2017 Competition Judges
Mary Adams is a member of the Hudson Chapter of the American Wine Society. She was a judge in the 2015 and 2016 American Wine Socity’s Amateur Wine Competition and is a third year wine certification student.
Dave is a long term member of the American Wine Society (American Wine Society) and is a graduate and Certified Wine Judge from the American Wine Society Wine Judge Training Program, within which he also instructs, mentors students, and administers the final examination. The American Wine Society has also recognized Dave as its ‘Outstanding Member’ in 2011. Dave is on the Board of the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association where he has chaired their annual Wine Competition for over ten years. Dave has presented innumerable wine seminars or various topics and has judged in many wine competitions, as well as having written many articles that have been published in various wine magazines. He currently works with various Virginia wineries in their tasting rooms and also at various festivals. Dave also enjoys travelling and has visited numerous wine areas on three continents and has been inducted into several wine brotherhoods in the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Serbia, Switzerland, and Hungary as well as being a Master Knight within the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Vine of America where he also serves as the Provost General of the Northeastern United States.
Melissa’s passion for wine led her to seek to a career at Pearmund Cellars in Virginia. She worked as one of the winery managers and as the winery sommelier. She is a long-term member of the American Wine Society and served for three years as Chapter Chair for the John Marshall chapter in Virginia. Melissa is a Certified Judge through the American Wine Society Wine Judge Certification Program and a Certified Sommelier through the International Wine Guild. Melissa is a free-lance wine consultant and educator.
Grant Crandall is the President of the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association, which among other activities, conducts the largest wine competition in the country focused exclusively on East Coast wines. In addition to wine judging, he has for many years presented wine seminars and tastings on a wide range of topics. His educational background includes a Ph.D. in Political Science from Oxford University in England where he was a Rhodes Scholar and a J.D. (law) degree from the University of California at Los Angeles. He resides in Fairfax, Virginia with his wife, Angela. He has two sons, Jesse and Andrew, and two grandsons, Nevin and Aiden.
Arielle Fabiano fell in love with wine after a trip to Italy in 2012 and several glasses of excellent Brunello di Montalcino. She studied biochemistry at Northeastern University and connected with the science behind winemaking. After an internship in Napa Valley as a lab tech at Charles Krug in 2014, she graduated from Northeastern in 2015 and reconnected with owner/winemaker of Balderdash Cellars, Christian Hanson. Fate would have it that he needed a new assistant winemaker and she needed a job, and they’ve been a dynamic winemaking duo ever since.
Rayona has been a life long lover of everything wine. Starting many years ago with an opportunity to live in Germany and to travel throughout Europe, she has a particular interest in the way that foods and wines compliment each other. She also has a keen interest in evaluating the aromas and bouquet of wine and how that influences ones expectation of the flavors in the glass. She has traveled throughout the USA with regional and locals wines being a primary enjoyment of those journeys. She judges wines through events sponsored by the American Wine Society and teaches wine classes through the University of Connecticut continuing education system.
Larry S. Jackson has thirty-five years winemaking experience, including professionally as one of the founding owners of a new winery and currently with another Illinois winery. He is a retired Senior Research Scientist from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is an American Wine Society certified judge and has done sommelier training with the International Wine Guild. He has also operated a small “estate bottling” vineyard at his home since 1998.
Denyelle James is a Sommelier and General Manager at Crystal Ridge Winery in South Glastonbury, CT. She and her family have owned and operated the winery since 2007. With an interest in different wines from around the world, Denyelle enrolled in classes at the Sommelier Society of America in New York City. In the summer of 2014, she obtained her Sommelier Certificate. As the family winery grew from a hobby to a small business, Denyelle became actively involved in blending finished wines. The Crystal Ridge Winery tasting room is scheduled to open in 2017.
In 1993 Sharyn was awarded one of the top five wine professionals for her Wine List by the International Fine Food and Beverage Organization. Over the past 10 years Sharyn has been the Wine Director for The Capital Grille in Philadelphia, PA and moved to the Cherry Hill, NJ location, earning the Wine Spectator “Best of” Award for both locations each year. Sharyn is also a member of the Dionysian Wine Society, The American Wine Society, and is a wine judge for professional and amateur competitions in New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. She is in The American Wine Society Judging Program and the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) advanced level 3 and Diploma Program. Sharyn is also a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) for the Society of Wine Educators and a Level 1 Sommelier for the Guild of Sommeliers.
