Judges

Panel Chairs

Joshua Castle

Head Buyer

Noble Rot

Josh is the head buyer for London based wine importer Keeling Andrew, and also the fine wine buyer for Noble Rot restaurants. Prior to that he worked at the Oxford Wine Company in retail, and before that in hospitality in Melbourne. He has done various stages in wineries around the world including South Africa, Spain, France and the UK. He is a stage 2 MW student.

Senior Judges

Adam Michocki

Manager & Head Sommelier

The Man Behind The Curtain

Anja Breit

Independent Sommelier

abWINEconsulting

An independent sommelier with more than 10 years of experience in the London wine trade, Anja has worked for Gordon Ramsay (Maze), Zuma as well as the Ledbury restaurant where she was head sommelier from 2012-2015. Anja is a certified WSET educator and trains restaurant teams. She also consults on wine lists for restaurants, hosts private dinners and wine tastings. Anja holds the WSET Diploma as well as the Court of Master Sommelier Advanced certificate and is currently studying for her Master Sommelier Diploma.

Chris Delalonde MS

Head of Wines

The Dorchester

Claire Love

Wine Consultant

Loves Consultancy

Having previously owned restaurants for 15 years, Claire now designs wine lists, assists wine buyers and trains front of house teams and sommeliers in independent restaurants across the Midlands. She has judged for SWA since 2011 and is currently studying at the Institute of Masters of Wine.

Diana Rollan

Group Head of Beverage

D&D

Diana has been in the wine trade for over 18 years. Working previously as wine buyer at Hakkasan Group, she has recently joined D&D as group head of beverage.

Emanuel Pesqueira

Food and Beverage Operations Manager

Edwardian Hotels London

Emanuel is an experienced food and beverage manager with a demonstrated history of working in the hospitality industry. He is skilled in wine, catering, the hospitality industry, event management and beverage and menu costing. He is a strong operations professional and has experience working in cruise liners, hotels and private members’ clubs.

Guillaume Mahaut

Wine Buyer

ETM Group

Harry Crowther

Freelance Consultant

Grape Times UK

Immacolata Cannavo

Head Sommelier

Hakkasan Mayfair

Immacolata is an experienced head sommelier with a demonstrated history of working in the hospitality industry. Skilled in catering, menu engineering, restaurant management, food & beverage and new restaurant openings. She is a strong operations professional certified Court Master Sommelier and obtained WSET level 3 Sake as well as being a WSET educator.

Julien Sahut

Head Sommelier

Sexy Fish

Julien is currently the head sommelier at Sexy Fish in London. He has worked with renowned establishments and chefs, including Susur Lee in Toronto, Hibiscus and China Tang at the Dorchester. Julien studied hospitality management in France for five years, before venturing to Switzerland, Canada, and now London. Julien also just launched Wine Picker, a wine application for smartphones. Wine Picker is defined by two main goals: to increase users' wine knowledge, particularly across the younger generations, and to help prevent restaurants from failing by improving their overall wine sales.

Mattia Mazzi

Restaurant Manager & Sommelier

Cornerstone

Mattia is currently the sommelier at the River Café, as well as studying towards his Master Sommelier advanced exam. Mattia started his wine journey many years ago in Australia. His ambition took him to London, where he successfully ran the opening and operations of some fantastic venues, mostly fine-dining establishments. Mattia turned his focus on the world of wine, and after a stint a Vinoteca he aimed to polish his skills by working towards the renowned Master Sommelier title.

Michael Fiducia

Club Head Sommelier

The Royal Automobile Club

To say I have been round the block, is probably an understatement... I started my Sommelier career in 2007 as a commis, I have worked for some amazing Michelin Starred restaurants and I returned to where I consider myself at home, the Royal Automobile Club as the Club Head Sommelier. I return for my third year as a Senior judge with SWA.

Nigel Lister

Sommelier

St. Swithins Wine Shippers

Nigel has worked with some of London's best restaurants including; Asia de Cuba, Royal Thames Yacht Club, The Ledbury, Bread Street Kitchen, The York & Albany.

Olivier Gasselin

Director of Trade

OenoTrade

Olivier has been in the wine trade since 2001 and is an experienced sommelier, with stints in the UK, the Middle-East and Asia. He is now based in London and has been with Oenotrade since April 2019. He is a long-standing SWA judge and has been Senior Judge for the last 3 years.

