Judges Panel 2021

Tim McDonald

2021 Las Vegas Global Wine Awards
Chairman of the Judges Panel

Tim has served as a Spirits & Wine Judge at over 200 Wine and Spirits Competitions in North America. He's currently Chief Judge at the Central Coast Wine Competition and California Craft Spirits Competition.

Tim is also the former Director of Wine Judging at the prestigious San Francisco International Wine Competition.

His experience includes positions at prominent adult beverage companies; such as E&J Gallo where he served as Marketing Director Fine Wine Communications, Peak Wines as V.P. of Marketing and Communications, Trinchero Family Estates as Director of Trade Relations, and with Heublein Wines as Director of Trade & Public Relations.

Jessica Waugh
Director of Wine Education, SGWS Las Vegas NV

Jessica Waugh, Assistant Director of Wine Education for SGWS Nevada like many, fell into the wine business. Jessica is originally trained in architecture, she designed her grandmother’s house, but decided to step away from architecture to pursue her thirst for wine.

She fell in love with wine at an early age and decided to make her passion her career. She has been a F&B professional for over 15 years - working every position from busser to general manager - and as a sommelier in such prestigious Las Vegas restaurants as N9NE Steakhouse, Nove Italiano, Aureole, and Gordon Ramsay Steak.

Jessica passed the Advanced Sommelier exam through the Court of Master Sommeliers in 2016 with the highest score, granting her the Rudd Scholarship. Beyond wine, Jessica has a passion for sake and went to Japan to become an Advanced Sake Professional in 2017, created the SGWS Academy of Sake and Fine Service in 2018, and became a certified WSET Level 3 Sake educator in 2019.

Other accreditations that Jessica has completed are WSET Level 3 Award in Wine and ETP, ISG Diploma, Italian Wine Professional, French Wine Scholar, and the Certified Beer Server.

Harley Carbery
Director of Wine,
Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino

As director of wine for Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Harley Carbery is the definition of a passionate wine expert. Not only does he oversee the resort’s 150,000 bottles, 4,000 labels, and team of 9 sommeliers, he’s responsible for wine-related training and wine operations for the casino, room service, banquets, and pools as well as the resort’s dining outlets, three of which hold the Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator Magazine as well as one with the Grand Award.

This passion was sparked at his first job at a family-owned Dairy Queen in Canada, Carbery’s home country. While making guests smile with chocolate dipped cones, he discovered his aptitude for customer service and decided to pursue a profession in the food and beverage industry. His career began at The Fairmount Algonquin where he was a banquet supervisor responsible for overseeing events for more than 800 attendees and managing over 50 employees. Soon he moved to the Fairmount Tremblant where he worked as a cook specializing in French cuisine while pursuing a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management at Camosun College in Victoria, BC. In this role, Carbery prepared cuisine for banquets as well as the hotel’s restaurant. After earning his diploma, Carbery continued to work in a supervisory role in the banquet department of notable Canadian hotel Delta Sun Peaks Resort.

In 2003, he joined the team at The Fairmount Chateau Whistler as the general manager of the fine dining restaurant, The Wine Room and the casual dining room, The Wildflower. Here he demonstrated his propensity for wine and under his leadership The Wine Room achieved AAA Four Diamond status for three consecutive years and earned Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence. While in Whistler, Carbery also earned a sommelier diploma from the International Sommelier Guild.

Carbery came to Las Vegas in 2007 as food and beverage manager at The Ritz-Carlton Lake Las Vegas. Here his titles included general manager and sommelier for the AAA Four Diamond fine dining restaurant, Medici Café & Terrace as well as manager of in-room dining, Galileo Lobby Lounge & Bar and the Pool Bar and Café.

