Konstantinos Lazarakis MW
BIWC Chairman, Greece
After studying jazz guitar and mechanical engineering on the National & Technical University of Athens, I became Sommelier of Jajazzo Restaurant in Athens - the first restaurant in Greece to hire a full time sommelier and the first to be awarded a Michelin star.
Now I work as an Imports Manager and Wine Buyer in AIOLOS ltd and the Managing Director of Wine and Spirits Professional Consultants that run WSET courses in Greece.
In the last two years I have been involved in wine writing and wine journalism and I now write for four Greek publications as well as having 'Wines of Greece' published as a part of the Mitchell Beazley Classic Wine Library in Sept. 2005. In addition, I consult for wine producers, hotels and restaurants.
Jo Ahearne MW
Australia & Croatia
Jo Ahearne MW first worked in the wine trade in the early 1990s at Oddbins in Central London and after two years went to Australia to work a vintage for Charles Melton, with his Nine Popes and Rose of Virginia wines in the Barossa Valley.
Following this she enrolled on a winemaking degree at Charles Sturt University in Australia, whilst also working at Pipers Brook, Bailey's of Glenrowan, Leasingham and Tintara wineries. On graduation, Ahearne worked as a flying winemaker in Spain and France, returned to the winemaking team at Charles Melton and spent four years making the global brand Jacob’s Creek.
In 2004, Ahearne moved back to the UK to blend wines for high end supermarket, Marks & Spencer, before a stint as wine and spirits buyer for the iconic luxury retailer Harrods. She now works as a winemaking consultant in France, Spain, Italy, Hungary and Macedonia while making her own wine in Hvar Croatia. She passed her Master of Wine qualification in 2008.
Isa Bal MS
United Kingdom & Turkey
Igor Luković is a wine critic, writer and journalist from Serbia, who has worked with wine and wine culture since 2003. He is Editor in chief in “Vino & Fino” magazine, and associate of many other media dealing with wine and food culture.
At the same time, he is President of the Sommelier Association of Vojvodina and CEO of the Serbian Sommelier Association. Actively is engaged in wine education, trainings, consulting and event managing, and as a judge on the wine tastings. He works and lives between Belgrade and Novi Sad.
His beginnings in the wine business areas owner and Editor of “Gurman” and “Gastro Svet” magazines, and subsequently became General Manager of the company “Vinodrom”, engaged in importing and distributing wine.
Journalist starting with 1993, he has worked in a variety of roles, mainly in newspapers but also in television, as a reporter, editor, columnist and commentator. His journey through the wine world started in a natural manner: as wine lover and collector. His love for written stories and also for fine wines led him to the decision of starting a wine blog named “Vindinpresa” but the decisive step was made in January 2011 when he got his break as a wine writer - editor of “Vinul.Ro” magazine, which is the main publication in Romania dedicated to wine, wine producers and wine-savvy readers. Playing the editorial role by pairing suggestions and culinary trends, showcasing wine as an indispensable companion at the table, probing interviews and critical reviews he gain an extensive expertise by regularly participating in wine-tasting, national and international wine fairs and festivals and being member of wine-juries.
Evangelos Beris, Ph.D.
Dr. Evangelos Beris holds a Ph.D. in Viticulture, M.Sc. in Biology and WSET Advanced. Since 2014, he is teaching as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Oenology & Beverage Technology of Athens University of Applied Sciences (TEI of Athens), both at the Under-graduate course (B.Sc., in Oenology & Beverage Technology) and the Post-graduate programme (M.Sc., in Wine and Beer Science).
He is the Director of the study programme: “Viticulture & Oenology” at IEK Praxis in Athens. Moreover, he has been working for several years as a Seminar Instructor and a Consultant of Viticulture, Wine Production and Wine Tourism. He has recently been consulting and collaborating with Estate Argyros (Santorini - Greece).
Ivana has been part of the wine trade since 2007, beginning as one of the co-founders and members of the board of the first Macedonian Wine Club, organizing wine tasting events and promoting wine culture in Macedonia, followed by co-authoring and publishing of the first Macedonian Wine Guide 2011 along with Dave Vlam and the second edition of MWG 2014 with Paul Caputo.
Today, Ivana is an international wine writer, critic and wine judge, having participated at some of the most prestigious wine competitions in Europe. She has also lectured on specialised subjects promoting Macedonian wines at numerous wine festivals and fairs throughout Europe.
Along with contributing to several magazines and wine publications she is also editor-in-chief of www.vino.mk, Macedonia's first online wine magazine, is a #winelover ambassador and works as Wine Tourism Specialist at Macedonia Experience. Ivana maintains a personal blog www.ivanasimjanovska.com and as of 2013 has been pursuing her Masters Degree in Enology at the Insitute of Agriculture in Skopje.
Martin Smid graduated at the Special high school of Technology in the field of beer, wine and spirit production (the Czech Republic). I finished WSET on the level “Diploma in wines and spirits” and gained the “Weinakademiker“ titul at Weinakademie Österreich.
Martin is a holder of International taster certificate (ISO) and an experienced wine-taster.
MArtin took part in competitions in the Czech Republic as well as International competitions, e.g., Vinalies, Paris (France), VinAgora, Budapest (Hungary), Concours des Grands Vins Blancs du Monde, Strasbourg(France), Le Mondial des Pinots, Sierre (Switzerland), AWC, Vienna (Austria), Le Concours International de Lyon, Lyon, (France), Le Concours International des Cabernet, Paris, (France) etc.
United Kingdom & Bulgaria
Blagoy Kuzmanski is originally from Bulgaria but currently living and working in London. Being part of the sommelier team in one of the best wine establishments - 67 Pall Mall - he is exposed to the largest wine list in UK with more than 5000 labels and 700 wines by the glass.
Blagoy is currently studying WSET Diploma as well as preparing himself for the Master Sommelier Diploma.