5StarWines and Wine Without Walls Present Judges

As the 5StarWines and Wine Without Walls Selections approach, meet the professionals that will be evaluating submitted wines on April 15th, 16th and 17th in Verona, Italy.

5StarWines and Wine Without Walls Present Judges


Verona, Italy, February 27th, 2020 – One of the things that makes 5StarWines and Wine Without Walls unlike any other wine selection is its judges. The judging panels were hand-selected with judges hailing from all over the world, each chosen for their distinctive background. They are the elite of the international wine industry who can deliver a broader, deeper evaluation during the blind tastings, and remain objective throughout the process. The decision to have a separate panel of experts for certified organic and biodynamic wines stems from the awareness that this section is becoming increasingly more relevant, it is a sector that is slowly but surely gathering recognition.

Sarah Heller MW has been selected as the Senior General Chair of the blind tasting. The five General Chairmen set to join her panel include: MW and VIA Italian Wine Ambassador Pedro Ballesteros Torres; Editorial Consultant of Meininger’s Wine Business International, Robert Joseph; Doctor Wine and Gambero Rosso founder, Daniele Cernilli; Decanter Journalist and author of 13 books about natural wines, Monty Waldin; and editorialist for Le Figaro Bernard Burtschy. Their role is to provide a second evaluation should any wines initially receive contradictory scores from the judges. This imbues the competition with even more objectivity, earning 5StarWines international esteem.

Wine Without Walls, the section dedicated to certified organic and biodynamic wines, has its own jury, composed of individuals who have specialized in this category. The Panel Chair of Wine Without Walls, Richard Kershaw MW, is joined by Gill Gordon-Smith (VIA Italian Wine Expert and CEO/owner of Fall from Grace), Christopher Barnes (founder and publisher of Grape Collective), and Mark Cuff (owner of The Living Vine Inc.).

The blind tasting lasts for three days and the judges are divided into various panels, each headed by a Panel Chairman whose role entails gathering the judges’ evaluations as well as finding common ground within the group, in order to settle on a final score. Regine Lee MW, Ned Goodwin MW, Andy Howard MW, and Charles Curtis MW are just a few of those taking on the role of Panel Chairs. The Judges, Panel Chairmen, General Chairmen and Senior General Chair make up a team of 100 international palates.

At its foundation, the Selection results in the creation of a Guide that features top-wines from all around the world: a perfect marketing tool that can then be distributed to all the main wine-related events organized by Veronafiere.

5StarWines and Wine Without Walls are open to all the wineries that produce still, semi-sparkling, sparkling and fortified or aromatized wines, however Wine Without Walls is reserved for wineries whose wines have been certified as organic under EU Regulation (EC) N. 203/201, certified as biodynamic or, alternatively, are in the process of conversion to organic farming. This focus on certification is vital to demonstrate the commitment these wineries have to longevity in this category.

The event is scheduled to take place from April 15, 2020 through 17, 2020. Those wishing to enter wines should do so prior to March 20, 2020.


5StarWines – the Book is the annual wine selection organized by Veronafiere. Held in the lead-up to the biggest Italian wine fair in the world, the event is now in its fourth edition. 5StarWines & Wine Without Walls is a three-day tasting aimed at shedding light on wineries investing in the improvement of their products. During the event, a highly qualified panel of wine professionals will taste and score participating wines using a 100-point scale. In the previous edition, over 3,000 bottles were entered and 676 were selected for inclusion in the 5StarWines – the Book. The Guide is a useful tool both on the promotional and commercial side. It introduces international buyers and wine lovers to new wine products of great value. It guarantees wine quality and it maintains and certifies their value at an international level.