Halliday Wine Companion Tasting Team

Halliday Wine Companion is the work of a dedicated team of wine authorities, who collectively taste more than 9000 wines each year. Get to know them and their regional focuses here. 

After almost 30 years of producing the Halliday Wine Companion, James Halliday took a step back from some of his vast responsibilities on the guide in September 2020. Over time, James had tasked a range of wine authorities with assisting him in tasting Australia’s wines, which is a year-round process.

Today, our esteemed tasting team is made up of seven other panellists, including chief editor Tyson Stelzer. Each authority is responsible for reviewing the wines from specific regions around the country, which allows for continuity, connection and specialist expertise.

  • James Halliday AM, editor at large

  • James Halliday

    Respected wine critic and vigneron James Halliday is the founder of Halliday Wine Companion. With a wine career spanning over 50 years, he was one of the founders of Brokenwood in the Hunter Valley, and later, Coldstream Hills in the Yarra Valley. James is an unmatched authority on all aspects of the wine industry, and for more than 30 years, was among the most senior and active wine judges in Australia. He has won a clutch of awards for his contributions, including the Australian wine industry's ultimate accolade, the Maurice O'Shea Award. In 2010 he was made of Member of the Order of Australia for his services to the wine industry. James has written or contributed to over 80 books on wine since 1970 and has written a weekly wine column for Australian newspapers since 1978.

    Regional focus: Langhorne Creek, Kangaroo Island, Southern Fleurieu, SA

  • Tyson Stelzer, chief editor

  • Tyson Stelzer

    Tyson Stelzer fell in love with wine more than 20 years ago between the pages of James Halliday’s Australia & New Zealand Wine Companion 2000. He is now a multi award-winning wine writer, TV host and producer, and international speaker. He was named The International Wine & Spirit Competition Communicator of the Year 2015, The Australian Wine Communicator of the Year 2015 and 2013, and The International Champagne Writer of the Year 2011. Tyson is the author of 16 wine books, including six editions of The Champagne Guide, and a regular contributor to many magazines and Jancis Robinson’s The Oxford Companion to Wine, 3rd edition. As an international speaker, Tyson has presented at wine events in 12 countries, and is also a regular judge and chair of wine shows throughout Australia. Tyson also hosts intimate Champagne tours.   

    Regional focus: Tasmania, Queensland
    Twitter: @TysonStelzer | Facebook: TysonStelzer | Instagram: @tyson_Stelzer | YouTube: Tyson Stelzer 

  • Jane Faulkner

  • Jane Faulkner

    Jane is a journalist by training and wine writer by vocation. A long-time contributor and columnist for Halliday magazine, she has been reviewing for the Companion since 2016. Respected for her honesty and fairness yet rigour and independence in her writing and tasting, Jane is constantly honing those skills. She started her career in newspapers, later working at The Age/The Sydney Morning Herald, and also in TV and radio. She is a sought-after wine judge, locally and internationally, and chairs numerous shows. On a personal level, Jane is an Italophile, spending considerable time each year visiting its wine regions and dreams of living in Piemonte. Yet she never tires of travelling throughout the wine world in search of stories and bottles from inspirational, thoughtful producers.

    Regional focus: Southern NSW including Canberra; Coonawarra and the Limestone Coast, Riverland, Southern Flinders Ranges, Southern Eyre Peninsula, SA; Mornington Peninsula, Macedon Ranges, Sunbury, Gippsland and North West Victoria.
    Twitter: @winematters | Facebook: Jane Faulkner | Instagram: @winematters

  • Erin Larkin

  • Erin Larkin

    Erin is an independent wine writer, judge and presenter based in Perth, Western Australia, with an individual, grass-roots approach to her work. Multi-skilled when it comes to the business of wine, she is a regular contributor to Halliday Wine Companion magazine, a prolific presenter and educator across multiple platforms, and an Australian wine show judge, with a focus on, and curiosity for, WA specifically. Erin is also an active consultant for retail and private clients, with a keen eye for quality and creativity in wine, marrying classic and contemporary perspectives. She has a weekly newspaper column and a YouTube channel where she opens and discusses a vast array of wines, releasing up to two videos a week.

