Judges for the Royal Melbourne Wine Awards are selected from across Australia and are engaged based on their exceptional industry knowledge and expertise.

Judges are sourced from a broad base and include leading Australian winemakers, wine journalists, wine buyers, distributors and fine wine retailers. 

Judging panels blind taste the wines to award medals based on the judging criteria for each class. Any wine awarded 95 - 100 points will be awarded a gold medal, 90 - 94 silver and 85 - 89 bronze. 

The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) welcomes Curly Flat Vineyards winemaker Matt Harrop as the new Chair of Judges in 2018. 

New Chair of Judges - Matt Harrop

Born in New Zealand, Matt Harrop grew up in Auckland, working his first vintage at 17 in 1988 and graduating from Roseworthy College in 1991 with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Oenology. Matt has previously held roles as winemaker at Shadowfax from its first vintage in 1999 and Senior Winemaker at Nautilus in Marlborough NZ. Following that, he spent three years as winemaker at Brokenwood. Beyond Australia and New Zealand, Matt has also spent time working in the vineyards of Italy and Moldova. Most recently, Matt has been appointed winemaker at Curly Flat Vineyard. Matt is also a regular judge of Australia’s city and regional wine shows including Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Barossa and Mornington Peninsula shows. He currently lives on a property near Lancefield in the Macedon Ranges with his family, a very friendly flock of sheep and a small Chardonnay vineyard, where he produces wines under his label, Silent Way.

2018 Royal Melbourne Wine Awards new Chair of Judges Matt Harrop.

2018 Royal Melbourne Wine Awards new Chair of Judges Matt Harrop.

Meet our 2018 Panel Chairs

Chris Tyrell
Tyrell’s Wines, Hunter Valley, NSW

Chris Tyrrell is the fifth generation of Tyrrell family winemaking dynasty, alongside his sister Jane and brother John.  Chris began his winery apprenticeship in 2001, the first vintage after the after passing of his grandfather and Australian winemaking legend Murray Tyrrell.   From then on Chris has worked with his family’s wine company. In between vintages he worked in the sales and marketing department until the end 2005 when he returned to work full time in the winery.  From 2006 through 2014 Chris was the assistant winemaker working with two of the great modern day Hunter Valley winemakers, Chief Winemaker Andrew Spinaze and Red Winemaker Mark Richardson.  In late 2014 Chris was promoted to the role of Chief Operating Officer, overseeing all facets of production at the Hunter Valley winery and vineyard.  In recent years Chris and the rest of the Tyrrell’s winemaking team have focused heavily on improving, and in some cases reinventing their classic regional styles and sing.

Daniel Swincer
Pernod Ricard, Barossa Valley, SA

Chief winemaker for Pernod Ricard Winemakers Australia based in the Barossa Valley.  Dan has judged at numerous capital city and regional wine shows as a panel chair, judge and associate judge.  This is his fifth year at the Royal Melbourne Wine Awards.

Glenn Barry
Tonic Wines, Clare Valley, SA

Glenn is Winemaker / Director at Tonic Wines; a small and unique South Australian brand. He was previously the Winemaker for Knappstein Enterprise Winery for just short of a decade. He began his career in Clare at Jim Barry Wines and after stints in Italy, Canada and USA, moved back to Australia, taking up a role with Hardy’s Tintara –2004. Glenn graduated from Charles Sturt University in 2000 and completed the Len Evans Tutorial in 2014. He has since fulfilled roles as a panel chair and a judge at numerous capital city and regional wine shows around Australia.

Julian Langworthy
Deep Woods Estate, Margaret River, WA

A passion for regionally distinctive wines led Julian Langworthy to Deep Woods Estate and home to Margaret River. This will be Julian’s fifth year with the Royal Melbourne Wine Awards and in 2018 Julian was awarded Winemaker of the Year at the Halliday Wine Companion Awards.

Lisa Jenkins
Mac Forbes Wines, Yarra Valley, VIC

A qualified chef, Lisa made the move from the back of house to the front early in her hospitality career.  Her synergy with food and wine held her in great stead as manager at the City Wine Shop for close to eight years. 

A new direction in career came about in 2016 taking on the role of Sales Manager for Mac Forbes Wines in Victoria, ACT and Tasmania.  At the same time Lisa and her husband began making their own wine under the label Fleet, based in South Gippsland.

In 2008 Lisa was selected by Sommeliers Australia to participate in the inaugural Sommeliers Australia benchmark wine tasting course. To follow, in 2010 she undertook the Court of Master Sommeliers programme, becoming a certified sommelier and placing second in Victoria for her exam results.

A Len Evans scholar in 2011 was her springboard into the Australian judging circuit, with involvement in both National and Regional shows over the past six years.

Melanie Chester
Sutton Grange, Central VIC

Melanie is the Head Winemaker at Sutton Grange Winery in Central Victoria. Mel has completed studies in viticulture and oenology at University of Adelaide, as well as extensive work experience at wineries as diverse as d’Arenberg, Charles Melton and Quinta do Crasto in Portugal’s Duoro Valley. During Mel’s three-year winemaking stint at Seppelt Great Western, she also became a sought-after show judge and in 2014 the youngest ever scholar chosen for the Len Evans Tutorial. In 2015 Gourmet Traveller WINE magazine named her Australian Young Winemaker of the Year.

Stuart Hordern
Brokenwood Wines, Hunter Valley, NSW

Senior Winemaker at Brokenwood Wines in the Hunter Valley, where he has worked since 2009. Stuart has judged at several national and regional wine shows around Australia and was awarded DUX of the 2016 Len Evans Tutorial.

2018 Judges

Adam Carnaby, Seppelt, Great Western, VIC
Adam Cotterell, Blackhearts & Sparrows, Melbourne, VIC
Anna Pooley, Pooley Wines, TAS
Belinda Thompson, Crawford River Wines, Henty, VIC
Ben Portet, Dominique Portet Winery, Yarra Valley, VIC
Kerri Thompson, Wines by KT, Clare Valley, SA
Natasha Mooney, Wine Architect, Barossa Valley, SA
Peter Godden, AWRI, Adelaide, SA
Peter Nixon, Dan Murphy’s, Melbourne, VIC
Simon Steele, Medhurst Wines, Yarra Valley, VIC
Tessa Brown, Vignerons Schmölzer & Brown, Beechworth, VIC
Tim Lovett, Leeuwin Estate, Margaret River, WA
Toby Barlow, St Hallett, Barossa Valley, SA
Tony Harper, Craft Wine Store, Red Hill, QLD

2018 Associate Judges

Dan Graham, Sigurd Wines, Barossa Valley, SA
Garth Cliff, Houghton Wines, Swan Valley, WA
Greg Lane, Grove Mill, Marlborough, NZ
Katherine Brown, Brother Brothers, Milawa VIC
Lachlan McCallum, The European, Melbourne, VIC
Luke Lomax, Devils Cave Vineyard, Heathcote, VIC
Nic Schirripa, Casella Family Brands, NSW
Philip LeMessurier, Corduroy Wines, Adelaide Hills, SA
Pip Crawford, CMV Farms, SA
Pip Anderson, MONA, TAS
Roberto Delgado, De Bortoli Wines, Yarra Valley, VIC
Sam Collins, Giant Steps, Yarra Valley, VIC
Stephanie Jacob, Supernormal Melbourne, VIC
Tim Perrin, Oakridge Wines, Yarra Valley, VIC