Konstantinos Lazarakis MW
BIWC Chairman, Greece
After studying jazz guitar and mechanical engineering on the National & Technical University of Athens, I became Sommelier of Jajazzo Restaurant in Athens - the first restaurant in Greece to hire a full time sommelier and the first to be awarded a Michelin star.
Now I work as an Imports Manager and Wine Buyer in AIOLOS ltd and the Managing Director of Wine and Spirits Professional Consultants that run WSET courses in Greece.
In the last two years I have been involved in wine writing and wine journalism and I now write for four Greek publications as well as having 'Wines of Greece' published as a part of the Mitchell Beazley Classic Wine Library in Sept. 2005. In addition, I consult for wine producers, hotels and restaurants.
MW, Great Britain
Caroline Gilby became Master of Wine in 1992 after abandoning a life behind the microscope. She walked away from a degree in Botany and a PhD in Plant Sciences to achieve this highest title in the world of wine professionals. In 1988, she joined August Barnett as wine buyer. Since 1995, she has worked as freelance wine writer and independent consultant in the areas of wine quality, tasting techniques, brand development, competitive research, technical specifications, and range selection. She is a regular contributor to a variety of web sites, including DiVino.bg, and, frequently, a judge at international wine competitions.
Caroline Gilby is a member of the Circle of Wine Writersand has lectured on the UK wine market for the OIV’s Master of Science in Wine Management program (2003-2008). She was board director of the UK Wine Standards board for four years on appointment by the Minister of Agriculture of the UK.
Rod Smith MW is a wine educator, marketer and salesman, based in the South of France. Currently with a client list that includes the world’s wealthiest, most discerning and demanding customers, Rod is the wine director of Vins Sans Frontières – the leading wine supplier to the superyacht industry.
Prior to this, Rod has worked in the UK for a variety of fine wine importers and retailers, as well as being an established WSET educator and occasional journalist. A Master of Wine since 2006, Rod has been extensively involved in judging wine competitions in London, Shanghai and Moscow.
Rod’s personal interests include cycling, running, travel, literature, card magic and film.
Jaime Araujo started learning about wine at her family’s winery in California before going on to study enology in Bordeaux (DUAD), London (WSET) and California (UC Davis). Jaime created Terravina in 2004 to address the specific needs of the wine industry in terms of high level strategy consulting and down-to-earth, effective marketing solutions and has worked with clients like Francis Ford Coppola Winery, LVMH, the WWF, Jancis Robinson and Artémis Domaines.
She has an MBA from INSEAD in France and previously worked for Moët Hennessy in Austria, London and Paris. Passionate about wine marketing, she teaches regularly at INSEEC Bordeaux and has also given classes at Sciences Politiques and HEC.
Taner Ogutoglu was born in 1970. He graduated from Daruşşafaka High School and Marmara University Business Administration, Marketing Major with honors degree.
Ogutoglu is the Director of Wines of Turkey generic body whose mission is to develop wine culture in Turkey and to increase exports by establishing a generic brand associated with quality wine. Since 2012 he is also member of the Board of ACTE (Association for Culture and Tourism Exchange).
Alessandro Griccioli is part of an old traditional wine family from Tuscany; as young traditionalist with an innovative edge, he promotes his Chianti-based winery Tenuta di Montechiaro with the vision of legacy for the future.
BA in environmental economics, MBA in Wine Marketing and Management at the Bordeaux Wine Institute, he's also a Professional Sommelier certified by AIS (Italian Sommelier Association) since 2005 and Official Taster certified by AIS since 2006; he's also a professional Taster of extra Virgin olive oil.
"I've been producing boutique wines from my estate since 2005, and as professional Sommelier, I know how important is to taste as much wines as possible with enthusiasm and attitude!”
Judge Trevor Long is a true maverick in the best sense of the word. Coming from a background of pure entertainment, Trevor had a successful professional career in music over 30 years, managing bands in the indie, pop and punk sectors such as The Fall and The Stranglers, and as a legendary worldwide tour manager working alongside almost everyone from Duran Duran to Robert Plant. Having had a love of good wine throughout whilst travelling the globe, he semi-retired from music to pursue a new career as a trailblazing importer into the UK and Ireland, pioneering the wines of Croatia and now Slovenia. His portfolio is sharply defined, often unconventional and always well thought out, now selling to luxury stores such as the Harvey Nichols group and Michelin 1* and 2* restaurants across the UK. With a mindset that focuses wine as entertainment, the winemaker as the creative part of that process, and scrutinizing the wines not only for their quality but also commerciality, viability and saleability, Trevor will bring a whole new innovative dimension to the judging table at Sofia. Balkans' Got Talent? He will certainly be looking for “The X Factor” in the wines he tastes.
