Judges Panel 2022

Tim McDonald

2022 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.

Daphne Feng

Daphne is a candidate in the prestigious Master of Wine program. She became an Italian Wine Ambassador in 2017, earned a Diploma from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust in 2013, and was certified by the International Sommelier Guild in 2012. She is formerly the corporate wine buyer for Safeway Northern California where she was responsible for the curation of over 3,200 wines for nearly 300 stores across three states.

These days you can find her with her nose in a glass, seeking out unique wines, producers, and stories from undiscovered wineries around the world. Her goal, like the royal cup-bearers of the old days, is to taste widely, find the treasures worth savoring, and ensure that every glass you experience is a good one.

When she is not immersed in wine, you can find her doting on her husband and new baby, chasing chickens around the yard, or googling "how to swim the Bering Strait" and other such fantastic endurance adventures.

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.

Aya Nomoto

Acct. Development Manager
Breakthru Beverage Nevada

Aya Nomoto is the Account Development Manager for Breakthru Beverage Nevada, and oversees a portfolio of more than 50 fine wine suppliers. Aya has over 20 years of experience in restaurant and hospitality, including 15 years of sales and marketing in the beverage industry. Aya has consistently exceeded sales targets for over the years, and has key experience in Fine Wine, Sake, and Japanese Cuisine. Aya is highly knowledgeable in marketing and customer relations, with an emphasis in Asian accounts.

Aya Nomoto is a Certified Educator of Wine and Sake for the Wine & Spirits Education Trust, an Advanced Sake Specialist with the Sake Education Council, a Certified Specialist of Wine with the Society of Wine Educators, and a Certified Beer Server with the Cicerone Program. She has earned her Advanced Sommelier certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers in 2016, and is currently working towards the Master Sommelier Diploma. Aya was selected as a Finalist for the World Sake Sommelier Competition in 2014 and 2019, representing the US.

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.

Elsie Wolfe

Senior Buyer Adult Beverages, Target

Elsie Wolfe is a Senior Buyer on the Adult Beverages team at Target. Elsie has over 30 years of experience within the Supermarket Industry and joined Target in January 2022. She joins Target after her career at Albertson's/Safeway where she was the Alcohol Beverages Sales Manager managing the strategy, sales, and profits for total alcohol—wine, spirits, and beer for Safeway Northern California Division, one of the largest divisions of Albertson’s Companies. Prior to this role, Elsie was the VP of Meals & Ingredients for the Safeway enterprise consisting of 8 divisions before the 2015 merger with Albertson’s Companies, the nation’s second-largest supermarket operator. Elsie spent the majority of her career with Safeway–starting as a retail Courtesy Clerk and working her way up to a corporate Vice President.

As a California native, Elsie is passionate about leveraging local partnerships and inspired to bring wine, beer & spirits history to life at retail. In 2017, under her leadership, Safeway was recognized by the Wine Enthusiast as the Retailer of the Year and just recently Albertsons Companies was awarded the 2020 Retailer of the Year. Elsie has been judging wine professionally since 2015 at many local competitions such as the North Coast Wine Challenge, Sunset International Wine Competition, San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and the San Francisco International Wine Competition. Elsie is WSET II certified and is working on attaining additional certifications. Elsie holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing from Santa Clara University and a Master of Business Administration from St. Mary’s College of California. She was recognized in 2014 and 2019 by Progressive Grocer as one of the Top Women in Grocery.

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.

Kathleen Thomas

Kat is the “Wine Goddess” at Ada’s Wine Bar in Summerlin, sharing her excitement and commitment to hospitality with all who enter those doors.

When not performing her role of sommelier or yoga guide, Miss Thomas freelances as ‘WinegoddessLV’ sharing her passion and knowledge at private and corporate events. During these events Kat offers personalised tastings and engaging seminars on wine, spirits, and hospitality. Kat Thomas, tiny only in her stature, is ready with a giant smile and helping hand to create moments of excellence to remember for life.

Hospitality Credentials:

  • Court of Master Sommeliers - Advanced Sommelier
  • ICEX Spanish Wine Specialist & Educator
  • Wine Scholar Guild - Spanish Educator
  • El Camino del Albariño Ambassador
  • Certified Specialist of Sherry
  • Certified Specialist of Sake
  • WSET Level 2 Wine & Spirits – Distinction
  • IG - @winegoddesslv

Harley Carbery

Corporate Wine Director,
Red Rock Resorts

Currently as Corporate Wine Director, Station Casinos, Harley oversees 6 Hotel & Casino Properties as well as 10 neighborhood Casinos under the Wildfire Brand. These properties are located throughout the Las Vegas area. Managing all things wine including sourcing, purchasing, training and menu development.

