Members of the jury - Dubrovnik FestiWine 2017

Bojan Kobal, Slovenia

President of the Jury

Members of the Jury:

Anna Aga, Greece

Chris Alblas, Netherlands

Darrel Joseph, Austria/United States of America

Franjo Francem, Croatia

Tihomir Prusina, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Cliff Rames, United States of America

Quentin Sadler, Great Britain 

Željko Suhadolnik, Croatia

Mira Šemić, Slovenia

Mario Tomeković, Croatia/Great Britain 

Nenad Trifunovic, Croatia

Josef Valihrach, jr., Czech Republic

Ivan Vrban, Croatia

Dominique Vrigneau, Great Britain 

 

Jury memebers' biographies

Note: listed alphabetically, following Bojan Kobal's biography

 

Bojan Kobal, Slovenia

President of the Jury

Bojan Kobal was born in 1977 in Ljubljana. He is co-owner of one of the largest Slovenian companies distributing wines in China, 'Alpswine', and is also the owner of Kobal winery. Prior to his latest engagements, Bojan worked for the famous Slovenian  winery 'Ptujska klet', with the special attention to production of white wines.

He is also responsible for presentations at wine fair throughout the world, such as London wine fair, Prowein and other. Bojan graduated from the Biotechnical Faculty Ljubljana, Food science and technology, with specialization in oenology.

He worked with Angela Muir (MW) – Cellarworld international ltd., as well as with New Yealand and Australian wine makers. He holds an official license for judging of wines and spirits and he regularly participates at numerous international competitions such as Vino Slovenia, Ljubljana, Muvina Presov, AWC Wien master tasting and Michelangelo wine awards.  Bojan won 18 championship titles at some of the leading wine competitions in the world, as well as more than 250 golden and silver awards.

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Members of the Jury:

Anna Aga, Greece

Anna Aga is an Oenologist graduate from the Department of Oenology and Technology of Beverages of the Technological Institute TEI in Athens in 2000, and has been working as a winemaker ever since, in wineries in Greece and abroad. She is predominantly occupied with the wine production, quality control, as well as guided tours, wine tasting events and has been representing these wineries in international and Greek wine exhibitions. She has also worked as a content manager for the creation of a multilingual site (www.newwinesofgreece.com) for the promotion of Greek wine. Nowadays, she is the head oenologist in Ktima Kokotou, responsible for the wine production as well as the guided tours and the cultural events organized throughout the year and as an account manager for New Wines of Greece, responsible for the Social Media.

She has participated in international wine competitions and has worked as a sommelier and has passed the WSET Level 2 Intermediate Certificate in Wines and Spirits. Anna speaks English, French, Italian and Greek.

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Chris Alblas, Netherlands

Chris Alblas is the founder of the Societas Vinum Bonum Est, nowadays called SVBE wijnprofessionals. Most of the time Chris is involved in wine courses for consumers, trade and restaurants. He is the chief-editor and owner of the site www.wijnjournaal.nl. Furthermore, Chris publishes in Drinks Slijtersvakblad and works for many other book and magazine publishers. He is the member of FIJEV, teacher at the Dutch Wineacademy and wine-educator at the top culinary Cas Spijkers Academy in Boxmeer.

Being in the industry since 1987, Chris regularly participates in different notable tastings such as Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, Talent Bordeaux, Grahams Trophy, Saint-Emilion, International Michelangelo Wine Awards, Concours Mondial du Sauvignon, Dutch Wine Concours, Bulk Wine Exhibition and other. Among many awards and recognitions that he received, Chris is the first taster in Netherlands who received a silver pin (2007) and the golden pin (2013) for his work. He participated six times as a jury member of the International Michelangelo Wine Awards in South  Africa, as well as, in 2016, at the International Wine and Spirit Competition in Greece, and the Concours Mondial du Sauvognon in Rueda, Spain. 

