Wine Show Judging

The Judging Process

Exhibits will be judged by five panels of three judges with two supporting associate judges. Each panel will have a panel chair and the entire process will be overseen by Chair of Judges, Philip Rich.

Judging of each exhibit will be conducted under best practise wine show judging procedures. Judges will be separated from the stewarding area and exhibits at all times. Pouring and setup will be done by dedicated stewards to ensure the anonymity of each exhibit.

The judging environment will be carefully regulated to ensure optimal judging conditions. Lighting, temperature, odours and noise will all be carefully monitored. Riedel stemware will be used to judge each exhibit. The number of wines judged at any one time will be carefully managed to ensure judges are always fresh and not suffering from palate fatigue. Exhibits will be scored on a 100 point scale.



The Judges

The judges are carefully selected to ensure there is no regional or stylistic bias. The judges must have a strong background in wine show judging and there is a preference to have a mix of backgrounds which may include: winemaking, wine media, sommeliers and wine retailers.

In 2017, Philip Rich will once again be the Chair of Judges. This will be Philips third and final year as Chair.


2017 Yarra Valley Wine Show Judges


Philip Rich 1Philip Rich – Chair of Judges – Melbourne born and bred, for over ten years (1996–2007) Philip was responsible for all the sommelier training and wine lists at the Stokehouse and Prince of Wales including Circa’s multi award winning list. Philip was the founder and a partner in Prince Wine Store (1996 – 2015) and Bellota Wine Bar (2013-2015) and now consults full time. Philip has written a monthly wine column for the Australian Financial Review Magazine since 1999. A Len Evans Tutorial graduate, Philip has judged at numerous wine shows in Australia and New Zealand as is currently chair of the MVPA (Mornington Peninsula) Wine Show and The Yarra Valley Wine Show and James Halliday Chardonnay Challenge.


Anna Pooley Wine MakerAnna Pooley – Anna’s wine journey began working alongside her Grandmother Margaret in the family vineyard. Inspired by the first vintage from the Pooley Estate, Anna left Tasmania to study winemaking at the University of Adelaide.During her career Anna has worked with some of Australia’s great wineries such as Penfold’s, Wolf Blass, Tatachilla, Yellowglen, Rosemount & lead the Tasmanian premium producer Heemskerk to international acclaim. Vintages in Italy with Castello di Gabbiano & Riecine as well as time at the famed Salomon Undhof in Austria has deepened Anna’s winemaking skill set enabling her to produce elegant and world class – age worthy wines. In 2008 Anna was the Dux of the AWRI Advanced Wine Assessment course and has judged a range of national and regional shows including the Royal Adelaide wine show, Tasmanian Wine Show and the Canberra International Riesling Challenge. In 2010 Anna was awarded to coveted ‘Young Winemaker of the Year’ award and in 2012 completed the exclusive Len Evans Tutorial.
Anna’s philosophy is of minimal intervention.


Chris Crawford – Chris is a Sommeliers Australian committee member, and sub-committee member for education, where he is heavily involved in establishing & tutoring the Sommeliers Australia Education Program. He is also a Judge at various regional and state wine shows, as well as a committee member for the Royal Melbourne Wine Show and a certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers (UK & USA). With roles as the Wine Buyer for The Prince Hospitality Group, and the Lucas Group he is now the General Manager of Beverage for Crown Casino overseeing all aspects of the Melbourne operation.



Chris TyrrellChris Tyrrell – Chris represents the fifth generation of Tyrrell’s family winemaking dynasty, alongside his sister, Jane, and brother, John. In recent years, Chris and the Tyrrell’s winemaking team have focused heavily on improving, and where necessary reinventing, their classic regional styles and single vineyard sites…specifically the flagship semillon and shiraz wines from some of the worlds oldest vineyards. Chris is an active judge in the Australian wine show circuit and leads the Hunter Valley Young Winemakers Group. More recently, Chris completed the Winemakers Federation of Australia “Future Leaders” Program, which focuses on developing the next generation of Australian wine industry leaders.
Now 33, Chris’s mission is to ensure that the legend of the Tyrrell’s family winemaking tradition lives on, for future generations to come.



