2017 KCCWC & Commissioner’s Cup Judges
Renee Saunier Brewer: Wine + Market and Enoteca 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 masters 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. In July of 2013, Renee and Seth Brewer opened Enoteca – a wine and tapas bar. The carefully curated beverage list features wines from around the world, as well as craft beers and an extensive bourbon selection . Both businesses are on the corner of Jefferson and Second Streets in downtown Lexington. Renee is also a Certified Sommelier (CS) and a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW).
Bill Fish: Bill is an American Wine Society Certified Wine Judge and a member of The American Wine Society, Tasters Guild International and the French Broad Vignerons. In addition to wine exploration and tastings across the United States, Bill lived in Europe for five years and frequently visited the famous vineyards in Germany, France and Italy.
Bill is the Chief Judge for the Asheville (NC) Wine and Food Festival Wine Competitions and the CiderFest NC cider competition.
Bill regularly judges at the annual Tasters Guild International Wine Judging, Mid-Atlantic Southeastern Wine Competition, Wines of the South and more recently at the North Carolina State Fair Wine Competition, the American Wine Society Annual Wine Competitions and the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition.
After a 38 year career with General Motors, Bill is currently the Senior Vice President of Operations for Rinehart Racing in Asheville, NC. He and his wife Jamie reside in Flat Rock, NC.
Dennis Fraley DipWSET: Dennis is originally from Pittsburgh, PA where he obtained a B.A. in Chemistry from Washington and Jefferson College. He has resided in Florence, SC for the last 15 years where he works at a local hospital as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist.
His interest in wine led him to seek further education via the Wine and Spirits Education Trust. He completed his Advanced level in Charleston, SC where he graduated with distinction. In September, 2015 Dennis successfully completed the WSET Diploma of Wine and Spirits through the Neal Ewing School of Wine in Philadelphia, PA.
Dennis taught wine classes for a local college, performs guided educational tastings, works with chefs performing food and wine pairing events, assists with restaurant wine flight and wine menu development and writes a monthly wine column, “Bottle Talk,” for the Florence Morning News.
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.
Jason Heiligenberg: Jason has been crafting wines and spirits at Huber Winery for 15 years. His current position of Head Winemaker/Distiller could just as easily be titled Chief Tank Cleaner/Yeast Wrangler. He is blessed, however, to be able to create a diverse portfolio of products and work with many outstanding people.
Any reference to outstanding people would certainly be incomplete without mentioning his loving family. His three children; Nikolaus 16, Caleb 12, and Margaux 9, remind him each day that not all whines are made the same. His patient and caring wife, Christine, just reminds him to bring a bottle to the dinner table.
Kerry Jolliffe: A Kentucky native, Kerry enjoyed a 10 year career as a commercial winemaker and vineyard manager. He was awarded 2009 Kentucky Grape Grower of the Year and has won numerous medals in international wine competitions. He expanded his wine knowledge through traveling and talking to winemakers in world renowned wine regions such as Chianti, Montalcino, Montepulciano, Burgundy, Bordeaux, and the Wachau Valley as well as Napa Valley and the Finger Lakes. He has been judging various wine competitions for over 10 years.
Kristen Lindelow: Kristen is an American Wine Society (AWS) certified wine judge and has been judging wine competitions across the U.S. for a number of years, including the Denver International Wine Competition, Kentucky CCWC & Commissioner’s Cup, Indy International, Wines of the South, and more. Kristen is a founding director of Alabama Wine, Inc., a non-profit corporation whose mission is to promote Alabama wines, and has been Chief Judge for Alabama Wine’s annual commercial wine competition since its inception.
She is currently a Regional Vice President for the AWS, a Trustee for the AWS-Educational Foundation, and is owner/educator of Tennessee Valley Wine Academy in North Alabama. Kristen is also employed by Church Street Wine Shoppe as Wine Educator. Kristen holds the wine certifications: Certified Specialist of Wine, French Wine Scholar, California Wine Appellation Specialist, and WSETII.
Kristen continues to pursue her wine education and is presently studying to receive the designations of Bourgogne Master and Italian Wine Specialist. She and her very supportive husband live in Huntsville, Alabama where they enjoy as many wine dinners with friends as time allows.
Aaron Mandel: Aaron is a wine instructor as well as a long-time student of wine. He is a Certified Wine Judge through the American Wine Society and, in 2012, commenced running that program as its director. Aaron is also currently the Director of Education for the American Wine Society. In 2015, he earned his Diploma from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust. In addition to teaching wine judging, Aaron has also taught classes for students interested in earning certificates through WSET, SWE and CMS. He has judged in numerous competitions in the United States and is a regular judge in the International Wine Challenge in the UK. Aaron is a Masters of Wine candidate in Stage 2 of the program.
Dave & Frances Miller: Dave and Frances have been making wine as a team since the late 90’s while obtaining specialized training in the field of wine evaluation from the University of Louisville and Bellarmine University as well as attending the Heartland Wine School for Commercial Winemakers. Much experience was obtained visiting wineries throughout the U.S.
The Millers have been the superintendents of the Kentucky State Fair amateur wine competition since 2010 after being judges prior to this time. They were also in the same role at the Kentucky Wine and Vine Amateur Competition since its inception in 2004. Dave and Frances have judged commercial wines at the Kentucky Derby Festival from its beginning.
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.
Jaime Zapata: Jaime is an American Wine Society (AWS) certified wine judge and a certified Italian Wine Specialist and California Wine Appellation Specials. Several of his wine judging experiences include the Kentucky Heartland Wine Competition, Alabama Commercial Wine Competition, Alabama Wineries and Grape Growers Association’s Amateur Wine Competition and Tennessee Viticultural and Oenological Society Amateur Competitions. Early this year he had the opportunity to judged at the Indianapolis International Commercial Wine Competition as a judge in training. Jaime is passionate about living a rich wine tasting experiences and his interest in boutique wines has taken him through wineries in Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, New Mexico, Tennessee, Virginia, Italy, Malta and Spain.
Currently, Jaime is the Program Director for the North Alabama AWS chapter and member of the Downtown Huntsville AWS Chapter and the Friends of Spanish Wines Club Wine
Jaime is a native of Puerto Rico working for the Army as an Air Defense Testing Engineer and is a resident of Madison, Alabama since 1987.