Michael Godel, a journalist, critic, and partner at WineAlign.com, has spent the last 12 years tasting wines. He also holds a significant role as a judge for the annual National Wine Awards of Canada. In March 2011, he collaborated with Chef David Neinstein at Toronto's Barque Smokehouse, marking his 12th anniversary as its wine director in 2023. Beyond these endeavors, Michael produces a range of small-lot wines from Chianti Classico in Tuscany and the Niagara Peninsula. Additionally, he served as a judge for JoK 2019.
Cokie Ponikavar a Certified Sommelier, is the force behind the wine-education platform @cokiesworldofwine, which boasts over 120,000 wine enthusiasts. Originating from Burlington, she sharpened her skills through hands-on harvest experiences both locally and in the Finger Lakes. Additionally, she has showcased her expertise as a sommelier at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto. Cokie is currently pursuing a History and English degree at the University of Toronto’s Trinity College.
Jamie Kennedy has been instrumental in shaping the culinary landscape in Canada. A noted Chef, wine critic, author, and restauranteur, he was honoured in 2010 (along with Chef Michael Stadtländer) for his leadership at the inaugural Governor General’s Award in Celebration of the Nation’s Table, and soon after was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada. He lives in The County.