Co-Founder - Giorgio De Maria 
Giorgio De Maria studied agriculture in Turin, graduating with a thesis on the production of summer cheese in the Italian Alps. After working in fine dining restaurants in Dublin and Tokyo, he came to Sydney, where he worked at Vini before opening the much-lauded wine bar 121BC Surry Hills. A sister venue, 121BC Hong Kong, opened its doors in 2013. Named Australian Gourmet Traveller's Sommelier of the Year 2012, Giorgio now owns Giorgio De Maria Fun Wines, a small wine import company that specialises in Italian artisanal and natural wines.

Co-Founder - James Hird
James Hird is the Wine Director for the Icebergs Group, across Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, The Dolphin Hotel, Da Orazio Pizza + Porchetta, Hotel Harry and The Bucket List. One of Australia’s most innovative sommeliers, James has been recognized with numerous industry awards and accolades including SMH Sommelier of the Year. James believes in working directly with winemakers and focuses wine lists around sustainability and producers whose wines reflect the people and place they came from. The Dolphin Hotel has won numerous awards including The Australian newspapers ‘Hottest Wine Program 2017’, Time Out Wine Bar of the Year 2017, Delicious Magazine ‘Best Drinks Program, 2017’ The Icebergs Dining Room and Bar wine list was recently awarded 3 glasses by Gourmet Traveller wine magazine James is a passionate industry professional who constantly challenges the norm. 


core team

Co-Founder - Mike Bennie
(Mike is the Festival Ambassador-at-Large in 2017. The co founder + event spirit animal will be  back on deck in 2018 as normal after a well earned break from 2017 event production)

When Mike Bennie isn’t wandering vineyards on the four corners of the globe, he is a freelance wine and drinks writer, journalist and presenter. A lot of his work appears in the highly regarded publication Australian Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine, he is wine/drinks editor for delicious. magazine, and Editor-At-Large for WineFront.com.au. Mike is an active wine judge in Australia and overseas, and a graduate of the prestigious Len Evans Tutorial. He is prolific with his wine work, is a regular presenter at corporate and industry events, and between travels to exotic vineyards around the world, enjoys long walks on the beach with a bottle of wine (or sour beer) in his hand.

Stacy Masiruw - Production
Stacy is literally the best human on the planet. What started with helping out a mate with a big vision of a little wine festival back in 2012 in Leichhardt— five years later (with a year off in 2016) Stacy has always been hiding behind the scenes providing support for the RS Team by any means possible. A master of slashes whose career spans over a handful of industries from fashion / printing / design / hospitality / events / flowers / travel and of course wine and coffee (by default). Stacy is one all rounder who finds it difficult to say no and is ready for anything.

Wayne Mathews - Financial, Ticketing, Website
Wayne is a chartered accountant who has found an antidote for that unfortunate career choice in his love for natural wines. When not drinking wine he has used his experience with not for profit organisations to assist with tax compliance matters and also helped to set up the event ticketing. He has been the backbone of the festival and Rootstock Sydney would not happen without his amazing support.

Gabrielle Webster - Volunteer Team Co-ordinator
Gabrielle Webster is the Sommelier at the highly acclaimed Sydney Wine Bar-  Love, Tilly Devine. A three time winner of ‘Best Small Wine List’ from publications such as GT Wine and Good Food she is a lover of all  wine related good times. She is one of the most talented and loved people in the Australian wine industry. 

Joel Amos – Rootstock Sydney Bottle Shop
Joel Amos from DRNKS and Brooks and Amos has been working in the wine industry for over 20 years. Born and raised on an organic vineyard in McLaren Vale where sustainable agriculture was encouraged by his Mum. Joel has spent the majority of his career in wine retail, but has also worked for wineries, restaurants and bars. Arguably one of the greatest humans on the planet.


The Cru - Brand Specialists Restaurants + Lifestyle + Destination
Emma Hutton | emma@thecrumedia.com | 0423 326 576

Rootstock Sydney Was founded in 2013 by 

Giorgio De Maria, Mike Bennie, James Hird, Matt Young and Linda Wiss.