HEAD JUDGE AUSTRALIA - SYDNEY, NSW
Shane picked his first olives in 2000 with long paddock olive rustlers and has been hooked ever since. Shane is a landscaper and paver by trade but his incessant passion is for olives.
Shane has been formally assessing olive oil since 2007. In 2009 Shane completed the Extra Virgin Olive Oil Appreciation and Assessment course. Since 2010 he has been show judging in regional and national competitions including the Australian National Olive Competition, Olives New Zealand, Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria Australian Food Awards, Sydney Fine Food Show, Canberra Olive Oil Show and the Golden Olive Show.
He is the convenor of the ‘Tastebook’ program, a sensory professional development and training initiative in appreciating, describing and understanding how to improve the quality of extra virgin olive oil and table olives.
He has been the head judge of the Australian National Olive competition since 2016 and he is extremely honoured to be head judge for the Australian International Olive Awards. He sees his responsibility as an advocate for olive oils and olives and facilitator for judges and the event team.
Dr Michelle Wirthensohn
HEAD JUDGE AUSTRALIA - CHARLESTON, SA
Dr Michelle Wirthensohn is the Horticulture Innovation Australia Senior Research Fellow with the University of Adelaide. Michelle has been involved in horticultural breeding and research since graduating from the University of Adelaide where she gained her Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Hons), Graduate Certificate in Higher Education and a PhD in Horticulture.
As a member of the Australian Olive Association’s (AOA) National Table Olive Committee, Michelle helped develop the Voluntary Industry Standard for Table Olives and the Australian Olive Association’s Code of Practice for table oil, table olives and other products.
She has been Head Judge for the Australian Olive Association’s National Table Olive competition since 2011 and for Olives South Australia (OSA) Royal Adelaide Olive Awards. Michelle has been Head Judge for the Australian International Olive Awards in 2017 -2019 and judge at the Fleurieu Fine Foods competition.
Ángeles Calvo Fandos
SPAIN - REUS
Angeles has been manager of a family run agricultural-livestock company since 1991. In 1989 she graduated in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Zaragoza with specialties in food science, technology and food safety.
Angeles has also completed numerous panel leader courses COI and MAPA in Granada and Madrid (1999, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2014).
Angeles has been leader of the ‘Panell de Tast Oficial d’Olis Verges d’Oliva de Catalunya’ since 2004. Since its creation in 1997 she was technical secretary and member of this Catalonia virgin olive oil tasting panel.
Angeles has also taught oil tasting courses at a variety of locations including Federació de Cooperatives Agraries de catalunya, Escola d’enologia de Falset, ECA-Mas Bobé, Gandesa y Borges Blanques, Vallfogona, Escoles d’hosteleria, and Unió de Pagesos. Following the requirements of DOGC nº 4291 (2004), Angeles is responsible for the implementation of the ISO 17025 Standard for the accreditation of the Official Tasting Panel of Catalonia. She has also consulted and provided auditing services at the Fòrum Verge Extra: Oli I Territori.
Since 2005, Angeles has been a member of the MAGRAMA group of olive oil tasting experts. Since 2008 she has been a member of the olive oil sensory analysis expert group on IOC and she is also a member of the Olearum Association. Angeles participates in the selection and training for new emerging olive oil tasting panels across Spain (Toledo, Murcia, Aragón and Navarra). She also has numerous collaborations in scientific activities of various entities (IRTA, URV, UB, P H2020-Oleum).
Angeles has participated in the IBEROLEUM (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020), EVOLEUM (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020) and EVO IOOC Guide (2018, 2019) olive oil guides. She has also participated in national and international congresses in Greece, Morocco, Chile and Tunisia. Angeles has been a valued judge and panel leader at numerous olive oil competitions in Spain, Italy, Israel, Argentina, Portugal, Japan and Turkey.
SPAIN - TOLEDO
Enrique García-Tenorio, agricultural engineer and expert in international business management, is CEO of the foundation “Montes de Toledo Olive Oil” from 1998. Responsible of management, promotion and product certification of this Protected Designation of Origin, he also drafted the application for EU registration and its specifications.
As olive oil taster, Enrique has qualifications as sensory judge and panel leader, has conducted olive oil workshops and seminars across the world including European Union, Japan, China, Korea, México and USA, and been jury member in various international olive oil competitions such as Spanish Ministry of Agriculture awards, the Evooleum and Iberoleum guides in Spain, Olive Japan International Competition and others.
He also collaborated in the creation and accreditation of the sensory laboratory of virgin olive oils owned by the Montes de Toledo foundation, which is certified by IOOC and the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture.
In addition, he is external collaborator of the Spanish Accreditation Body (ENAC) as technical auditor for the accomplishment of product certification audits in the olive oil sector and guest speaker at several seminars on product certification and designations of origin management.
Dr. Agustí Romero
SPAIN - REUS
Dr. Agustí J. ROMERO, PhD (Food Technology) Specialized in plant pomology from University of Lleida, Spain. Researcher of the IRTA’s Food Division since 1987 and leader of the IRTA’s Olive & Oil research team. His work focuses on virgin olive oil extraction and quality, olive orchards designs and nut processing and quality. Since 2000 he is involved in mill technology improvement programs, supported by Catalan Government, involving more than 50 olive mills and 50.000 ha of olive orchards.
A.Romero is co-author of one book about olive cultivars in Catalonia and made contributions to technical books on olive oil, sensorial analysis, etc. Co-author of more than 80 scientific reports and more than 100 articles of divulgation. Currently, he is involved in several research projects on olive oil and nuts. Furthermore, he is an expert assistant for both the International Olive Council (IOC) concerning olive germplasm banks and the United States Pharmacopaea regarding olive oil quality standards.
