A changing of the guard for the Wine Selectors Tasting Panel
As a Wine Selectors Member, you know that the integrity, expertise and dedication of our Tasting Panel is a pinnacle ingredient in the success of Wine Selectors. For over 37 years, our rigorous process of selection remains critical to our point of difference and ensures our Members enjoy only the very best quality Australian wines.
Karl Stockhausen - wine making icon and Hunter Valley legend
Over the years we have continued to enhance the process with winemaking icons and Hunter Valley Legends, Karl Stockhausen and Phil Ryan, appointed Tasting Panel Co-Chairs in 2012. Over this time, they have led the Tasting Panel and furthered its credibility and reputation for quality. After turning 90 last year, Karl has made the decision to retire from the Panel. He has shared his wealth of experience, wisdom and sense of humour with us for 25 years and will be greatly missed however, he will always be a part of our Wine Selectors family.
“Working with a very professional and skilled team, assessing an amazing range of wines, and the wonderful comradery, have all been highlights of the time I’ve spent with Wine Selectors,” says Karl Stockhausen.
Phil Ryan has also stepped down as Co-Chair and will remain a Panellist continuing to taste on a regular basis. We thank Phil for his leadership and commitment to the role, and look forward to his ongoing contribution.
With these changes, we’re excited to announce the appointment of PJ Charteris and Adam Walls as Wine Selectors new Co-Chairs.
“Wine should always be a shared experience and that goes for judging as well,” explains PJ Charteris. “I find working with a team of judges gives you the opportunity to expand the discussion yet focus on the result. Everyone benefits – the wine drinker and the judges and I’m thrilled that I can help facilitate that process with the Wine Selectors Tasting Panel.”
“Wine is the most unique source of sustenance on earth. From the soil, through the grapevine to the glass with a vintner’s minds interpreting all the inputs and permutations along the way. It’s a very special thing, so you should only drink the good stuff,” he says.
Already a Wine Selector Panellist, Adam Walls says he is very excited to have a chance to play a part in the next chapter of the Tasting Panel. “My biggest challenge will be attempting to fill the shoes of the Karl and Phil – years of experience is something that only time can gift you,” he says. “I will to continue to set the bar high in terms of wine quality while diversifying the producers we represent, the styles of wines we offer and the range of different varieties available to our Members.”
“To our Members the Panel process is the pillar of confidence and quality,” explains Adam. “With each bottle they open they know that a group of wine professionals from a diverse background and with differing opinions have all looked at it, smelt it, tasted it, and most importantly, discussed (somethings rather robustly) if that wine would meet the standards that our Members seek and deserve.”
Get to know our Wine Selector Tasting Panel members
After 37 years, the Wine Selectors expert Tasting Panel continues to be one of the most credentialed teams in the business. Representing all aspects of the industry, including winemaking, wine judging, wine buying, education and top sommeliers all combining to ensure we represent the true diversity of Australian wine and Australian tastes. Collectively they represent the past, present and future of Australian wine.
PJ Charteris – winemaker, wine show chairperson, wine show judge
PJ has over 25 years winemaking experience, is one of the Australia’s top wine show judges and currently sits as the Chairman of Judges for the Royal Sydney Wine Show. PJ studied Oenology at Roseworthy in Adelaide, spent time at Penfolds and Lindeman’s before being appointed Chief Winemaker at Hunter Valley icon Broken wood, where worked with Iain Riggs and lead the winemaking team for 12 years. He now splits his time between the Hunter Valley, wine consulting in Australia and crafting his own boutique label, Charteris Wines, in New Zealand’s Central Otago.
Adam Walls – wine show judge, wine educator, Dux 2019 Len Evans Tutorial
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. Recipient of the 2019 Len Evans Tutorial Dux, Adam has completed wine-based training in both Europe and Australia and holds a WSET Diploma in Wine and Spirits. He is also an accomplished wine show judge, and in 2015 was awarded fellowship at the 2015 Australian Alternative Varieties wine show. Along with these credentials, Adam has a wonderful ability to communicate his wine knowledge to others, as demonstrated in his talents at wine events like Good Food & Wine, and Channel Ten’s programme, My Market Kitchen.
Phil Ryan – winemaker, wine show judge, Hunter Valley Legend
Phil spent 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.
Keith Tulloch – winemaker, wine show judge
Keith is a fourth generation Hunter Valley winemaker, and has made wines for some of the great Hunter wineries including Lindeman’s and Rothbury Estate, as well as in France’s Rhône Valley. He is a highly accredited wine show judge, operates a prestigious Hunter Valley winery and wine consultancy, and produces Trophy-winning premium wines.
Trent Mannell – wine show judge, wine buyer
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 and 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 – wine show judge, wine educator
Nicole has been championing Australian wine for over a decade, 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.
Dave Mavor – winemaker, wine show judge, wine buyer
Dave came to Wine Selectors from Kirrihill Wines in the Clare Valley where he was Senior Winemaker, as well as a consultant and contract winemaker for a number of other local brands. 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.
Kim Bickley – Court of Master Sommeliers, wine educator
Kim Bickley had always had a love for wine, but her interest was truly peaked when working hospitality while studying, where she was taken under the wing of a talented sommelier who instilled in her a deeper appreciation of the art and science of wine. Today, she is one of Australia’s most highly-respected sommeliers, qualified by the Court of Master Sommeliers and with over 10 years’ experience at some of Australia’s most esteemed restaurants, including Luke Mangan’s Glass Brasserie and Black by ezard. A WSET-certified wine educator, she was also winner of 2011’s Best by the Glass List, and has held show judging positions at the Royal Sydney Show, Alternative Varieties Show, as well as numerous others.
Will Figueira – wine show judge, wine buyer
Will’s wine journey began before finishing high school, with his rugby coach giving him a job in his wine store when he turned 18 – the beginning of a strong wine retail education. A few years in various hospitality roles around Newcastle was followed by nearly 10 years at wine institution Kemenys as the senior buyer. Then came a stint as a wine store owner in his own right in Sydney, building a small business from scratch, then working for an online wine business. Will has been with Wine Selectors for three years, and has recently gained a huge amount of experience judging at a number of Australian wine shows.
What does the Tasting Panel do?
Extremely knowledgeable and full of passion, the Panel meets every week to blind taste a selection of wines to add to our expansive collection. Not only do they look for excellence in winemaking, but they also identify styles they know you’ll love. To include even more expertise and diversity, we also have guest winemakers, wine writers and sommeliers participate regularly in Tasting Panel sessions.
Every year, our Panel taste and rate thousands of wines from all over Australia. They use the Australian Wine Show judging system where every wine is blind tasted and they assess the colour, nose and palate, reaching a score out of 20.
Only wines that achieve at least a Bronze medal score are selected for you, ensuring you receive the freshest, most exciting and very best quality wines.
Along with their tasting sessions, the Panellists also regularly head out and about, visiting vineyards and wineries throughout Australia. On their travels, they’re constantly on the lookout to unearth hidden gems, delicious new styles and the latest wine trends for you to enjoy.