Judges of the Born Digital Wine Awards

Richard Siddle
Chair of Judges

Richard Siddle is an award-winning business editor with over 25 years experience working across a number of fields including computing, supermarkets, grocery, FMCG, convenience and independent retailing and travel.

He has launched The Buyer for the UK Premium On-Trade, and was previously editor of Harpers Wine & Spirit where he was widely recognised for having turned one of the UK’s oldest publications into an agenda setting, must read for the drinks industry.

Throughout his career Richard has built a reputation for campaigning journalism that gets to the heart of the business issues that really matter to his readers. Richard has a strong track record of creating content that helps his readers do their jobs more effectively and better understand the opportunities for their businesses and the communities they serve.


Sarah Abbott MW
Judge
Sarah has worked in the wine trade for nearly 20 years, in roles involving wine sourcing, business development, marketing and commercial strategy. She got her grounding in Burgundy, Italy and Bordeaux but also got to know, and love, lesser known emerging regions such as Turkey and Georgia. Sarah judges in wine competitions across the world, and appreciates the chance they give to learn from others, and to share and compare ideas of what makes wine beautiful. She loves reading, and infrequently but gladly writes about wine for her own blog, and for others, including timatkin.com.

Pedro Ballesteros MW
Judge

Pedro BALLESTEROS TORRES MW got his Agrofood Engineering Degree, as well as his Master Degree in Viticulture & Oenology, at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. In Belgium he got the WSET Diploma. In Germany and Austria the Weinakademiker certificate (with the Schloss Vollrads Award for the best results), and in London he became member of the Institute of Masters of Wine (with the Errazuriz Award for the best paper on Business of Wine). He followed other wine specialisation studies at Jerez, Beaune, Napa Valley and Bordeaux.

He is columnist for magazines in Belgium and Spain, and writes for magazines in Italy, UK, Switzerland, France and USA. Co-Chair for Spain and for Sherry at Decanter World Wine Awards (UK). Chair and Senior jury at international competitions such as Concours Mondial Bruxelles, Bacchus, Copa Jerez (Spain), Mundus Vini (Germany), and others in Portugal, Czech Republic, Italy, France, etc. Elected Member of the Governing Council of the Institute of Masters of Wine and of the Council of the Spanish Taster Union. Member of the Advisory Board of the Basque Culinary Centre. Expert at OIV for Spain. He has given several hundred lectures and tutored tastings all over the world. He works in Spanish, English, French and Italian.


Ted Lelekas
Judge & Vice-President FIJEV
Ted is a wine communicator based in Athens, Greece. His activities in the wine world cover a wide spectrum, including journalism, blogging, educating and consulting. He is a member of the editorial team of “Oenohoos”, Greece’s premier national wine magazine, he was the first Greek wine blogger, and he has been educating amateur and professional oenophiles since 2007.

 

In his 10-year career in wine, some of the most recent highlights include being named among “The top 20 wine influencers” in social media around the world, as well as getting elected Vice-President of the International Federation of Wine & Spirits Journalists and Writers (FIJEV).

 

Ted is also a member of the Circle of Wine Writers and an ambassador of the #winelover community. He travels extensively across the world to take part in wine events and conferences, as well as to judge in major wine competitions. His areas of professional focus include the wines of Greece, wine tourism, as well as e-commerce in the wine & spirits sector.

Elin McCoy
Judge
Award-winning journalist Elin McCoy is the author of The Emperor of Wine: The Rise of Robert M. Parker, Jr. and the Reign of American Taste, which has garnered international praise. Foreign editions are available in Brazil, the U.K., Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Russia. It won the World Gourmand Cookbook Award and was a finalist for James Beard and IACP wine book of the year.

 

She is the wine columnist for Bloomberg News, the New York columnist for Decanter magazine, and writes frequently for World of Fine Wine and other international publications.

 

Her own website and blog are at www.elinmccoy.com. In her long career, she has written widely for other national and international publications and has co-authored four other books on wine and gourmet topics. She is at work on two wine books, one set in Sonoma.

 

She serves regularly as wine competition judge in the U.S. and abroad and is a frequent keynote speaker and moderator on wine at industry events such as VinExpo, and the Hong Kong Wine and Spirits Trade Fair.

Carrie Patsalis
Expert Judge - Video
Carrie is a producer with 20 years experience in broadcast TV and digital video communications. She runs Mad Cat Media, a successful digital content company producing videos and animations. In the past, she has won an award at the Cannes Corporate Film Awards for her work. In addition, Carrie and Mad Cat Media have worked on numerous video projects associated with the EWBC and DWCC events.

Erika Szymanski
Judge
As a winner of the 2015 Best Investigative / Journalistic Wine Story category of the Born Digital Wine Awards, brought to you by Wine in Moderation, Erika is returning as an expert judge for this category for 2016.*

 

Erika Szymanski is a Research Fellow in Science, Technology, and Innovation Studies at the University of Edinburgh, where she studies synthetic biology and human-yeast relationships in social context. Her PhD research in science communication involved how scientific research is shared with winemakers and growers in New Zealand and Washington State. As a wine writer for her blog at wineoscope.com and elsewhere, she's most interested in wine science and technology from smoke taint in the vineyard to the social construction of wine quality.

 

* note: BDWAbyWIM expert judges in one category are excluded from participating in that category, but are entitled to submit to other categories where they are not judging

Simon Woolf
Judge
As a winner of the 2015 Best Editorial / Opinion Wine Writing category of the Born Digital Wine Awards, brought to you by Wine in Moderation, Simon is returning as an expert judge for this category for 2016.*

 

* note: BDWAbyWIM expert judges in one category are excluded from participating in that category, but are entitled to submit to other categories where they are not judging

Alder Yarrow
Judge
As a winner of the 2015 Best Tourism Content with a Focus on Wine category of the Born Digital Wine Awards, brought to you by Wine in Moderation, Alder is returning as an expert judge for this category for 2016.*

 

* note: BDWAbyWIM expert judges in one category are excluded from participating in that category, but are entitled to submit to other categories where they are not judging