International Cool Climate
Wine Show 2019 

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Frank Butera

Frank is the Winemaker and General Manager at Bass River based in South Gippsland, Victoria. 

Frank completed a Bachelor of Applied Science in Wine Science from Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, NSW and AWRI Advance Wine Course Assessment – Cohort #48.

Frank combines best practice and analytical technology that leads to practical implementation in grape growing and wine making. Frank remains abreast of current wine and soil science research and continues to proactively adjust to achieve the best possible outcome.

At Bass River, Frank concentrates on growing and processing grapes from Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Gamay, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Riesling. The Burgundian varieties are the focus and passion of the winery and vineyard. Frank continues to develop all wines acknowledging the importance of “sense of place”. Frank never ceases to explore and develop links at Bass River between variety, style, climate and the land with an emphasis towards sustainable solutions.

Over the past decade, Frank has participated and judged wine shows, that have included Capital City, Regional and Varietal wine shows. Frank also writes a regular article for Gippsland – The Lifestyle Magazine.

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Leigh Ratzmer

After graduating from the University of Adelaide’s Oenology Degree, Leigh travelled to the Barossa Valley and spent three vintages working with Torbreck whilst also managing an overseas vintage at Loimer’s, and later Thiery-Weber both located in Austria. His passion for cool climate wines now further ignited, Leigh returned home to the Adelaide Hills where he joined Wicks Estate for their inaugural vintage in 2004. For the last decade he has held the reigns as head Winemaker for Wicks Estate, whilst also contract winemaking for a number of smaller Hills based brands.


During this time Leigh has held an active involvement in the Adelaide Hills Wine Region, firstly as a member of the AHWR wine show committee, later as committee chairman, and in recent times as a member of the AHWR executive committee. His judging experience is well grounded in cool climate wines, having previously judged at the National Cool Climate, Clare Valley, Adelaide Hills, Cowra and National Single Vineyard Wine Shows, as well as being a panelist for a number of publications.

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Christian Maier

Christian has spent many years in Michelin starred restaurants in France and London UK. Upon arrival in Australia he further developed his skills by focusing on oenology and was appointed to the position of Sommelier at Hotel Sofitel Melbourne in 1994 subsequently being awarded Best Hotel wine list. In 2000 the Age Good Food Guide handed Christian the inaugural award for Service Excellence.

In 2002 his long love affair with Champagne has seen him being the Australian winner of the Vin de Champagne Award.

Following his role of Head sommelier at Langtons Restaurant and wine bar in 2005 the establishment was awarded the Age Good Food Guide Best Restaurant Wine List.

At his current position as Sommelier for RACV Club and Resorts, Christian oversees the wine purchasing, wine lists and wine promotions, staff training and beverage events for several properties.

He is also a senior wine judge at National and regional shows and in the televised media, Christian has been the co-host on SBS Tour de France ‘Taste Le Tour’ with celebrity chef Gabriel Gaté.

Christian also operates a wine consultancy business which has seen him consulting for several businesses in Australia and Thailand and conducts corporate speaking engagements on various wine themes and writes regular wine columns for various publications.

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Cynthea Feldheim

Cynthea Feldheim has been making wine for 23 years. She started at a young age... 5 to be exact when her parents moved from San Francisco to Tassie and purchased a plot of land which they planted in 1980.


It was a natural evolution to work with the vines and Cynthea eventually ended up studying winemaking and wine marketing.

Her favourite varietals are Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Cynthea absolutely loves using her sense of smell and taste as her job. It has opened her world so much more. AND, it is the best passport to travel on!


Ed Merrison

Ed works as communications manager for Melbourne-based wine importer and wholesale distributor CellarHand. He started with the company in 2014 and sits on the purchasing panel, as well as being in charge of marketing and events for a portfolio which is evenly divided between Australian and New Zealand producers and family estates overseas - in particular Germany, Austria and France.

Born and raised in Kent, England, Ed came to wine following a career in journalism. He specialised in travel, business and wine and wrote for the Guardian, Herald Sun, Sky News, Bloomberg and Business Spectator. In 2017 Ed was awarded the Fine Wine Partners Scholarship as Australian Dux of the WSET Diploma program, with his overall distinction placing him in the top 1% of students worldwide. He lives on the Mornington Peninsula with his photographer wife and their three young children.


Lucy Maddox

Lucy Maddox and her partner Chris Derrez run Madrez Wine Services, a contract only winemaking and bottling facility in Orange NSW.  Initially trained as an Industrial Chemist in Western Australia, a chance Honours project in winemaking for the Department of Agriculture placed Lucy firmly on the winding road to winemaking.  Retraining at Roseworthy whilst vintaging for BRL, was followed by vintages in California, France, Tunisia and Switzerland and a few years on home soil at Brown Brothers.


Establishing Madrez Wine Services in 2002 in Orange's cool-climate has provided Lucy the opportunity to ghost-write many cool climate wines from across NSW, concentrating on particular favourites, Riesling and Pinot Noir. Lucy was also Chief Steward of the Orange Wine Show for 12 years.

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Sam Plunkett

Sam Plunkett began his winemaking career in 1986 as a lad dragging hoses at Tisdall Wines in Echuca. Later he took on responsibility for winemaking at the family business Plunkett Wines, then Chief Winemaker at Plunkett Fowles. Today Sam heads up the team at Wine by Sam in Central Victoria's Seymour; bringing in fruit from the Strathbogie Ranges, Heathcote, Pyrenees, Mornington Peninsula and for the first time in 2019, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes from Tasmania!

Sam is currently a member of The Viticulture Society of Victoria, is Deputy Chair of The Victorian Wine Show, and sits as a wine industry representative on the Course Advisory Committee for La Trobe University Bachelor of Agricultural Sciences.

 Sam’s wines can be found in the UK, USA and China. He is a regular traveller to the classic wine regions of the world, with this year’s wine vintages taking him to Portugal and Madeira.


Carl Tiesdell-Smith

Carl has an Associate diploma In Applied Science in Natural Resource Management as well as an Advanced certificate in Viticulture and Winemaking, both from Melbourne University (Dookie campus).  He also completed various subjects of interest from Applied Science in Food Technology.

Carl has 28 years of industry experience on the Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley which include being the Viticulturalist and Assistant winemaker at Mantons Creek vineyard for 14 years, working at Main Ridge Estate and Paringa Estate, he was also the Viticulturalist and Winemaker at Box Stallion for 10 years.

Carl is a Director of Viticulture/Winemaking Development Service P/L, since 1998. He has a well-established winery on the Mornington Peninsula making all the local varieties for over 15 clients.  Carl manages the vineyard and properties across the Mornington Peninsula and employs 8 full time staff and 15 casuals.   Carl is also a vineyard and winery consultant.

Carl has worked as a steward for the Royal Melbourne Wine show and has worked closely with and under the direction of Alex White oenological services for over 18 years.