In 2008, Carbery joined the team at Robuchon restaurants at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino. He began as assistant general manager and sommelier at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon and, within just one year, was promoted to wine director for Chef of the Century Joël Robuchon’s Las Vegas restaurants; Joël Robuchon Restaurant and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon. Here Carbery managed wine lists consisting of more than 1,900 and 600 items, respectively, trained and educated the wine staff including four sommeliers and interacted with guests to ensure that each had an elevated dining experience. In his time serving in this position, the wine lists at both restaurants earned the elite Wine Spectator Grand Award and Best of Award from 2009-2012. Along with his leadership and managerial skills, Carbery is a highly certified wine professional. In 2009, he became a certified sommelier by the Court of Master Sommeliers and a Certified Sake Specialist by the Sake Education Council. Carbery earned the distinction of Certified Spanish Wine Educator from the Wine Academy of Spain in 2008.

Virginie Boone
Wine Writer & Author

Contributing Editor Virginie Boone has been with Wine Enthusiast since 2010, and will review and report on the wines of Napa and Sonoma for the magazine. Sonoma-based Boone began her writing career in 1997 with Lonely Planet travel guidebooks, contributing to titles on South America, Northern California, France and America's Deep South. Travel assignments led her to California-focused wine coverage, including regular features for the New York Times regional newspaper Santa Rosa Press Democrat, for which Boone has been a contributing wine writer for several years. She is also the author of Napa Valley and Sonoma: Heart of California Wine Country, and a regular panelist and speaker on wine topics in California and beyond.

Anthony Mueller
Advanced Sommelier, CSW, WSET Level 3

Anthony Mueller is a sommelier and wine presenter with more than 20 years of experience in the food and wine industry. He has worked as a sommelier in some of the top restaurants in the US, including the three-Michelin star The French Laundry in Yountville, California, Tribute in Michigan and Tarbell's in Arizona.

He holds numerous wine certifications including the Advanced Sommelier certificate from the Court of Master Sommeliers; the Wine & Spirit Education Trust Level 3 Award in Wines; the Certified Specialist of Wine certificate from the Society of Wine Educators; as well as the Certified Sake Adviser certificate from the Sake School of America. In 2016, he was named "Sommelier of the Month" by Food & Beverage magazine.

Mueller is an experienced wine judge, presenter and educator. He has judged wine competitions in California, Washington, Nevada and Arizona and has lectured at wine events across the US, focusing on the finer points of hospitality and service as well as the deductive tasting method. Mueller has been the recipient of several travel endowments, allowing him to explore the wine regions of the US and Europe, and was awarded the Champagne Master Level Study Program Scholarship from Laurent-Perrier USA.

Originally from Scottsdale, Arizona, Mueller relocated to Napa in 2014 to continue his pursuit of becoming the world's next "double master"—studying to achieve both the Master Sommelier and Master of Wine diplomas. In 2019, he joined Robert Parker Wine Advocate as the reviewer for Washington State and South Africa, excited to share his passion for identifying the world's best wines and presenting them to consumers.

When not drinking Sherry, Mueller enjoys riding his motorcycle, exploring the beauty of Napa Valley and sparring with his friends in the sport of blind tasting. Although he has never been to culinary school, Mueller enjoys cooking elaborate meals in his small kitchen at home, preparing dishes made with ingredients grown from his home garden.

Katy Long

Katy Long has worked in and around the wine industry for nearly two decades with experience in production, sales, marketing, and communication. Katy fell in love with wine on a trip to Germany in 1996 where she tasted her first German Pinot Noir and was awe-struck. Later, her passion for wine was affirmed while studying at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY.

A one-week trip to Napa Valley post-graduation turned into a four-year stay learning all aspects of the wine industry. Starting as a production intern at Far Niente Winery followed by sales, hospitality and wine educator roles at Nickel & Nickel Winery.

Katy attended New York University, earning her B.S. in Culture and Communication, and upon returning to the Napa Valley she extolled the joys of wine, food, and travel through concierge work at Meadowood, Napa Valley, and later as Content Manager at The Bounty Hunter Rare Wine and Spirits. She has since earned the WSET Diploma with Merit, and the Sandeman Port Prize for high achievement. In addition, Katy has earned the CSS and CSW certifications, and continues to relish the exchange of knowledge surrounding wine and spirits.

In her current role as Senior Marketing Manager International, and Brand Advocate at Vintage Wine Estates in Santa Rosa, CA, Katy works with diverse teams across the organization to promote the appreciation of wines and spirits and ignite the spark in others to do the same.