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Darrel Joseph, Austria/United States of America

Darrel Joseph is based in Vienna, Austria, and writes about the wines and wine regions of Central and Eastern Europe for various publications, such as Decanter, Decanter.com and Harpers Wine & Spirit in the UK, Meininger's Wine Business International in Germany and wine-searcher.com. His work has also been published in the Wine Spectator in the United States, Vinum in Switzerland and Germany, VinCE in Hungary, and he has contributed to Hugh Johnson´s Pocket Wine Book (the UK).He is the editor of the English version of the book "Tokaj, The Wine of Freedom", by Lászlo Alkonyi.

In addition to his writing,Darrelparticipates as a judge in international wine tastings and competitions, including the renowned Decanter World Wine Awards in London. He has also judged for numerous other competitions, such as the Berlin Wine Trophy and Mundus Vini (both in Germany), the Asia Wine Trophy in South Korea,Concours Mondial de Bruxelles,Vinistra in Croatia and the Austrian Wine Challenge in Vienna.He is also a member of the wine jury for Gault & Millau, Austria.Darrelholds wine tastings and presentations for wine clubs, wine schools, businesses and private clients throughout Europe. He is a member of the Circle of Wine Writers in the United Kingdom.

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Franjo Francem, Croatia

Franjo  started his career in PIK Đakovo, continued in Badel 1862 and Agrokor and has carried out a number of functions: main oenologist, production and development manager, project manager, etc. He is one of the founders and a vice-president of the Croatian Sommelier Club. He also initiated and founded the Croatian Society of Enologists and was its president for a long time.He is a member of the Union internationale des oenologues. Mr. Francem has organized many educational programs, courses and workshops for oenologists, sommeliers and wine enthusiasts as well as a number of regional and national sommelier championships. He has launched the Wine Academy, which has had more than 2500 participants in several different programs in only three years.
He is a certified taster with a large experience and has participated in numerous wine competitions in Croatia as well as most prestigious international competitions in Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Italy, Switzerland, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, Brazil, Canada, USA and Israel.

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Tihomir Prusina, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Tihomir Prusina was born on July 23, 1960 in Hamzici, Citluk, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He graduated in 1985 from the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, University of Zagreb. His master's thesis and doctoral dissertation were on the topic of the Zilavka wine.

He has been a full-time employee in the Citluk Winery d.d. since 1985 where he is currently the production manager and the main enologist.
He is a member of the Croatian Society of Enologists. For more than 20 years he has participated in national and international wine competitions. Since the academic year 1997/1998, Tihomir has been teaching at the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina as the teaching assistant. Today, he is assistant professor and teaches the courses in wine production and wine technology.

He has published several scientific papers on the indigenous varieties in Herzegovina, namely Zilavka and Blatina.

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Cliff Rames, United States of America

Cliff is Court of Master Sommeliers Certified Sommelier in the New York City area. He has served as sommelier at Beaubourg/Le District, and the Caudalie French Paradox Wine Lounge at the historic Plaza Hotel. Cliff is also a Wine Educator and regularly teaches at NYC Wine Company. Cliff is Founder of Wines of Croatia, and has conducted masterclasses on behalf of the Association of Winemakers of Croatia grand tasting events in NYC (2011, 2013, 2015). A freelance writer, Cliff serves as Contributing Editor for The SOMM Journal and Tasting Panel magazines, and is a regular contributor to the Wines of Croatia blog, which was a 2013 Wine Blog Awards Finalist for “Best Wine Reviews”. Cliff also wrote content about Croatian wines for the Lonely Planet - Croatia (7th & 8th Editions) travel guides. Cliff’s other formal wine training includes the French Culinary Institute’s Fundamentals of Wine program, the WSET Advanced Certificate, and the Society of Wine Educators Certified Specialist of Wine program. Cliff has served as a judge at the annual StarChefs Somm Slam competition, as well as the 2012, 2013, and 2015 New York International Wine Competition.

In his free time, Cliff enjoys plant-based cooking, playing guitar, disc golf, hiking, watching classic movies, and enjoying quality time with his dog, Smokie.  

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Quentin Sadler, Great Britain 

Quentin Sadler is a wine educator and consultant. He is a member of The Association of Wine Educators, The Circle of Wine Writers, FIJEV (Fédération Internationale des Journalistes et Écrivains des Vins et Spiritueaux), and an Associate of The Institute of Wines and Spirits. Amongst many other things, he writes for the Quentin Sadlers Wine Page and Catavino.net. He is a regular judge at international wine competitions.

