Updated June 14, 2022.
Straight Talk with Wine Spectator is an Instagram Live series featuring conversations with wine-and-food newsmakers. The live chats kicked off in April 2020 amid widespread shutdowns from the COVID-19 crisis, in order to shed light on the changes and challenges these industries are facing, and have since expanded into regularly scheduled programming.
Past editions featured star winemakers Axel Heinz and Andy Erickson and luminaries of the dining world, including chefs Eric Ripert and Emeril Lagasse and restaurateur Danny Meyer. (All previous episodes are archived on our IGTV channel for viewing anytime.)
Tune in to past Straight Talk episodes on Wine Spectator’s Instagram video channel.
In Our IGTV Archives
Nicole Hitchcock, winemaker, J Vineyards & Winery, hosted by senior editor MaryAnn Worobiec. Nicole Hitchcock found her passion for wine while working in the restaurant industry on the Central Coast of California. She graduated from U.C. Davis with a degree in viticulture and enology in 2001 and began her winemaking journey at Robert Mondavi Winery that same year. After a brief stint working sales at E. & J. Gallo Winery, Hitchcock worked a harvest at Houghton Winery in Australia and later returned to a winemaking position at Gallo. Today, she is head winemaker for J Vineyards, making sparkling and still wines from Russian River Valley, including a Pinot Noir which earned the third spot in Wine Spectator's Top 10 Values of 2021.
Luca and Elena Currado of Vietti Winery, hosted by senior editor Bruce Sanderson. Located in the Langhe hills of Piedmont, Vietti was founded in 1873 by Carlos Vietti. Now in its fourth generation of winemaking, Luca Currado is the current CEO, and manages the estate with his wife, Elena. Luca's winemaking history includes short stints with California's Simi Winery, Opus One, Long Vineyards and Bordeaux's Mouton-Rothschild. In 1992, his father, Alfredo, asked him to return to Piedmont to oversee harvest at age 25, and he has been with the family-run estate ever since. The Barolo winery was purchased by the Krause family of Iowa in 2016, which included the brand, the winery and 84 acres of vineyards.
Louis Barruol, owner and winemaker, Château de St.-Cosme, hosted by news editor Mitch Frank. Louis Barruol is one of the Rhône Valley's most celebrated winemakers. Since taking over his late father, Henri-Louis, in 1990, the vigneron has transformed his 44-acre family winery from an anonymous bulk wine source to the top winery in Gigondas, and arguably into one of the best estates in the Southern Rhône. Thanks to an impressive portfolio of single vineyard-based wines, many of which earn classic scores on Wine Spectator's 100-Point Scale, senior editor James Molesworth ranks Barruol, "among the most impressive and impactful vignerons I've encountered."
Dave Phinney, founder and winemaker, Orin Swift Cellars, hosted by senior editor MaryAnn Worobiec. Dave Phinney's introduction to wine came in 1995, during a semester abroad in Italy. Upon returning to the University of Arizona, Phinney planted experimental blocks of Zinfandel and Petite Sirah in Tucson with the help of a professor in the university's agriculture department, and took a job in a wine shop. In 1997, he moved to Napa's Whitehall Lane and learned winemaking over the next five years. During that time, he founded his wine brand, Orin Swift Cellars, and made his wine debut with The Prisoner in 2000. The Zinfandel-based wine rocketed to success and appeared on Wine Spectator's Top 100 list multiple times. In 2016, E. & J. Gallo purchased his brand, which included multiple labels at the time. Phinney stayed on as winemaker.
The Chicks, music band and founders of Gaslighter Wine Co., hosted by senior editor MaryAnn Worobiec. The Chicks (previously known as Dixie Chicks) are an American music band comprising Natalie Maines, Martie Maguire and Emily Strayer. The 13-time Grammy-winning country music stars recently partnered with Sonoma’s Gundlach Bundschu family to launch their California wine label, Gaslighter, named after their 2020 album. The portfolio includes a Pinot Noir rosé, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Gianluca Bisol, president, Bisol Winery, hosted by senior editor Alison Napjus. Gianluca Bisol is a Prosecco leader—both at its high end and in the mass market. Working from his family's winery, Desiderio Bisol & Figli, in the heart of the Prosecco Conegliano Valdobbiadene Superiore zone, Bisol helped Prosecco boom from a footnote in Italy to the leading sparkling export in the world by volume. Four years ago, Bisol and his brother, Desiderio, sold their family’s near century-old winery to Gruppo Lunelli. Bisol has since taken on some off-the-wall side projects with vineyard ventures in places few (or no) others dare to go.