Ricky the Meadmaker is the co-founder and head brewer for Groennfell Meadery in Colchester, Vermont. He is also begrudgingly the head chef of their restaurant Colchester’s Mead Hall.
Charlie is a long-time wine enthusiast and collector who has been active in the American Wine Society for ten years as the co-founder of the Hudson, MA chapter, were he is currently the chapter chair. Prior to his American Wine Society involvement, he studied wine at the Wine Society in Nashua, NH, completing the Wine Master class. Charlie has been active in wine competitions, judging at Winemaker Magazine, the American Wine Society amateur and commercial competitions and several others. He is a Certified Wine Judge with the American Wine Society, and also a French Wine Scholar with the Wine Scholar Guild.
Maureen Macdonald is a University of Vermont graduate who studied viticulture and oenological science at UCONN and Naugatuck Valley Community College. Her professional career began as a corporate cocktail designer for a large Boston based restaurant group and then became winemaker for Cassidy Hill Vineyard in Coventry, CT. She has received medals from the Amenti del Vino International Competition and Big E Wine Competition on behalf of Cassidy Hill. She has now moved on to head the winemaking consulting and lab analysis division at Musto Wine Grape. She is an active member of the American Wine Society and is one of the co-founders of the Women Winemakers of CT. In her spare time, she also enjoys contributing to winemaking blogs and writing articles on winemaking techniques as well as teaching winemaking classes. This will be her third year of judging for Winemaker Magazine.
David Male has been the Competition Chairman of the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition and is a graduate of Vintage House in Toronto, Canada. David is also a Certified Scholar of Wine. He has 55 years of “wine-book-with-glass-in-hand” wine education and has visited the wine areas of North America from coast to coast and North to South.
Christina Musto, is a long-term member of the American Wine Society (American Wine Society) and has been working with wine grapes since she was 11 years old. Christina graduated from Sonoma State University with her Wine Business MBA and completed the UC Davis Orientation into Viticulture course. She is a founding member of the Women Winemakers of Connecticut group and attended the Sommelier Society of America. She has worked for Beckstoffer Vineyards field sampling, Wooden Valley Winery in their tasting room, and helped pour at multiple events for Ceja Vineyards. Currently she works at Musto Wine Grape Company, LLC, helping source wine grapes for home makers and wineries.
Ron is a retired software company executive. He’s an American Wine Society certified wine judge. He also holds an Advanced Certificate from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (with distinction) and recognized as a Connoisseur of Wine by Robert Parker and Kevin Zraly. He is a member of the International Brotherhood of the Knights of the Vine and life member of the American Wine Society. He is a founding co-chair of the Catawba (NC) chapter of the American Wine Society. He has produced two vintages of wine at the Vint Hill Winery. He resides in North Carolina.
Kevin Ostrowski is the current chair of the Beaver County Chapter of the American Wine Society (American Wine Society), and has been a member of the society since 2010. He has been a home winemaker since 2001. He is a certified wine judge with the American Wine society and has participated as a student judge at INDY and the Finger Lakes International Wine competitions. He is also a member of the Wine Scholar Guild and Society of Wine Educators. He resides in Beaver, PA.
Joseph Paparella has been an amateur winemaker for 17 years. He has been a member of the American Wine Society for 8 years and is a Certified Wine Judge. Joseph is currently the Chapter Chair of the Worcester Chapter of the American Wine Society.
Rikki Paparella been an amateur winemaker for several years, making wine from her own small backyard vineyard of Marechal Foch. She’s been an active member of the American Wine Society for 5 years and is the co-chair of the American Wine Society chapter in Worcester, MA. She is in her third year of the American Wine Society certified wine judge program.
Jason is a veteran homebrewer and winemaker from Londonderry, NH with a passion for small batch and offbeat creations. With over 100 medals to his credit Jason has found success with a variety of beverages and in many different competitions, both large and small. Amongst his awards are a Best in Show from the New England Regional Homebrew Competition, three Meadmaker of the Year awards as well as numerous gold, silver and bronze medals for wine, mead, beer and cider. More recently Jason has attained BJCP judge certification for both beer and mead. Jason has previously written for WineMaker magazine and has also been a presenter at three WineMaker Magazine annual conferences. Jason and his wife are current in the planning process to open Ancient Fire Mead & Cider, a producer of small batch meads and ciders, in Southern New Hampshire.
