Meet the Ambassadors of the Wine Industry: Experts and Educators Shaping the Future of Wine


The “Ambassador” nomination at the Wine Travel Awards recognizes individuals who serve as representatives for various aspects of the wine and spirits industry. Ambassadors can include individuals representing wines, regions, enogastronomic routes, brands, associations, consortia, national wine bureaus, tourist offices, and tour operators. They play a vital role in promoting and advocating for their respective entities, contributing to the overall growth and visibility of the wine and spirits sector. These ambassadors often possess deep knowledge and expertise in their field, engaging in activities such as tastings, seminars, events, and media engagements to showcase the unique offerings and characteristics of their represented entities.

Jürgen Deibel

The “Ambassador” nomination at the Wine Travel Awards project represents a prestigious recognition of individuals who embody the essence of wine & spirits culture and hospitality. That is important to emphasize that in WTA project Ambassadors are not limited to traditional sommeliers but encompass a diverse array of professionals, including guides, sales representatives, enthusiasts, and bartenders. They serve as passionate advocates for their respective regions, wineries, or establishments, sharing their knowledge, expertise, and love for wine with others. Through their dedication and commitment, ambassadors play a vital role in promoting the wine industry and enriching the experience of wine & spirits enthusiasts worldwide.

Ambassador of the Year category are Individuals or entities holding the ambassador status for wine, a specific region, or a wine and taste route, or those affiliated with enogastronomic associations, are eligible for nomination in this category. Additionally, candidates with over a year of experience promoting a wine region, association, brand, or specific types of wines may also be considered. Confirmation of such activity can come from official sources, endorsements from officials, media publications, and other credible sources.

Get ready to vote! We’ve assembled a lineup of superstars in this category!


Cinzia Benzi, born in Canelli in 1970, is a writer with a deep love for Monferrato and Piedmont. Her exploration of the gastronomic world began alongside journalist Paolo Marchi, leading to a passion for food and wine. She has authored notable works like “Moreno Cedroni” and “Susci more than ever,” and regularly contributes to Identità Golose. One of her noteworthy publications is “Château d’Yquem.”

Cinzia Benzi

Spirit connoisseur Jürgen Deibel has dedicated over 40 years to his passion for noble spirits. Since 1979, he has operated a professional consulting firm specializing in tastings, lectures, training, and distribution advice for the spirits industry. Today, Deibel serves as a juror for prestigious competitions and runs tastings for private and industrial clients, alongside managing the DAFS Academy of Fine Spirits in Hannover, offering professional spirits training.

Dr. Chien Hao Chen, a distinguished figure in oenology and agriculture, serves as an Associate Professor of Wine and Spirits at the National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism in Taiwan and as a Professor at the Polytechnic University of Hong Kong. With a PhD in Tropical Agriculture and a Master of OIV from the University of Paris Nanterre, he brings extensive expertise to his roles. Additionally, as a CIVB-qualified International Wine Educator, Dr. Chen has been a respected judge at the Mundus Vini wine competition for over 15 years.


Romanian Wines Marinela Ardelean, executive MBA, PhD in Marketing, is a passionate advocate for Romanian wines. Originally from Maramures, Transylvania, Marinela discovered her love for wine while living in Italy. Her groundbreaking book, pairing Romanian wines with Italian cuisine, earned international acclaim and established her as a leading authority in the industry. Recognized as a Dame Chevalier in the Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne, Marinela continues to inspire and innovate in the world of wine.

India’s Only Master of Wine, Sonal Holland, is a pioneer in the Indian wine industry. As the Founder Director of Vine2Wine, she leads modern wine retail stores nationwide. Additionally, her SoHo Wine Club offers tailored food and wine experiences, while the Sonal Holland Wine Academy provides top-notch wine education through online and WSET certified classroom trainings.

Sonal Holland Wine Academy

Florence Authier Meuric introduction to wine came at the tender age of 10 during her communion meal, where her Uncle Maurice’s enthusiasm for Bordeaux sparked her curiosity. Despite finding the taste disagreeable at first, her uncle’s words prophesied her future appreciation for wine. Her second encounter with wine was with her grandfather’s homemade variety from their small vineyard, a cherished family tradition that brought everyone together for a joyous harvest day. Despite its humble quality, her grandfather’s wine symbolized shared moments of love, laughter, and togetherness, leaving an indelible mark on Florence’s wine journey.

Greetings from Vitaliy Kovach, hailing from the wine-rich region of Zakarpattia, Ukraine. His journey into the world of wine began during childhood, when a moment of solitude at the crusher allowed him to experience the captivating aroma of grapes, sparking a lifelong love affair with wine. Since embarking on his winemaking studies in 1997, Vitaliy has been drawn to the intricacies of the wine production process. His passion led him to pursue formal sommelier training at the renowned «Master Class» school in Ukraine, followed by further studies in Italy with the “Italian Sommelier Association”. Graduating with distinction, he honed his skills at prestigious establishments like the “Hidalgo” restaurant and became a member of the tasting committee at the esteemed “Merano Wine Festival”.

Vitaliy Kovach

Discover Romanian sparkling wine with Olimpia Pleșa Brandhuber, a seasoned wine event manager, communication specialist, champagne expert, and wine judge. She is a leading advocate for promoting Romanian sparkling wine as a national brand through her #romaniansparkling campaign. Olimpia’s mission is to raise awareness of high-quality Romanian sparkling wines among both locals and international audiences through events and social media, emphasizing their unique value distinct from other sparkling varieties. Join her in celebrating and elevating Romanian sparkling wine to its rightful place on the global stage.

Olimpia Pleșa Brandhuber main photo


Amrita Singh, born and raised in India, hails from a state with alcohol prohibition, yet she’s recognized for her boundless courage and reliability. With a background in Fashion Management, she has made significant contributions to the evolution of women’s fashion in India. Over 17 years, she has played a key role in launching and establishing Global Luxury, Fashion, and Beauty brands in the country, working with top companies. Amrita’s journey into the world of wine began in 2004 during her travels to Europe and the UK, where she developed a keen interest sparked by encounters with wine enthusiasts, prompting her to delve deeper into wine education.


Dmytro Shovkoplias, a renowned Ukrainian bartender, made a mark with his iconic establishment, Parovoz Speak Easy Easy, in Kyiv, garnering international recognition. Now based in Miami, USA, he continues to champion Ukrainian bartending traditions and revive forgotten flavors. With cocktails featuring unique ingredients inspired by national gastronomy, he serves as an ambassador of Ukraine’s rich historical heritage. Probably, the Kyiv Sour cocktail, created in 2019, brought Dmytro the greatest fame. The successful invention of the Kyiv bartender went around the world. In 2023, the Kyiv Sour cocktail was included in the special edition Signature Cocktails of Phaidon publishing house, which united 200 outstanding signature cocktails of the last few centuries, and reflects a kind of journey through time, tastes, and the stories behind them. 


Artyom Mkrtchyan, an experienced sommelier and advocate for Armenian wine, is a member of the “East-European Association of Sommeliers and Experts.” With over 7 years in the field, he graduated from the “Mozart Wine House” Sommelier Academy and now lectures on international wine service and etiquette. Artyom is the Founder of “Decant wine shop & tasting room,” offering one of Armenia’s largest and most diverse collections of wines, specializing in Armenian varieties and specialties. Additionally, he curates tailored wine and gastro tours, showcasing the country’s wineries, regions, and unique gastronomy.

Artyom Mkrtchyan