Professor in several master courses: “International Expert on Olive Oil Tasting” University of Jaen; “Food Industry Innovation and Management” University of Lleida. He collaborates regularly with “Escuela Universitaria de Hotelería y Turismo” (University of Barcelona) and “Escuela Superior de Hostalería de Barcelona” for olive oil subject.
Member of the official olive oil tasting panel of Catalonia (Spain), he contributed to its formation and currently is responsible for its continuous training under ISO-17025 regulations. He has designed special training strategies for many tasting panels in several countries (Argentina, Chile, China, Germany, Japan, Morocco, Spain, Turkey and USA). He has been jury of several international olive oil competitions (Argentina, Berlin, London, Los Angeles, New Zealand, Shanghai and Tokyo).
Juan Baseda Torruella
SPAIN - REUS
Juan Baseda Torruella holds a degree in Veterinary, Bromatology and Food Technologies from the Facultad de Veterinaria (Universidad de Zaragoza), Collegiate Nº 450, once of the illustrious Official College of Veterinarians of Teruel.
Juan Baseda Torruella is the Secretary and Technical Director of Protected Designations of Origin (PDO) ‘Aceite del Bajo Aragón’, a position he has held since 1999. This PDO is located in the north west of Teruel and the south west of the province of Zaragoza, a geographical area that is one of the largest olive-oil producing areas in the north of Spain.
Juan Baseda Torruella has been the Tasting Technical Manager of Panel de Catadores de Aceite de Oliva Virgen de Aragón from 2005, the Deputy Panel Leader of Panel de Catadores de Aceite de Oliva Virgen de Aragón since 2008 and a respected taster on the Panel de Catadores de Aceite de Oliva Virgen de Aragón since 2001. From 1985 to 1998 Juan Baseda Torruella was chief in charge of production in Laboratorios Cenavisa, S.A. Spain.
Since 2001 Juan Baseda Torruella has organised the “Mejor Aceite del Bajo Aragón” prize which celebrates the best extra virgin olive oil with the Designation of Origin (D.O.) “Aceite del Bajo Aragón”
Juan Baseda Torruella is a valued member of many international and national extra virgin olive oil competition juries (Expoliva, Terraolivo, Evooleum, Iber Oleum, Argentina, Portugal) and he has also been a Panel Leader of table olives judging (2015).
AUSTRALIA - PERTH, WA
Isabella is based in Western Australia and has been tasting and judging olive oil for over 17 years.
She initially trained under Professor Stan Kailis and Dr Luciano di Giovacchino in 2000-2001 and since then has had training under Judy Ridgeway, Richard Gawel, Paul Vossen, Marc Morain, Gino Russo, Richard Butler and Linda Costa.
In 2013 Isabella completed her Diploma for Tasting Panel Supervisor in accordance with IOOC norms held in Viterbo, Italy and presented by Wenceslao Moreda and Mauro Martelossi.
In the last two years Isabella has been working with Stan Kailis to present refresher olive oil tasting sessions in Perth, WA.
Isabella has been judging at numerous competitions including the Australian Olive Association National competition (since 2013), Olive Japan (since 2016), regional South West Olive Association (head judge since 2010), Perth Royal Show (since 2000 and head judge since 2015) and Sydney Royal Fine Food Show.
She harvests fruit from her small 1000 tree grove in the great southern region of Western Australia and produces her award winning Yaribelle Braes brand of extra virgin olive oil.
AUSTRALIA - SWAN VALLEY, WA
Richard is based in Western Australia and has a background in olive production through his role at the Western Australia Department of Agriculture and Food providing agronomic and industry advice to olive growers. He co-authored several papers on olive growing including liaising on the NOVA project and researching and sharing knowledge with other State olive industry counterparts. He provided policy advice to the Western Australian Government on developments in the WA olive industry and participated in horticulture export development initiatives including olive oil export promotion. He also led an olive study tour to Spain and Italy in 2000.
He has trained in olive oil assessment under several leading tasters such as Richard Gawel, Stan Kailis, Judy Ridgway and visiting Italian and Californian specialists.
Richard has been a big supporter of the Western Australian olive industry helping establish the West Australian Olive Council of which he is a life member and continues to do so in his retirement. He has been involved in viticulture all his life and regularly attends wine industry tasting sessions in the Swan Valley to keep his palate trained.
Richard has judged at the Perth Royal Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition for 20 years-and has also judged at regional WA shows such as the South West Olive Oil Competition. He has also judged at the Australian National Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition and recently the Australian International Olive Awards in 2019 and 2020.
AUSTRALIA, PERTH, WA
Thelma participated in training to taste and judge olive oils soon after she and her husband, Peter, established their olive grove near Margaret River, Western Australia in 1997. Initial training was under Professor Stan Kailis and visiting EVOO experts organised by both the West Australian Olive Council (WAOC) and the (then) Margaret River Olive Industry Association.
While continuing work as a health professional in Perth, Thelma has continually attended training sessions and joined EVOO judging panels for the Perth Royal Show, the WAOC EVOO and Table Olive Competitions and the South West Olive Association competitions. Thelma also participated in the early development of Table Olive judging and awards in Western Australia.
In 2018, Thelma judged at the Australian International Olive Awards in Adelaide and again, in 2020, was a member of the Western Australian AIOA judging panel in Perth. In this extensive long-term experience, she has shared tasting and judging experience with world class judges and, in turn, has developed high level skills in EVOO and Table Olive judging.
Now retired from her health profession, Thelma lives on the family olive farm and is engaged in the annual grove activities, including pruning and harvesting. Most recently, Thelma has engaged with a retired EVOO grower and judge to provide EVOO tasting information and education sessions to community groups that include the Margaret River TAFE Hospitality / Chef trainees and the wider public at the Margaret River Markets and local agricultural field days.
Her hopes for the future include growth of the olive industry with a greater percentage of the population being aware of, and using, Australian EVOO and Table Olives.
