Our talented contributors are an essential part of what makes The SOMM Journal so special. The following of are some of our regular contributors. Look for profiles of other contributors in each issue of the magazine.

Michelle Ball is a freelance writer and designer who co-owns media company Bottle Branding, focusing on the needs of the wine industry. In addition to wine, she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, raising backyard chickens and living the life with her husband, Jeremy.

Sarah Bray holds an Advanced Certification from the Wines & Spirits Education Trust and is a Diploma candidate. She has worked in a variety of marketing and events fields related to food and wine-including Saveur,, Bon Appétit and Sotheby's Wine-and frequently writes for and other sites.

Kyle Billings is a Los Angeles-based writer with a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a Certified Sommelier through The Court of Master Sommeliers. He is passionate about history, travel, Carolina basketball and the allure of libations with agreeable company.  His adventures are shared with his wife, Kristin, and daughter, Charlotte. And Max, the cat.

Eduardo Bolaños began his wine career in Beverly Hills, CA under the tutelage of then Spago Beverly Hills Wine Director Chris Miller. Working at Spago, Eduardo assisted in building the wine cellar that won the Wine Spectator Grand Award in 2010. Eduardo went on to work for top restaurants in Los Angeles Pizzeria Mozza and Chi Spacca. In 2012 he spent time abroad working the wine harvest in Spain, while working as a sommelier at three-star Michelin restaurants Arzak and Akelare. Then in 2014 became an Advanced Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers. Eduardo currently works as a sommelier at Terroni in Downtown Los Angeles and consults for restaurants in Southern California.

Deirdre Bourdet is the founder and Chief Eating Officer of Hedonism Ink, a writing, editing and recipe development consulting service based in Napa Valley.

Jeff Cox writes about food, wine, and gardening from his home in Sonoma County, California. He is the author of 17 books on food, wine, and gardening, has hosted two television series--Your Organic Garden on PBS and Grow It! on HGTV. He writes frequently for Decanter and is a contributor to the San Franciso Chronicle, Horticulture and The Wine News. Jeff has a degree in journalism from Lehigh University, has raised five kids, and lives with his wife Susanna in Kenwood, California. He has also designed gardens in Cleveland, Ohio; Modesto, California; Arlington, Virginia, and Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

Jessica Dupuy is a freelance writer with writing credits for Texas Monthly, National Geographic Traveler, Imbibe, Fodors, The Hollywood Reporter, Saveur, Texas Highways and numerous Austin publications. Her passion for winehas led her to the level of Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers as well as Certified Specialist of Wine and Certified Specialist of Spirits through the Society of Wine Educators. She is a member of Les Dames d'Escoffier-Austin and is on the advisory board for the Wine and Food Foundation of Texas.

Tim GaiserRenowned Master Sommelier Tim Gaiser has served as Education Director for the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas, and as Adjunct Professor for the Rudd Center for Professional Wine Studies at the CIA at Greystone in Napa Valley. He has experience in all phases of the wine industry and has developed education programs for restaurants, winery schools and distributors.

Jiles Halling is an Englishman whose career in marketing and sales for major international wines and spirits brands took him to the USA, Japan and England before he came to live and work in the heart of the Champagne region in France. He has a wealth of knowledge about Champagne and is particularly interested in the lesser-known, independently-made champagnes known as grower Champagnes. For more, see

Christine Havens is a wine writer and former winemaker who has become a Vivino power user with nearly 30,000 followers largely thanks to her wine ratings. In addition to her reviews, she frequently contributes to Vivino, and is a Network Advisory Ambassador for Christine has deep roots in the Washington state wine industry. Having worked as a professional winemaker or nearly a decade in Southeastern Washington, she's sourced fruit from some of the most distinctive AVAs in the state, including Walla Walla Valley, Snipes Mountain and Yakima Valley. Of note, she was the first winemaker to have created a private label for Washington State University.

Roger Morris writes about wine, food, and travel for several publications including Robb Report, Wine Enthusiast, Intermezzo, Sante', Sommelier Journal, Beverage Media, Drinks, Drinks Business (UK), Plaisirs de Vivre (Canada) and Sommelier News. He also contributes to the regional publications The Hunt, Signature Brandywine and Morris is also author of the blog, Been There Tasted That, and may be contacted at

Robert Plotkin is a trade writer, spirits judge and author of 16 books, Secrets Revealed of America's Greatest Cocktails. He can be reached at or by e-mail at

Fred Swan is a San Francisco Bay Area-based wine writer, wine judge and an instructor at San Francisco Wine School. He holds a Diploma from WSET and is a Certified Sommelier, California Wine Appellation Specialist, Certified Specialist of Wine and certified Italian Wine Professional. In 2009, he was awarded a fellowship by the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers. In that same year, he was inducted into the Échansonnerie des Papes, the honorary society of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC.

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