Ikimi Dubose-Woodson, co-founder, The Roots Fund, hosted by news editor Mitch Frank. Ikimi Dubose-Woodson got her start in the culinary industry, as a chef and manager of large culinary teams at sports organizations, restaurant groups and educational institutions. Dubose-Woodson shifted her focus to the wine industry in 2020, when she created The Roots Fund, along with Carlton McCoy and sommelier Tahiira Habibi, to offer financial support through scholarships and mentorships to help address a lack of diversity in the wine community. The Roots Fund recently partnered with Wine Spectator and Zachys in its first-ever auction gala, which raised over $400,000 for the organization.
Drew Bledsoe, founder and owner, Bledsoe Wine Estates, hosted by senior editor Tim Fish. Drew Bledsoe has been making winning wines for more than decade. After the All-Pro New England Patriots quarterback retired in 2007, he founded Doubleback in Walla Walla, Wash., near where he grew up. In 2019, he launched an Oregon Pinot Noir label called Bledsoe-McDaniels together with winemaker Josh McDaniels. And just last year, they purchased an 80-acre Willamette Valley vineyard to expand the Oregon project.
Samantha Rudd, owner, Rudd Estate, hosted by news editor Mitch Frank. Samantha Rudd is the second generation to manage Rudd Estate, the Oakville winery founded by her parents, Leslie and Susan. She spent much of her childhood on the estate. Early in her career, Rudd worked stints at Château Margaux and Spottswoode before returning to the family business in 2015. Rudd's California Cabernets have earned classic scores on Wine Spectator's 100-point scale.
Giovanni Mazzei, export director, Castello di Fonterutoli, hosted by senior editor Bruce Sanderson. Giovanni Mazzei represents the 25th generation of his family's Chianti Classico winery, which dates to 1435. He is the eldest son of Filippo Mazzei, the current managing director. During his studies, Mazzei acted as brand manager for Fonterutoli's U.S. market, and eventually joined the business full-time as export director. Mazzei also manages the family's Il Caggio wine project, which is a 370-acre, high-elevation property acquired in 2006 dedicated to developing a single-vineyard Chianti Classico Gran Selezione made from 100 percent Sangiovese grapes. The wine is called Ipsus and was unveiled with the 2015 vintage, earning classic scores since its debut.
Rebekah Wineburg, winemaker, Quintessa, hosted by senior editor MaryAnn Worobiec. Rebekah Wineburg’s passion for winemaking began at the age of 16 when she visited Napa Valley with her parents. Years later, Wineburg committed to studying chemistry and biology, and eventually joined the winemaking program at the U.C. Davis, where she earned her master’s degree in viticulture and enology. She then worked harvests in Italy, Oregon and New Zealand before settling down in Napa Valley. Wineburg's resumé includes stints at Staglin Family Vineyard, Rudd Estate and Buccella Wines, and now Quintessa, where she's been responsible for the Quintessa Estate Red and Illumination Sauvignon Blanc since 2015.
Morgan Twain-Peterson, owner and winemaker, Bedrock Wine Co., hosted by senior editor Tim Fish. Morgan Twain-Peterson started his wine journey from an early age. His father, Joel, built Ravenswood into a successful Zinfandel winery in the 1980s and 1990s, and after college, Twain-Peterson returned to Sonoma in 2005 and worked a harvest at Ravenswood. He followed that with stints at Australia’s McLaren Vale and a harvest at Bordeaux's Château Lynch-Bages. He founded Bedrock Wine Co. in 2007 and has since earned classic scores and Wine Spectator Top 100 rankings for his impressive Zinfandel red wines. He has also been a Master of Wine since 2017.
Ludovic du Plessis, president, Champagne Telmont, hosted by senior editor Alison Napjus. Ludovic du Plessis has been working in the luxury wine and spirits industry for nearly twenty years, spending a decade at Dom Pérignon and Moët & Chandon, then joining Louis XIII Cognac as global executive director in 2014. In 2019, Plessis moved back into Champagne by joining Champagne Telmont, formerly known as J. de Telmont. He has led successful creative and business partnerships with high-profile celebrities such as actors John Malkovich and Leonardo DiCaprio, who recently invested in the sustainable, eco-friendly brand.