AUSTRALIA - BOYUP BROOK, WA
Running a mixed sheep and cropping enterprise in the south west of WA with her husband and family after graduating from UWA in 1985, Carolyn Reid was introduced to the olive industry by a neighbour after buying farmland which included the original trial grove of olives in the area they had planted in 1999. Absorbing as much as possible on the horticulture side of trees, pruning and production from them, Carolyn learned the olive oil processing and table olive processes.
Attending her first Olives WA event in 2016 opened up a new learning journey judging oils, having attended all training courses since. The comprehensive workshops, grove visits and training days offered provided a valuable training ground as she has continued learning and enjoying the connection with the Olive growing community.
Carolyn has judged alongside the WA panel at the last two International Olive Oil Awards and is a panel leader at the WA competition.
Dr Francesca Rocchi
ITALY – ROME
Francesca is an international teacher and educator in the fields of food, wine and olive oil. She has been a regular taster and journalist at the Slow Food publisher’s Guide to Extravergini and is a member of the Il Ministero delle Politiche Agricole Alimentari e Forestali’s (MIPAAF) working group dedicated to the culture of extra virgin olive oil. She also works with the Iatlian Chamber of Commerce.
In 2010 she was elected President of Slow Food Lazio and became a National Council Member for Slow Food Italy. In 2014, Francesca was made Vice President of Slow Food Italia, a role she continues today. Francesca is a member of the Italian Slow Food Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Presidia, an international project which promotes the environmental, landscape, health and economic value of Italian extra-virgin olive oil, and inform consumers about the qualities of good, clean and fair oil. She is also an educator in the field of food and wine for Slow Food and Eataly, with a focus on the olive tree cycle and on the potential of using EXTRAVERGINE in the daily diet.
Francesca is the artistic director of Fiera di Roma, an event dedicated to the Mediterranean Diet, which is held in Rome every year in November (www.mercatomediterraneo.it) where she facilitates a number of presentations dedicated to the culture of extra virgin olive oil. Furthermore, she is part of the tasting panel of SOL/Vinitaly and the Olive Japan International Olive Oil Competition. She speaks Italian, Spanish and English.
Francesca has numerous qualifications in the olive oil and wine (sommelier) as well as a Doctor of Philosophy (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice) and enjoys volunteering her time as a representative committee member with Foodinsider (www.foodinsider.it), a digital platform devoted to food education with a focus on Italian school canteen menus.
ITALY - ROME
Native of Croatia, has lived in Rome, Italy since 2001. Living in Rome made her appreciate all sensory and cultural nuances of Italian food which led her to pursue and obtain qualifications as a Wine Sommelier from Associazone Italiana Sommelier in 2013 followed by Master’s degree in Italian Gastronomic Culture at the Universita degli Studi di Roma “Tor Vergata” in 2016.
Her olive oil appreciation journey started after joining the Slow Food Rome community in 2016. Milena obtained the title of the Olive Oil Sommelier from L’Associazione Italiana Sommelier dell’olio and is a registered Olive Oil taster (Elenco nazionale dei tecnici ed esperti assaggiatori olio di oliva) since 2017. She has judged table olives at the Italian National table olives competition Monna Oliva organized by UMAO (Unione Mediterranea Assaggiatori Olio) since 2018. She is certified by the Oil Millers course organized by AIPO (association of interregional olive oil producers) in 2020.
She has been a regular olive oil taster for the Slow food “Guida agli Extravergini” since 2018 and has facilitated extra virgin olive oil tasting workshops for visiting students from English speaking countries for Slow Food Rome. Milena hosts the English version of the Olive Oil Drops podcast (www.oliveoildrops.com).
Duccio Morozzo della Rocca
ITALY - ROME
Duccio Morozzo della Rocca is the director and founder of the company Olive Bureau which specialises in international consultancy in olive oil production, olive oil blending, olive project development and olive oil business. Duccio founded Olive Bureau in 2005 in Italy after having completed his master in “Olivicolture and High-Quality Olive Oil” at the Agricultural Faculty of Pisa University.
Duccio works in North and South America, the Mediterranean region, Middle East and Asia. He focuses in the olive oil extraction process, olive tree and olive oil project development, oil profiles and journalism related to olive oil. He specialises in oil blending and does so for private producers and companies from the Americas to Japan.
Duccio has been an IOC official taster since 2007 and he has held the qualification of IOC Panel Leader since 2010. Since 2004 he has participated as a judge in over 38 international olive oil contests in Italy, Japan and Spain. His work has been published in many guide books and online resources.
Duccio is on the list of the official IOC consultants for IOC olive oil projects.
ITALY - TUSCANY
Sonia is one of the great olive oil experts in Italy. She is known and appreciated for her in-depth knowledge in the oil sector and she is often a speaker at important Italian field events.
Since 2003 Sonia has been developing her palate by training as a Sommelier (Italian Sommeliers’ Association), an ONAV wine taster (National Wine Tasters Organisation) and a wine fault specialist (University of Bordeaux).
In 2007 Sonia became a certified oil taster and was registered on the National Italian List of tasters. In 2008 she also became a registered Grappa taster from the Italian National Association of Grappa. She was a taster and judge at the ‘Concorso Nazionale distillati – Premio Alambicco d’Oro’ in Termeno.
Since 2010 Sonia has been the coordinator for the region of Tuscany’s Extra-virgin Slow Food Guide and member of the National Panel. As a Slow Food ambassador she collaborateeds with the Guide Osterie d’Italia, Vino Quotidiano and Slow Wine.
From 2016 to 2019 Sonia has been on the tasting panel for the Carabinieri Corps – Forestry of Tuscany. In September 2019 she participated in the Oil Millers Course organized by AIRO (Italian Oil Restaurants Association). Sonia teachers Slow Food, Wine and Oil Masters.
