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.
Christy Canterbury MW
USA, New York
Christy Canterbury is a Master of Wine, Certified Sommelier by the Court of Master Sommeliers, writer, buyer, and educator who lives in Manhattan. Christy has bought wine as the National Wine Director for Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group and as the Corporate Beverage Director for Culinary Concepts by Jean-Georges, where she opened and managed restaurants from Istanbul and Doha to Vancouver and Bora Bora. She was also the Wine Acquisitions Director for Italian Wine Merchants, a high-end retail concept catering to wine collectors.
Christy currently divides her time between many activities. She is a judge for the Ultimate Wine Challenge, The Dallas Morning News/TEXSOM Wine Competition and Istanbul Masters of Wine Weekend; a contributing taster at vitis.com; an educator at Astor Center and San Francisco Wine Center; a panelist for Wine Enthusiast, TASTED and Wine & Spirits magazines; a contributing writer for Sommelier Journal and Beverage Media; the Wine Editor for the Garrubbo Guide and the Italy Wine Editor for the Professional Wine Reference.
Andreas Wickhoff MW
Andreas Wichkoff is Austria’s third Master of Wine and is the managing director of Premium Estates of Austria, a group of the country‘s leading wineries.
As the coordinator of this fine selection of growers, he partially assists in the production process but mostly travels around the world to promote the group's wines and spirits.
Before establishing the association in 2004, he worked as a sommelier and wine buyer in Corsica, France and Vail, CO, USA.
Andreas is a graduate of the College of Tourism and Hotel Management in Bad Gleichenberg, Austria, and completed a degree in Food & Hospitality Management at Martin College in Brisbane, Australia.
Jamie Goode is a London-based wine writer who is currently wine columnist with UK national newspaper The Sunday Express.
He won the 2007 Glenfiddich Wine Writer of the year award, and contributes regularly to a range of publications including The World of Fine Wine, Wine Business International, Wines and Vines, Sommelier Journal, The Drinks Business andImbibe. His first book, Wine Science, won the Glenfiddich Award for Drinks Book in 2006. Jamie has also made numerous presentations and lectures, conducted many tastings and is an established wine judge (panel chair for the International Wine Challenge, among others). He is one of the organizers for the International Sparkling Wine Symposium (March 2009 and November 2011) and the Sparkling Wine Review.
Jamie came to wine writing by a rather convoluted route, via a PhD in plant biology and several years of working as a book editor, before he began publishing www.wineanorak.com, which is now one of the leading wine websites. He has also appeared on TV (Richard and Judy, Sky News, BBC Breakfast and BBC News Channel).
Vladimir Tsapelik has a Ph.D. in Economics and is the president and founder of the Independent Wine Club, Russia. He developed an interest in wine as a student at the Faculty of Economics of Moscow State University and pursued it through extensive travel to the wine republics of the Soviet Union - Moldova, the Ukraine, and Georgia, among others. As first deputy chairman of Russia’s State Anti-Monopoly Committee in the late 1990s, he had the opportunity to visit numerous wineries around the world – in the USA, Chile, France, Austria, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Tunisia, etc. In recent years, Vladimir has been traveling internationally as a wine critic and journalist, has served on the juries of a number of international wine competitions (Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, Mundusvini, Vinandino, etc.), and has presented at seminars and conferences. He has published articles on wine and gastronomy, both online and in print, in "The wine list," "Magnum," "Drink" (Russia), "Gourmet" (Kazakhstan), etc. He is the chief editor of the site www.winepages.ru
Markus Stolz spent most of his career in finance before his longstanding passion for wine lead him into a completely different direction. At the beginning of 2009, he started promoting Greek wine on a full-time basis to importers and wine merchants abroad. He is the founder and author of www.elloinos.com, one of the most respected information sources on Greek wine. His work has been featured in a number of national and international publications.
Markus serves as consultant to well-known US wine importers and has successfully introduced a number of Greek wineries to the US market. He lives with his Greek wife and their children in Athens, Greece. He holds the advanced certificate from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust.
Luiz describes himself as a #winelover that was born in Brazil, with Italian blood and an American heart.
In 2008 he started the study program of the Institute of Masters of Wine and he plans to sit the exam for the first time in 2014. Just recently (2012) he received the title of Advanced Ambassador of the Academy of Wines of Portugal and he also holds the title of Wine Location Specialist (Port and Champagne), along with a professional certification on Spanish wines by the Wine Academy in Spain. He judges at the one most important wine competitions of the world: The Concours Mondial de Bruxelles and he is coming to Sofia for the second time to judge at the competition.
On February 14th, 2012 he founded "#winelover". A community that exists to promote the love of wine through digital media, social educational events, as well as a wide array of information sharing. The group has about 7,000 members on Facebook and they are all people from different parts of the world sharing their passion.for.wine.
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!”
Saša Špiranec entered the world of wine professionals as a wine store manager in 1995. He then worked for a wholesale and retail company as wine buyer, and later became the representative of a winery. Currently, he is a wine consultant with Vinart Ltd. and an associate at Vinolab Ltd. in Zagreb, Croatia. The Vinart Ltd. consulting company specializes in wine and food publishing, wine education, wine marketing and event management. Vinolab Ltd. is a wine laboratory and consulting company.
Saša Špiranec is also the author of the Croatian Wine Guide, co-author of the Croatian Gourmet Guide and has published extensively on wine elsewhere.
Julia Kostadinova is editor-in-chief of DiVino.bg, a wine taster with many years of experience, and a member of a number of international tasting commissions. Wine editor of Bacchus Magazine from its founding until 2009. Co-creator of the competition 'Bulgarian Wine of the Year'. Covers Bulgaria, Greece, Chile and Argentina on tastings of DiVino.
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).
Robert Gorjak lives near Ljubljana, Slovenia, and has written about wine since 1994. Beside regular contributions to Slovenian periodicals, he is a contributor to The Oxford Companion to Wine and The World Atlas of Wine. He is the author of Wine guide – Slovenia 2012. A regular judge in national and international wine competitions, he and his wife founded Slovenia’s first wine school, Belvin back in 2002. He is a regional Chairman for Slovenia at Decanter World Wine Awards.
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.
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.
Horia has worked as a multi-media journalist since 1993 – primarily as a columnist and editor in the print media, but also as TV reporter and commentator. His decision to get involved in the world of wine on a professional basis was a natural continuation of his long-standing interest in wine as a wine aficionado and collector. His love for written stories and fine wines found its first expression in the vindinpresa.ro wine blog. In January 2011, he became the editor of the Vinul.Ro magazine, the leading wine publication in Romania, oriented towards wine producers and wine-savvy readers. In his capacity as editor, Horia follows culinary and wine-pairing trends, promotes wine as an indispensable companion at the table, conducts in-depth interviews, and writes reviews on a variety of matters concerning wine production and consumption. He has lent his extensive wine expertise to a number of national and international wine fairs, wine tastings, and wine festivals, and has served as member of the jury.
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.
Lotte Karolina Gabrovits
Lotte Karolina is a #winelover who was born in Romania with German blood and Hungarian heart.
In 2011 she started the Master studies of Horticulture and International Wine Marketing at the Technical University Munich, the Corvinus University Budapest and the MA in Burgenland and she will receive her 2 Master degrees in July this year. Just recently (2013), she received the title of Advanced Ambassador of the Wines of Slovakia from the Wine Academy VinoForum.
She is the Communication/PR and Marketing Manager of the #winelover community in Europe organizing wine seminars, Master classes and wine travels all around the world.