Eduardo Dingler
VP of Wine, Wine Access
Sake Ambassador

Eduardo A. Dingler moved to Napa from Mexico in 1999 following his passion for wine. Throughout the years he worked at some of Napa Valley’s iconic restaurants including Tra Vigne and Bistro Don Giovanni.

In 2010 he was part of the Morimoto Napa opening team as Beverage Director. In 2011, he assumed the role of Corporate Beverage Director; overseeing existing and new operations for the Morimoto Group including the opening of Morimoto Mexico, Morimoto Maui, Morimoto Asia Orlando and Momosan New York.

In September 2017 he started a journey in journalism, focused on wine, sake, food and travel. He has also taken on the role of sake and shochu ambassador by consulting for a number of Japanese breweries as well as founding sakedrinker.com, an upcoming educational Sake resource. He has gone through the Court of Master Sommeliers program and he is also a Certified Sake Professional.

Eduardo is a professional Wine, Sake and Spirits Judge for the San Francisco International Wine Competition, San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Japan Wine Challenge and Japan Sake Challenge.

Eduardo currently writes for the Napa Valley Register and Decanter Magazine covering wine, sake, and spirits

Laura Koffer

Laura is an in-demand Napa Valley sommelier who spearheaded the wine program for Top Chef Michael Chiarello’s restaurant group and worked as sommelier for Iron Chef Morimoto and TORC’s Sean and Cynthia O’Toole.

She honed her palate at the Culinary Institute of America and alongside Karen MacNeil while writing The Wine Bible’s second edition. Currently, she holds an Advanced Sommelier title from the Court of Master Sommeliers, and is preparing for the Master Sommelier exam. Laura is the General Manager of 750 wines and Inside Sales Manager at Wine Access.

Michael Snodgrass
VP Sales and Operations
West Coast Beverages

Michael Snodgrass was born in Anaheim, California but moved to Las Vegas 21 years ago. He is currently the Vice President of Sales and Operations at West Coast Beverages, an Importer/Distributor here in Las Vegas. Prior to this, He has 15 years of experience on the Las Vegas Strip in notable restaurants including RM Seafood, Border Grill, Lupo, Spago, Bouchon and opened Herringbone.

He managed the wine department as a sommelier at OTTO inside the Venetian before opening up Eataly at Park MGM, training 250+ employees in beverage education, sales and operations. From there, He went into sales for the fine wine division of Breakthru Beverage selling wine, beer, spirits, and sake to restaurants and casinos in Las Vegas.

Michael has achieved many certifications and also teaches WSET Level 1 and 2 wine courses at the Wine Academy of Las Vegas. He is a certified sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers and a Cicerone Certified Beer Server.

He passed levels 1,2 and 3 in wine from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust including levels 2 and 3 with distinction, the highest score you can achieve. He holds his level 2 in spirits with distinction, and recently passed the blind tasting portion of his level 3 in spirits. He is a Certified Sherry Wine Specialist and is a student at the prestigious Vinitaly International Academy in Verona, Italy.

Michael was awarded “Best Taster” for having the highest score on the blind tasting at VIA New York in 2019. He recently went back to school where he is a senior at UNLV, finishing his Bachelor’s degree in Business Communications. In his free time, Michael enjoys traveling, riding Jet Skis, and hanging out with his 2 kitties, Leche and Coconuts.

Traci Dutton

Traci Dutton is a beverage, food and hospitality expert based in the Napa Valley. With over 20 years of tenure as a sommelier, consumer and professional educator, and beverage specialist at the Culinary Institute of America’s California Campus, she has continued build relationships in all areas of the industry, create and track trends and shifting tastes, and hone the service and hospitality skills that are the foundation of her work ethic.

Today Traci continues her work with the CIA, contributes as Beverage and Hospitality instructor for the Napa Valley Cooking School at the Napa Valley College, consults, writes, and manages her vintage cookery and libations store, Heirloom Variety, located in Calistoga.