From 2019 to January 2020 Sonia tasted oil from around the world and was a contributor to the revolutionary research project – “To calibrate the electronic nose defects of olive oil’ at the Department of Horticulture and Scientific Centre (Dipartimento di Ortoflorofrutticoltra, del Polo Scientifico) in Sesto, Florence.
She is famous in Italy for her collaboration in successful television programs, such as “Buono a sapersi”, where she intervenes as an olive oil taster expert. Likewise, for her regular presence in “La Prova del Cuoco” (Ready Steady Cook) and “Tutto Chiaro” TV programmes, both on RAI Uno.
ITALY - FLORENCE
Aleandro currently works with the University of Florence in the Faculty of Agriculture (Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Agrarie, Alimentari, Ambientali e Forestali, DAGRI).
Aleandro has been an olive oil judger for more than 20 years.
He has achieved many formal olive industry qualifications including Panel Leader Certification and a Member Panel Test Certificate AIF0; ANAPOO. He has also contributed to the competition and guide: Slow Food, II Magnifico and M0OIC Montecarlo.
Aleandro is involved in research focusing on olive orchard management, cultivar characterization, breeding, mechanical harvest and the milling process. He has co-written more than 20 technical and scientific papers on these topics. He also has one Patent on the mechanical pruning process.
Aleandro is involved in several international projects including introducing olive oil cultivation in a number of East Asia regions.
Aleandro is based in Florence and is a Director on the Board of Laudemio. He consults all things olive for Tenuta Maryamadoo and Palazzo Di Varignana Agricultural Estate.
AUSTRALIA - WAGGA WAGGA, NSW
Helen has over twelve years’ experience in olive oil judging at regional, state and national olive oil competitions in an associate, standard and head judge capacity. Helen was a judge at the finals of the Armonia International Olive Oil Show in Spain.
She is a trained food technologist and in 2003 began training in olive oil sensory evaluation. Helen was one of the founding members of the Australian Olive Oil Sensory Panel at Wagga who then went on to undertake olive oil sommelier and olive oil sensory analysis training in Milan, Italy in 2015.
She has trained in table olive production and assessment and has judged in several table olive shows. Helen continues to be an active member of the Australian Olive Oil Sensory Panel.
AUSTRALIA - WAGGA WAGGA NSW
Susan is based in Wagga Wagga and has been an active member of the Australian Olive Oil Sensory Panel since 2009.
She has judged at numerous Australian National Olive Competitions, The Australian International Olive Awards, Sydney Royal Fine Food Show, The Royal Canberra Extra Virgin Olive Oil Show and Golden Olive Awards, both in extra virgin and flavoured olive oils.
Susan has a Bachelor of Education and her interest in olive oil has encouraged her to further develop her skills and knowledge through regular tasting and maintenance meetings.
AUSTRALIA - WAGGA WAGGA, NSW
Sue has been an olive oil tasting judge at the Charles Sturt University and a show judge at the Australian Golden Olive Awards in North East Victoria and the Australian International Olive Awards in 2019.
She has a Bachelor of Arts, Diploma in Education and a Diploma in Information & Communications Technology. Sue is a retired high school teacher who currently spends time as a panel judge at the Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga.e has met through her association.
AUSTRALIA - WAGGA WAGGA, NSW
Cassandra is a Gemmologist and Jewellery Valuer. She and her husband own and operate two jewellery businesses in Wagga Wagga, NSW.
Cassandra is very enthusiastic about all things olive. Having successfully completed training with Peter Olsen and the Department of Primary Industries, Cassandra became a member of the Australian Olive Oil Sensory Panel in 2014. She keeps her olive palate refreshed with regular training and refresher courses, most recently a tasting course with Claudia Guillaume & Toshiya Tada in Geelong.
She has enjoyed being a part of the olive oil and table olive judging panel for The Sydney Fine Food Show & Golden Olives Show for the past five years and the Australian International Olive Awards in 2019.
Cassandra is passionate about the industry, the produce and the fabulous people she has met through her association.
NEW ZEALAND - WAIHEKE ISLAND
In 2000 Margaret retired from full-time employment after a career as a dietitian and university lecturer, and having held management positions at major New Zealand companies, to concentrate on olive oil.
She is the author of numerous publications about food, nutrition and olive oil and a member of several specialist food and olive oil related organisations.
Margaret attended the International Olive Council’s (IOC) organoleptic training courses in New Zealand and then IOC Training Courses for Supervisors of Virgin Olive Oil Tasting Panels held in Italy in 1999 and 2005. She also attended Savantes courses in Australia.
In 2003, in conjunction with The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Consumer and Sensory Science Facility, Margaret set up, trained and led the Olives New Zealand Sensory Panel for Extra Virgin Olive Oil. In 2005 the panel obtained IOC recognition and retained this, until the panel was disbanded in 2012.
Margaret has been an international olive oil judge since 2004 and judges regularly in the USA, Australia and Japan. She is a consultant to the New Zealand olive industry, runs olive oil workshops and lectures nationally, and internationally about New Zealand extra virgin olive oil.
In 1992, Margaret and her late husband, John, planted an olive grove on Waiheke Island. In 1997 they imported a mill from Italy and established a company that consistently produced award-winning extra virgin olive oil. The mill was sold in 2021 and now Margaret only produces extra virgin olive oil for her own needs and those of family and friends.
Pablo lives in Argentina and is an agriculture scientist specialising in olive oil production and oil quality.
He has been in the olive industry for 22 years. He is an olive oil production consultant in over ten countries including North America, Japan, Argentina, Australia, Chile, Brazil, Israel, China, Mexico and New Zealand.
Initially Pablo specialised and trained in olive oil and table olive production in Spain and Italy. He has undertaken valuable olive oil processing research funded by the Australian Government and published numerous research papers on olive processing. Pablo has broad experience in modern olive oil extraction techniques, olive processing, oil blending and quality control.