    Regional focus: Western Australia, Clare Valley, SA
    Instagram: @erinllarkin | erinlarkin.com.au

  • Jeni Port

  • Jeni Port

    Jeni is a trained journalist, who was a cadet on Melbourne’s The Sun News-Pictorial newspaper (now Herald-Sun) when she got the wine bug. She was working in the paper’s Women’s Section (yes, really) and her first story was on a woman winemaker – a subject that would become a recurring theme over her career. She wrote a weekly foodmarket review, which quickly incorporated wine stories, and that was the start of the paper’s first wine column. She covered wine in The Age for 30 years, and is an author and wine judge here and overseas, including in Germany for Mundus Vini, and Europe for Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. Jeni has served on various wine bodies, is a founding board member of the Australian Women in Wine awards and has won numerous awards for wine writing over her career.

    Regional focus: Geelong, Central Victoria, North East Victoria, Western Victoria, Adelaide Hills, SA
    Twitter: @jeniport

  • Ned Goodwin, MW

  • Ned Goodwin

    Born in London, raised in Australia and educated in Tokyo and Paris, Ned splits his time between Tokyo, where he lived for 14 years, and his beloved Sydney. Ned is a dux of the Len Evans Tutorial, Japan’s first Master of Wine, an educator, consultant, judge, critic and motivational speaker and presenter. He has served as wine director for one of Asia's largest restaurant groups and was also the ‘wine face’ for All Nippon Airways. In addition, he is an Asian-focused ambassador for a Champagne house, the host of Langton’s TV, has had his own TV wine show in Japan, is on the Wine Committee at Italy’s illustrious Biondi-Santi, and has his own import company, Wine Diamonds. Before Japan, Ned was a sommelier, including at Michelin-starred Veritas in New York, which had arguably the finest wine list in the world.

    Regional focus: McLaren Vale, SA; Hunter Valley and regional NSW.
    Instagram: @NedGoodwinMW | Twitter: @rednedwine

  • Dave Brookes

  • Dave Brookes

    An established wine journalist, Dave contributes to a range of publications here and overseas. Originally from New Zealand, Dave lived in South Australia’s Barossa for many years and has almost 30 years’ experience working in the wine industry across a range of sectors, including retail, wholesale, wineries, the secondary market and brand management. Dave was awarded Dux of the prestigious Len Evans Tutorial in 2011 and is a sought-after judge and panel chair on the wine show circuit, having judged at more than 70 wine shows around Australia and internationally. He is also the chief editor of the Wine 100 Challenge in Shanghai and Beijing Fanshang Wine & Food Competition.

    Regional focus: Barossa Valley, SA
    Twitter: @vino_freakism | Instagram: @vino_freakism

  • Philip Rich

  • Philip Rich

    Philip has more than 25 years’ experience as a wine retailer, educator, show judge and writer. In 1996, Philip joined the van Haandels at The Prince of Wales and Stokehouse in Melbourne, where he was responsible for the wine buying, award-winning wine lists, and sommelier training. Philip also co-founded Melbourne’s Prince Wine Store and Bellota Wine Bar, and wrote the monthly wine column for The Australian Financial Review Magazine for 17 years. Philip has chaired various wine shows, including the James Halliday Chardonnay Challenge, Yarra Valley Wine Show, Margaret River Wine Show, Mornington Peninsula Wine Show and The Australian Pinot Noir Challenge. In addition to tasting for the Companion, Philip is General Manager of Wine at Karen Martini's restaurant Hero, and he consults to wine importers and retailers.

    Regional focus: Yarra Valley, VIC
    Twitter: @jayer78 | Instagram: @psrich