From her first restaurant job at the age of 18, Traci knew her keen interest in everything that brings people to the table would be a lifelong vocation. Working in several restaurants in New York City, among them, Montrachet, the mecca for Burgundy lovers, helped to create a super-network of icons and specialists in the food and wine world whom she respects, admires and learns from on a daily basis. Mixology, cheese, olive oil, chocolate, wine service, restaurant management and trend setting are just a few of the subjects, in addition to wine tasting, that she loves to teach and help inspire consumers, students and professionals to continue to learn about and enjoy.

Her approach is mindful, personal, fun and provocative without losing touch with the history, science and techniques that are so important to a rich understanding and appreciation of her varied and delicious pursuits.

Toshio Ueno
Sake School of America

Certified Master of Sake and Master Sake Sommelier. Toshio is the creator of Sake School of America and English Shochu Adviser Certificate program, and only one in the world to hold Master of Sake (酒匠), Master Sake Sommelier (日本酒学講師), and WSET Sake Educator diploma.

Born in Japan where his family has grown Japanese wine grape, Koshu, for generations, Toshio grew up helping the business from a young age. Following his college education in the US and employment at an international trading company in Tokyo, Toshio joined Chateraise, a pastry and wine company as Director of Sales. There, he was put in charge of overseeing the personal wine collection of the company's president, which intrigued him to enter the world of wine stewardship and research. Toshio joined Mutual Trading Company in 2002, where he is Director of Sake Specialist Department in marketing Japanese foods, Sake, and Shochu to the mainstream American trade. With his passion and expertise in Sake, Shochu, and Wine, Toshio aims to further promote Japanese food and Sake cultures to new, international audiences. Since 2010, he has been Vice President & Executive Instructor at Sake School of America. In 2016 he was awarded the industry’s most prestigious title Sake Samurai from Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association.

And recently February 2021, he was appointed as The Japanese Cuisine Goodwill Ambassador by Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Honors & Awards:

  • 2021 Japanese Cuisine Goodwill Ambassador, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
  • 2020 Awamori JIbner, Okinawa Awamori Distillers Association
  • 2019 Professionnel du Vin, Chaine des Rottiseurs Chevalier de la Societe Mondiale du Vin, Chaine des Rottiseurs
  • 2019 Board of Director, Society of Wine Educators
  • 2017 Distinguished Service Prize, FBO Japan
  • 2016 Sake Samurai, Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association


  • 日本酒学講師 Master Sake Sommelier / Sake Educator, Sake Service Institute (SSI)
  • 酒匠 Master of Sake, SSI
  • 南部杜氏協会 研究科生 Nanbu Toji Guild Pre-Toji Candidate
  • WSET Certified Sake Educator, Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET)
  • Diploma Candidate, WSET – Level 3 Wine & Spirits and Level 3 in Spirits (WSET)
  • Certified Specialist of Wine, Society of Wine Educators
  • Certified Sommelier, Court of Master Sommeliers
  • French Wine Scholar, International Wine Guild
  • Spanish Wine Scholar, International Wine Guild
  • Certified Italian Wine Specialist, North American Sommelier Association
  • Certified Shochu Sommelier, SSI
  • Citified Beer Adviser, FBO
  • Cicerone Beer Server, Cicerone


  • International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC), Spirits Judge
  • Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition, Wine & Spirits Judge
  • San Francisco World Spirits Competition Judge, Spirits Judge
  • San Francisco International Wine Competition, Wine Judge
  • Texsom International Wine Awards, Wine Judge
  • International Wine Challenge (IWC), Wine & Sake Judge
  • CINVE Spain, Spirits Judge
  • TAG Global Spirits Awards, Spirits Judge
  • Las Vegas Global Wine Awards, Wine Judge

Kelly J. Stevenson
JetVine Ltd

Kelly joined British Airways as an eighteen year-old undergraduate. Whilst studying for a Business Marketing degree, she undertook a number of roles across the airline. The first of these was in Catering Operations, supporting the airline’s wine programme, where her passion was first ignited. After graduating with a BA Honours degree, Kelly undertook a number of different positions within British Airways as her career developed. In 2017 an opportunity came up and Kelly became the airline’s Global Wine & Beverage Manager Until recently, Kelly was responsible for selecting and managing the beverage portfolio and wine programme at BA, spanning the uncomplicated but great tasting economy wines, through the classic, destination focused wines of the world in business to the finest, most elegant examples in first class.