He has extensive experience in olive oil tasting and has regularly been invited to judge at many competitions including The Australian National Olive Competition, Melbourne’s Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria Olive show, Royal Adelaide Olive Awards and the Fino Oliva Show in Brazil.
He has had wide-ranging experience in the design and development of olive oil processing facilities and in the continual improvement of their industrial efficiencies.
Pablo is respected worldwide and is a regular key speaker on olive oil and processing courses, conferences and seminars around the world including World Congress
NEW ZEALAND - WAIHEKE ISLAND
Anne has honed her olive oil, wine and food knowledge and her tasting skills by spending several years as a restaurant manager, tour manager, tastings manager and office manager at Stoney Ridge Vineyard.
Anne and her husband then established Rangihoua Estate on Waiheke Island in 1997. This olive growing business produces premium quality olives and world class olive oil. The brand is well known across the world and is popular with several very well-known celebrities. Combining the traditional and modern methods of Olive Oil processing, Rangihoua is now a leading brand in Extra Virgin Olive Oils, and produces the most prolific award-winning Extra Virgin Olive Oils in New Zealand.
Anne proudly declares she was the first person in the North Island of New Zealand to grow olives and make quality olive oil. Anna plants, grows, hand harvests, processes, blends, markets and sells her oils. She has operated and grown the business for twenty-three years now.
Anne has worked with the esteemed Margaret Edwards on judging panels and regularly assess and tastes olive oil. Anne’s oils have won numerous national and international awards including thirteen golds and five best in class awards in the last five years.
Today Anne is the Grove Manager for Allpress Olive Groves who have bought Rangihoua and several other brands on Waiheke Island. She is very happy to still be part of the journey of seeing where Waiheke Islands Olive Oil next chapter.
AUSTRALIA -LARA, VIC
Claudia joined Modern Olives early in 2006 to head up the Modern Olives Laboratory. She has over 20 years’ experience in olive oil testing and is now the Modern Olives General Manager.
She finished her studies in Argentina as Food Scientist and olive oil specialist. After working for several years in oil quality, authenticity and sensory testing, Claudia continuous working in characterization and analysis of olive derivatives products, leading the NPD, Technical, Regulation and Quality teams.
Claudia is an approved chemist of the AOCS, participates as technical members for the Australian Standard and USP committees, represents Australia in IOC, Codex and ISO as technical expert and is a NATA technical assessor. She has extensive experience in chemical and sensory evaluation of olive oil and olive derivatives, carrying out many trainings and judging in this matter.
Claudia has been invited to several national and international conferences as speaker and she has published numerous scientific papers in national and international journals.
AUSTRALIA - LARA, VIC
Andrew began his career in the olive industry back in 1995, hand picking olives and working in the olive oil processing plant at Toscana Olives at the foot of the Grampians in Victoria. His love and appreciation of tasting fresh olive oil began immediately.
Coming from a farming background Andrew worked and managed olive nurseries, researching olive varieties and the many other technical issue facing a young and emerging industry. He joined Boundary Bend Olives, now Cobram Estate Olives in 2000 and since then has worked in all areas of the olive business. He has been a member of the Geelong Olives Association, Victorian Olive Council and is currently a Director of the Australian Olive Association.
Andrew has participated and trained in many olive sensory analysis courses both in Australia and overseas during the past 27 years. Notably he has completed the Olive Sensory Master Class run by Claudia Guillaume and guest international judges three times. He has judged in the Australian Olive Oil Awards and the Victorian Fine Food Awards on numerous occasions. He is a member of the Modern Olives tasting panel and participates in the continuous improvement of the panel.
AUSTRALIA - MELBOURNE, VIC
Jillian has a background in personnel and staffing solutions. In 2003 Jillian and her husband Julian established Paringa Ridge Estate in Red Hill, Victoria. They planted 1100 trees with four varieties. As well as growing olives, Paringa Ridge Estate also contract harvests for local growers.
Jillian has won Grove of the Year (2010) as well as yearly awards for their Leontyna extra virgin olive oils. Paringa Ridge Estate has also won the best oil in the southern hemisphere three times and several ‘Best in Show’ awards.
Jillian is on the Victorian tasting panel and has been for many years. She has attended many tasting and processing courses run by the Australian Olive Association, New Zealand Olive Association and Boundary Bend. She has judged on the panel for Victorian Fine Food awards seven times and the Royal Hobart Fine Food Awards twice. Jillian was also on the committee of the Morning Peninsula Olive Association when it was functioning.
Jillian is involved in the Olive Wellness Institute as a small grower representative. She has recently been asked to be on the panel of the Olive Industry Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (SIAP).
AUSTRALIA -MELBOURNE, VIC
Helen’s background is in education. Over the last 20 years she has taught English to a variety of culturally and linguistically diverse adults. Many of them have links to overseas markets and aspire to establish export enterprises.
In recent years, Helen has undertaken a language support role for some members of this multicultural cohort and facilitated research and liaison into trade partnerships with Australian businesses. It was this involvement that inspired her to undertake olive oil assessment training.
Helen has since judged at the Australian International Olive Awards, the Royal Melbourne Fine Food Awards and the Golden Olive Awards. She has also participated in the Tastebook program with the Australian Olive Association.
Dr Wang Wei
CHINA - HANGZHOU
Dr Wang Wei graduated from Zhejiang University with a doctorate in food safety in 2008. He was the creator and now executive director of The International Centre for Olive Oil Quality Research (ICOOQR) with a key focus on promoting academic cooperation between China and Australia in the field of olive oil, to improve Chinese enthusiasm for the consumption of quality olive oil and to promote market share of Australia high quality olive oil in China.
Dr Wang Wei is the head director of Nutrition and health research team of Institute of Quality and Standard for Agriculture Products, Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences. He is as a Master advisor mainly engaged in functional nutrition and health research of agricultural products. He had finished more than 20 research projects, published more than 70 research papers, 21 patents for inventions, include 1 U. S. patents, and 14 patents has been authorized.
