Judges

Panel Chairs

Clara Rubin

Head of Wine

Hawksmoor

Clara is a celebrated wine-slinger with over ten years experience working in wine, hospitality, and education and training. She is a qualified WSET educator and international judge for wine competitions. As Head of Wine for Hawksmoor restaurants brings a wealth of wine knowledge and true passion for the industry to her work.

Elton Muco

Deputy Head Sommelier

67 Pall Mall

I am a certified sommelier by the Court of Master Sommelier in January 2022 and a work in progress for the Advanced Course. I was born and raised in Lushnje, Albania and have been living in London since December 2016 after a very long journey in Italy that lasted 13 years. From being a waiter in 2003 to a bartender diploma in 2005! Exploring the world of spirits, beers & cocktails wasn't enough for my curious character, so I started to learn and understand more about wine. In 2013-Course of sommelier in Hilton, Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria Hotel with Fondazione Italiana Sommelier (FIS) , following with “Vigneti e Territori” course with Attilio Scienza in 2015 and “Cheese Pairing “ with Daniela Scrobogna in 2016. After that, I arrived in London and started as a sommelier in Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley Hotel, 2 Michelin Star in 2018. Up to date, I work in 67 Pall Mall , a private member club since May 2021 as Deputy Head Sommelier together with a group of 18 amazing sommeliers

Erik Simonics

Head of Wine

Annabel’s

I started my sommelier career in Claridge's, before moving to The Savoy, then part of the opening team in Four Seasons at Ten Trinity Square. Then I spent 4 years at the Birley Clubs, starting as Head of Wine at Annabel's before taking over a Group Head Sommelier role. My current role as Head of Wine & Beverage involves building the entire wine and beverage program in our new acquisition, which includes 5 bars and 2 restaurants over 5 floors and assisting other openings in Ibiza, Mykonos, Milan and Lisbon.

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.

Konstantinos Nestoridis

Head Sommelier

https://midsummerhouse.co.uk

Head Sommelier and wine buyer at Midsummer House by Daniel Clifford in Cambridge. Konstantinos has worked at some of the restaurants of the country's best chefs. Konstantinos has worked in hospitality for over a dozen of years and he has executed wine pairings for dishes of the chefs as; Gordon Ramsay, Arnaud Bignon, Jason Atherton, Paul Walsh, Fabio Petrucci, Sophie Michell, Marcus Wareing, Alyn Williams, Tom Booton, Charlie Tayler, Marcus Eaves, Mark Abbott and Daniel Clifford. At the moment he manages the entire beverage operations as Head Sommelier including the wine list (over 770-bins from 35-countries).

Matteo Furlan

Head of Wines

The Dorchester

Born and raised in Venice, Matteo had Hospitality in his blood since he was born. Matteo’s family used to run a restaurant and hotel in the Venetian country side. He’s graduated in tourism and Catering Management, soon after he moved to London. He worked for Caprice Holding, Roka, Hakkasan before moving to the Ritz. He spent there 6 years and he has joined The Dorchester as Head of wines in March 2023. Matteo Holds WSET Diploma, he is a WSET educator, ASI Gold Diploma, CMS Certified.

Nikos Emner

Assistant Wine Director

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

‘A summer in Crete marked the beginning of my journey with wine, it was a transformative moment where I discovered my passion for the artistry and complexities of wine. Over the course of my career spanning several years, I have gained extensive experience, holding positions at wine bars and a 2 Michelin-starred restaurant in Athens. Upon my arrival in the UK, I joined Heston Blumenthal's prestigious 3-star Michelin restaurant, The Fat Duck, where I refined my expertise as a sommelier before transitioning to my current role as Assistant Wine Director at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, a 2-star Michelin restaurant at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London’.

Philipp Reinstaller

Head Sommelier

Mauro Colagreco at Raffles London at The OWO

My name is Philipp Reinstaller and I'm the Head Sommelier for Mauro Colagreco at Raffles London at the OWO. Born in Kufstein, Austria, I went to Munich to work at Tantris for two years. I moved to London in 2016, where I started working at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at the Mandarin Oriental. During my time at Dinner, I passed the Court of Master Sommelier Advanced exam in addition to the Master Sake Sommelier exam by SSA. Four years later, I moved to Trivet Restaurant as Head Sommelier until Summer 2022, when I decided to join the opening team of the Raffles hotel. In my role at Raffles, I look after the three restaurants of Mauro Colagreco.

