Our judges are what set us apart from other international beverage competitions. We select the best and brightest beverage professionals from all over Asia, including restaurateurs, sommeliers, retail buyers, importers, and distributors to participate, so that our entrants get the chance to make an impression on the people who will have the biggest impact on their sales. Our judges have daily contact with wine consumers and up-to-the-second knowledge of what's selling and what's trending -- Don't miss the opportunity to have your wine tasted by these industry-leading buyers.
We are currently in talks with our potential judges for this new competition and will be making some exciting announcements very soon. Please check back often for updates!
Here is the latest addition to AIWC Judges.
1. Guillaume Bladocha, Head of Trading at Langton's Fine Wines, Hong Kong
Guillaume Bladocha grew up in the charming French region of Provence, which clearly triggered his passion for wine and willingness to work in this industry. After graduating from a Master Degree in international Business from SKEMA Business School, Guillaume worked several years for the Freixenet group. Based in Shanghai, he was in charge of the French wines (Bordeaux & Champagne) and specialized in fine wines from the Bordeaux region. He then moved to Hong-Kong to become the sourcing and sales Director of an Australian/ Hong-Kong company.
In early 2016, Guillaume joined the Hong-Kong office of Langton’s Fine Wines which belongs to one of the world leading distributors of Wines & Spirits: EDG – Woolworth Group as Head of Trading & Exports. With this new experience, he has considerably deepened his knowledge of Australia and New Zealand but also continues to engage with the producers from his dearest Bordeaux Region.
Langton’s is one of the world's leading fine wine marketplace. While it began as a specialist wine auction house, Langton’s embraces a comprehensive online wine business together with private wine broking teams now in Australia, Hong Kong, and Macau. Langton’s links customers with extended networks of winery cellar doors from across Australia and around the world.
2. Peter Nixon, Dan Murphy's National Fine Wine Manager, Australia
Peter Nixon was born in London to parents of Australasian heritage. He attended secondary school in England and later became entranced by the London wine trade. Family holidays to the great wine regions of Europe consolidated this interest and Peter decided to pursue a career in the wine industry, commencing with a role at UK wine retailer Oddbins prior to returning to Australia to study wine marketing at Adelaide University.
Like many in the wine trade, Peter also has a passion for fine cuisine and subsequently trained as a chef. Peter now has over 25 years experience in the wine and hospitality industry, including local and international wine show-judging, independent wine retailing, imported wine wholesaling, restaurant wine list design and training, as well as commercial procurement experience with both hotel groups and airlines.
For the last five years Peter has been a leading Business Manager with Dan Murphy’s, overseeing the Dan Murphy’s Wine Panel, responsible for identifying ranging options. In this role Peter also acts as editor and principle contributor to the Dan Murphy’s Buyer’s Guide, Australia’s highest circulation Drinks publication. Peter continues to be actively involved in local and International wine show judging. He is a passionate advocate for both Australian and International wine.
3. Ian Ford, Director, Business Development, East Asia, at Endeavour Drinks Group, Woolworths Ltd, Shanghai
Ian was born and raised in New York City, one of the world’s most vibrant and dynamic cities. He attended Duke University, graduating with a BA in History, focused primarily on modern China, with a concentration in Mandarin Chinese. After an initial sojourn in China for one year in 1990, Ian moved permanently to China in 1995 to take up a career in the wines and spirits business with Seagram, based in Beijing. In 1999 Ian co-founded Summergate, an importer and national China distributor, focused on wine, with the goal in mind of leading the China market for imported wines and more over the coming decades.
Now also the marketer and sole distributor of the leading imported sparkling mineral water in China, Summergate, for many in the industry, is the leading company by reputation, quality, knowledge, and professionalism. Ian has traveled to and studied wine in virtually every fine wine making region worldwide, and for fifteen years has been working closely with leading wine makers developing their brands in China. When not focusing his time on Summergate, Ian is an avid sailor, golfer, and skier, and has a tireless passion for fine food and drink.
4. Mathieu Marchal, Head Sommelier, Gourmet Dining Group Limited, Hong Kong
With diverse experience in top-tier Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe, Asia Pacific and the Middle East, Mathieu Marchal is the Head Sommelier of Gourmet Dining Group which operates the prestigious Michelin-starred restaurant ÉPURE along with DALLOYAU, a prestigious French culinary brand with a 300-year legacy of royal service.
Originally from Jura in France, a region famous for cheese and wine, Mathieu started studying to become a chef at the age of ten. His earliest experience at the height of the culinary world was at the esteemed Maison Lameloise, a renowned 3 Michelin star restaurant in Burgundy. In 2011, Mathieu relocated to Devon, England where he was trained by master sommelier Edouard Oger MS at the Gidleigh Park Hotel’s 2 Michelin star restaurant. He then embarked on an adventurous opportunity by joining the 5-star hotel Constance Halaveli in the Maldives in 2014. There, he caught the attention of celebrated sommelier Jerome Faure, who worked closely with Mathieu until he left the Maldives.
Mathieu’s next stop was at the Gordon Ramsay au Trianon in Versailles, where he organised many events in partnership with renowned wine estates. Prior to relocating to Hong Kong in 2017, he was the Hotel Sommelier at Four Seasons Hotel Dubai International Financial Centre, as well as a Brand Ambassador for Château Pomeaux. Beyond his expert knowledge in French and Italian wines, Mathieu is also well-versed and passionate about new world wines with rich, exotic characteristics. His philosophy is to always share knowledge and to respect the history of winemaking above all.
