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 eight other panellists, including chief editor Campbell Mattinson. 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
Campbell Mattinson, chief editor
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, Hunter Valley
Campbell 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.
Regional focus: Fleurieu, Limestone Coast, Riverland, Southern Flinders Ranges, Southern Eyre Peninsula, SA; Heathcote, Western Victoria, North West Victoria, VIC
Website: campbellmattinson.com | Twitter: @CBMattinson | Instagram: @campbell.mattinson
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: Mornington Peninsula, Macedon Ranges, Sunbury, Gippsland, VIC; Southern NSW including Canberra; Margaret River, WA
- Twitter: @winematters | Facebook: Jane Faulkner | Instagram: @winematters
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: Central Victoria, North East Victoria
Ned Goodwin, MW
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, Adelaide Hills SA
- Instagram: @NedGoodwinMW | Twitter: @rednedwine
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; Tasmania
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: Geelong, Yarra Valley, VIC
Shanteh 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.
Regional focus: Central Ranges, NSW
- Twitter: @shanteh | Instagram: @shantehwale
When 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.
Regional focus: Western Australia (except Margaret River); Clare Valley, SA
Instagram: @mikebennie101 | Twitter: @mikebennie101