Senior Judges

Maria Cintoli

Head Sommelier

Gravetye Manor

My name is Maria Cintoli, I came in England six years ago, when I left Italy because I wanted to learn the language and be a Sommelier. Since then I’ve been working at Gravetye Manor, a beautiful Michelin star restaurant and hotel in the heart of Sussex and I’ve been staying for my wine courses. A couple of years ago the great promotion as Head Sommelier and the big achievement as Diploma WSET. The world of wine is incredible, I never stop learning, and the people involved are all so inspiring. I am enjoying every single step of my journey.

Anastasios Karakasis

Head of Wine & Wine Buyer

Bacchanalia

Originated from Patras, Greece. I worked in Greece, Cyprus and the last 5 years in London. Now I’m working as Head of Wine & Wine Buyer at Bacchanalia with previous experience Head of Wine/Buyer in Michelin Star restaurant Marcus at the Berkeley, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, The Carlton Club etc.. More than 10 years in wine and spirits industry working as Bartender, Sommelier, Consultant. Studied Tourism management, WSET , Court of Masters Sommelier.

Emma Denney

Sommelier

Davies and Brook

After moving to London in 2017 from my native New Zealand, I have worked at some of London's top restaurants including LPM, Davies and Brook and the Clove Club before heading back to Claridge's Hotel to take the role of Head Sommelier at the newly opened Claridge's Restaurant.

Panel Judges

Adam Michocki

Currently a Master Sommelier candidate and part of UK Sommelier Association helping sommeliers in the North with their training and examinations. Ex Head Sommelier in a few Michelin starred restaurants like Chez Bruce, The Glasshouse, The Man Behind The Curtain and Shaun Rankin at Grantley Hall turned ambassador for a wines made by families from little known countries, regions and grape varieties that can help you discover flavours you have never experienced before.

Alberto Gherardi

Alberto is a Head Sommelier and Stage 1 Master of Wine Student with strong background in the hospitality industry. Working on the trade allows Alberto to understand the recent trends as well as consumer buying behaviours. Alberto’s mission is to make wine education accessible to every wine lover, and that’s why he founded The Wine Jokers during the pandemic. Alberto is Head Sommelier at Ten Trinity.

Biagio Castaldo

Deputy Head Sommelier

Maison Estelle

Biagio launched his career as a Sommelier in 2016 at Locanda Locatelli, a Michelin-starred restaurant in London. He then moved to Australia and Canada and he earned the Certified CMS in 2020, in Portland - Oregon. Returned to London in 2021, he achieved the 3rd place as Best Young Sommelier in the UK (2021) and completed the Diploma WSET in 2023. Currently, Biagio serves as Deputy Head Sommelier at Maison Estelle, a Private Members' Club in Mayfair.

Caroline Seibel

Assistant Head Sommelier

Petrus by Gordon Ramsay

Carolina started at Terrenos Winebar in Stockholm before working for famed TV chef Fredrik Eriksson’s Långbro Värdshus. A short stint in Sydney, Australia, saw her working at fine dining Berowra Waters Inn and wine maestro Stuart Knoxs’s Fix St James. But during her WSET Diploma studies, she moved to London for Michelin starred Portland where she took overall responsibility for wine, followed by running Comptoir Cafe and Wine, the Mayfair cafe and wine bar by Xavier Rousset MS. Her next challenge saw her embracing the world of chillie and wine pairings with the new tasting menu at Ramael Scully's Scully St James. Now she is to be found as Assistant Head Sommelier at Petrus by Gordon Ramsay.

Charlotte Page

Head Sommelier

Joel Robuchon International

After working 10 years as a somm in Paris (Robuchon, Il Vino by Enrico Bernardo, The Peninsula) alongside the best sommeliers, I moved to London and fell in love with the Wine vibe of the city. I worked a couple of years for Experimental Group before joining Back Robuchon family. I am now leading the wine program for Joel Robuchon International development as the JRI Head Sommelier.