Dr Dr Wang Wei is also an executive director of the sixth Zhejiang Food Association, and a member of Zhejiang New Century “151 talents project”, “talent plan” of Zhejiang academy of agricultural sciences, and premium members of Chinese Institute of Food Science and Technology. Dr Wang is also a senior member of AOCS, the world’s most extensive and respected collaborative proficiency testing program for oil- and fat-related commodities, oilseeds, oilseed meals, and edible fats.
CHINA - GANSU
Deng Yu is a professor of the olive, currently working as the vice president of Longnan Academy of Economic Forestry, Gansu Province. He is also the director of the Longnan Olive Research Institute, secretary-general of the Chinese Olive Innovation Strategic Alliance and vice managing director and leader of the China Economic Forest Association’s processing group ‘Olive Specialized Committee’. Deng Hu served as Chairman of Longnan Olive Oil Testing Association and leader of the Longnan Government Quality Award review panel.
For more than 30 years, Deng Yu has been engaged in scientific research and practice in the cultivation and processing of olives, olive product quality and safety and quality analysis of olive oil quality characteristics and olive oil tasting.
Deng Yu has travelled to Greece and Spain to study olive oil planting, processing and oil testing techniques. He has participated in training courses for olive oil sensory analysis at home and abroad. Deng has obtained the Madrid Polytechnic University’s training certificate, Italy’s University of Bologna’s certificate for oil appraisal training and Spain’s Catalonia Institute of Agricultural and Food Technology’s training certificate and chief quality officer certificate. He also served as the judge of China’s first olive oil tasting and appraisal event.
Deng Yu has hosted and participated in the completion of more than 20 ministry, province, and municipal research jobs relating to the olive. He has won 20 provincial and municipal Science and Technology Progress Awards, won 2 national patents, and had more than 40 papers published including 3 SCI papers and 5 monographs on the olive including the International Oil Olive Council (IOC)published ‘World Olive Variety Map’.
Deng Yu has drafted “Virtual Olive Oil Sensory Evaluation Guide (Draft)” and cooperated to complete “Olive Oil Sensory Evaluation System Software”. He has also obtained the National Copyright Administration Soft Book Certificate.
Currently, Deng Yu is leading the analysis and evaluation of olive oil quality of different varieties and different maturities, and building a Chinese (Longnan) olive oil sensory analysis and evaluation laboratory according to international standards. Deng Yu is a highly regarded and influential person in the Chinese olive industry.
CHINA - HANGZHOU
Zhu Shenlong has engaged in the olive industry for more than 20 years. He is currently a member of the Olive Branch of China Economic Forest Association. Zhu Shenlong has extensive experience in the whole olive industry including olive germplasm assessment, olive tree growing and olive oil quality control. In 2019 Zhu Shenlong was invited as an expert to judge Chinese-brands of olive oil on the third olive Festival of Chengdu.
In recent years, Zhu Shenlong has participated in many olive training courses. More specifically he has studied olive oil sensory analysis including the ‘Training course on olive oil sensory analysis and senior qualifier’ jointly organised by Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences (ZAAS) and Institute of Agriculture and Food Research and Technology (IRTA) in 2019”. Zhu Shenlong holds the certificate released by ZAAS and IRTA with authorisation from Dr Agusti Romero.
Zhu Shenlong current work focuses on olive oil production, quality control, appropriate growing methods and suitable cultivar assessment in a region high in precipitation in southern China. Traditionally it can be shown that olive trees were hard to be grown in strong acidic soil and rainy regions, however, Zhu Shenlong’s research group have successfully produced extra virgin olive oil for years under these conditions. He is promoting the whole olive industry in such challenging regions like southern China.
Dr Zhang Yu
CHINA - HANGZHOU
Dr Zhang Yu graduated from Zhejiang University with a doctorate in fruit quality in 2004. She is the deputy director of nutrition and health research team of Institute of Quality and Standard for Agriculture Products, Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences. She is also a researcher in the International Centre for Olive Oil Quality Research (ICOOQR), which is dedicated to promoting academic cooperation between China and Australia in the field of olive oil.
She is mainly engaged in evaluation of quality and functional nutrition of agricultural products. Dr Zhang Yu has completed more than 20 research projects, published more than 30 research papers and authorized 15 invention patents. She is familiar with sensory analysis and quality analysis of olive oil. She has successfully completed study in the training course of olive oil sensory analysis organized by International Olive Council in 2018.
In 2019, she completed training on olive oil sensorial analysis senior qualifier organized by Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences in China and Institute of Agriculture and Food Research and Technology in Spain.
AUSTRALIA - ADELAIDE, SA
Sarah is a qualified Olive Oil Sommelier through the ESAO in Spain. She has come from a long line of passionate food lovers, having spent her younger years in a renowned South Australian food producing region, quality and freshness have always been at the fore of her culinary experiences. Growing up in an Italian – Australian household has meant extra virgin olive oil always takes center stage in the Kitchen.
Being involved in her family’s Olive groves in both the Adelaide Hills and Murraylands has allowed her to refine her skills in blending and tasting extra virgin olive oils, as well as working along with a strong South Australian extra virgin olive oil community where her family’s oil is respected and well awarded.
Sarah has completed the Extra Virgin Olive Oil Savantes course and has been involved in judging in Australian competitions since 2018. She thrives on the nuances found between olive varietals and flavours and is currently involved hands on with the blending of varietals and oils for her family grown and operated Rio Vista Olives in the Adelaide hills as well as undertaking the marketing role.
AUSTRALIA - ADELAIDE, SA
Born and raised in South Australia, Michael is a second generation olive grower and regenerative farmer.
