2024 Judging Team

Chief of Judges

Russell Cody | Calabria Wines
Russell Cody | Calabria Wines

RUSSELL CODY | Calabria Family Wines & McWilliams Wines | Senior Commercial & Export Winemaker

‘Be prepared for hard work as it is not all beer and skittles. Fine wine takes time and lots of hard yakka!’ Russell speaks with some authority.
He started his winemaking career in 1989 and joined the celebrated McWilliam’s team back in 1995. Twenty odd years on, Russell is a senior winemaker, wine judge and one of the most respected wine experts in the industry.
Also a winemaker with a clear philosophy, he states ‘great wines are made in the vineyard’. Russell places strong emphasis on good vineyard management practices, and to sourcing the most appropriate, high-quality fruit available. This philosophy marries with Russell’s continuing passion for the Australian wine industry, as he says ‘we are still in an exciting early phase of making great table wine in Australia as we continue to pioneer the best varieties in each region that suits them’.

Panel Chairs

Geoff Alexander

GEOFF ALEXANDER | Brown Brothers

A former Pharmacist, Geoff saw the opportunity to transfer his skills to the wine industry and began studying winemaking at the University of Adelaide in 2002. He successfully graduated with a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Hons) (Oenology) in 2004, along the way collecting the Brokenwood Wines Prize (top second year student) and a University Medal for outstanding academic achievement.
Having completed the 2004 vintage at Brokenwood Wines in the Hunter Valley, Geoff joined the Brown Family Wine Group as Assistant Winemaker for the 2005 vintage. Initially a 3 month position, at the completion of vintage the company decided to expand its winemaking team and the position was made permanent.
In October 2007, Geoff was promoted to the position of Winemaker and is now responsible for a portfolio of red, white, sparkling and fortified wines at a range of price points including the Innocent Bystander brand from the Yarra Valley. He is particularly interested in the development of new varieties and wine styles, something for which the Brown Family Wine Group is rightly famous.
Geoff has judged at numerous wine shows including Rutherglen, Swan Hill, Cairns, The Australian Small Winemakers Show and the Australian Cool Climate wine show.

Geoff Alexander | Brown Brothers

ROB MACK | Aphelion Wines

Rob's amazing bio will be uploaded shortly!


John Coughlan

JOHN COUGHLAN | De Bortoli Wines

Winemaking chose John Coughlan. Taking the equivalent of a gap year in ‘97 before he started on a Science degree, John landed a job working in a lab at a Griffith winery. A self confessed “bourbon and beer man” at the time who “wouldn’t drink the stuff [wine] if you paid me”, John found himself completely seduced by “the smell and taste of the fermenting juice”.
“It was amazing to me to see how the flavours evolved from a fermenting juice to a wine, that grapes could be transformed to what you saw in the bottle,” he says.
He was hooked. After his stint in the lab, John applied for a job at De Bortoli Wines and began working as technical assistant.
By 2003, John was a winemaker looking after the whites and three years later he was made Senior White Winemaker, overseeing all the sparkling and white table wine produced at Bilbul. Graduated from CSU in 2006. Completed AWAC in 2004, numerous oversees trips with a Vintage in Northern Italy 2011. Having been a judge over those years to present at numerous shows. Head Steward at the Griffith Show for the last 3 years & seeing the other side to a wine show has been invaluable.



Amy had the good fortune of growing up with wine in her veins and a vineyard for a playground. Today she is both General Manager and Winemaker alongside her father Andrew Sutherland Smith in the cellar. The pair share a love of barrel work and blending where Amy's discerning palate and experience as a wine show judge ensure the standard remains high and a near 160year family tradition continues into its sixth generation.

Amy is recognised in the Australian wine industry for her not so common skill set of outstanding knowledge of fortified wines. This expertise has gained her a position as a judge at the Victorian Wine Show. She also worked as both wine judge and associate wine judge at the Riverina Wine Show, Australian Inland Wine Show as well as the Rutherglen and Australian Fortified Wine Shows.

Mavor, Dave

DAVE MAVOR | Wine Selectors

For over 16 years, Dave Mavor has shared his expertise with Wine Selector members tasting and selecting wines to send throughout the country, drawing from his rich background as Senior Winemaker at Kirrihill Wines and Tyrrells Wines.

Renowned as a national and international wine show judge, he advocates for screwcap closures, preferring their distinctive "crack" sound. His profound passion for wine extends beyond boundaries as he navigates readers through the fascinating realm of viticulture, captivating audiences with insightful articles that make wine appreciation a joy accessible to all.

Leah Mottin

LEAH MOTTIN | Domaine Chandon

Leah pursues innovation and quality as part of her role at Domaine Chandon Australia under the LVMH banner.
As a key member of the Winemaking team, Leah brings her international experience from working at wineries in England and California, and her knowledge of the Australian wine industry brought on by a decade of work.
She came from an Agricultural background, then pursued her passion for vines and wine by completing a Masters of Viticulture and Oenology. She was awarded a Mentoring Scholarship by the ‘Australian Woman in Wine Awards’ and ‘Inspiring Rare Birds’ in 2021 and the ASVO Advanced Wine Assessment Scholarship (AWAC) in 2022. Leah has been involved in the wine Show system for many years and hopes to continue her involvement for many years to come.

Associate Judges

Wigley, Allanna sq

ALLANNA WIGLEY | De Iuliis Wines

Allanna's journey in the world of wine is a true testament to the power of dedication and hard work. As the Wine Club Manager at De Iuliis Wines, a premium Hunter Valley producer, she orchestrates experiences that strengthen the bond between wine and wine lovers. Allanna's entrepreneurial spirit was the driving force behind the realisation of her dream, and she proudly launched her boutique wine brand in 2022, Thea Wines. With Thea Wines, she strives to capture the essence of her journey and create wines that reflect her unwavering dedication to quality.

Allanna's commitment to perfecting her craft led her to be selected as a trainee wine show judge at the 2023 Hunter Valley Wine Show. There, she honed her discerning palate, connected with key Australian wine industry leaders, and recognized excellence in the judging glass before her. This experience expanded her expertise and sparked a deeper appreciation for the artistry behind each bottle.

Allanna's thirst for knowledge and commitment to the wine industry continue growing as she pursues an advanced diploma in Viticulture. This dedication to continuous learning is a testament to her passion and commitment to the wine industry.

Sam Renzaglia2

SAM RENZAGLIA | Renzaglia Wines

Sam works alongside his father, Mark running Renzaglia Wines in O'Connell NSW. Growing up in the wine industry, Sam is passionate about all things wine. Particularly, farming grapes and producing small scale, high quality wines of artisanal flare. After 7 years working alongside Mark, Sam is transitioning into running Renzaglia Wines and positioning it for a bright future in the fledgling Wambuul Valley wine region.