Cong Cong Bo

Owner

Amphora

Cong (pronounced “Chong”) owns and runs a wine shop-bar hybrid Amphora in Cambridge, UK. Like most children of Chinese parents, she studied Medicine at Cambridge, but ultimately found wine to be the most satisfying meeting of science, sensory satisfaction, and skin contact. Since its inception in March 2022, Amphora has won a few awards: Decanter’s Newcomer of the Year 2023 and runner-up in Central & Eastern Europe Specialist Retailer of the Year 2023, as well as the local award Velvet Magazine Pub/Bar of the Year 2023. Cong has been listed in Harper’s Top 25 UK Sommeliers 2022 & 2023, and in CODE Hospitality’s Most Influential Women 2023.

Dario Barbato

Head of Wine & Beverage

Individual Restaurants Ltd

I am employed by Individual Restaurants Ltd as Head of Wine and Beverage, Wine Buyer for the 31 premium/casual locations that we operate nationwide. Individual Restaurants is affiliated with Iceland Foods Ltd. In my role, I manage the selection, purchasing and supply with a budget of 300k. As wine buyer, I select and manage wine suppliers and control the import and stocking. I oversee the learning and development programmes for the company, aimed to improve knowledge and skill of 800 employees as well as assisting with customer wine selection /pairings. I organise regular Masterclass events for our loyal guest base. In my role I taste , select and listing wines for the 4 separate brands (3 Italians and one international). Being WSET Certified Educator, is my responsibility to teach, to our staff, level 1,2 and 3. MW Student, Stage 1

Elizabeth Mellish

Elizabeth Mellish - Sommelier at Gleneagles Townhouse and Wine Writer for The Secret Sip Elizabeth works as a Sommelier in Edinburgh, Scotland for Gleneagles Townhouse and also specialises in food and wine writing for The Secret Sip. She has a first-class Master of Science in Viticulture and Oenology from Plumpton College and was recently listed in the Top 5 young sommeliers UK.

Emer Landgraf

Head Sommelier

The Clove Club

In between lectures of a Finance degree, Emer Landgraf attended the 2016 Barolo release alongside Chiara Boschis. In awe of Chiara’s ethos and mission, it was from that point that Emer switched her focus from numbers to wine. Nearly one year to the day, Emer and her business partners Mark and Daniel opened up Mosconi, a 50 seater restaurant wine bar in the heart of James St, Brisbane. Since then, she moved to work for FINK group at OTTO Restaurant as Assistant Head Sommelier, helping to secure ‘Best Wine List of the Year’ Queensland for 2021. Emer is now the Head Sommelier at The Clove Club, 2 Michelin star and #38 in World’s 50 Best Restaurants, by Chef Patron Isaac Mchale.

Federico Moccia

Head Sommelier

67 Pall Mall

Federico Moccia is Head Sommelier at 67 Pall Mall London, the world’s most prestigious wine club. He is a specialist in Italian wines curating bespoke masterclasses specializing in areas such as Bolgheri, Montalcino, Chianti, Barolo and Franciacorta for international clientele .

Fred Goodwin Hayward

Assistant Sommelier

Restaurant Hywel Jones

Giacomo Recchia

Group Head Sommelier

Bob Bob Ricard

A Puglia-born hospitality expert with a Master's degree from Perugia University, Group Head Sommelier at Bob Bob Ricard. With previous roles at Savoy Grill and Galvin at Windows, owns a wealth of experience from fine dining establishments across Italy and Spain. Currently a WSET Diploma student and Court of Master certified Sommelier.

Giuseppe d'Aniello

Wine Director

The London EDITION’s Wine Director, Giuseppe D’Aniello .Having recently been named ‘The Best Sommelier, UK 2023’ by the UK Sommelier Association, this remarkable achievement is a true testament to his unparalleled expertise, dedication and unwavering passion for the art of wine. Hailing from Italy, Giuseppe’s passion for wine began at a young age, watching his father sample bottles at the family table. Having gained his Diploma Level 4 WSET in 2018 and becoming Advanced CMS in 2021, Giuseppe had a notable role at The Lanesborough, before joining The London EDITION as Wine Director.