Alessandra Casini Bindi Sergardi, CEO, Bindi-Sergardi, hosted by senior editor Bruce Sanderson. Alessandra Casini Bindi Sergardi is the 23rd generation to head her family's nearly 700-year-old wine company. Following her university studies, Alessandra worked at Antinori for several years then began managing the family company in 2005, alongside her father, where she continued to improve the quality of the family's Chianti, Chianti Classico and Colli Senesi bottlings sourced from the Siena region of Italy.
Tony Soter, founder, Soter Vineyards, hosted by senior editor Tim Fish. Tony Soter is a prominent figure in the American wine industry. The Oregon native began his winemaking career in the early 1980s in Napa Valley, consulting for big names such as Araujo, Shafer, Spottswoode and Dalle Valle. In 1982, Soter established his first winery, Etude, focusing on Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. In 1997, Soter and his late wife, Michelle, founded Soter Vineyards, where the longtime winemaker focuses exclusively on making classic-rated Pinot Noir.
Rocco Lombardo, president, Wilson Daniels, hosted by news editor Mitch Frank. As head of luxury wine importer Wilson Daniels, Rocco Lombardo is responsible for importing prestigious brands such as Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Domaine Leflaive and Biondi-Santi. Under Lombardo's direction since 2015, the company has seen a strategic expansion of its portfolio and robust growth in sales. In 2021, the Wilson Daniels' revenues were projected at $200 million, split evenly between its national portfolio and its wholesale business, which has expanded to five states.
Danny Haas, wine buyer, Vineyard Brands, hosted by senior editor Bruce Sanderson. Danny Haas was brought up surrounded by various facets of the wine business. His late father, Robert Haas, founded a wine importing company called Vineyard Brands in 1971, and also co-founded Paso Robles winery Tablas Creek Vineyard in 1989, which Danny's brother, Jason, currently runs. Vineyard Brands imports many wines from all over the world, including Pétrus, Château de Beaucastel and Massolino. Danny is the longest-tenured employee at the comapny, and specializes in the wines of Alsace and Burgundy.
Shannon Staglin, president, Staglin Family Vineyard, hosted by senior editor MaryAnn Worobiec. Shannon Staglin got her start in wine after graduating from UCLA in 2001, where she began working as a harvest intern at her family's Napa Valley winery. One of her first roles was managing Chardonnay fermentations alongside winemaker Andy Erickson. In 2006, Staglin pursued an MBA degree in marketing at U.C. Davis, and left the family company for a few years. She later came back into a managerial role in 2011 and continues to lead and operate the family business today. She has been actively involved with many community charitable organizations in addition to her family non-profit, One Mind, which has raised over $500 million for brain health research. Most recently, Staglin and winemaker Fredrik Johannson launched a new small production wine label called RESA.
Elizabeth Bourcier, resident vigneronne, Cayuse Vineyards, hosted by senior editor Tim Fish. Elizabeth Bourcier grew up in Seattle and got her start in the wine business at age 18 when she joined Walla Walla Community College's enology and viticulture program in 2000. She later gained experience interning at wineries in Mendoza, Paso Robles and Walla Walla, eventually joining Cayuse in 2008. Two years later, head winemaker and owner Christophe Baron promoted her to assistant winemaker. Bourcier also oversees La Rata, a wine named after Bourcier's Chinese astrological sign, the rat. Inspired by wines from Priorat, in Spain, it blends Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon from En Cerise and Armada vineyards.
Philana Bouvier, president, Demeine Estates, hosted by news editor Mitch Frank. Philana Bouvier has nearly two decades of experience importing distributing and selling wine. She previously held the title of vice president of fine wine, supplier business development at Republic National Distributing Company, one of the nation’s largest wine wholesalers. Earlier this year, Bouvier was tapped by Heitz Cellar owner Gaylon Lawrence Jr. and CEO Carlton McCoy to establish a new import and marketing company, Demeine Estates, which consists of family-owned domestic and international producers, including Napa's Heitz and Burgess Cellars, Burgundy’s Domaine de Montille and Champagne’s Legras & Haas.