Raphael Thierry

Wine Consultant

Self Employed

Rebecca Coates

Consultant and Winemaker

Independent/ Urban Foxes Winery

Rebecca's wine career began with a degree in Viticulture and Oenology from Plumpton College. Soon after she headed to sunny California to make wine in Sonoma County before returning to London and joining Hakkasan's Wine Buying Team. After 3 years with Hakkasan, Rebecca returned to the winery and is now making wine with a fellow Plumpton alumna under their own label. She continues to judge wine in a number of international competitions and also consults privately advising independent clients.

Rémi Cousin

Head Sommelier

Le Gavroche

Rémi is currently the head sommelier at Michel Roux Jr’s Michelin-starred restaurant, Le Gavroche. Prior to this Rémi worked for 8 years as assistant sommelier at Heston Blumenthal’s three Michelin-starred restaurant, The Fat Duck. Rémi won the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs UK young sommelier award in 2011 and holds the title of Advanced Sommelier from The Court of Master Sommeliers. From a very young age Rémi always thought he wanted to become a chef. However, after a short spell in the kitchen of the George V in Paris, he took a different route and went onto join Le Meurice as trainee sommelier where he tasted for the first time a Château d'Yquem 1988. It was then that Rémi knew he had found his career path! Rémi moved to the UK in 2004 where he started working at the Hotel du Vin in York and in Bristol.

Romain de Courcy

Bar Manager

The Ritz Paris

Romain is the beverage manager at Gazelle in Mayfair where he carefully curates a progressive drinks list and spends most of his time talking to guests, sharing his taste for the finer things in life. After business studies in France, the UK and the USA Romain started what promised to be a successful career in luxury fashion. On the side he regularly hosted cocktail parties for a select few friends and what began as a hobby quickly became his true calling. Two years ago he took a leap of faith and started over as a bartender for The Drink Factory, one of the most highly-regarded companies in the industry. On this new path Romain discovered a passion for hospitality and exceptional wines.

Sue Jones

Owner

The Harrow at Little Bedwyn

Sue bought The Harrow at Little Bedwyn with her husband Roger in December 1998. They created a destination restaurant in the countryside majoring on the finest food, a substantial amount of wines (most recently 900) and professional but relaxed service. Sue ran the front of house team at The Harrow and over the last 10 years, developed and run annual events such as the Tri-Nations Wine Challenge, the Mamba Awards and the World Sparkling Challenge at The Harrow and all over the world. The restaurant shut in March 2020 to allow Sue to pursue other challenges, but food and wine remain very close to her heart.

Sunaina Sethi

Owner

JKS Restaurants

Sunaina is one third of the trio behind JKS Restaurants, which started with the opening of Trishna in 2008. The group consists of 15 restaurants, and Sunaina is responsible for the beverage programme across the group, as well as the people side of the business.

Tanguy Martin

Wine Director

Blandford Comptoir, Cabotte, Greenwich Kitchen

Tanguy joined the London scene around 3 years ago and is now managing the wine department for 4 separate outlets in Liverpool Street, a challenging and exciting position. Tanguy started studying winemaking and wine growing from the young age of 16. He has been lucky to have worked beside Gérard Basset MW OBE for several years.

Terry Kandylis

Head Sommelier

67 Pall Mall

Valentin Radosav

Head Sommelier

Gymkhana Restaurant London

Valentin is the current head sommelier at Gymkhana Restaurant London. Valentin's past experience includes working at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in London for two years, one year at Burj Al Arab in Dubai and one year at Purnell's Restaurant in Birmingham. He is an advanced sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers, a WSET Diploma Graduate, winner of Sud de France Sommelier Competition in 2016, winner of Bellavita Best UK Sommelier 2017, part of winning team at the Chile Wine Bar War in 2015 at Imbibe Live.

Panel Judges

Melania Battiston

Head Sommelier

28-50 Wine Workshop & Kitchen

After a brilliant career of eight years in wines in London and after being crowned Young UK Sommelier of the Year 2023, Melania, previous Head Sommelier and Wine Buyer at Medlar Restaurant, decided to move to Greece, at Amanzoe, to learn more about F&B Operation and being in a corporate environment. She is an International Wine Judge, collaborating with many associations. She is a consultant for beverage related-brand and she established recently her own Life Coaching platform, address mainly to hospitality professionals.

How is SWA judged?

To find out more about how the Sommelier Wine Awards is judged and who makes up our judging panels, follow the links below.

How the judging works
SWA 2018 Judges directory
SWA 2017 Judges directory
SWA 2016 judges directory
SWA 2015 judges directory