Editorial Team

Meredith May Publisher and Editorial Director
MERIDITH MAY

Meridith is responsible for the branding and content of The Somm Journal after successfully re-launched the former Sommelier Journal to great acclaim in June of 2014. Like its sister publication, The Tasting Panel, The Somm Journal has become the voice of its industry thanks to Meridith's expert supervision.

Meridith's background in radio (KIIS-FM, KLSX and KABC in Los Angeles) and newspaper (Santa Barbara News Press restaurant columnist)-combined with her knowledge of food, wine and spirits-gives her an edge in understanding the changing trends of the industry.

She is in frequent demand as a speaker and panelist for wine, spirits and food events nationwide.

Anthony Dias Blue Editor-in-Chief
ANTHONY DIAS BLUE

Anthony Dias Blue is the recipient of a 2001 James Beard Foundation Award as well as the 1997 Communicator of the Year Award from the prestigious International Wine & Spirits Competition in London. He is one of the most influential food and wine personalities in the United States. His work in various media is circulated to more than 30 million global consumers and trade members each month. He can be found in print periodicals, on radio, in bookstores and in cyberspace.

For more than two decades, Anthony was associated with Bon Appétit, the largest-circulation food publication in the United States, his influential consumer-oriented "Blue Lifestyle Minute" radio program is broadcast several times each weekday on WCBS New York and KABC Los Angeles.

Anthony Dias Blue is Executive Director of the San Francisco International Wine Competition, the nation's largest and most prestigious wine judging event, and is also the founding Director of its sister event, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

David Gadd VP/Executive Editor
DAVID GADD

David Gadd has been active with Anthony Dias Blue's Blue Lifestyle organization since 1996, having worked on projects as diverse as the "Blue Lifestyle Minute" and Anthony Dias Blue's Pocket Guide to Wine, among many others. He continues to supervise operations of The Tasting Panel, as well as writing and photographing frequent departmental and feature stories. At The Somm Journal, he brings a keen eye and years of experience to the magazine's international wine coverage.

Associate Publisher
RACHEL BURKONS

Multi-talented (and very busy) Rachel Burkons travels extensively to represent The Tasting Panel and The Somm Journal regionally and internationally, and oversees additional projects, including special issues and various catalogs and brochures produced for the magazines' many clients.


Deputy Editor
ALLYSON GORSUCH

After years of running wine programs for restaurants, Allyson Gorsuch is excited to write for a living. She comes to The SOMM Journal from Sonoma County but is originally from St. Louis. She is an Advanced Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers and holds the WSET Level Three. New to Los Angeles, Allyson looks forward to exploring the expansive city, and she is always planning her next trip abroad.



Wine Editor
JESSIE BIRSCHBACH

Jessica Anne Birschbach-Sheldon (JABS) made the Tasting Panel cut Certified through the Court of Master Sommeliers with a background in fine dining, creative marketing and comedy. JABS brews beer, and sometimes regrets following Angels Baseball. The only time you'll find her "accessorizing" is if she's upgrading her Jeep Wrangler. JABS is of the beach. Whether that beach is on the island of Kauai, where she was born, or where she grew up in San Diego is mostly trivial, just know she's a better swimmer than a walker. So far, being a wine editor is one of her proudest accomplishments.



Becky Tsadik Associate Editor and Events Manager
BECKY TSADIK

Becky Tsadik spent five years as a chef and event coordinator in Chicago and Los Angeles, where she sharpened her palate on everything from spicy Ethiopian food to fresh Californian cuisine. A native of St. Louis, Missouri, she nabbed a journalism degree from Northwestern University in Illinois, and is delighted to now call California home. Look for her with a clipboard and a smile at speed tastings, cocktail competitions and other industry events hosted by The Tasting Panel.

Jesse Hom-Dawson Associate Editor and Photo Editor
JESSE HOM-DAWSON

A Northern California native, Jesse spent six years in New York City before fleeing to Los Angeles for sunny weather and terrible traffic, where she joined Tasting Panel's team in 2015. She lives by the beach in Santa Monica and enjoys cooking and baking with her large collection of cookbooks and kitchen appliances. Jesse is a firm believer in the Oxford Comma, despite what others in the office might have to say about it.


Nicolette Teo Director of Corporate Events
NICOLETTE TEO

Nicolette Teo handles editorial tasks and manages traffic for the magazine's busy publishing schedule. She also coordinates logistics for The Somm Journal's nationwide events schedule. An Olympic swimmer, Nicolette can be found in the closest pool in her spare time.

Advertising and Finance Team

Bill Brandel VP/Marketing & Sales
BILL BRANDEL

A veteran of the wine and spirits industry for three decades, Bill has spent his career as a distributor as well as on- and-off premise at high-profile accounts in Florida, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles. As a Wine Manager for SW&S in Southern California for the past 20 years, he earned his stripes in understanding all sides of the business.His knowledge and experience prove him worthy of heading up marketing and sales for The Tasting Panel and The Somm Journal.

VP/Finance Director
ANNA RUSSELL

Anna comes to The Tasting Panel with over eight years of accounting experience. At The Tasting Panel, Anna handles all things finance and works closely with Meridith May in managing the magazine's business endeavors.She graduated from the University of San Diego where she was granted scholarships for both academics and athletics. As a former athlete she appreciates the camaraderie and team spirit which is such an intrinsic part of the atmosphere at the magazine. In her spare time, Anna enjoys spending time with herfriends and family, hiking with her dog, Dr. Watson, watching her beloved Los Angeles Dodgers, and scientifically testing wine and beer for the good of the publication.
Dr. Watson is The Tasting Panel's official Head of Security and is a no-nonsense enforcer of proper behavior.

Click here for bios of many of our contributors.

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