Michael commenced judging in 2014, since then he has been elevated to a full state and national judge and has participated in the Australian National Olive Competition, Royal Adelaide Olive Awards and Fleurieu Fine Food and Olive Competition. Michael has judged at the Australian International Olive Awards since its inception in 2017.
Michael holds a Masters degree in Agribusiness and has published work focusing on Extra Virgin Olive Oil value chains. In 2015 he completed his International ‘Master for EVOO Taster & Olive Experts‘ Diploma in Italy under the instruction of Andrea Giomo, Barbara Alfei and Maria Gabusi.
Michael is the General Manager of Kangaroo Island Olives, a family owned agribusiness on South Australia’s pristine Kangaroo Island kiolives.com.au. The brand has received multiple awards from various olive oil shows around Australia.
AUSTRALIA - ADELAIDE, SA
Briony is a sensory analyst with 17 years of hands-on experience in the beer, wine and food industries. Working with some of the country’s best known and loved food, beer and wine brands, her experience includes managing sensory programs, leading tasting workshops, quality control and new product development.
Briony has been judging olive oil and table olives at state and national competitions since 2014 and has been head judge of the Fleurieu Peninsula Olive Competition. She is an avid promoter and consumer of extra virgin olive oil and enjoys harvesting and processing wild and grove olives from around McLaren Vale with friends.
After working at West End Brewery for 10 years, she has launched her business Flavour Logic which is all about good taste. Services to the food and beverage industry include sensory analysis tools to improve the quality and consistency of products and training staff to improve their tasting skills. She also offers tasting experiences for small groups in private or corporate settings to de-mystify the tasting process.
AUSTRALIA - MELBOURNE, VIC
Peta is an OliveCare Certified olive oil grower and processor with vertical integration of growing, harvesting, processing, HACCP and marketing.
For the last six years she has regularly tasted and assessed olive oil on a fortnightly basis at Boundary Bend Ltd. in Lara, Victoria. Having trained with Stan Kailis and Gino Russo, Peta was part of the inaugural table olive judging team at the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria olive competition. She has judged reliably for the Royal Melbourne Fine Food Awards, the AOA and then the AIOA awards.
Peta, a trained midwifery nurse and completed a Post Graduate Diploma of Horticulture, in 2004. She was a partner in Victorian Olive Groves, a business founded in 1997 and located in Bendigo Victoria.
Since concentrating on their family grove, they have regularly been awarded various gold, silver and bronze medals as well as Best in Class awards. Peta has also contract processed oil for numerous producers who have gone on to consistently win medals for their oils.
AUSTRALIA - WAGGA WAGGA, NSW
Margaret has a horticultural and farming background and has been in the olive industry for over 20 years.
Having owned an olive tree nursery in 1996, she is well versed in the olive tree and resultant ‘naturally brined’ processing methods. She runs the third-generation family farm www.parafieldolives.com.au in the Riverina region just outside of Wagga Wagga.
Margaret is a producer of premium award-winning organic table olives and olive oil.
She has been on the Australian Olive Oil Sensory Panel at Wagga since 2010 and has been judging olive oil at the Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne state competitions, the Australian National Olive Competition since 2003 and the Australian International Olive Awards in 2017, 2018 and 2020.
Dr Soumi Paul Mukhopadhyay
AUSTRALIA - SYDNEY NSW / INDIA
Dr Soumi Paul Mukhopadhyay is New South Wales Department of Primary Industries’ (NSW DPI) new Sensory and Consumer Research Scientist for Horticultural research. She is an expert in understanding how sensory and consumer science can facilitate better promotion and placement of various products (from grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, wine and olive oil to everyday grocery products).
She has extensive experience in both academic and food industries in her 10+ year’s career with national and internationally recognised FMCG companies such as Nestle, Global Calcium, Whirlpool and Goodman Fielder in India, Australia, USA and Italy. She brings together a fresh perspective of how sensory attributes of different food products can be better communicated to various stakeholders in the language they understand.
She is currently leading the Hort Innovation funded project OL17003- “Australian Olive industry sensory training” to deliver a series of integrated national sensory training program for promoting Australian extra virgin olive oil and table olives in domestic and international market and developing a guide to understand and appreciate the products.
Soumi is a trained member of the Australian Olive Oil Sensory Panel (AOOSP) at Wagga Wagga and has had extensive palate training. She is frequently travelling in and around Australia for various show-judging of Australian and international olive oils and table olives; some notable mentions are Sydney Fine Food show (since 2014), Golden olives (since 2014), the Australian International Olive Oil Awards (AIOA) in Adelaide since 2017 and New Zealand Olive Awards in 2018.
She has published several industry articles related to the TasteBook™ program in “Australian and New Zealand Olive Grower and Processor” and several peer-reviewed articles in international journals related to her sensory and consumer research work.
AUSTRALIA - BERMAGUI, NSW
Debra is a member of the Australian Olive Oil Sensory Panel, the peak chemical and organoleptic testing body based at the NSW Department of Primary Industries Australian Oils Research Laboratory in Wagga.
This will be Debra’s tenth year judging olive oil. She has judged at the Sydney Olive Oil Show, the Australian Olive Association National Competition, New Zealand Olive Awards, the Canberra Olive Oil Show, the Golden Olive Show and the Australian International Olive Awards.
Debra works as a graphic designer and teacher but her passion for olive oil has seen her undertake regular and ongoing olive oil quality assessment
AUSTRALIA - SYDNEY NSW
Roslyn grew up on a sheep and wheat farm in Southern Riverina and developed a personal and professional passion for food from an early age.
Today, she is a food technologist and corporate nutritionist with over 30 years’ experience having worked in both Australia, UK and The Netherlands with well-known multinational food companies.
She started her food science career in the flavour industry specialising in new product development and sweet flavour applications for some of Australia’s best known confectionery, yoghurt, ice-cream and soft drinks products.
