Drink Easy’s judges are an inclusive, diverse, and experienced team of drinks professionals and gatekeepers who are not only technically-adept but have a great understanding of consumer consumption.
Emma’s passion for the wine industry has produced award-winning wine lists across top venues in Perth for two decades. As Director of Wine for State Buildings & Como’s The Treasury, Emma’s invaluable insights and industry-wide network enables her to curate unique wine lists and wine events for each of the award-winning restaurants at State Buildings, including Wildflower, Long Chim, Post, Petition Kitchen and Wine Merchant. Emma also creates world-class experiences for the guests of the 48-room luxury hotel.
Emma studied under the guidance of Dr Steve Charters, Master of Wine. Since then, she has worked as a Sommelier and consulted on various wine lists and menus, earning her recognition through numerous awards including Gourmet Traveller Wine and her induction into the Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne in 2013. She was awarded 2017 Sommelier of the Year at the WA Good Food Guide awards and Sommelier of the Year at the 2019 Gourmet Traveller Restaurant awards.
Former owner of Fall from Grace ,Gill Gordon-Smith now makes wine using Italian grape varieties under the La Madrina Label and leads the TAFE SA Wine and Spirits School team. Gill is one of only 15 people and the first Australian to achieve the Vinitaly International Italian wine Expert certification.She is WCA 2017 Wine Communicator and Educator of the Year, a Judge for the Qantas Wine List of the Year awards and The 2020 AWIWA Woman of Inspiration. Whilst she has a well educated international palate gill is passionate about Australian wine and travels regularly to judge and taste wines both in Australia and Italy.
Marcell is a beverage director, wine educator, and consultant and, with his cross-functional background, re-defines the role of modern-day sommelier.
After obtaining a qualification in food engineering and winemaking operations, Marcell started his career as a food product developer before turning his hand to wine. He began working as a sommelier while undertaking a Master's degree in gastronomy. His curiosity for memorable wine experiences led to a PhD in food, wine and emotional pairing at the University of Adelaide in collaboration with Wine Australia and UC Davis.
While working at Penfolds Magill Estate, Marcell curated one of the country's most extensive champagne lists and created memorable experiences with a twist of science. In 2021, Marcell joined a new project showcasing showcasing the unique flavours of the Adelaide Botanic Garden through memorable dining experiences. As a beverage director at Restaurant Botanic, he is responsible for managing the beverage program, product development, industry collaborations and wine events.
He is the recipient of the ASVO AWAC Scholarship, Wine Communicators Australia Wine Industry Mentor Program, Vinitaly International Academy Italian Wine Ambassador Scholarship, Sommeliers Australia Education Scholarship, Wine Australia Research Scholarship and a finalist for the Sommelier of the Year by Gault & Millau.
And if that wasn’t enough, he recently co-founded a wine label (LUDO wines) to make brave wines with transparency, curiosity and precision.
Olivia Evans is a certified sommelier and drinks advocate based in Brisbane, previously of Fleet Restaurant in Brunswick Heads. She is currently responsible for the sales of Lo-Fi Wines in Queensland. As well as a budding storyteller, she finds importance in those making meaningful contributions to the environment through wine, farming, food and community.
I have spent all my working adult life in the drinks industry. From starting in pubs to opening three wine bars for the award winning Vinoteca in London. Two separate vintages in Greece, one in the Yarra Valley with Mac Forbes. Managing the legendary Neighbourhood Wine in Fitzroy North. Founding the award winning Quality Wines in London and being deemed as the 99th most influential person in the UK wine trade. Starting GB wine shippers, a small importing company in 2020, that In 2022 was voted the 22nd top importers in the UK. Upon Returning to Australia in 2022 whilst still driving GB Wine Shippers I assist Simon Denman of Old Palm Liquor Group in purchasing. Favourite wine is probably Marco De Bartoli’s Marsala’s or Old wave/ New Wave/ Same Wave Aussie Claret.
