Speakers

Jancis Robinson MW

Voted the world’s most influential wine critic in polls in the United States, France and internationally in 2018, Jancis views herself as a wine writer rather than a wine critic. She writes daily for JancisRobinson.com – which was voted the inaugural Wine Website of the Year in the Louis Roederer International Wine Writers Awards 2010 – as well as weekly for the Financial Times, and bi-monthly for a column that is syndicated around the world.

Jancis is also editor of The Oxford Companion to Wine, co-author with Hugh Johnson of The World Atlas of Wine and co-author of Wine Grapes – A complete guide to 1,368 vine varieties, including their origins and flavours. Each of these books is recognised as a standard reference worldwide, while her most recent book, The 24-Hour Wine Expert, offers a practical guide to the essentials of wine.

Jancis travels all over the world to conduct wine events – often for the global literacy initiative Room to Read – and to act as a wine judge. In 1984, she was the first person outside the wine trade to pass the rigorous Master of Wine exams and in 2003, was awarded an Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty the Queen, on whose cellar she now advises. During the course of one week in April 2016, she was presented with France’s Officier du Mérite Agricole, Germany’s Association of German Prädikat Wine Estates’ highest honour and, in the United States, her fourth James Beard Award.

Jancis says she loves and lives for wine in all its glorious diversity, generally favouring balance and subtlety over sheer mass.

James Halliday

Respected wine critic and vigneron James Halliday AM has a career that spans almost 50 years but he is most widely known for his witty and informative writing about wine.

As one of the founders of Brokenwood in the Hunter Valley and thereafter of Coldstream Hills in the Yarra Valley, James is an unmatched authority on every aspect of the wine industry; from the planting and pruning of vines through to the creation and marketing of the finished product. His winemaking has led him to sojourns in Bordeaux and Burgundy, and his wine judging – to New Zealand, the United Kingdom, South Africa and the United States. For more than 30 years, James has been among the most senior and active wine judges in Australia, and he continues to support several of the country’s most recognised shows.

James has won a clutch of awards for his contributions to the industry, both at home and overseas. In 1995, James received the Australian wine industry’s ultimate accolade, the Maurice O’Shea Award. In 2010 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his services to the wine industry. He has also collected numerous international coups, including two James Beard Awards.

Vanya Cullen

Vanya Cullen has been winemaking at her family’s Wilyabrup estate since 1983. She was appointed to Chief Winemaker in 1989 and Managing Director in 1999. During that time she has been rigorously experimenting in the vineyard (especially with soil and trellis management) and in the winery all the while looking to give her wines greater complexity. Her palate has been honed by judging throughout Australia and overseas, and by her continuous pursuit of a thorough knowledge of the wines of the world.

Over the past decade, Vanya has transformed her family firm from one of Margaret River’s best into one of the country’s premium boutique wineries. Cullen Wines while remaining family owned has since evolved making quality wine from a certified Biodynamic, Carbon Neutral and naturally powered estate. Exemplary viticulture lies at the heart of her success but so, too, do care and thorough attention to detail in the winery.

Vanya Cullen was the winner of the 2000 Qantas/The Wine Magazine Winemaker of the year. She was the third recipient of this prize, the first Western Australian and the first woman to win the award. Vanya has judged at wine shows in every major city in Australia. In 2008, she was awarded the UK Drinks Business Magazine “Woman of the Year 2008” and in 2011 the “Green Personality of the Year” for her commitment to the wine industry and for demonstrating that you can operate a successful business while looking after the environment. In 2015 Vanya was inducted into the Australian Businesswomen’s Hall of Fame which honours and celebrates Australian female business owners who have been exemplary in their industries, are trailblazers and demonstrate inspiring and aspiring business journeys. In 2019 Vanya was named the Halliday Wine Companion Winemaker of the Year; Australia’s most prestigious wine award.

2018 marked Vanya’s 35th year of winemaking at Cullen Wines and 2019 celebrates Vanya’s 30th anniversary of becoming Chief Winemaker at Cullen Wines.

Michael Brajkovich

Michael studied a Bachelor of Oenology (Wine Science) at Roseworthy Agricultural College in South Australia, which is now part of the University of Adelaide, graduating as dux of his year. He then returned to the family vineyard and winery in Kumeu, New Zealand, to take responsibility for wine production. Since then, he has travelled extensively through the world’s wine areas, including spending the 1983 vintage in France.

It was this experience that helped him develop a new range of wines under the Kumeu River label, which today features chardonnay, pinot noir and sauvignon blanc varieties. The label’s chardonnay wines, in particular, have enjoyed critical acclaim and success in international markets.

In 1989, Michael became New Zealand’s first member of the Institute of Masters of Wine, London. He has judged at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards and several Australian capital city wine shows, as well as being Chair of Judges at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards, 2012-2016 and at the Royal Adelaide Wine Show, 2015-2017.

Michael has also been involved with the New Zealand Screwcap Wine Seal Initiative, of which he was Chairman in 2001-2003. He currently sits on the Wine Science Board of Studies for the University of Auckland and has been collaborating with the university in recent years on a study investigating indigenous yeast fermentations.

Laurent Audeguin

Laurent Audeguin, 54 yo is a French agronomist, specialized in viticulture and oenology at Montpellier SupAgro (École Nationale Supérieure Agronomique de Montpellier) in 1991.

Laurent has been working with IFV (French Vine and Wine Institute, formerly named ENTAV) for 25 years. He is in charge of the coordination of clonal selection and breeding programs at a national scale. He is also in charge of the development of the ENTAV-INRA trademark with offshore countries.

He is an expert at OIV and member of the French Technical Committee for the registration of varieties (CTPS).Laurent is visiting Australia for the 7th time.

Tamara Grischy

Tamara Grischy is Head of Auctions at Langton’s and has been with the business in varying capacities for more than 20 years. She holds degrees in business and winemaking, and received the Woman of Inspiration award at the Australian Women in Wine Awards in 2018. 

In December 2018, Tamara sold a bottle of 1951 Penfolds Grange Hermitage at auction for the world record price of $80,386.16. Most recently, Tamara played a key role in developing the seventh edition of Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine.

Tamara lives in Victoria’s Macedon Ranges with her husband Matt Harrop, who produces the Curly Flat range – which encompasses chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot gris. The couple have three children, two dogs and a number of alpacas.

Philip Rich

Melbourne born and bred, Philip has more than 20 years’ experience as a passionate educator, wine show judge and wine writer. Philip was the founder and a partner in Prince Wine Store (1996 – 2015) and Bellota Wine Bar (2013-2015). From 1999 – 2016 Philip wrote the monthly wine column for The Australian Financial Review Magazine.

Philip has chaired a number of wine shows including the James Halliday Chardonnay Challenge and Yarra Valley Wine Show, Margaret River Wine Show and Mornington Peninsula Wine Show and is currently chair of The Australian Pinot Noir Challenge.

Director of Wine for Lucas Restaurants which includes Chin Chin Melbourne and Sydney and Kisumé, Philip is responsible for developing a wine culture within the renowned group, as well as working on a number of new restaurant concepts.

Anthony Borneman

Tom Carson

Samantha Connew

Chris Crawford

Steve Flamsteed

Ray Guerin

Clare Halloran

Michael Hill-Smith MW

Virginia Willcock