Professional Judging Panel

Invited Judges
Brent Amos – Winemaker at Las Positas Vineyards
Kristin Austin – Wine Judge with an astute palate. Kristin has completed her Level 3 WSET Certification.
Mark Baldwin – Owner of Encore Beverage, Mark has been in the food & beverage business for over 40 years. After graduating with a BA from the Univ. of North Carolina, he received a Masters in Mixology from Harvard and headed west to Tahoe. He bartended and worked in various kitchens before opening up a restaurant in Truckee with his wife to be. They ran the restaurant with a Spectator Award of Excellence wine list, for over 13 years. After selling the restaurant, he opened up a wineshop and fish market before moving into the Distribution side of the business in Reno. In 2007 Mark and his wife opened Encore Beverage, specializing in handcrafted wines, beers and spirits.
Joshua Barone – Joshua Barone is a proven entrepreneur with current interests in Barone Imports & Wholesale, LLC (dba Barone Distribution) and Universal Value Advisors (co-founder and managing member), a money management firm in Reno, NV. He co-founded and has been the managing member of Barone Distribution since its inception in 2006 and the company has grown rapidly under his leadership. In his capacity at Barone Distribution, he has been the driving force behind the company’s strategic vision, its planning, its portfolio of products, and its growth.
Glenn Bienstock – Glenn sold wines on the wholesale level in the New Jersey market for 6 years. He has tasted extensively in California, Oregon and Spain.
Scott Clemens – Editor: Epicurean Traveler
Susan Darwin – Partner, California Vintage Wine Bars; California Boutique: Wine Consultant, Wine Marketing
Shannon DeDora – Shannon has been certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers for almost 9 years and has recently passed the Certified Wine Educator Exam for the Society of Wine Educators. Her previous work experience includes Sommelier for prestigious restaurant groups: Charlie Palmer, Fairmont Hotels and Joie De Vivre Hotels. Before coming to work at Wirtz Beverage, she was the Education Manager for St. Supery Estate Vineyards & Winery in Napa Valley.

Alan DeWitt – Winemaker at Guglielmo Winery
Barbara Drady – Chief Wine Evangelist & CEO: Affairs of the Vine
John Drady – Founder, Sonoma Coast Vineyards
Thea Dwelle – Wine Blogger: Luscious Lushes Blog
John Fisher – Managing Director, Fisher & Company – investment bankers to branded consumer companies
Tom FosterConsulting Winemaker
David Heppberger – Wine Consultant, Buyer: Menlo Circus Club
Robin Holabird – A board member of the Northern Nevada Wine Association, Robin Holabird travels the world and has toured major wine regions in France, Italy, Spain, Australia, South America, California, and Oregon as well as lesser known wineries in Canada, Luxembourg and Mexico. A former film commissioner for the State of Nevada, she broadcasts a weekly movie program on Reno’s National Public Radio affiliate.
Espen Jensen – Agent at TB Tonnellerie, Barrel Producer
Ellen Landis – Wine Director: Landis Shores Oceanfront Inn, Half Moon Bay, California; Wine Consultant; Wine Blogger: Ellen on Wine
Ken Landis – Chef, Landis Shores Oceanfront Inn
Christian Lane – Vintner, Simple Math Cellars
Paul Manchester – Wine Buyer, Grocery Outlet
Desiray McFall – Oakland native and Bay Area actor and filmmaker, is the owner of Black Patent Productions and a partner at Eat Drink GoDo, Creating Memorable Experiences with food, wine and folks!
Lisa Mroz – Collabria’s founder, Lisa Mroz, has over 20 years of experience in management and strategic change consulting. She has certifications from both the Court of Master Sommeliers and Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET).
Laura Ness – Wine Marketer, Wine Judge, Wine Writer: Appellation America & many others
Christian O’Kuinghttons – Sommelier d’Hotel / Cellar Master / Mixologist at Atlantis Casino Resort Spa. Christian Is the Competition Director of the 10th Annual Cabernet Shootout.
Andreas Papaliolios – Wine Buyer: Tahoe Yacht Club
Steve Paulo – Wine Blogger: Notes From The Cellar, a journal of tasting notes and wine reviews, is written and maintained by Steve Paulo, rogue wine reviewer, software developer, baseball aficionado, and native son of California.
Michele Petro – Chef, Culinary & Wine Educator specializing in food and wine pairing dinners
Dave Preston – Nevada’s Guru of the Good Life, Food & Wine Columnist, Radio Personality and so much more! Dave is the Chief Judge for the 10th Annual Cabernet Shootout.
Kevin Riley – Wine Director Southern Wine & Spirits Northern Nevada
Bruce Robinson – Consummate Wine Lover
Lindsey Roffey – CSW, Certified Sommelier, General Manager Rodrigue Molyneaux Estate Winery
Sid Sall – Wine Director: Great Chefs & Wineries of the North Bay
Tom Stutz – Winemaker at La Rochelle
Brian Szatkowski – Brian is an accomplished and talented wine professional. He spent 15 years working for wine and spirit distributors in Arizona and Nevada. As a Division Manager at Southern Wine and Spirits in Northern Nevada for the last nine years, Brian oversees a team of five. He has been awarded the title of Certified Sommelier by the Court of Master Sommeliers and has achieved the WSET Level 2 Award.
Julie Thiebaut – Wine Educator, Wine Judge, Wine Aficionado.
Elise Vandenberg – Certified Sommelier, Wine Director Campo Reno
Edgar Vogt – Wine Educator: Wineworks
Walter Vornbrock III – Wine Consultant
Evan Williams – Proprietor and wine buyer of Evan’s American Gourmet Cafe in South Lake Tahoe, California. Evan has been judging wine for 20 years. Food and wine are not just his business, but his passion.
Rosina WilsonWine Blogger, Sonoma/Marin Correspondent: Appellation America
Liza Zimmerman – Chief Editor: Cheers Magazine; Writer: Examiner; The Wine Chick

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Peter Eaton April 25, 2013 at 9:32 am

You should not have persons as judges who make Rhone style wines.

barbara September 15, 2013 at 6:45 pm

Hi Peter,
All of the wines are tasted totally blind. I find that often the best comments and those that are toughest on the wines are winemakers themselves. In all of the years we have been conducting the Wine Shootouts, few winemakers have recognized their own wines in the blind tastings.

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