He also teaches and trains, presents to all sectors of the UK trade, at WSET courses, organises and leads courses and tastings for interested consumers and is much in demand as a speaker.

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Željko Suhadolnik, Croatia

Željko Suhadolnik was born in October 1946 in Zagreb. Željko likes to call himself a late harvest /  Spätlese / vendemmia tardiva / vendange tardive kind of person.

He lives in Zagreb and is a journalist by vocation. He also studied in Zagreb, where he graduated foreign languages at the University of Humanities and Social Sciences. He is proficient in English, Italian, French and German. He started his career as a journalist in the 60s, as an associate at Izbor magazine, a publication issued by Vjesnik.

He later cooperatee with Studio weekly magazine, and worked in Vjesnik Press Agency. In 1975 he started working at the popular weekly magazine Vikend, where he contributed articles for the tourism and wine section. He was the editor of Vikend magazine until the end of 1991. In 1992, together with his colleague and friend Mladen Horić, he founded a magazine for wine, gastronomy and tourism called Svijet u čaši (World in a Glass). He is still editor-in-chief of this magazine. He has participated several times as a wine taster and judge at different wine-related events such as Vinistra, Zagreb County Wine Competition, Vino competition in Ljubljana and Vinitaly in Verona. He regularly participates at Dubrovnik FestiWine, Portugieser du Monde in Pecs, Emozioni dal Mondo: Merlot e Cabernet insieme in Bergamo, Vinitaly in Verona, Mundus Vini in Neustadt an der Weinstrasse, and Concours Mondial de Bruxelles.

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Mira Šemić, Slovenia

Mira Semic, a highly reputable sommelier from Slovenia, found her passion for wine business twenty-five years ago. Throughout her long career, she has visited all the leading wine regions of the world.
In 1995 she opened the prestigious Monroe restaurant in the heart of Ljubljana, which was at the time a breakthrough in the gastronomy of Slovenia. In 2003, at the wine shop 'Gallery of art and wine', besides organising numerous presentations and workshops, she collaborated with many artists and musicians.
She is very well familiar with the wines of Australia and New Zealand. Mira graduated from WSET (Wine and Spirit Educational Trust) in London, one of the most famous international wine programs. She runs the 'Little wine school' in London and has organised several workshops and education programmes throughout the world, and is an associate for various Slovenian newspapers. Furthermore, Mira is a consultant for different food and beverage venues, where she provides assistance regarding wine selections and staff education.

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Mario Tomeković, Croatia/Great Britain 

Sommelier Mario Tomekovic, is currently in London, getting advanced training and extending his knowledge of wine industry. Mario is a head sommelier at the popular and dynamic 'The 10 cases' bistro, located at the renowned theatre district, Convent Garden. It is unusual that Mario, who had an extremely successful career at the Krsko nuclear power plant, where he spent six years working as a chemical engineer, has decided to make a career change and work in the service and wine industry.  Love doesn't ask why, we would add, love toward wine and mankind.  Mario has decided to follow his heart and do what he loves, and that is wine.  And to live in London, the most exciting and prestigious city in the world, in any aspect, so in the aspect of wine business as well.

He is the holder of the prominent WSET Level 3 qualification and also a student who is about to graduate from the WSET studies. He wrote for the specialized food and wine magazine, ‘Ice and pice’, and participated at the renowned wine festivals, such as Vinitaly, London Wine Fair, Vievinum, Raw Wine and other. Over the years, he visited many wineries throughout European wine regions; the number of wineries that he visited is difficult to count – that many. For years he participated at numerous worksdhops and presentations over Europe. He specialized himself for the sparkling and 'natural' wines. Mario's life vision is to promote culture of top Croatian and Slovenian wines on the challenging market of the Great Britain. 

