As the Halliday Wine Companion brand continues to evolve, so does its Tasting Team.
After a two-year tenure, Tyson Stelzer has stepped down as chief editor. “My initiatives in the rapidly evolving world of Champagne, more events, and my role as dad to three active young boys no longer permit the focus that the Companion demands and deserves,” he said in his closing speech at the 2023 Halliday Awards. “I am deeply indebted to James Halliday for the responsibility that he entrusted to me.”
Erin Larkin has also moved on from the team after landing a role as the first Australian wine reviewer for the US-based Robert Parker Wine Advocate. A huge supporter of Western Australian wine, Erin felt the opportunity to promote her home state – and the rest of the country – to a global audience was too good to pass up.
In their place, the Tasting Team welcomes back Campbell Mattinson, who has replaced Tyson as chief editor, plus two new members: Shanteh Wale and Mike Bennie. Together with James Halliday, Jane Faulkner, Jeni Port, Ned Goodwin MW, Dave Brookes and Philip Rich, they make up the Halliday Wine Companion Tasting Team for the 2024 tasting year and beyond.
CAMPBELL MATTINSONCampbell Mattinson fell in love with wine in the mid 1990s and no (good) wine, ever since, has been safe. He started The WineFront in 2002, produced three editions of the Big Red Wine Book (in 2008, 2009 and 2010; published by Hardie Grant) and his book The Wine Hunter, which won various awards both in Australia and overseas – including a prestigious Louis Roederer International Wine Writers' Award – is now onto its fourth reprint. He is the only person to have won the Australian Wine Communicator of the Year Award twice.
Campbell was also the founding editor of the Halliday magazine in 2012, and he's been a reviewer for the Halliday Wine Companion since 2013. He and James have a longstanding friendship and deep mutual respect, and we're excited to welcome him back into the fold.
SHANTEH WALEShanteh cut her teeth at Sydney’s Award-Winning Quay Restaurant where she worked for over a decade as a Sommelier and held the position of Head Sommelier from 2018 till 2022. She has been nominated for the Good Food Guide Sommelier of the Year award on three occasions and her experience as a Len Evans scholar in 2019 was one of the highlights of her career. Shanteh is host of her own drinks podcast ‘Over A Glass’ with the Deep in the Weeds Network and spends her time writing for various publications and judging at regional, state and city wine shows across the country.
MIKE BENNIEWhen Mike Bennie isn’t wandering vineyards across the globe, he is a freelance wine and drinks writer, journalist and presenter. Mike is the wine/drinks editor for Australia's leading food magazine, delicious., editor-at-large and contributor to Australia’s most interactive wine commentary website, The WineFront, and his work is found in a variety of other local and international publications. Mike is also a co-founder and partner in the Sydney-based P&V Wine + Liquor Merchants, a store and education space devoted to artisan fermented, brewed and distilled products. Mike is also drinks director of the highly-respected WA Good Food Guide. He is a proud co-founder and co-director of the now-retired artisan and sustainability-focused Rootstock Sydney food and wine festival. Mike is currently the chair of the Australian Organic Wine Awards. He also makes a bit of wine in Tasmania, and is a regular presenter at festivals, corporate and industry events.