Editorial Team

Meredith May Publisher and Editorial Director

Meridith is responsible for the branding and content of The SOMM Journal after successfully re-launching 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 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 Special Projects Editor

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. As a new retiree, David will continue writing and photographing frequent departmental and feature stories as well as consult with all three magazines. 

Associate Publisher

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.

Managing Editor

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. 

Jesse Hom-Dawson Associate Editor and Photo Editor

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.

Sierra Doxey Associate Editor and Events Associate

moved from Colorado to Los Angeles in 2011 with a truckload of dreams and essential home furnishings. She quickly realized that her BFA was useless, and she was not as special as her parents had led her to believe. Soon after this epiphany, she began a very fulfilling, long-term relationship with alcohol that has brought her great opportunities and greater friends. She has been working as a bartender for several years and is delighted to join
The SOMM Journal as an Associate Editor and Events Associate. She also concurrently sits on an unsanctioned ice cream tasting panel of her own creation, of which she is the sole member.

Sierra Doxey Executive Administrative Assisant

Sierra joined the team in January 2018 after graduating from California State University Sacramento in May 2017 with a double major in Deaf Studies and Women's Studies. She moved back to her hometown of Pasadena and here she enjoys the arts, dabbling in photography, sketching, critiquing new and old films, and exploring all types of music. Sierra is bilingual, speaking/signing English and American Sign Language (ASL).

Advertising and Finance Team

Bill Brandel VP/Marketing & Sales

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 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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