5. Kenny Lui, Sommelier at American Club Hong Kong, Hong Kong
His 7 years experience, Kenny worked very closely with Head Sommelier at Amber to manager 1200 wine labels that sitting at the cellar and provide wine training for the floor staff. Then the moving forward step is The American Club Hong Kong, he is the person who taking care Town Club Wine & Spirits selection and also good at provide food & wine pairing, food & spirits pairing, cocktail creation, beverage training, as well as beverage promotion.
6. Dominique Noël, Wine Quality Control Director - Sommelier - Market Analyst - Goldin Wines (a Division of Goldin Group)
French born, naturalized American, originally from Bordeaux and grandson of a local winemaker from the Cotes de Bourg, Dominique has been around the world working directly (and indirectly) in the Wine & Spirits business and trade for more than 25+ years on 3 continents.
Starting in 1991, worked as a Waiter / Barman for restaurants and private caterer (and even hotels) in various towns of France (like Bordeaux, Orleans, Bourges, Paris and Strasbourg among others), then I came back to Bordeaux in 1994 to work in a Relais & Chateaux, and finally went to catering and hospitality school in Bordeaux to obtain more diplomas in 1996 and become a certified Sommelier in 1997.
Immediately after school, in July 1997, moved to London (UK) where I worked as a Sommelier, then rapidly became Head Sommelier / Wine Buyer for various restaurants for 5 years.
In 2002, moved to New York (USA) where I worked as a Wine Buyer, Store Manager, and in-house Sommelier for two well-established NYC Wine & Spirits stores for 9+ years.
In August 2011, after working for 6 years in various towns of France, 5 years in London (UK) and 9 years in New York (USA), I relocated on the other side of the world, in Hong Kong, but this time with my wife and kids.
In Hong Kong, I worked as Head Sommelier / Wine Buyer / Restaurant Manager for 2 restaurants, as well as being a Wine Consultant / Brand Ambassador working for myself under my company's name "LeDomduVin" for various clients and events.
I'm also known as LeDomduVin, a certified, well-traveled Sommelier / Wine buyer / Wine Consultant / Wine Writer and at time Brand Ambassador, cumulating more than 25+ years’ experience of tasting, buying, selling, promoting, marketing, teaching, training, educating and writing about Wine (& Spirits a little bit too) from around the world on 3 continents.
7. Derek Li – Chief Sommelier, Duddell's
Hong Kong-born, Derek Li joins the Duddell’s team as Chief Sommelier in 2017, bringing a deep understanding of global wine trends, in depth knowledge and over 10 years of hospitality experience with him.
Talented, passionate and personable, Derek was recognized as the Best Sommelier in Greater China 2015 by Sopexa Hong Kong, while he worked for Michelin-starred Italian restaurant L’Altro. Prior to joining Duddell’s he was a sommelier at Mr. & Mrs. Fox for Swire Group.
Derek’s wine journey began 10 years ago when a regular customer – and now friend, brought him a bottle of a rich red from Bordeaux. Since then, his appreciation for fine varietals has grown exponentially, as has his passion for broadening his knowledge base, with a view to passing that on to his guests. It is his hope that all he serves, can take away at least one interesting fact about what they are drinking, while under his guidance.
Now charged with caring for one of Hong Kong’s most interesting wine lists, Derek aims to foreground both unique and innovative wines together with classics sourced the world over. Guests can expect gems from Greece, Hungry and China, all of which pair surprisingly well with Cantonese cuisine. Skin contact wines and natural wines will also be served.
Forever on the hunt for greater understanding and a keen desire to strengthen his practice, he is now studying Wine and Spirit Education Trust (W.S.E.T) Level 4 Diploma in Wines & Spirits. To this date, Derek is a Master Sommelier candidate of The Court of Master Sommeliers.
8. Timothy RJ Feather, Owner, Claret Wines, Macau
Born in the UK, Timothy has more than 25 years experience working in the Wine, Beverage and Casino industry in Asia and the United Kingdom.
Starting his career working in Macau for Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group in 1989 as a Food & Beverage trainee, he moved on to work in a number of top class, 5 star establishments in Macau. Following a 5 year stint in the UK as Head Sommelier at Simon Gueller's Rascasse in Leeds, Tim returned to Asia.
Back in Macau, Timothy was in charge of Wine & Beverage for the opening of Sands Macau in 2003, the first of the new wave of Vegas casinos which changed the landscape of Macau. He led a 350+ strong team providing unmatched beverage service as well as creating a world class wine list with 1000 bins and a budget of 2.5 million USD. Moving on to MGM Macau in 2007 he did it all over again for another Vegas Titan opening in Macau, this time working with a 5 Million USD budget for wines.
Heading up Summergate Fine Wines Macau in 2008, Timothy led the Macau office for 6 years, firmly establishing Summergate as a leading presence in the Macau market. During this time Timothy also attained the DipWSET Diploma from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust in London, being the first person in Macau to attain this.
In 2014 Timothy founded his own business, Claret Wines, representing an exclusive niche of artisan and smaller family estate wineries.
9. Jonathan C. Mather General Manager at ASC Fine Wines, A Suntory Group Company, Hong Kong and Macau
Jonathan has led multiple teams to success and helped many people realize their full potential, while developing the wine and spirits industry in Asia and the USA.
After starting his journey as a classically trained chef and restaurateur with a Culinary Arts degree followed by a BA at The School of Hospitality Business, at Michigan State and an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business as well as advanced WSET certifications.
He has established broad experience in multiple sectors including import, distribution, hotels and restaurants. Jonathan is truly passionate about spreading food and beverage culture, especially when served together to create a great experience.