Within just two and a half years, Kelly graduated with her WSET Diploma in Wines and Spirits, is on the Cicerone beer programme, is a wine panel judge for IWSC and was recently granted a scholarship to continue in wine education from the aviation board IFSA.

Earlier this year, Kelly set up her own business: JetVine Ltd in order to broaden her scope and specialise in travel and the drinks trade. Kelly supports industry masterclasses, consults to brands on media, marketing & PR, defines award entries, presents tastings as well as wine education sessions for both private and corporate clients.

Aside from wine, Kelly enjoys spending time and travelling the world with her husband and three young sons.

Wilfred Wong

Wilfred Wong, Chief Storyteller for Wine.com is a 40+ year veteran of the wine industry. In his role at Wine.com, Wilfred concentrates his efforts on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.). He is an extreme researcher and a taster of wines and employs his photography skills in his role. As a wine judge, Wilfred has participated domestically (Los Angeles International, San Francisco International, Sonoma County Harvest Fair and many others and internationally (Spain, France, New Zealand and Australia). He joined Wine.com on March 31, 2014. Wilfred lives in San Francisco with his wife, Alice and dog, Cody.

Tonya Pitts
Wine Director & Sommelier

Ms. Pitts has been in the restaurant industry for over 30 years and a Wine Director/Sommelier for well over 20 years. Ms. Pitts’s food and beverage experience has been in San Francisco - the Bay Area and Saint Louis, MO.

She has worked with high profile notable chef’s, the late Chef Judy Rodgers of Zuni Cafe, Chef Jeremiah Tower of Stars Restaurant, Chef Loretta Keller of Stars Café, Bizou Restaurant and other notable houses in the Bay Area.

She is currently working with Chef Mark Dommen of One Market Restaurant. Ms. Pitts has been the Wine Director and Sommelier for thirteen years. In addition to her post, Ms. Pitts has dedicated her career to Philanthropy, Mentorship and amplifying the voice of those that are not heard.

Ms. Pitts has been featured in numerous industry publications. She is a Certified Sommelier and continues to educate herself through the Court of Master Sommeliers and Wine Spirit Trust.

Judging Process

The 2021 panel of our dynamic judges is a group of highly decorated and extremely reputable individuals, with tremendous and diverse experience in all aspects of the wine industry.

The panel we have assembled perfectly fits the high level of quality and visibility that we wanted.

The judging process, itself, is conducted as a 100% blind tasting process from the early rounds all the way through the sweepstakes rounds.

An extensive amount of diverse and very specific wine categories have been created to assure that the entries are judged correctly.

As each entry is received, the supplier registers it initially. From there it is double-checked by our staff, catalogued in our system, and (if need be) put into its most appropriate sub-category. During the competition, all the Wines in their respective and specific sub-categories are sampled together as flights, carefully evaluated in all aspects, and scored numerically by each one of our spirits judges on that that flight.

The scoring ranges are:
Gold – 90-94
Platinum – 95-100

Each judge gives the wine a score. The judging group then totals up their scores to determine the average, and that average determines the numerical score the wine will receive, as well as the color of the medal it will be awarded. All wines that the judges deem the very best in their preliminary judging will move forward to the final day of sweepstakes where they will be reevaluated by the entire panel of judges to determine the Highest Awards in the competition, The Best of Show Categories.

A worldwide press release will be sent out announcing all the winners on May 1st. That announcement alone will be viewed by millions of people around the world in the industry as well as consumers in the public. In addition, also on August 1st, an entire Winners Section will be revealed on The Las Vegas Global Wine Awards Website, complete with images of the winners and all information about them.

Each winner will also receive a one of kind medal to celebrate their success with no restrictions on usage, as well as a complete digital media kits including multiple file format graphics and links to all press releases.