Previously Harley held two positions with one of the largest beverage distributors in Las Vegas, Johnson Brothers of Nevada. Here his roles were Luxury Portfolio Manager and District Manager, On-Premise Sales. Harley’s team of sales consultants called on and worked with the top restaurants and luxury hotel properties in Las Vegas.

Before his time in sales Harley held the role as director of wine for Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, he was the definition of a passionate wine expert. Not only did he oversee the resort’s 150,000 bottles, 4,000 labels, and team of 9 sommeliers, he was 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. 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 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 under his leadership The Wine Room achieved AAA Four Diamond status 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 moved to Las Vegas in 2007 to work at The Ritz-Carlton Lake Las Vegas where he worked as 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 was then promoted to wine director for Chef of the Century Joël Robuchon’s Las Vegas restaurants; Joël Robuchon Restaurant and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon. In his time serving in this position, the wine lists at Joel Robuchon Restaurant earned the elite Wine Spectator Grand Award for the first time in 2009.

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. Most recently Harley passed the WSET Level 2 Award in Wines, with Distinction.

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.

Will Costello

Bien Nacido and Solomon Hill Estates

Will Costello is a Master Sommelier by the American Chapter of the Court of Master Sommeliers. Costello has competed in numerous wine related competitions including the The Court of Master Sommelier’s TOP/Somm, The Chaine de Rotisseurs “Young Somm Competition,” the Ruinart Champagne Challenge and was named one of Wine & Spirits Magazine’s “Top New Sommeliers 2013.”

He is an educator for New Zealand Wines and educates at the Society for Wine Educators National Conference yearly. Costello is often included in The Somm Journal, Gourmet, Wine & Spirits Magazine, and Eater National Publications.

Before joining the team at Bien Nacido and Solomon Hill Estates, he was the Wine Director at Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas, where he oversaw the entire wine program. This included TWIST by Pierre Gagnaire, the famous chef’s only American outpost.

He was the Maître d’of Addison restaurant at The Grand Del Mar in San Diego, CA from 2006 to 2012.

He is married to Yvette and lives with their 4 dogs. He has climbed some of the highest mountains in the world including Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Denali, and Mt. Aconcagua. He is a certified commercial pilot as well.

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

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.

Gabe Barkley

Chief Exective Officer,
MHW Ltd.

Gabe leads MHW’s operations and strategy with a specific focus on building stronger partnerships with our clients to help them realize their brand potential in the US and EU beverage alcohol markets.

Before joining MHW, Gabe held various roles in finance, technology, and consulting at Microsoft, Deloitte Consulting and Accenture, as well as holding leadership positions at two beverage alcohol companies – VinConnect, a start-up direct-to-consumer wine sales platform for top international wineries, where he helped connect more than thirty ultra-premium European wineries with over two thousand US consumers and La Cave Warehouse, a wine retail and private storage firm based in Dallas, TX, where he led initiatives that resulted in substantial growth and operational optimizations.

Gabe received his BA from The University of Dallas and his MBA with Honors from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Eric Degerman

Great Northwest Wine Magazine

Eric is a native of Portland, Ore., who graduated from Lewis & Clark High School in Spokane, Wash., Clark College in Vancouver, Wash., and the University of Washington.

During college, he worked for the Vancouver Columbian, the Valley Daily News in Kent and The Seattle Times before spending 25 years as an editor and award-winning sports writer at the Tri-City Herald. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest, becoming a food writer and wine judge. In 2018, he was a contributing writer to Wine Trails – USA & Canada by Lonely Planet. In 2020, he began contributing to The Seattle Times, Sip Magazine and the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business. In 2021, he received the Idaho Wine Commission’s Impact Award. He also served as the Washington state field editor for the 2022 Slow Wine Guide.

His judging history includes the San Francisco International Wine Competition, San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, INDY International Wine Competition, New Orleans International Wine Competition, Savor NW Wine Awards, the British Columbia Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards, Oregon Wine Competition, Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo International Wine Competition, Pacific Rim International Wine Competition, Grand Harvest Awards, Long Beach Grand Cru, Riverside International Wine Competition, Northwest Wine Summit, British Columbia Wine Awards, Okanagan Fall Wine Festival, Washington State Wine Competition, Tri-Cities Wine Festival, Idaho Wine Competition, McMinnville Wine Classic, Oregon’s Greatest of the Grape, the Wenatchee Wine Awards and the Capital Food & Wine Festival Wine Competition.

Eric resides in Washington wine country with Traci, his wife of 31 years, and rescue felines Anakin, Hondo and Pinky.

Judging Process

The 2022 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.