Giorgio De Maria, Mike Bennie, James Hird with Matt Young and Linda Wiss from Black Market Sake



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.

Mike Bennie

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 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.

James Hird

Realising after 5 years studying at Sydney University that he enjoyed drinking wine more than the differing taxonomies of australopithecines or Kramer vs. Kramer. James began a path in hospitality that led him to become one of Sydney’s most successful restaurateurs, operating several award winning and beloved dining and drinking establishments. During that time he worked as a chef, aspiring apiarist and sommelier, travelling extensively with a focus on food and wine.  In 2015 he was named ‘Sydney Morning Herald, Sommelier Of The Year.’  James is collaborating on wine making projects and is looking to open a new venue in 2016. He spends as much of his time as possible with the loves of his life Emily, Saskia & Harley.




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.

Gabrielle Webster - Volunteers

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.

Libby Travers – Communications

Libby Travers is a writer, working in communications. The focus of her work has always been food, with a particular interest in the role food plays in a country’s customs and culture. She is an advocate for food and wine that is produced sustainably. She now works to champion small, ethical producers by telling their stories.

Joel Amos – Rootstock Sydney Bottle Shop

Joel Amos from DRNKS 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.