Guest Raters

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Matt Wyant

Guest Rater

Matt has worked for 5 years in production as head distiller for two Colorado distilleries, and has won multiple awards for gin and whiskey production. Matt has judged in the Denver International Spirits Competition and the North American Bourbon and Whiskey Competition. Owner of Spring Water Spirits Consulting LLC.


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Aaron Mandel

Guest Rater

Aaron is the Director of Wine Education for the American Wine Society. He is a wine educator, wine judge and student of wine in addition to his full-time job as an Attorney in St Louis, MO. He started his formal wine education with the Society of Wine Educator’s Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) certificate. He earned American Wine Society Wine Judge Certification in 2011 and took over running the program in 2012. Aaron has judged numerous competitions in the United States and Europe. He has taught WSET and CSW classes and worked as a mentor for students interested in the sommelier program (although he spills too much wine to teach service). He has earned his Diploma from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) and is currently enrolled in the Master of Wine Program.


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Carole Hackett

Guest Rater

With a background in healthcare, Carole’s undergraduate degree in Biology and Chemistry has been valuable in her wine studies. Her interest in wine has led her to see further education. Carole is a certified wine judge with the American Wine Society. She stays active working with students from the Wine Judge Certification Program. Carole has completed Level 2 of WSET program with Merit. She is a member of the Society of Wine Educators. Carole serves as the Regional Vice President for Eastern Kentucky for the American Wine Society as well as Chapter Chair of the local chapter in Frankfort KY.

Carole enjoys judging amateur and commercial competitions. Her eight years of judging experience have taken her through much of the USA. She enjoys judging county fairs, regional festival events, state fair amateur competitions and international competitions.


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Dennis Fraley

DipWSET, CSW, FWS

Dennis hails from Pittsburgh, PA where he obtained a B.A. in Chemistry from Washington and Jefferson College and a Masters in Anesthesia from La Roche College. He has resided in Florence, SC for the last 20 years where he currently works as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist.

His budding interest in wine led him to seek further education via the Wine and Spirits Education Trust. He completed his Intermediate and Advanced level in Charleston, SC where he graduated with Distinction. He then went on to achieve the WSET Diploma of Wine and Spirits through the Neal Ewing School of Wine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is currently revising for the entry exam to the Institute of Masters of Wine. Along the way he also achieved the Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) designation and French Wine Scholar (FWS). He is currently working with the American Wine Society to become a Certified Wine Judge.

Dennis teaches wine classes, performs guided educational tastings, works with local chefs performing food and wine pairing events and is a recurring judge for the Commissioner’s Cup Kentucky State wine competition. His monthly wine column, “Bottle Talk,” has enjoyed now seven years of publication through The Florence Morning News and www.scnow.com.


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Michelle Miller

Guest Rater

Michelle lives in Reno NV and is the former Wine Director of Esoteric Wine bar. Michelle caught the wine bug several years ago after stumbling into a local weekly wine tasting. She was invited back to work the tasting each week leading to a never ending quest to study the world of wine. Michelle is a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, Certified Specialist of Wine, Certified Specialist of Spirits, Italian Wine Professional, California Wine Appellation Specialist and Wine Beverage Management Director. She judges the annual El Dorado County Wine festival and writes for a local quarterly publication, Bliss Life Magazine. Michelle is currently studying for the Spanish Wine Scholar through the Wine Scholar Guild.


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Bill Stefan

Guest Rater

Bill Stefan is a Certified Wine Judge, Vice-President of the American Wine Society, and a Wine-Maker. He is a Certified Specialist of Wine and a professional member of the Society of Wine Educators. He is also a Certified Sherry Wine Specialist by the Regulatory Council of Jerez-Xeres-Sherry Denomination of Origin. As an amateur winemaker Bill has won 2 Best of Show, 4 Double Golds, 7 Golds, and numerous other awards. Bill judged at the following competitions: American Wine Society, WineMaker Magazine, Tennessee Valley, Kentucky State Fair, and the Atlantic Seaboard. Bill has also spoken to the American Association of Wine Economists at Cornell University on the “Neuro-Science of Wine Flavor.”