THE CHALLENGE JUDGES

Huon Hooke
Huon HookeAUSTRALIA
One of Australia’s major wine writers and critics, Chair of the Vin de Champagne Awards, judge of the Australian Winemaker of the Year and a number of other major wine competitions. He tastes wines blind and writes for Decanter, Gourmet Traveller Wine, Sydney Morning Herald and occasionally The World of Fine Wine.
Huon’s career in wine started in 1983 and after 33 years he is one of the world’s longest-serving weekly wine commentators. Today he is widely known for his reviews in Gourmet Traveller Wine magazine and his weekly wine section in the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food section. In 2011 he started his own online presence and mobile app, huonhooke.com, where all of his tasting notes and newsletters are available.

Huon Hooke is the founding chairman of the Boutique Wine Awards and judges up to 10 competitions a year. He has judged in Australia, New Zealand, England, Canada, Chile, Belgium, Japan, Slovenia, South Africa and USA. Huon has many public speaking engagements including hosting corporate tastings and dinners, and has given many wine appreciation courses.

For 17 years he co-authored the Penguin Good Australian Wine Guide, and has published several other wine books.

Huon has received eight awards for wine writing. In 2008 he was awarded Wine Communicator of the Year

Bob Campbell MW
Bob Campbell MWNEW ZEALAND
One of New Zealand’s most experienced wine critics, judge and educator. He is wine editor of Taste magazine and the Air NZ In-flight magazine Kia Ora as well as being New Zealand editor for Gourmet Traveller Wine.
One of New Zealand’s most experienced wine critics, judge and educator.

He is wine editor of Taste magazine and the Air NZ In-flight magazine Kia Ora as well as being New Zealand editor for Gourmet Traveller Wine. Bob has contributed to wine publications in seven countries. Over 22,000 people have attended his wine certificate courses in New Zealand, Australia, Asia and Europe. He has been a senior judge in wine competitions in twelve countries and judge for the Six Nations Wine Challenge since its inception in 2003.

Christopher Waters
Christopher WatersCANADA
Representing Canada, Christopher is the co-founder and editor of VINES Magazine and author of the weekly wine column, Waters & Wine.
Representing Canada, Christopher is the co-founder and editor of VINES Magazine and author of the weekly wine column, Waters & Wine, which was launched in 2000 and is syndicated in Postmedia Network publications across Canada and online via the Canoe.com network.

In addition to writing, Christopher is head judge of the InterVin International Wine Awards and a WSET-certified instructor and Wine Appreciation Co-coordinator at the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, Brock University in the Niagara region where he teaches about the history of Ontario wine, classic wine styles and regions.

Michael Fridjhon
Michael FridjhonSOUTH AFRICA
South Africa’s most highly regarded international wine judge, the country’s most widely consulted liquor industry authority, and one of South Africa’s leading wine writers.
With over thirty-five year’s experience in the production, wholesale and retail sectors of the industry and considerable local and international expertise, he is South Africa’s most respected wine judge, commentator and liquor industry strategist. Visiting Professor of Wine Business at the University of Cape Town, he also teaches and directs the Wine Judging Academy run in association with its Graduate School of Business.

Past chairman of the South African Wine Industry Trust – which determined strategy and administered funding associated with industry-wide business support and development projects – he has been an adviser to the South African Minister of Agriculture, and is a recipient of the French Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mérite Agricole.

He is has been chairman of the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show since its inception and has judged in countless wine competitions around the world. He was the first International co-chairman of the UK-based International Wine Challenge and is past chairman of the Six Nations Challenge held annually in Sydney. He has judged at the Australian National Wine Show, the South African National Wine Show, the Royal Sydney Show, the Royal Perth Show, and the Sydney International 100. He was a panel tasting chairman for WINE Magazine in South Africa for more than fifteen years and has also judged shows and competitions in Chile, Slovenia, and United States of America.

He is the Wine Wizard of the Wine Wizard website, the author, co-author or contributor to over 30 books, including the Oxford Companion to Wine and the Global Wine Encyclopaedia, writes a weekly column for Business Day and writes for wine publications in the UK, France, Germany and India. He has been shortlisted several times for the Louis Roederer International Wine Writer of the Year award and was the Louis Roederer International Wine Columnist of the year in 2012. That same year he joined Britain’s Michael Broadbent MW and Australia’s James Halliday as an honorary life member of the UK’s Circle of Wine Writers.

He is married to Janice and they have two sons.

Patrick Comiskey
Patrick ComiskeyUSA
Patrick Comiskey is a Senior Correspondent for Wine & Spirits Magazine, where he serves as chief critic for the wines of the Pacific Northwest.
He is a regular contributor to the Los Angeles Times, and his work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Lucky Peach, Food & Wine, Bon Appetite, Decanter, The Hollywood Reporter, the Robb Report, and other publications. He is also an instructor on the wine business at UCLA. He lives in Los Angeles, where he’s just completed a history of Rhône varietal wines in the U.S., called American Rhône: How Maverick Winemakers Changed the Way Americans Drink.
Eduardo Brethauer
Eduardo BrethauerCHILE
Eduardo best describes himself as “Wine taster, foody, traveller, writer, amateur cook and rugby lover”. Eduardo is one of the foremost journalists in the Chilean wine industry.
Eduardo best describes himself as “Wine taster, foody, traveller, writer, amateur cook and rugby lover”.   Eduardo is one of the foremost journalists in the Chilean wine industry. He is owner and Wine Editor of VITIS Magazine, the only technical and international wine magazine in Chile, and Associate Editor of several international wine magazines. He has a deep knowledge about Chilean and worldwide wines. He is always seeking out wines with character and strong identity. He is the founder and Director of Vignadores de Carignan; a unique association of producers that reinvented a viticultural tradition of more than four centuries in the Maule Valley. His goal is to rescue and give value to the old and ungrafted vines of forgotten zones in Chile which otherwise risk extinction.

Although he is afraid of planes, every year Eduardo flies across the Pacific Ocean to attend as a judge at the Six Nations Wine Challenge.  “I really love this challenge. For me it is a unique opportunity to have on my table the best wines of the Southern Hemisphere. I think the multicultural face of Sydney is the perfect scene for this meeting of wines, nationalities and friendship. Also the Challenge is a great platform to promote the outstanding character of some of the best wines of the New World. I am very impressed with the quality of Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and red blends. Each country has much to say in these categories, expressing the different grapes in their own language and style. I am particularly proud of Chilean producers. It is really great how they are doing in terms of quality and diversity. Chile it is not any longer synonymous only with good Cabernet. Now we have a distinctive grape in Carmenère and a very strong pool of varieties where the Syrah is shinning very brightly”.

Eduardo does not like that snobbish veil that sometimes covers the wine world. For him wine is a connection to nature, people and their stories. “Wine is simple and fun. It is an opportunity to travel and taste different cultures and to have great and sometimes deep conversations. I always suspect perfection. The best wine is not the biggest or the most expensive, complex or balanced. It is just the wine that makes you smile”.