Stephanie has spent 10 years in the winemaking and hospitality industries. Whilst studying to become a winemaker and working in a fine-dining restaurant she instantly fell in love with hospitality and found it the perfect place to connect her love of food and wine. After bouncing between vintages and working as wine buyer at Melbourne's Supernormal, she has now found herself back at home in Adelaide, having completed her degree and now curates the fluid and ever-changing drinks selection at Sometimes Always.
John Carty is the Head of Humanities at the South Australian Museum, and Professor of Anthropology at the University of Adelaide. He sits on the Australian National Commission for UNESCO. He also likes wine.
Charlotte is a minimally paid winemaker, unpaid cellar door worker, unpaid cleaner and unpaid co conspirator for the Joinery Wine Room and Charlotte Dalton Wines. She has spent 23 years in winery cellars and still really likes spending a lot of her time there talking to barrels of wine and ferments. Charlotte is also a mother of two little people and partner to Ben Cooke - these roles are the most important of all. Charlotte doesn't mind that she is not paid for any of these things as the fulfilment and joy she gets from all of it is worth more than any wage.
I am the manager of Five Way Cellars in Paddington, Sydney. Five Ways is my father's store which he (Ian) has had since 1987. Initially a job to get me through university, i quickly became obsessed with wine and loved working with it. So after a year off after university, i cam back to the shop in 2012 to work full time and have been managing the store for the past few years. Five Ways is very much aligned with the classics of Europe (think Barolo, Burgundy, Champagne, German Riesling) but also has a strong focus on quality Australian producers. New-wave producers, both domestic and abroad, are very much welcomed so as a result you will see bottles of Envinate next to bottles of Remelluri, or bottles of Riley Harrison Grenache next to Jasper Hill Shiraz.
I have completed the multiple levels of WSET, finishing with the diploma in 2017.
Beyond Five Ways, i have a part-ownership in a bar in Bondi where i spend more time drinking than working. In fact my work there is behind the scenes, leaving the work on the floor to those more capable. Our bar, Copo, is a South American neighbourhood bar modelled on the 'botecos' of Sao Paulo. It's casual, affordable and unpretentious. While beer and cocktails dominate the drinks list, the wine list is pretty handy too, with a strong focus on Spanish wine (a major passion of mine).
Basically i live and breathe wine, be it Aussie or international, classic or new-wave. I like to think i have an opened-minded approach to all bottles that cross my path and my appraisal of wine simply comes down to quality and authenticity - wines that speak of place and of their variety without interference.
South African born, Perth raised, Andries has spent the last 26 years in the wine/hospo scene, falling ever-deeper in love with the community and the challenges and rewards wine-making offer.
Andries studied Wine Making at Adelaide University. He has worked all over Australia (Brokenwood, Shaw and Smith, Picardy, Plantagenet, amongst others), and done stints overseas in New Zealand and Italy. In 2013 he (alongside his beautiful wife Yoko) started making small-batch project wines which quickly turned into Brave New Wine.
Andries completed the AWRI Advanced Wine Assessment Course to add to his tasting toolkit and since then has enjoyed wine show judging over the years, judging at the Wine Show of WA, Perth Wine Show, Sydney Wine Show, Canberra International Riesling Challenge, and Perth Hills Wine Show. Andries is very excited to be a wine judge for Drink Easy, and welcomes this fresh take on the wine show.
Andries lives in Denmark, Western Australia, with his hilarious wife, two ratbag kids, and two mongrel dogs. He'd rather be in the vineyard or surfing, but you'll probably find him in the winery.
Photo: Jenny Feast
Bernice Ong is the co-founder, the vineyard walker, the hose wrangler, and the driving force behind Ministry of Clouds, a McLaren Vale based winery conceived in 2012.
The self confessed black sheep of her family, she fell into the wine world over 25 years ago, and fell hard; initially representing some of the world’s finest domains with Australia’s most esteemed importers, and then drawn closer to the detail of the local and the intimate, with time spent at both Mountadam and Woodstock. With a desire to continue to live a big full life in the world of wine, Ministry of Clouds provides the opportunity to dig deep into winemaking and viticulture, as well as revel in all that comes with running a wine business.
