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International Cool Climate
Wine Show 2024 
Panel Chairs

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Christian Maier

Christian Maier ‘Liquid Man’ Operation and beverage Manager at University House Melbourne, Sommelier and Wine Consultant.  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 1997. 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, and subsequently Best Club Wine List at the Australian Wine List of the Year Awards four years in a row followed by Hall of Fame, during his tenure as Wine director at the RACV Club and Resorts. 

At his current position as Operation and Beverage Manager, Christian oversees the wine purchasing, wine lists, member events and the running of the house at the University House Club, Melbourne University. 

He is also a senior judge with over two decades of experience having judged at the French Chamber of Commerce ‘Concours des Vins du Victoria’, Sydney International Wine Competition, Victorian wine show and more recently the International Cool Climate Wine Show.    

In the televised media, Christian has been the co-host of the food and wine segment on SBS television with celebrity chef Gabriel Gaté and writes regular wine column for various publications. 

Christian also operates a wine consultancy business which has seen him consulting for Six Senses in Thailand, and conducts corporate speaking engagement on various wine themes. 

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Vanessa Green

Beverage Director, Crimson Wine & Red Spice Road  | CEO, Cliftons Event Solutions


Vanessa Green is a wine show judge, a Director of Crimson Wine specialist wine importer, distributor and consultancy service; Beverage Director for Red Spice Road restaurant in Australia and CEO of Cliftons, a global conference and event solutions company. With vast experience in wines from all over the world, designing award winning wine lists, and running venues and events across multiple countries, Vanessa is passionate about the wine, F&B and event industries. 


She is committed to giving back to the industry and nurturing new talent through education, mentor programs and industry associations. Vanessa has a particular focus on the wines of Italy and has spent considerable time traveling the country to gain a deeper understanding of indigenous varietals and local winemaking and styles. Vanessa is a Vinitaly International Wine Ambassador (VIA, Italy), holds professional accreditations from WSET (UK), AWRI (Australian Wine Research Institute), AWAC and is a member of the Commanderie de Bordeaux and Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne.

Following her passion for wine, Vanessa judges at wine shows in Australia, Italy and Asia and attends and presents at many wine related events, trade shows and industry forums. This has provided the wonderful opportunity to taste and compare 1000’s of wines from around the world and visit wine regions in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, France, Germany, South America the US, Spain, China and even Burma!


Vanessa’s love of the industry is evident in her wine judging and speaking engagements which include:


As well as regular in person and live stream event presentations, tasting and master class presentations.

Wine Study Tours include research trips to wine growing regions of Spain, Italy, France, Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, Argentina, Chile, South Africa, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Myanmar.

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Gill Gordon-Smith IWE

Gill is a renowned educator, wine maker of La Madrina wines and former owner of “Fall From Grace” wine and tasting bar located in the Mclaren Vale region. The tasting bar  is an awarded and well known specialist retail space with a focus on International wines mainly from France and Italy, alternative varieties , organic and biodynamic wines and small local producers. Over 15 years as owner Gill developed a significant following.

In 2016 Gill become Australia’s first Italian Wine Expert, one of only 15 in the world working with Vinitaly as a regular 5-star Panel Chair and teach in Verona for the Italian Wine Academy. Gill also studied with both Ian D’Agata and Professor Attilio Scienza-two of the leading Italian grape authorities and traveled with them regularly to taste and explore native grapes.

Gill developed and led the Wine and Spirit School for TAFESA and lead an exceptional team of wine professionals as head of school, WSET 3 and 4 coordinator, lecturer, and advanced assessor.

In 2017 and 2020 Gill was the WCA Educator of the Year and in 2020 Wine Communicator of the Year. In 2021, Gill was the AWIWA Woman of Inspiration and has been part of the WCA mentor program since its inception.

Summary of Experience

  • Valpolicella Wine Specialist xg

  • IWE in VIA Academy 2016-Verona-Lecturer Italian Wine Academy-Verona

  • Lecturer Flinders University-Wines of the World

  • Certified Specialist of Wine (Society of Wine Educators)

  • French Wine Scholar and Italian Wine Scholar and instructor

  • Creative Director Wine Adelaide Food and Wine Festival

  • Committee member Tasting Australia

  • Board Member Adelaide Food and Wine Festival

  • WSET Approved Provider. Advanced Assessor/Educator

  • Co-Ordinator and Senior Lecturer TAFE South Australia –WSET Wine/ Sommelier program

  • Senior Facilitator Qantas  Airways Sommeliers in the Syy program 2006-2009

  • Training over 4000 staff in wine education and service around the world network.

  • Developing, writing, and delivering Wine Education programs to Qantas Cabin crew - First & Business Flight Attendant Qantas Airways

Judging experience

  • Judge Organic Wine Show Sydney 2009 (Max Allen, Vanya Cullen, John Osbeiston)

  • Judge Adelaide Review Hot 100 2010/2011

  • Panel Chair Adelaide review hot 100 2011-14

  • Panel Chair McLaren Vale Wine show 2014

  • Panel Chair Drink Easy Awards 2020-2022

  • Judge 5-star wines Verona 2017, Panel Chair in 2018, 2022, 2023

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