The Jury

Jury Members

Gaspar Carman
Jury Member

Gaspar Carman, Jury Member

Bailliage of Slovenia
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The owner of Gašper Wines, Gašper Čarman is one of the greatest wine connoisseurs in Slovenia and twice awarded Best Sommelier of Slovenia (2013 and 2015). He has finished WSET 4 level diploma and in his second year of studying for the Master of Wine qualification. For him learning is an ongoing process. After 14 years in the wine business Gašper still believes that there is much more to learn.

All his life he has been working with wines and food. From an early age Gašper was working in family-owned restaurant called Danilo in Reteče. This was when he fell in love with wines. In 2004 he started his own business - selling wine. Gašper soon spread his business from a small garage business to a web wine shop and then moved to distributing wines to the B2C and B2B segments.

In 2013 he created his own wine label - Gašper Wines. When talking about his own wine brand Gašper Čarman says that he considers what wine shows us in the glass more important than the story itself. Wine drinker’s first impression is the one that can lay down a long-term friendship or just a brief meeting. And that was the main goal when creating Gašper Wines.

Salvatore Castano
Jury Chair

Salvatore Castano, Jury Chair

Bailliage of Great Britain
Maitre Sommelier
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Salvatore started to work in hospitality as a summer job in Sicily at the age of 15. After graduation, he made the decision to travel and work at restaurants around the world. By working in several top hotels and restaurants, Salvatore says he naturally became very curious about wines and spirits. He decided to take few courses and improve his knowledge. When he arrived in London, Salvatore encountered Sommeliers who had already started the Court of Master Sommeliers programme and so his rise through the ranks commenced. Salvatore commented, “The first thing that I learned when I became a Sommelier was to always be humble and never forget the past.” He recently earned the title of ASI Best Sommelier Europe & Africa. Despite being only the 14th person to achieve the title, Salvatore’s humility continues to resonate. It was his gracious nature, and self-effacing humour that won over the crowd at the final of the contest held in, Limassol Cyprus.

Virginia Philip
Jury Member

Virginia Philip, Jury Member

Bailliage of United States of America
Échanson Provincial, Southeast
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Virginia is The Breakers’ wine director who owns and operates an eponymous wine shop in Royal Poinciana Plaza, Palm Beach, Florida. In 2002 she became the 11th woman in the world to earn the coveted Master Sommelier accreditation. Virginia has received numerous accolades during her career. Of particular note from 2002-2006, she was named “Best Sommelier USA” by the American Sommelier Association. In 2015, Virginia received an Honorary Masters Degree in Oenology from her alma mater, Johnson & Wales.

Maximilian Wilm
Jury Member

Maximilian Wilm, Jury Member

Bailliage of Germany
Maître Sommelier
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Since participating in the 2017 International Final of the Chaîne’s Jeunes Sommeliers Competition, in 2019 Maximilian won the title of “Germany’s Best Sommelier” in the national competition organised by the Sommelier-Union Deutschland. Furthermore, he came a creditable 6th in the ASI Best Sommelier of Europe & Africa 2021 held in Cyprus. Now, he is aiming to take part in the 2023 World’s Best Sommelier competition in Paris.

Maximilian is Sommelier at Kinfelts Kitchen & Wine in HafenCity, Hamburg, not far from the Elbphilharmonie. The restaurant has a reputation for being able to eat well also for the 400 wines on its list, all of which Maximilian personally serves and tastes. “I want to save the guest from being disappointed,” says the man who has the cheapest bottle for 24 euro and the most expensive for 3000.