Judging
Judges Panel 2019

Tim McDonald
CWS, CSS

Founder Wine & Spirits Spoken Here Communications Agency.

Tim has 40 years of proven success in the wine industry with positions in public relations, trade relations, marketing and sales, event management and wine education.

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, with Heublein Wines as Director of Trade & Public Relations, and sales assignments with both Seagram and Heublein Wine & Spirits.

Tim has experience with all types of Media, National Accounts, Wholesale Distributors, Restaurant, and Retail segments.

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

Tim speaks frequently on assembled panels at many spirits & wine industry events, and grows food with his wife Lisa.



Stacie Hunt

Stacie is a Certified Silver Pin Sommelier /North American Sommelier Association / AIS / WSA (nasommelier.com) and Co-founder of SPLASH Productions (www.splashpros.com), producers of Wine, Cuisine & Art exhibitions and video productions/documentaries, television/digital publicity and marketing for wineries and regions. She is contributor to "Good Food" on KCRW-FM, Los Angeles' NPR flagship station and the Sommelier Journalist writing the wine column for the award-winning online magazine, MY LA Lifestyle (www.mylalifestyle.com).

She is Vice President of the Board of the National Association of Wine Retailers (www.nawr.org) working to “free the grapes” via direct shipping from wineries to retailers and consumers nationwide. For Du Vin Wine & Spirits in West Hollywood she is the marketer specializing in the wines of Italy and Latin America.

Her most passionate areas of work are as a spokesperson, international wine judge, educator, journalist and Course Co-Creator (AWS – American Wine Specialist and the Olive Oil Specialist course) with North American Sommelier Association (www.nasommelier.com). In this capacity Stacie is a cheerleader and able to communicate, educate and encourage students to develop and continue their knowledge in wine and food. An equal passion is functioning as a judge for wine competitions in the US, Argentina and Mexico.

Along with her work in the wine industry, Stacie is the founder and CEO of Point Media (www.pointmedia.com), a digital video production firm specializing in the music industry, developing music videos, multi-cam concert productions and apps. At times her two passions of wine and video production crossover. Stacie is producer of the one-hour award-winning documentary for Wine Spectator magazine and producer of over a dozen Satellite Media Tours featuring wineries. She is an Emmy Award winner for her news and journalism work with NBC. As a product/brand spokesperson she has conducted international webcasts and shows for Bertolli Foods and Saeco and is spokesperson for the Baja Winemakers and Chefs Association.

Stacie relates to the quote from Francis Ford Coppola regarding similarities between the wine and film businesses:

"The process is the same, with three stages. In film, you gather the source material. That's the research or the story material or the writing. The gathering in wine is the gathering of the grapes. The second phase in film is, you take what you've gathered, which some days was good, some days was bad, and through the editing you assemble, just as in wine you taste the different lots and then you assemble what you think is the best wine. Then you have the third phase, which is the entire process of finishing, which in film is all the sound and mix and color correction and finally taking it to the audience. In wine, it's the same thing, the fining and the aging and the bottle aging and ultimately putting it into the package."



Cassandra M. Brown
CS, CSW, CWAS, CSP

In 2007, Cassandra began her serious pursuit of a formal wine education and career in hospitality. She has earned immense restaurant management and wine buying experience, as well as multiple industry credentials to date.

Cassandra holds the Certified Sommelier from the Court of Master Sommeliers, Certified Specialist of Wine from the Society of Wine Educators, California Wine Appellation Specialist (with honors) from the San Francisco Wine School, Certified Sake Professional from the Sake Education Council and the WSET II Certificate (with Merit) from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust of London, and she is currently pursuing the Advanced Certificate. She also graduated first in her class from the San Francisco School of Bartending.

She has lent her time and talent as an event Sommelier to Full Circle Wine Solutions and SF Chef Food & Wine and as a consulting wine instructor to SF Mixology.

Cassandra is most recently known for her nearly 5 year tenure with Hakkasan Group where she began as a Sommelier at Hakkasan San Francisco in 2013. She ascended through the ranks, next as the Divisional Beverage Manager for their newly acquired 'Fabric of Social Dining' restaurant concepts to then becoming the Director of Wine for Hakkasan Restaurants (US), overseeing the wine programs for all Hakkasan US restaurant concepts, with her last position being Assistant Director of Corporate Beverage (US).

Prior to Hakkasan, she had the distinct pleasure of managing the wine and beverage programs of some premier San Francisco Bay Area establishments, including serving as Wine & Beverage Director for Michelin Star Chef Roland Passot's 'Left Bank Restaurant Group' and as Beverage Manager/Sommelier at 'Los Altos Golf & Country Club'.

Her restaurant operations savvy led her to the helm of both Michelin Star Chef Daniel Patterson's 'Plum' and Jay Foster's 'Farmer Brown' as General Manager. She was able to offer her special touch for hospitality and wine education in the intimate setting of Chateau Montelena's San Francisco's tasting room at the Westin St. Francis, was wine buyer and Sommelier at 'Barrique Wine Bar' in Jackson Square and was on the opening team of 'ENO Wine Bar' in Union Square.

She has proudly worked with 5 different Michelin Star Chefs at different stages of their careers and has served on the advisory board of the Academy of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts for the San Francisco Unified School District. She has also been featured in numerous industry blog articles and publications, including The Tasting Panel and The SOMM Journal magazines.

In her not so spare time, she consults under the guise of the "The Chocolate Grape", where she offers her Sommelier expertise and wine education to the hospitality industry and the private sector, and she is also a recent inductee of La Chaîne des Rotisseurs. She has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Belhaven University in Jackson, Mississippi, and she has judged wine competitions professionally since 2008.


Judging Process

The 2019 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:
Bronze – 80-84
Silver – 85-89
Gold – 90-95
Double Gold – 96-100

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.

The Sweepstakes round to determine the Best of Show winners will take place on April 16th.

Medals will be awarded to all winners on May 13th.

A worldwide press release will be sent out announcing all the winners on May 13th. 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.