Cliff is Court of Master Sommeliers Certified Sommelier in the NY/NJ region, where he currently serves as Wine Consultant for Wegmans Supermarkets and Contributing Editor for The SOMM Journal. As sommelier he has worked the floor at Beaubourg/Le District in NYC, and the Caudalie French Paradox Wine Lounge at the Plaza Hotel. Cliff is also a Wine Educator and regularly teaches at the NYC Wine Company. Cliff is Founder of Wines of Croatia, conducts masterclasses on behalf of the Association of Winemakers of Croatia, and regularly contributes to the Wines of Croatia blog. Cliff penned content about Croatian wines for the Lonely Planet—Croatia (7th & 8th Editions) travel guides, and wrote the forward for Cracking Croatian Wine: A Visitor Friendly Guide. Cliff’s other formal wine training includes the French Culinary Institute’s Fundamentals of Wine program, the WSET Advanced Certificate, and the Society of Wine Educators Certified Specialist of Wine program.
Kelly Magyarics is a wine, spirits and lifestyle writer, and wine educator, in the Washington, D.C. area. Her writing appears in a variety of national and regional consumer and trade publications including Food Network, Liquor.com, Wine Enthusiast, Fodor’s, Nightclub & Bar, DC Modern Luxury and Cheers. She has extensive wine and spirits knowledge and training, including holding the Diploma of Wine Studies (DWS) from the renowned Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET). Kelly also offers interactive, educational wine tastings and classes for private and corporate groups.
Alexander Rubin is an award-winning photographer specializing in commercial, wine industry, and advertising photography. Based in Napa, California, his clients include Oprah, Fortune 500 companies, and renowned wineries. Alex travels regularly for projects all over wine country, the West Coast, and to destinations worldwide.
Jeremy Ball is a wine and food photographer and founder of Bottle Branding, a creative media company. Before photography, his passion for food and wine was cultivated while working with fantastic winemakers and talented chefs through Santa Barbara County. Jeremy lives in Lompoc, CA, with his beautiful wife Michelle.
Deborah Parker Wong
Deborah Parker Wong, DWSET is Global Wine Editor for SOMM Journal, The Tasting and Clever Root magazines and was recently appointed California Editor for the Slow Food Slow Wine Guide. She teaches as an adjunct professor in the Wine Studies departments at Santa Rosa Junior College, Napa Valley College and Cabrillo College and owns a Wine & Spirit Education Trust school offering Level 2 and Level 3 certifications.
In addition to writing and speaking about wine, Deborah consults to producer groups, judges wine competitions and scores wine for Planet Grape Wine Review. Her motto is: To learn, read. To know, write. To master, teach.
As a lifelong native of Santa Barbara County, Michelle’s fascination with food and wine stems from her early career in restaurants. There, she eagerly devoured the wisdom (and wines) of local winemakers and has continued to formally expand her knowledge over the years. She is a lover of all things fermented and dabbles in her own yeasty experiments including cider, kombucha, pickling and sourdough.
David is a multi-faceted wine and spirits journalist, speaker, and educator, whose work spans print, web, and radio. David currently serves as East Coast Editor for The Tasting Panel Magazine and The SOMM Journal and serves on the Board of the Wine Media Guild. When not writing he can be heard hosting his radio show The Connected Table LIVE! on iHeart Radio.
Christopher Sawyer is an internationally-renowned sommelier, wine judge, consultant, wine journalist and public speaker. Voted Best Sommelier of Sonoma County 2018 by Bohemian Magazine for the fifth consecutive year, he is also a recipient of many more prestigious awards and industry honors. To follow his journeys through the world of wine, visit www.SawyerSomm.com.
Fred Swan is an Oakland-based wine writer, educator, judge, speaker, and tour guide. He teaches at the San Francisco Wine School and also operates Wine Writers’ Educational Tours, an annual, in-depth educational conference for wine writers. Fred’s certifications include WSET Diploma, Certified Sommelier, California Wine Appellation Specialist, Certified Specialist of Wine, French Wine Scholar, Italian Wine Professional, Napa Valley Wine Educator and Level 3 WSET Educator. He’s twice been awarded a fellowship by the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers.
Fred is an expert on the wines, regions and wine history of California. He also has considerable experience with the wines regions of Australia, Oregon, France, Spain, and Italy. In addition to wine, Fred covers sake, spirits, cider, and food.
Randy Caparoso is a full-time wine journalist/photographer living in Lodi, California. In a prior incarnation, he was a multi-award winning restaurateur, starting as a sommelier in Honolulu (1978 through 1988), and then as Founding Partner/VP/Corporate Wine Director of the James Beard Award winning Roy’s family of restaurants (1988-2001), opening 28 locations from Hawaii to New York. While with Roy’s, he was named Santé’s first Wine & Spirits Professional of the Year (1998) and Restaurant Wine’s Wine Marketer of the Year (1992 and 1998). Between 2001 and 2006, he operated his own Caparoso Wines label as a wine producer. For over 20 years, he also bylined a biweekly wine column for his hometown newspaper, The Honolulu Advertiser (1981-2002). He currently puts bread (and wine) on the table as Editor-at-Large and the Bottom Line columnist for The SOMM Journal (founded in 2007 as Sommelier Journal), and freelance blogger, and social media director for Lodi Winegrape Commission. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Courtney Schiessl is a Brooklyn-based wine journalist, educator, and consultant who has held sommelier positions at some of New York’s top restaurants, including Marta, Dirty French, and Terroir. She has written for Forbes.com, SevenFifty Daily, The SOMM Journal, The Tasting Panel Magazine, GuildSomm, Beverage Media, Wine-Searcher.com, and ESPN The Magazine, among other publications, and she was formerly the in-house Tastings Editor for VinePair.
Courtney also conducts private wine education seminars for both trade members and consumers, and she consults with wine regions and wineries around the world. Courtney is a Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers, and she is currently pursuing the WSET Diploma in Wines.
One of the foremost wine experts in the United States, Karen MacNeil is the only American to have won nearly every major wine award given in the English Language. TIME Magazine called Karen “America’s Missionary of the Vine.” In 2018, Karen was named one of the “100 Most Influential People in Wine.”
Karen is the author of THE WINE BIBLE, the best-selling wine book in the U.S., with more than one million copies sold. She is the creator and editor of WineSpeed, the top digital newsletter on wine. Known for her passion and unique style, she conducts seminars and presentations for corporate clients worldwide. The former wine correspondent for NBC’s Today Show, Karen also hosted the PBS series Wine, Food and Friends with Karen MacNeil, for which she won an Emmy. And finally, Karen is the creator and Chairman Emeritus of the Rudd Center for Professional Wine Studies at the Culinary Institute of America, which has been called the “Harvard” of wine education.
Janet Fletcher is the author or co-author of nearly 30 books on food and beverage, including Cheese & Wine, Cheese & Beer and Wine Country Table. Janet publishes the weekly Planet Cheese blog and is the cheese columnist for Specialty Food and Somm Journal magazines. Trained at the Culinary Institute of America and at Chez Panisse, Janet teaches cooking and cheese-appreciation classes around the country. Her journalism has received three James Beard Awards and the IACP Bert Greene Award, and her food writing has appeared in numerous national publications, including The New York Times, Saveur, Fine Cooking, Culture and Food & Wine. A longtime resident of Napa Valley, Janet is a member of the invitation-only Guilde Internationale des Fromagers (www.janetfletcher.com)