Glen Montgomery

Sommelier & Co-Owner

eòrna

Glen has lived and worked as a Sommelier in Scotland for the past fifteen years, and is the Sommelier/Co-owner of the twelve-seat Chef’s table Restaurant “eòrna" in Edinburgh with Chef Brian Grigor. He achieved a Merit in the WSET diploma in 2019, and has a strong interest in ‘Classical’wines such as Burgundy, Bordeaux and Northern Italy.

Jonathan Kleeman

Group Beverage Manager & Executive Head Sommelier

Story Group

Jonathan Kleeman is the Group Beverage Manager and Executive Head Sommelier at Story Group, which includes the 2 Michelin Starred Restaurant Story, Story Cellar and Dovetail in London. He has 18 years of experience in the hospitality industry, working in prestigious establishments, consulting for international companies, and judging wine competitions. He is also a qualified sommelier and a media contributor on hospitality industry and blockchain technology.

Julio Tauste Sierra

Head Sommelier

Orrey Restaurant

Klearhos Kanellakis

Head Sommelier & Wine Buyer

Ekstedt at the Yard

Klearhos is Head Sommelier and Wine Buyer for the exciting new Nordic restaurant Ekstedt at the Yard, part of Great Scotland Yard hotel in Westminster, London. Previously, he was working as Head Sommelier of Trivet restaurant awarded Second best wine programme in London by Drinks Business magazine and International Special Jury Prize by Star Winelist. Before this role, Klearhos worked at 67 Pall Mall - private members’ club for wine lovers, initially joining the opening team and making his way to Assistant Head Sommelier position. Some of his favourite regions include Tokaj, Madeira, Northern Rhone, Tuscany, Champagne and the countries of New Zealand and Greece. Klearhos holds the Wset Diploma Level 4 in Wine and is currently preparing for the Master Sommelier exam, the pinnacle of wine qualifications.

Maria Federica Salvador

Brand Ambasador

PACO & LOLA

Born in Mendoza . S he was one o f t he fi rst Sommeliers of Argentina. In 2004 she fi nished Wine School in Mendoza and sh arpened her taste in A meric an Wines, af ter a two year wine trip to the U .S. Late r in 2010, she went to Sommel i er school again in Spain, and in 2015 she also spe cializ ed in F rance & Italy. She has the Certified Sommelier certificate by the Court of Master Sommel iers, the WSET 3 level, and is currently goin g throught the Diploma WSET. In 2022, she entered the Be st Sommelier of A rgentina ´s Conte st with good results in the compet ition, which lead her to be part as a jud ge of several wine cont es ts around Europe. Work wise , her 21 year s of career had drove her to explore t he wine industry from every corner . Working in different wineries, in rest aurants, in hotels, in cru ise ships and currently working as the Brand Ambassador of the Spanish wine ry P ACO & LOLA.

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.

Miguel Crunia

Co-Director

Fion

After working 11 years as a sommelier and restaurant manager within Edinburgh's fine dining scene, Miguel now co-directs Fìon, a wine importing company of low-intervention wines from Spain, Portugal, and Italy. Fìon also specializes in private and corporate wine tasting hires, and in running wine events and pop-ups partnering with local restaurants. Recently, Miguel started his career as a wine writer specializing in wines from Atlantic regions (as he's known within the industry as the Atlantic Sommelier).

Natalja Senina

Head Sommelier

Chewton Glen Hotel

Head Sommelier of Chewton Glen Hotel, WSET Dipoma candidate and Top 100 Sommeliers UK. Proudly offer a selection of individual wines, making our Multi Awards wine list one of the largest in England in terms of producers, regions and diversity.

Sabrina Manolio

Beverage Manager

Margot restaurant

Sabrina’s career started in Milan where she developed her passion for wine and consolidated her knowledge through the AIS and the WSET courses. For the past 15 years she has worked for some of the most iconic fine dining restaurants and luxury hotels in Italy and the UK. She achieved various awards for her unique wine programme as well as the prestigious GQ drink award for Best Sommelier in 2021. Currently working as sales manager for Vinothentic, where she keeps her enthusiasm for discovering new gems to introduce to the UK market.

