By Andy Young

The finalists of the Champagne Bureau Australia’s biennial Vin de Champagne Awards have been revealed.

The awards are organised on behalf of France Comité Champagne the awards aim to cultivate a network of Champagne specialists in Australia, who can act as ambassadors.

The finalists have been split into professional and amateurs and are as follows:


  • Peta Baverstock (SA) – Cellar Door Manager, Loaves & Fishes
  • Samantha Faircloth (Qld) – Area Manager, Negociants Australia
  • Anja Lewis (WA) – Wine Training and Consultancy, Canny Grapes
  • Kara Maisano (Vic) – Sommelier, Masani Italian Dining & Terrace
  • Cameron O’Keefe (Vic) – Sommelier, Centra
  • Saskia Valenti (WA) – Jane Brook Estate Wines


  • Nicky Goodyear (NSW) – Florist, Aahh Flowers
  • Tim Heath (NSW) – Marketing Operations, Telstra
  • Sara Underdown (SA) – Corporate Writer
  • Nicole Smith (Qld) – Practice Manager, Sunshine Eye Clinic
  • Michael Solomons (NSW) – CEO, The Queens Club

Elisabeth Drysdale, director of the Champagne Bureau, said: “After forty-plus years, these awards continue to reveal an intriguingly diverse cross-section of Champagne palates, in both the amateur and the professional classes. 

“We are witnessing a growing collective of Champagne lovers in Australia, evidenced in the calibre of candidates entering the awards and the ambassadorial work former winners are carrying out in every state.”

The finalists will be flown to Sydney on 26 September to take part in a blind tasting and to meet a panel of experts including Huon Hooke, Peter Bourne and Bernadette O’Shea, who will also judge their knowledge of the industry. The winners will be announced at a black tie dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel that evening.

The Shout Team

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