Marinela Vasilica Ardelean
Native of Transylvania (Romania) and based in Italy, Marinela is genuine and approachable. She has an infectious enthusiasm about sharing and enjoying the pleasures of great food and wine.
After graduate studies in Economics and Law, an MBA program at MIB School of Management in Trieste, the Sommelier Diploma in Italy, studies in Bordeaux at l’Ecole du Vin, an important stage in Champagne, and travels in more than 50 countries around the world including study tours, she is well qualified as a professional sommelier.
Marinela is the Brand Manager of Foss Marai Spumanti and she is a teacher at ITALIAN CHEF ACADEMY in Rome. Marinela has also been a member of the jury in national and international wine-challenges, like “Grandi Champagne” and “Vinibuoni d'Italia”.
She won the title of “Best Sommelier of Romania” in 2014. She was also a finalist at “The Best Sommelier in the World” in 2013 ( London, UK) and the Italian finalist for the competition “Ambassadeur-du-Champagne” in 2013.
Ivana Simjanovska is the co-author and publisher of the first Macedonian Wine Guide & since 2012is a wine judge at the Balkans International Wine Competition & from 2013 at The Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. As of 2012 she’s been chasing her Master’s Degree in Enology at the Institute of Agriculture in Skopje.
For more than 5 years, she was a member of the board of the first Macedonian Wine Club, organizing wine tasting events and promoting wine culture in Macedonia. Ivana has an extensive knowledge in the Macedonian wine industry which she has been carefully studying for the past few yearswhile working as a consultant on Macedonian wines, wine industry and fairs.
In addition, she is one of the co-founders of CSV& Co, the first, London based, company to specialize in wine tourism in Macedonia, Chief-in-editor of vino.mk& writes wine articles for various magazines in the country.
Dr. József Kosárka has been writing his articles and essays on various aspects of the wine world for two decades and goes on contributing to several printed journals and websites in Hungary and Latin America. He is member of the FIJEV. He gives lectures about wines of his country and the neighbouring ones and has been running tastings and courses both for students and professionals. He has been guest professor for two semesters at the Institute of Wine and Pisco in Lima. He has been judging at many international wine competitions all over the world. He is member of the Hungarian Wine Academy and the Hungarian Sommelier Association. In 1999 the title "Universal Ambassador of the Wines of the World" was conferred on him by the Club del Gourmet de México. In 2009 the Chilean magazine PlanetaVino acclaimed him as "the best ambassador of wine ever".
Igor Luković is a wine critic, writer and journalist from Serbia, who has worked with wine and wine culture since 2003. He is Editor in chief in “Wine & Fine” magazine, and associate of many other media dealing with wine and food culture.
At the same time, he is President of the Sommelier Association of Vojvodina and CEO of the Serbian Sommelier Association. Actively is engaged in wine education, trainings, consulting and event managing, and as a judge on the wine tastings. He works and lives between Belgrade and Novi Sad.
His beginnings in the wine business areas owner and Editor of “Gurman” and “Gastro Svet” magazines, and subsequently became General Manager of the company “Vinodrom”, engaged in importing and distributing wine.
Yasen Zahariev covers California, Australia, and New Zealand on tastings of DiVino. His first participation in a wine campaign happens in 1999 in California. He has worked for several cellars in California and South Australia. In 2006 he was invited for the foundation of the Wine Spectator Club and participates in the regular monthly tastings up to the present moment. He also participates in the monthly tastings of the National Wine and Spirituous Beverages Research Institute, Wine Index. He has tasted for Bacchus Magazine, www.e-vestnik, etc. Yasen maintains his own wine blog since 2007. He also teaches philosophy in New Bulgarian University.
Elissaveta Zaharieva is the first Bulgarian with a PhD degree in Wine Marketing and she holds a WSET Advanced Certificate. Elissaveta discovered the world of wine during her studies in Newcastle University, and then oriented herself towards the Bulgarian wine industry. In 2012 Elissaveta co-founded the “Catalogue of Bulgarian Wine”, which since then became the annual reference and independent source of information for the wine enthusiasts. In her career, she has worked for many Bulgarian companies, such as Domaine Boyar, Veritas Wines, Damianitza, Casavino and as project leader in wine and spirits for Euromonitor International. She is the professional correspondent for Bulgaria for Wine Business International and also contributes to international publications.