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Nenad Trifunovic, Croatia

Nenad Trifunović is better known as ‘Vinopija’, which means a person with a passion for wine who doesn’t work with wine professionally. He is also a wine writer, wine culture promoter and the editor of ‘Wine Drinker’ web site. In addition, he is a creative director of the established marketing agency K&K Promotion. In May 2009, Nenad launched the Diary of the wine drinker (vinopija.com) that has over the years become a relevant website for all passionate wine drinkers.

With 1,157 wine reviews, 11,348 wine comments, more than 1.237,343 views and around 4 to 5 thousand unique visitors a month, his blog, the Diary of the Wine Drinker has become the leading wine blog in Croatian language, often translated to other languages.

And as if all that was mentioned above isn't enough, Nenad has launched, together with a colleague of his Ivan Salopek, an educational program ‘Wine Reading Room', dedicated to those who would like to learn more about table etiquette. He is in charge of all the workshops in this unique program, which is offered mainly to all employees in the hospitality business and wine enthusiasts.

Over the years, Nenad has organized and led some of the most influential wine workshops, such as: 'Unexplored Dalmatia' – International Festival of wine and culinary art VinoCom Zagreb, Teranofilija -Zagreb Wine Gourmet Weekend, Hercegovina - Zagreb Wine Gourmet Weekend, Wines outside the box - International festival of wine and culinary art VinoCom Zagreb, Ronchi di Cialla - International festival of wine and culinary art VinoCom Zagreb, A different Moslavina region -  Croatian festival of food and wine, Međimurje wines today – Urbanovo, new ideas for the Istrian teran - International festival of wine and culinary art VinoCom Zagreb, Vertical Plave Grede - International festival of wine and culinary art VinoCom Zagreb; as well as themed workshops:Terroir Wines, Raise the Glasses (dedicated to the wines of the Vis island), Croatian Bordeaux coupage, Wines as spices - French way, Different malvasia wines, Atypical red Dalmatia and other. 

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Josef Valihrach, jr., Czech Republic

Born in the winemaking family and having been involved in the winemaking process from a very young age, Josef has always shared his father's passion for  wine. The 2014 vintage is the first he was fully responsible for as head oenologist of Vinařství Josef Valihrach (multiple winner of the Czech Winemaker of the year, winner of Chardonnay of the World and many more international competitions). 

As the youngest ever certified member of the Ministry of Agriculture Commision for wine evaluation, Josef gradually moved from judging wine at national to international competitions, such as: Concours des Grands Vins Blancs du Monde Strasbourg, Finger Lakes International Wine Competition, Le Concours International de Lyon, AWC Vienna, Vinoforum, Ice wine du Monde, or the oldest wine competition under the patronage of the OIV - Vino Ljubljana. He has taken part in several wine fairs in Europe, China and Latin America. WSET II holder.

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Ivan Vrban, Croatia

Ivan Vrban is an electrical engineer working in one of the leading Croatian companies as coordinator of the integrated management system, auditor and specialist in technology and business processes.

In 2011 he launched a popular blog eNOgAStrObRUtaL.com, while love and passion for wine and good food have made him one of the most influential eno and gastro experts, as well as a quiet opinion maker on the Croatian enogastro blogging scene. Ivan belongs to a community of pioneer bloggers who have uplifted the food and wine culture in Croatia. He is a wine enthusiast, a gourmand, mushroom picking amateur, traveller, collector of knick-knacks, an engineer who cuts the abstract, but above all, he is a man who loves delicious food and fine wines.

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Dominique Vrigneau, Great Britain

Dominique Vrigneau joined Majestic on a work experience placement in 1986 after completing a five-year PhD in agriculture and oenology in France. He was soon promoted to the position of buying manager, and in 1991 he joined Thierry’s Wine Services after a chance encounter with founder Thierry Cabanne. He became the company’s buying director and worked extensively with French, Argentinian, Chilean, South African and Austrian producers for over 20 years. In November 2012 Vrigneau moved to a new venture, Watermill Wines, and now combines his buying capabilities with selling to key accounts.

Vrigneau is a Chevalier du Tastevin and has judged in international competitions for many years.

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DID YOU KNOW?

Crljenak kaštelanski is actually Zinfandel, Primitivo and from the Italian region of Puglia?
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