Jeunes Sommeliers Competition
Introducing the Technical Committee
" The Technical Committee is in place to deliberate on specific topics "

We are delighted to announce the appointment of the members of the Competition’s Technical Committee which is being chaired by our Head Judge, Brian Julyan MS.

Their biographical notes are below.

The Technical Committee is in place to deliberate on specific topics or perform tasks as and when required by the Competition Committee. A key role will undoubtedly be from time to time to consider the relevance of the rules and guidelines.

Despite the fact that this year’s International Final has had to be cancelled due of course to the worldwide coronavirus situation, the Technical Committee will not be furloughed!

Marie Jones
International Vice-President
Chair, Junior Sommeliers Competition Committee

Brian Julyan MS (Chair) - Officier Maître Sommelier, Great Britain
President and Chief Financial Officer of the Court of Master Sommeliers Brian gained his Master Sommelier qualification in 1972. After which he proposed the formation of the Court which was ultimately established in 1977. An educational organisation offering four levels of examinations culminating in the highest that of Master Sommelier. The Court’s aim is to encourage improved standards of beverage service by sommeliers, particularly in wine and food pairing.

A professional consultant and educator, Brian has worked in all areas of the hospitality industry as well as being a chief examiner / judge for a multitude of food and beverage programmes and competitions.

Author of three books (the latest is Sales and Service for the Wine Professional), his professional career concluded as Government Inspector for Colleges and Universities until his retirement as Head of the Hospitality Management Degree programmes with the University of Plymouth. Plus 14 years as Cellar Master / Event Consultant for Lord and lady Clifford of Chudleigh.

Brian now gives time to encouraging and assisting candidates preparing for the Master Sommelier Diploma examinations by providing tutorials and tastings – and of course leading the panel of judges for the Chaîne’s International Junior Sommeliers competition since it was launched in 2007.

Charles Bennett - Grand Échanson Honoraire, USA
Charles is a wine educator who is founder and President of “Exploring Wine” a wine travel company. For more than a decade he has led educational visits for small groups of consumers to wine regions across the globe. He also leads regular educational wine events and tastings in the USA.

For several years Charles led the Bailliage of USA’s National Young Sommeliers Competition working with Master Sommeliers and Masters of Wine to grow, redesign and improve the educational experience for young wine professionals, Sommelier participation more than doubled in this era.

For seven years he has been a judge for the Houston Rodeo Wine Competition, one of the world’s largest wine competitions with more than 3,000 wines submitted by 1,100 wineries worldwide.

Charles is a certified wine professional with the Society of Wine Educators and the Culinary Institute of America. In earlier years when wine was his hobby rather than vocation, his career portfolio included Emmy-award-winning news reporter and anchor on US public television and senior executive in the computer industry.

Charles holds an undergraduate degree from Stanford University and a Masters-in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University. He resides in Texas.

Christina Suominen - Échanson, Finland
Back in 1996 Christina gained her first wine qualification at the Château Loudenne École du Vin … the rest is history.

Since 2007 she has owned her own wine consultancy company, she also loves lecturing about wine. From 2005-2014 she was a specialist lecturer in wine and the wine trade at the Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK), Turku Vocational Institute and Haaga-Perho Restaurant and Hotel Management school.

Christina has a long history of winning awards in both Finland and the Nordic countries. From 2002 she has been a judge in Finland’s Best Sommelier competition. Keenly involved with the Finnish Sommelier Association since 1995, Christina was President from 2000-2006.

Her career portfolio covers a wealth of experience gained in a range of hotels and wine organisations. Within the Tampere-based Armas Catering group Christina owns Restaurant Suomalainen Klubi, Arthouse Cafe as well as the event catering business. Also in Tampere is  her fine dining Restaurant C.

Christina loves to cook, read cookery books, collect recipes, work in her garden, travel to wine countries and of course drink wine. She is fluent in Swedish (her mother tongue), Finnish and English.

Dominique Crombé - Maître Sommelier, Belgium
Dominique’s great-grandfather started a wine business in 1894 which her grandfather then her father took over. Her two brothers joined the business in 1985 and Dominique started working with them in 1992. So, she grew up in the wine business and loved it! Today she still runs the wine shop enthusiastically giving wine and food pairing advice.

Because of her passion for wine, 20 years ago Dominique started giving wine lessons to friends. This grew into many concepts of wine education: tastings for example which she designed herself as well as teaching about wine in evening classes.

Three years ago, Dominique developed a concept of wine education online ( This was in the form of a box of six bottles of wine with a film documentary and a syllabus covering the six wines.

Dominique said “Making the documentary by travelling through France with a film crew documenting wine was a marvellous experience that I was fortunate to have.”

From the Flemish Wine Institute (EVW - Eigentijds Vlaams Wijninstituut now part of Syntra Weste), Dominique obtained a ‘Sommelier’ diploma in 1992 followed by a ‘Winemaster’ accreditation in 2010.

John Studdert - Échanson, Australia
John is a native of Australian wine producing area, the Hunter Valley, home to the magnificent Hunter Shiraz and the marvellous Semillon wines.

His interest in wine and service was brought into focus in the early 1970s. Firstly by a wine maker who made him promise that any wine he bought for cellaring would come from established houses as ‘they have a track record’.

Secondly by a Sommelier who deduced that the vintage Champagne served at a meal was not totally flat when it was served in fine lead crystal glasses. As John observed, “The sight of fine bubbles coming from a hitherto apparently lifeless wine was a revelation. This Sommelier’s expert knowledge was what service is all about.”

Other than food, cooking and hospitality, John has an interest in Roman (west and aast) history, the American War of Independence, classical music and Napoleon Bonaparte, the interest in the latter being that he facilitated reforms of the French wine industry.

A political scientist by education, John worked almost exclusively in the scientific field. He regards his exposure to and interaction with the brightest and the best over the decades as a privilege.


Member photos from top to bottom …
1. Brian Julyan
2. Charles Bennett
3. Christina Suominen
4. Dominique Crombé
5. John Studdert