Ever the rebel at heart, from Ministry of Clouds has evolved a platform from which to explore, experiment, to question and challenge, whist indulging the creative freedom to make wines shaped largely by places visited, and boundaries ignored.
Living with a chronic case of FOMO sees Bernice juggling numerous wine show judging gigs at the National, Regional, and Artisanal level, while continuing to taste, cook and travel widely to feed her soul and live a maximum life.
Fred Siggins has worked in the hospitality and drinks industries for over 20 years as a brand manager, educator, cocktail bartender, consultant and chef. He is currently Chief Storyteller for Whisky & Alement, one of Australia's most respected whisky bars. He also writes about spirits and drinks culture and is a frequent contributor to various national and international publications. He sat on the spirits panel for Drink Easy during the inaugural awards and has been a judge and panel chair for the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards since 2017.
Head Distiller and Co-founder of the Never Never Distilling Co. The NND was established in 2017 and has quickly grown into a bartender and consumer favourite gin in Australia and internationally.
Brendan studied Oenology and Viticulture and went on to work with iconic Australian wine producers such as S.C. Pannell, Jacob's Creek, G.D. Vajra and a raft of smaller producers in the Adelaide Hills. With his partner Laura, Brendan founded Unico Zelo and Applewood Distillery in 2012 out of a mutual love of the Australian landscape and a passion to push forward sustainable practices in the drinks industry.
Cara Devine has been working in hospitality for over 15 years, with a focus on cocktail bartending. She is currently the venue manager at Bomba Rooftop and the writer and presenter of Behind the Bar, a YouTube channel dedicated to demystifying all things bar and booze. She is a regular contributor to Australian Bartender magazine amongst other industry publications, and has just finished writing her first cocktail book. Basically, she loves good food and booze and has made a career out of it!
To describe Jessica Arnott’s resume as eclectic would be an understatement. A self appointed hospitality-lifer, she first stepped behind a coffee machine at sixteen and never looked back. Since then her career has taken her around the globe. Crafting drinks in the finest bars throughout Sydney, London and Perth and collecting a slew of international cocktail competition awards. A brief detour through reality television saw her take out 3rd place in MasterChef Australia Season 7, and it’s been a pick’n’mix of delicious food and drink endeavours ever since.
Now working as a drinks and hospitality consultant at Studio Appetite in Perth, Jess continues to live and breathe the hospitality industry and is filled with passion for great produce, great service and the joy that good drinking and eating can bring.
Mark Reginato (known to all as Reggie) knows his booze. A bartender, drinks distributor and importer of note, and he is the founder of the wine and spirits import businesses Connect Vines and Man of Spirit. Reggie is co-owner of one of Adelaide’s most exciting drinking holes – the cellar wine bar Hellbound. When not pushing or importing booze, Reggie has lent his invaluable knowledge and skill to Drink Easy as our Head Steward for 2019 and 2021.
Beer + Cider Judges
With a passion for beer that was sparked by English Real Ale, Liam is Certified Cicerone and BJCP Judge. After a few different roles for Camperdown Cellars, Timeout, The Welcome Hotel, Sydney Beer Week to name a few Liam currently works for Batch Brewing Co as their Group Venue and Events Manager.
Will Ziebell is an award-winning beer writer who has covered Australia's craft beer industry since 2016. As The Crafty Pint's senior journalist, he spends his time exploring the stories, people, ingredients and ideas behind the beers we drink. He laments the lack dark milds available year-round.
I really stumbled into a career in hospitality through my love of beer (and chatting to people). I frequented a local bar so much (and asked so many questions) that they eventually offered me a job and that took me through a range of venues in Adelaide - Sweet Amber Brewing Co, West Thebby Social Club, Pirate Life Brewing and Shapeshifter Brewing Co. Currently I'm managing the cellar door at Wildflower Brewing & Blending in Sydney.
I'm incredibly passionate about sharing knowledge and showing people how much really goes into crafting an excellent beer. I'm also really committed to breaking down stereotypes around gender in beer (and beverage overall) it's 2022, and there's room for all of us in this industry!
