consultant and wine writer in Toronto. Known for his work with some of Toronto’s largest restaurant groups, he most recently was the Senior Sommelier for Icon Legacy Hospitality, overseeing all wine programs for seventeen properties in Toronto, Miami and Dubai. Scott also creates online content for Gargoyle, contributes to Vines Magazine, and consults for restaurants and private clients.

iconlegacy.ca
gargoylenow.com