Stephanie Robertson

Head of Experience

Restaurant Associates

Steph has worked at Le Gavroche and Roux at Parliament Square as a sommelier, is qualified to teach up to Level 2 WSET in wines and has won an Award of Excellence with the Academy of Culinary Arts. Steph is an active and influential member of the wine world and regularly takes part in thought leadership talks and discussions around the future of wine and trends in the drinks industry. She is a member of the International Wine and Food Society and continually monitors trends through industry reports, mailing lists and engaging with suppliers and importers. She translates this expertise and passion into her wine lists, featuring some of the latest trends that our customers are looking for, such as low alcohol alternatives, sustainably sourced wines, social enterprises.

Tiago Pinto

Head of Hospitality

Warner Leisure

I'm Head of Hospitality for Warner Leisure, I've started my career back in 1999, worked in USA, Ecuador, Spain, Portugal and UK. In the US I've worked at sites like Le Cirque, AVoce and Russian Tea Room but the passion for wines started while I was working at Polpo Restaurant in Greenwich Connecticut, moved to South America to work in Ecuador for the ElJuri family they represent all the Campari and Diageo portfolio plus they own Pisco Ocucage in Peru, while working for them i was part of the team that developed Rum Cien Fuegos together with legendary Master Rum blender Pancho Fernandez. Moved back to Europe and went to work at 1 Michelin Star Restaurant Tierra in Spain after a year I've moved to Portugal to work at the 2 Michelin Star Villa Joya in the Algarve. In the UK I've worked with 2 Great British Menu Winners Chef Chris Harrod in Monmouth at The Whitebrook and Chef Niall Keating at The Dining Room at Whatley Manor, I've worked also at DandD and The Ivy. Wine is a passion and occasionally I still jump inside the "Lagar" to step the grapes, my favourite wine it's Equinocio an old vines white wine from Alentejo produced by João Afonso at its property Cabeças de Reguengos.

Vaness Stolz

Head Sommelier

Restaurant Pine

Vanessa had an excellent opportunity to work in a few Michelin-star restaurants for the last decade and even helped shape Restaurant Pine from day one. She ended in Harper’s top 25 Sommeliers in 2023, won Gosset Matchmakers 2018 with Ian Waller, excelled in some exams (WSET L3, Certified CMS, ASI L2), is carrying on studying and loves hosting private tastings.

Vincenzo Arnese

Wine Director

Raffles London at the OWO

Vincenzo worked for several prestigious hotels and restaurants like The Waterside Inn in Bray, Vue de Monde in Melbourne, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal inside Mandarin Oriental London and Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, London. Since 2023, Vincenzo Arnese has become the Wine Director at Raffles London at The OWO. He was the winner of Taittinger’s UK Sommelier of the Year in 2022 and CQ Best Sommelier in 2023.

Wayne Baxendale

Private Sommelier

Wine has a sense of place and community, we just bring them all together. Having travelled the globe on cruise ships I’ve had the pleasure of tasting most of the world great wine regions in their birth place, I have the one thing in the world that can’t be taught and that is to travel it. Be inspired and taste as much as you can. 25 years of hospitality within the wine industry across the globe as Head Sommelier, General Manager and wine Educator from Michelin stars to your neighbourhood wine bar.

Zoe Donadio

Drinks Lead

Apricity

Zoé first started bartending at a neighborhood cocktail bar in Peckham while studying at Goldsmiths and loved it so much that she pursued it post-graduation. She then headed up teams in a variety of independent bars around South East London. In 2020 she transitioned towards wine and cocktail development through Silver Lining, then heading up natural wine cellar La Cave at the Hoxton and has now taken the drinks lead at Apricity with a focus on all things organic & biodynamic. Her list works with growers who prioritise biodiversity and soil regeneration in their respective regions, and let the grapes speak for their terroir, with as few additions and subtractions as possible.