Briony Liebich has vast experience judging national beer and cider awards and is a Certified Cicerone. After leading the sensory program at West End Brewery for 10 years, she is now a sensory analysis consultant and tasting coach for her brand Flavour Logic. Briony’s focus is to improve the quality and education of all things boozy.
“I am excited to be judging Drink Easy 2022! I am passionate about the Australian beer and cider industry and love to support the amazing producers making delicious drinks.”
Thurman Wise has crafted a career that encompasses a truly global understanding of drinks.
He learnt from some of the best over an 8-year career working in New York’s top bars and restaurants. After his years behind the bar, he then moved onto helping Absolut Vodka and its family of brands to develop its innovation pipeline, assisting in the development and execution of numerous new products and brands.
After his time with Absolut he moved to the Pernod Ricard’s entrepreneurial start up Our Vodka, a global collection of micro-distilleries. Over 3 years he assisted in the roll out and development of distilleries in LA, Detroit, New York, Berlin, Amsterdam and London.
His journey to create innovative new brands and products has seen him explore and connect to over 120 cities across 60 countries, working with the best bartenders, mixologists and creatives to develop a deep understanding of global beverage trends and experience the abundance of flavours and traditions our world has to offer.
Now at CAPI as Brand and Innovation Director, Thurman works to craft the future of CAPI’s brand and product offerings, incorporating his passions for health and sustainability into all that he creates.
Christina Trabucco is a non alcoholic specialist, with ten years’ experience in tea importing and coffee roasting. Christina opened her first cafe at the age of 20 and developed an interest for specialty coffee. After learning about the nuances of tea within her businesses, she began importing and wholesaling high quality teas of origin from across the world, as well as experimenting and trialing shrubs and sodas. Christina applied her knowledge of tea and botanical brewing into the non alcoholic space, founding her drinks business T.I.N.A (This Is Not Alcohol), in 2021. Christina has a love of exploring the nuance of flavour, brewing and craft beverages from across the alcoholic and non alcoholic spectrum. She is the owner of specialty coffee roaster and wholesaler, Assembly.
A proud Wailwan man, Luke is one of Australia's few accredited First Nations Brewers. Head Brewer at Sobah Beverages, he brews unique premium non alcoholic craft beers infused with bush tucker. Luke joined Sobah in 2021 after over 20 years in the Liquor Industry.
2022 Royal Queensland Beer Awards Judge
2022 IBA Culture, Health, and Diversity Board Member
2021 Royal Queensland Beer Awards Associate Judge
2021 Queensland Amateur Brewers Club Awards Judge
2021 Indies Beer Awards Steward
2020 Royal Queensland Beer Awards Steward
2019 Royal Queensland Beer Awards Steward
Venue Manager at arkhé and born and raised in the Barossa Valley.
For the last 12 years Greta has travelled nationally and internationally representing South Australian restaurants, dedicating her career to exemplary service and is deeply passionate about the future of our industry.
Helped build Orana from its inception in 2013 to its closure in 2020 as General Manager working under the guidance of Jock Zonfrillo. Greta was nominated for GT restaurant awards maître d of the year 2018 and led the Orana team into winning GT Restaurant of the year 2017 and Good Food Guide Restaurant of the year 2019.
Drink Easy Judge 2021 & 2022.
Spent 2021 as General Manager at Mitolo Wines working alongside Vincenzo La Montagna.
Now at the helm of arkhé, working alongside Jake Kellie. For us, the goal and drive of this restaurant, in every decision that we make, is ensuring we have created an environment where we cultivate good culture and our team can thrive and learn.. and we cook heaps of things on fire.
Half Danish Half Irish. 18 years in the Brewing and Distilling industry. Co-owner of Long Rays. Daddy to lil Mason and Husband to Vesna. Outdoors and Motorcycle lover. Huge Gin, Whiskey and Rum lover. Living a healthy lifestyle, but also enjoying alcoholic beverages.