The judges for the Best of New England Wine Competition are outstanding industry professionals (retailers, distributors, winemakers, and researchers).
DR. JOSEPH FIOLA
Fruit Wine Specialist, Enologist
University of Western Maryland
Dr. Fiola is the Enologist for the commercial wine industry of Maryland, and has hybridized many new berry varieties and taught fruit wine enology to industry members. He is a Board member of the American Society for Enology and Viticulture, Eastern Section and has given enology lectures at the Eastern Winery Exposition.
The Country Vintner (distributor)
Ms. Iezzi has worked in the wine industry in distribution for 30 years. She began picking grapes at her father’s vineyard in King George Co., Virginia, and then specialized in Virginia wine until that portfolio grew so strong it no longer needed a manager. She has tasted and evaluated Virginia wine since the 1980s.
This competition welcomes cider entries, and Ms. Shelton runs one of the most respected craft cideries in Virginia, Albemarle Ciderworks, which focuses on heirloom apples in dry styles. “Jupiter’s Cider” is an homage to Thomas Jefferson’s cider maker, an enslaved man named Jupiter, and uses the heirloom apples named by Jefferson in his Garden Book, such as the Albemarle Pippin.
Sommelier and Proprietor
Field & Main Restaurant
Neal Wavra is proprietor of Field & Main Restaurant in Marshall, VA. Wavra was the host and sommelier at The Riverstead, a sixteen-seat restaurant located in Chilhowie, Virginia run by Michelin starred chefs John Shields and Karen Urie. Prior to working in Virginia, Wavra was the Dining Room Manager at Charlie Trotters in Chicago and the Dining Room and Farmstead Manager at Blackberry Farm in Walland, TN. Wavra is the recipient of the Commanderie de Bordeaux Wine Scholarship and the Kopf Foundation Wine Excellence Scholarship.
Wine & Food Author
Todd Kliman is an author, essayist, freelance writer and consultant. He was food and wine critic for the Washingtonian magazine from 2005-2016, and published The Wild Vine, a book tracing the history of the Norton wine grape from it’s origins in the 1820s to the present.
Proprietor & Mead Maker
Londonderry, New Hampshire
Michael is something of a celebrity in mead circles, and is highly sought-after for speaking on mead making and judging in mead competitions.