She moved to The Netherlands to further her flavour science work at Unilever Research, where she became a panel member of the Bertolli olive oil tasting panels. While at Unilever, Roslyn was also a key member of the sensory panels for butter, tomato paste and flavour compounds of culinary herbs.
After leaving Europe, Roslyn has worked in leading FMCG companies supplying major Australian supermarkets finetuning her new product development skill and regulatory compliance knowledge. Having seen and developed industry’s best practice, Roslyn has launched a food regulatory affairs consultancy business in Sydney, Tastebuddies Food Labelling.
Today she specialises in Australian and New Zealand food labelling compliance. Alongside this, she is also a passionate nutritionist with a love for promoting the health and wellness benefits of extra virgin olive oil. She believes in educating Australian consumers on the high quality EVOO available here, helping them discover the wonderful world of olive oil taste and flavour descriptors and matching food and olive oils to delight their tastebuds and give them a new sensory experience.
In 2021, Roslyn enjoyed participating in her very first olive oil judging panel as an associate judge at the Sydney Fine Food Show and is returning in 2022. This is her first-year judging at the Australian International Olive Awards.
2022 Associate Judges
The Australian International Olive Awards competition prides itself on offering a number of ‘Associate Judge’ positions to future judges. These are training positions where associate judges hone their skills, get more experience and learn from the best judges available.
Dr Li Xue
CHINA - HANGZHOU
Dr Li Xue has received a Ph.D of Physical Chemistry from Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, CAS.
Li Xue successfully completed her olive oil sensorial analysis training course in 2019. This was jointly organized by Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences (ZAAS) in China and the Institute of Agriculture and Food Research and Technology (IRTA) in Spain.
In 2016, she achieved the qualification of Food Sensory Analyst, awarded by China Mechanical Engineering Association. She had participated in the detection ability assessment of AOCS in 2016 and has three years’ experience in olive oil research. Li Xue has published 7 scientific papers in national and international journals.
She is devoted to the study of olive oil, specialising in sensory quality evaluation and the biological activity and mechanisms of olive oil.
AUSTRALIA - SYDNEY, NSW
Sharon Jan is a food technologist, and licensed Coffee Q Grader. Her extensive experience in food and coffee tasting and judging has allowed a smooth transition into Olive oil. Shaz’s professional experience started in food production, processing, quality assurance, product development and sensory analysis, then moved into the coffee industry for the next 20 years where her sensory skills were further developed assessing the complexities of coffee and tea.
Throughout her professional career Shaz has worked on both sides of the sensory table; organising sensory testing, aswell as participating on sensory panels. Shaz has been judging regional, national and international food and coffee competitions since 2006, including Sydney Royal Fine Food Awards for Olive Oil since 2007.
AUSTRALIA - WAGGA WAGGA, NSW
In 2009, Gamila bought 12 acres in Beechworth, Victoria and planted a dedicated table olive grove with 13 varieties and cultivates saffron as well. She grew up with a wide exposure to a diverse range of food and the quest to always understand the flavours and aromas in a dish, to better understand how to recreate it.
As part of this strive to understand food and flavours better, Gamila commenced her Extra Virgin Olive Oil judging career for the Golden Olive Show in 2018, followed by attending the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show as an associate judge, and continues these judging commitments. She has participated in several rounds of TasteBook judging, to ensure her palate and sensory memory are kept active and extended, and attended training with Claudia Guillaume in Geelong Victoria, looking at oil faults and varietal characteristics across regions.
Using these skills, Gamila produces a range of diverse award-winning products for her business Gamila at Beechworth, including Egyptian Dukkah, Pickled Cherries and numerous table olive products, which have won medals every year they’ve been entered.
AUSTRALIA - WILLUNGA, SA
Monica has been involved in the olive industry since 2016 when she purchased an abandoned olive grove with her husband. From this point on, Monica made it her mission to restore the grove and produce gold medal winning extra virgin olive oil, from the 7 varieties produced on the farm.
She immersed herself in olive education, which included numerous trips to Spain to meet with growers and producers, and various olive oil sensory training programmes. In 2017 Monica completed the Savantes training programme, and was awarded the highest ever score in Australia as an Associate Savante. This training, education and travel ignited Monica’s new passion for the Olive tree, and everything that could become of it.
Since then, Monica’s business Romley Estate has gone on to win countless Silver, Gold, Reserve Champion and Champion awards at competitions including the Adelaide Olive Awards, Australian International Olive Awards, Royal Tasmanian Fine Food Awards, Royal Fine Food Awards Sydney, Fleurieu Olive Awards, NYIOOC, London International Olive Competition.
Monica was the key event organiser for the 2018 Fleurieu Olive Awards, and has been involved in judging many olive and olive oil competitions, including the Royal Adelaide Olive Awards, and the Fleurieu Olive Awards.
Monica has since gone on to expand her product line to include various olive oils, olives, and condiments, and is undertaking continued study as a Skincare Formulator to produce her own range of high quality skincare products using extra virgin olive oil.
AUSTRALIA - MELBOURNE, VIC
Caroline is very passionate about the olive industry and in 2019 she joined Modern Olives, a leading Australian provider of technical services to the olive industry, as a Laboratory Assistant. Since joining, she has participated in many sensory panels that involve frequent tasting and assessment of extra virgin olive oil. Caroline’s regular involvement in evaluating the organoleptic qualities of an extensive range of oils has strengthened her knowledge and experience in sensory analysis.
Caroline has participated in multiple masterclass training courses, which have covered olive oil processing, sensory evaluation and faults. The detailed training sessions have contributed to her knowledge required for show judging.
Currently, as the Sensory Secretary, Caroline is responsible for assisting the panel leader in preparing, coding and preparation of samples for tasters. At Modern Olives she participates in the selection and training of new sensory tasting members. This involves close involvement with the panel members to ensure that individuals are aware of their weaknesses and take corrective action to improve their sensory performance.”