Judging
Judges Panel 2023

Tim McDonald
CWS, CSS

2023 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.



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

Certification:

  • 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

Judge:

  • 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.


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:
Silver
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.