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Our Tasting Panel

A selection process second to none!

At Wine Selectors you have the confidence that every wine we offer has been carefully selected by our expert Tasting Panel using Australian Wine Show judging criteria. That means only wines which have achieved a Gold, Silver or Bronze medal-winning score from our Panel are included in our offers and selections. Of the thousands of wines they taste every year, only the very best get through the rigorous selection process. So you know the wines you receive are of outstanding quality.

Our Tasting Panel of perceptive personalities and palates comprises winemakers, international wine show judges and wine educators. With an amazing 140 years collective experience in the wine industry, they are extremely knowledgeable. Most importantly, all of them have spent more years than they’d care to admit enjoying wine themselves! With an age range spanning 50 years, our Tasting Panel is very much in tune with the palates and requirements of all Australian wine lovers.

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We firmly believe the more you understand about wine, the more you’ll appreciate it. That’s why the Panel puts together the comprehensive Tasting Notes found in all regular wine selections and various catalogue and special wine offers. You’ll also find detailed tasting notes on our online cellar list. These notes provide an insight into the bouquet and palate of each wine, as well as interesting information about the winemaker, winery and region. With suggested food matches and cellaring information, these accessible notes are an invaluable tool, helping to maximise your enjoyment of each wine.

The integrity and expertise of our Tasting Panel is just one of the reasons why Wine Selectors is unique among wine suppliers. Whilst travelling through Australia’s wine regions, our Panel members come across wines that have individual appeal. A wine may be chosen for its good varietal expression, its value for money, or simply because it’s a personal favourite.

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Tasting Panel - Group

The Tasting Panel – who they are

Karl Stockhausen

Karl Stockhausen

Chairman of our Tasting Panel for the last ten years, Karl has been extremely influential in the history of Hunter winemaking and has been responsible for making some of Australia’s most highly awarded wines. Recognising his immense contribution, Karl is now officially one of the Hunter Valley’s “Living Legends”.

Phil Ryan

Phil Ryan

After 44 years at McWilliam’s Wines, including 31 years as Chief Winemaker, Phil Ryan was officially recognised in 2009 as a Hunter Valley Living Legend. Among his many accomplishments are being responsible for McWilliam’s award-winning range of Mount Pleasant wines, including the flagship Maurice O’Shea Shiraz, the single vineyard Rosehill Shiraz, OP&OH Shiraz and Lovedale Semillon, as well as Elizabeth Semillon. He’s also a renowned wine show judge, has been on the Board of the Hunter Valley Vineyard Association and has worked vintages in both New Zealand and Bordeaux.

Christian Gaffey

Christian Gaffey

Christian has worked extensively for wineries in NSW and is now the winemaker at Jackson’s Hill in the Hunter Valley. Throughout his career he has been awarded numerous trophies and awards. Christian is also a highly respected Wine Show judge and for the last four years has judged at the London International Wine Show.

Keith Tulloch

Keith Tulloch

Keith is a fourth generation Hunter Valley winemaker, and has made wines for some of the great Hunter wineries including Lindemans and Rothbury Estate, as well as in France’s Rhône Valley. He is a highly accredited wine show judge, operates a Hunter Valley Winery and wine consultancy, and produces Trophy-winning premium wines.

Trent Mannell

Trent Mannell

Trent is a graduate in Wine Marketing from the University of Adelaide and since 1998 has been part of the Wine Selectors Tasting Panel. Prior to that, Trent held roles in Sales and Marketing at Drayton’s, Tyrrell’s & Cassegrain Wines. He is also an experienced wine show judge, with judging positions at the Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and Hunter Valley Wine Shows as well as the prestigious London International Wine Challenge as Senior Judge.

Nicole Gow

Nicole Gow

Nicole has been championing Australian wine for the past 12 years, starting in America where she helped establish the Australian Wine Bureau. Nicole then successfully provided support and strategy to Sandalford Winery, one of Australia’s oldest and largest privately owned wineries. Since joining the Wine Selectors Panel, Nicole has expanded her wine horizons by becoming a wine show judge.

Chris Barnes

Chris Barnes

Chris Barnes is one of Australia’s leading wine educators, as well as being a wine writer and wine marketing consultant. A graduate from the renowned Roseworthy College in the 80s, Chris has had nearly 20 years of tasting, judging and selecting wines all over the world. Chris lectures in post graduate wine studies at Melbourne University and judges in London and Australia. Based in Melbourne he hosts Wine Selector events and conducts our wine education seminars across Australia.

Dave Mavor

Dave Mavor

Dave came to Wine Selectors from Kirrihill Wines in the Clare Valley where he was Senior Winemaker, collecting numerous awards for his wines in the eight years he was there. Prior to this he spent seven years at Tyrrell's Wines in the Hunter Valley, working his way up from cellar hand to assistant winemaker while studying for his Wine Science degree. Dave has also worked four vintages in France, and is an experienced national and international wine show judge.

Adam Walls

Adam Walls

For 10 years, Adam served wine and developed wine lists in restaurants and hotels in both Australia and the UK, solidifying his love of all things vinous and planting the seed for further wine exploration. On his return home, he worked for Tower Estate in the Hunter Valley before joining Wine Selectors in 2010. Adam has completed wine based training in both Europe and Australia and is currently completing the WSET Diploma in Wine and Spirits.

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