Kentucky Wine Competition


2020 KCCWC & Commissioner’s Cup Judges

Renee Saunier Brewer: Wine + Market owner and Lexington native, Renee Saunier Brewer has worked extensively in the wine industry for several years.  Renee graduated from the University of Kentucky where she studied Agricultural Economics and French, and was also involved in Kentucky wine industry marketing research. After graduating, Renee worked briefly at Kentucky winery, Equus Run Vineyards (where she met her husband, Seth) before moving to Paris to begin an intensive master’s course in international wine marketing and management with an inter-governmental organization called the O.I.V. Through this program Renee traveled to the world’s leading and emerging wine markets to study their industry structure by visiting private and public industry businesses and taking specialized wine courses in finance, marketing, law, viticulture, enology and sensorial analysis.  To complete her OIV practicum, Renee moved to California to work a harvest at the Napa winery, Blankiet, under acclaimed winemaker Helen Turley.  At the end of the harvest season Renee took a job at wine marketing firm Balzac. In 2006 Renee moved back home to Kentucky and worked for the boutique wine distribution company Bacchus Wine & Spirits as a central Kentucky sales manager for several years before working at Wine + Market. On November 1st 2011, Renee purchased Wine + Market and has developed the wine program there offering a great value boutique wine selection, wine club of the month, hosts private wine events, and teaches wine classes.  Renee is also a Certified Sommelier (CS) and a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW).

Debra Combs: Bio coming soon

Robert Fullerton: Following a successful thirty-three year career with a Fortune 500 semiconductor company, Robert decided to leave the high tech industry and retool himself to pursue his love affair of fermented grape juice. Robert began his formal wine education journey in July 2016 by enrolling in the Intensive Sommelier Training program at the International Culinary Center in Campbell, CA. Following a comprehensive and fast-paced ten week course taught by four Master Sommeliers, Robert completed the program in September 2016 while earning Dean’s List honors. In September 2016 Robert earned his Level 1 and Level 2 certifications with the Court of Master Sommeliers. In February 2017 Robert achieved the French Wine Scholar accreditation with Highest Honors thru the Napa Valley Wine Academy. In April 2018 Robert passed the Certified Specialist of Wine exam with The Society of Wine Educators.

Today, Robert can be found wandering around the wine department at Total Wine & More, helping customers to find that perfect bottle of wine. In his spare time Robert enjoys drinking fine wine with friends and friends he hasn’t met yet.

A few of Robert’s favorite quotes:

Good wine is a necessity of life for me. -Thomas Jefferson

When I read about the evils of drinking, I stopped reading. -Henny Youngman

Don’t sweat the petty things, and don’t pet the sweaty things. -George Carlin

Carole Hackett:  The journey of the love of wine takes you to many places and forms wonderful relationships.

With a background in Healthcare, Carole’s undergraduate degree in Biology and Chemistry has been valuable in her wine studies.  Her interest in wine has led her to seek further education.  Carole is a member of the American Wine Society, a Certified Wine Judge student and is enrolled in Wine Spirits and Education Trust curriculum.  She enjoys judging amateur and commercial competitions with recent opportunities in Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and Missouri.  Currently, Carole presides as Chapter Chair of the AWS chapter in Frankfort KY.

Laurent Houkepon: Bio coming soon

Rachel Peake: Owner, Capital Cellars Wine and Spirits Cafe Market in Frankfort, Kentucky, Certified Wine Judge, Former Wine Chemist and Regional Sales Manager for a wine import company.