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Meet the 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 2020. Today, editor-in-chief Campbell Mattinson heads up the Companion and ensures it lives up to James' exacting standards.

The esteemed Tasting Team is made up of nine panelists: Campbell Mattinson, Dave Brookes, Jane Faulkner, Jeni Port, Marcus Ellis, Mike Bennie, Philip Rich, Shanteh Wale and Toni Paterson MW. Each authority is responsible for year-round reviewing the wines from specific regions across the country, which allows for continuity, connection and specialist expertise.   

  • James Halliday AM, editor at large

  • James Halliday AM

    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..

    Find out more about James Halliday.

  • Campbell Mattinson, chief editor

  • Campbell Mattinson

    Campbell Mattinson fell in love with wine in the mid 1990s. He started The WineFront in 2002, produced three editions of the Big Red Wine Book 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.

    Find out more about Campbell Mattinson.

  • 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 wineries, retail and trade. Dave was awarded Dux of the prestigious Len Evans Tutorial in 2011 and is sought-after as a judge and panel chair on the wine show circuit.

    Find out more about Dave Brookes.

  • Jane Faulkner

  • Jane Faulkner

    Jane is a journalist by training and wine writer by vocation. 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. A long-time contributor and columnist for Halliday magazine, she has been reviewing for the Companion since 2016..

    Find out more about Jane Faulkner.

  • 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 caught the wine bug. She covered wine in The Age for 30 years and is an author and wine judge here and overseas. 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.

    Find out more about Jeni Port.

  • Marcus Ellis

  • Marcus Ellis

    Marcus Ellis has worked in wine and food for more than 30 years. For over a decade, he ran the acclaimed wine program at the Melbourne Wine Room – a seminal venue that helped establish the city’s robust local wine bar culture. Marcus has written and edited across a broad range of both food and wine content, hosts panel tastings with industry leaders and consults and writes for wineries and wholesalers.

    Find out more about Marcus Ellis.

  • Mike Bennie

  • Mike Bennie

    When Mike Bennie isn’t wandering vineyards across the globe, he is a freelance wine and drinks writer, journalist and presenter. He 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, and the chair of the Australian Organic Wine Awards.

    Find out more about Mike Bennie.

  • Philip Rich

  • Philip Rich

    Philip has more than 25 years’ experience as a wine retailer, educator, show judge and writer. He 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. In addition to tasting for the Companion, Philip helps look after France Soir’s 6000 bottle cellar is the new chair for the Limestone Coast Wine Show.

    Find out more about Philip Rich.

  • Shanteh Wale

    Shanteh Wale

    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.

    Find out more about Shanteh Wale.

  • Toni Paterson MW

  • Toni Paterson

    Toni is a leading Australian wine judge, commentator, and critic. Her obsession with wine spans three decades, with her knowledge and passion underpinned by tertiary training in oenology and science. She has been a member of the Institute of Masters of Wine for two decades, passing the rigorous examination on her first attempt. She was awarded the prestigious Madame Lily Bollinger Medal for tasting excellence, joining an elite group of three Australian recipients.

    Find out more about Toni Paterson MW.