Julian LangworthyJulian Langworthy – Julian’s passion for wine was sparked by a childhood spent following his ornithologist father through vineyards, studying and managing agricultural pests. But it was his realisation that marine biology (the first university course he studied) was best as an interest, as opposed to a lifelong career, which stimulated him to enrol in Adelaide University’s distinguished oenology course. Prior to joining Deep Woods Estate as Chief Winemaker in January 2011, Julian was the Chief Winemaker at Knappstein Winery in the Clare Valley of South Australia. In his first year in this role the winery went on to win the Trophy for Best Riesling at the National Wine Show in Canberra. His philosophy of careful vineyard management and close attention to detail in the winery, together with a determination to achieve the best possible fruit expression with a distinctive, modern Deep Woods style, has resulted in a range of outstanding wines that have received widespread acclaim.


Liz Silkman 1Liz Silkman – Liz started her Wine Industry career in 1999 as a Lab Technician at Brokenwood Wines, after completing her Bachelor of Science degree at Newcastle University. In 2002 she accepted an Assistant Winemakers role at Tempus Two, where she spent 6 years, while completing her Graduate Diploma in Oenology from the University of Adelaide. In 2006, Liz was awarded the Dux of the Len Evans Tutorial, described by James Halliday as the “most exclusive wine school in the world”; and in 2007 was a finalist for Young Winemaker of the year. In 2008 Liz was appointed to her current role – Chief Winemaker at First Creek Wines, where she plays a pivotal role both in the production of First Creeks’ own award-winning wine brand, as well as having 27 other wine companies place their fruit and their trust in Liz’s exceptional skills.



Matt SkinnerMatt Skinner – Matt is an author, writer, consultant, and educator well known to international audiences for his refreshing take on wine, and knack for making it simple. A strong believer that wine is for everyone, and that enjoying it is your right rather than your privilege, Matt was named ‘Best Young International Wine Writer 2012’ by Italy’s Grande Cru d’Italia, has been short-listed for the IWSC International Communicator of the Year Award three times, is author of international bestsellers Thirsty Work, Heard It Through The Grapevine, & The Juice, and was recipient of the coveted Negociants ‘Working with Wine’ Fellowship in 2000. Having co-founded and managed Melbourne’s Prince Wine Store in 1996, Matt relocated to London in 2002 to help establish Fifteen Restaurant with Jamie Oliver & Tobie Puttock. Matt has since worked closely with Melbourne’s renowned Van Haandel Group, The Gazebo Group in Sydney, the Coles Liquor Group, and Jetstar Airways. Matt has been a regular contributor to Sunday Life Magazine, Gourmet Traveller Wine, BBC Australian Good Food, and Home Beautiful. Together with his family, he lives, works & plays in Melbourne, Australia where he is co founder & chief of online retailer, The Drinks List.



Paul CarpenterPaul Carpenter – Paul is Senior winemaker at the historic Hardy’s Tintara winery in the heart of McLaren Vale where he has been for a number of years. Prior to this role he was winemaker at Wirra Wirra Vineyards. He has worked around the world including Oregon, Beaujolais & Chateaunef du-pape and apart from Chardonnay happens to think Grenache is the finest variety in the world. In their spare time Paul & his wife Martine make small volumes of, surprisingly enough, grenache based wines for their own Longline Wines label.



Samantha Connew 1Sam Connew – A highly experienced and respected winemaker, Samantha Connew launched her Tasmanian solo project, Stargazer, in 2013. Prior to establishing this and her consulting company, Compass Wine Consulting, she was employed working in applied research, development and extension for the Australian Wine Research Institute as Manager of the Hunter Valley Node. Before this she was the Winemaker/Manager of boutique Hunter Valley winery, Tower Estate, after working in McLaren Vale for ten years as the Senior Winemaker at Wirra Wirra Vineyards. She is highly respected wine show judge and has been a Panel Chair at many regional and capital city wine shows, having completed both the Advanced Wine Assessment Course and the Len Evans Tutorial. In 2014 she was appointed Chair of Judges at the Macquarie Group Sydney Royal Wine Show, the first female and the youngest judge in that position.


Tom Hogan – Tom established Harry & Frankie, winner of Gourmet Traveller Wine’s Best New Wine List & Best Wine Bar Wine List Awards, in December 2013. His previous four years were spent as Head Sommelier at the multi-award winning Lake House Daylesford. During his time at Lake House, the establishment received numerous accolades from The Good Food Guide, Gourmet Traveller & Wine Spectator.

Tom holds the Diploma from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust and is an Advanced Sommelier in the Court of Master Sommeliers. In 2012 he was accepted into the exclusive Len Evans Tutorial where he was awarded Runner-Up to Dux.

Tom has previously judged at the Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Hunter Valley, McLaren Vale and Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Shows.



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