Scott Prom is the owner of Shelburne Vineyard located in Shelburne, Vermont. He has consistently won awards at local state fairs, including Best of Show for a 1992 Lemberger. Scott’s passion has been slightly more in the winemaking side than the vineyard and now views each bottle as a work of art – reflecting the winemaker and his style. Scott lives in Shelburne, VT, just a short walk through the woods from the new winery with his wife LynnAnn, daughter Erin and son Riley.
Walter Rachele was a founding member (1988) of the Nation’s Capital Chapter of the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Vine an international organization with chapters in the United States. He has been a long standing member of the American Wine Society(1984) where he graduated from the Wine Judge Certification Program(1994) and returned to it as an instructor where he continues to be active. Walt has served on the AWS Board of Directors as Treasurer. As current Board member of the AWS Educational Foundation his wine knowledge grows from communication with the graduate students being awarded scholarships. Recently elected to the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association, Board of Directors, Walt now has an excuse to visit more wineries. He has participated as a judge in several competitions such as MD, NJ and PA Governor’s Cup, Winemaker Amateur Competition as well in several local county festivals at both the commercial and amateur levels. He has traveled extensively to increase his wine knowledge and has visited Spain, Portugal, Slovenia, Switzerland, France, England, Hungary and Serbia. He currently resides in Northern Virginia.
Don Reed is a second year student of the American Wine Society Wine Judge Certification Program and is a member of the Worcester MA American Wine Society chapter.
Sissy St. Pierre
Sissy St. Pierre has been growing grapes and making wine for several years at her home in Connecticut. Her vineyard includes a variety of vinifera and hybrid grapes with her award-winning wines made from her own grapes as well as carefully selected grapes from California and Chile. Sissy participates at many state, regional, and national commercial and amateur competitions.
Barry St. Pierre
Barry St. Pierre has been growing grapes and making wine for several years at his home in Connecticut. His vineyard includes a variety of vinifera and hybrid grapes with his award-winning wines made from her own grapes as well as carefully selected grapes from California and Chile. Barry is a certified wine judge and he and his wife Sissy both participate at many state, regional, and national commercial and amateur competitions. Barry has been an instructor for the American Wine Society Wine Judge Certification Program for the last several years and serves as a Regional Vice President of the American Wine Society.
Amy has been a wine enthusiast for seven years and an active member of the American Wine Society, Worcester chapter for four years. She participated as a judge and table captain in the 2016 American Wine Society Amateur Wine Experience and currently is in the second year of the American Wine Society wine judge certification program.
Paul Tonacci is a certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, a Certified Specialist of Wine through the Society of Wine Educators and a certified Wine Judge through the American Wine Society. Additionally, he participates as a Cider and Perry judge (in addition to wine) in competitions throughout the U.S. Paul has opened up his own wine bar and boutique wine shop in Atlantic City, NJ, worked as a wine broker and importer while finding time to freelance as a wine writer for the Wine Industry Network and other local publications covering grape growing and wine-making in the mid-Atlantic region of the country. Presently, he is a member of the Dionysian Society International, Brotherhood of the Knights of the Vine and a board member of the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association.
Mike Wassenberg lives in northern Virginia where he belongs to several chapters of the American Wine Society and as an American Wine Society certified wine judge enjoys participation in several of the local, regional and national competitions. He is a partner in five Virginia, North Carolina and Kansas wineries where he enjoys particpating in the wine business and winemaking. He is a candidate for the Wine and Spirits Educational Trust (WSET) Diploma as well as a graduate of the German Wine Academy where he was able indulge his love of rieslings. He and his wife are members of the Knights of the Vine and the German Wine Society, travel extensively and enjoy presenting and tasting wines around the world.
Leanne has been judging amateur and commercial wine competitions since 2010. She is a member of the American Wine Society (American Wine Society) where she currently serves on the Board of Directors. Leanne is an American Wine Society Certified Wine Judge and teaches an introductory wine course at the American Wine Society National Conference. Leanne has completed levels one and two of the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) program, passing both with distinction. She currently resides in South Windsor, Connecticut and enjoys travel to wine regions to satiate her thirst for wine knowledge.
Vince Williams, a certified judge for the American Wine Society has been judging since 2014. He has earned a Level 3 in Wine (with Merit) in 2017 with the Wine and Spirits Educational Trust and Wine and with the Spirits Educational Trust Level 2 in Wine and Spirits (with Distinction) for 2015.