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.