Pete Seghesio, founder, Journeyman Wines, hosted by senior editor MaryAnn Worobiec. Pete Seghesio is a longtime Zinfandel advocate whose family used to own Seghesio Family Vineyards, one of California' top Zinfandel wineries, until his family sold the winery in 2011. Shortly after, Seghesio launched his Journeyman wine label with a 93-point Chardonnay, and later went back to making Zin with his San Lorenzo label. Seghesio's latest transition includes a move to the cured meats space with his Journeyman Meat Co.
Federica Boffa, president, Pio Cesare, hosted by senior editor Bruce Sanderson. Federica Boffa recently found herself at the helm of the historic Pio Cesare winery after her father and icon of Piedmont, Pio Boffa, passed away earlier this year. At just 24-years-old, Boffa is the fifth-generation to oversee the family business in the city of Alba, where over 173 acres of estate vineyards are planted in Barolo and Barbaresco. Pio Cesare produces a range of wines sold all over the world, a testament to the family's enduring focus on quality over quantity.
Josh Scott, co-owner, Allan Scott Family Winemakers, hosted by senior editor MaryAnn Worobiec. Josh Scott is the son of pioneering New Zealand winemakers Allan and Catherine Scott. Having grown up in Marlborough, Scott spent many hours at the family winery from a young age, pruning the vines and spending time in the cellar. He continued his path in wine by studying viticulture and wine production at the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology. Following his studies, Scott worked harvests across France and Napa. Today, he manages Allan Scott winery, which specializes in Sauvignon Blanc, with his younger sister, Sara.
Zak Miller, winemaker, Domaine Carneros, hosted by senior editor Alison Napjus. Zak Miller started his career as a forestry scientist before embarking on his winemaking journey in the early 2000s with Napa's Saintsbury Vineyards. Miller's experience at Saintsbury inspired his fascination for Pinot Noir and later took him to New Zealand and Chile to hone his craft. He returned to Napa in 2008 to work alongside former Domaine Carneros' winemaker Eileen Crane, who retired in 2020, opening the door for Miller to head the estate's sparkling wine program.
Maurizio Zanella, founder, Ca' del Bosco, hosted by senior editor Alison Napjus. Maurizio Zanella's professional path into wine was shaped by a tour through France as a teen, including a visit to Champagne and a stop at Domaine de la Romanee-Conti. Since 1968 Zanella has grown Ca’ del Bosco from a few acres of family-owned vineyards into an acclaimed, organically farmed, 600-acre estate producing about 150,000 cases of still and sparkling wines annually. It's best known for its high-end Franciacorta DOCG bottlings made from Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir.
Michelle DeFeo, president, Champagne Laurent-Perrier, hosted by senior editor Alison Napjus. Originally from New Jersey, Michelle DeFeo found her passion for wine while studying abroad in the Loire Valley of France. She got her start in the wine business as an administrative assistant at Veuve Clicquot, moving up to vice president of Champagne, wine and vodka at Rémy Cointreau USA, before becoming president of Laurent-Perrier USA in 2011. Over the past two years, Laurent-Perrier has vaulted into the ranks of the top four Champagne brands in the U.S. by volume, behind only Veuve Clicquot, Moët & Chandon, and Nicolas Feuillatte.
Yannick Benjamin, sommelier, restaurateur and co-owner of Contento Restaurant, hosted by senior editor Bruce Sanderson. Yannick Benjamin is a New York City-based sommelier who heads the wine list at Contento Restaurant. His past experience includes working at award-winning wine retailer Le Dû Wines. In 2003, a car accident left Benjamin paralyzed, leading him to co-found the Wheeling Forward charity in 2011 to help others struggling with disabilities. Through the related Wine on Wheels initiative, Benjamin has also raised funds with the help of sommeliers and the wine industry for people with disabilities.
Maximilian Riedel, CEO, Riedel Crystal, hosted by news editor Mitch Frank. Maximilian Riedel is the 11th generation to head his family's 265-year-old glassware company. He began working for the company in 1997, and became CEO in 2013 after his father, Georg Riedel, stepped back. Since taking over, Riedel has built up the company’s presence in North America by growing annual U.S. sales from $8 million to $60 million in the past decade. He also spearheaded online sales strategies and designed every glass added to the lineup with his father.
Matteo Lunelli, CEO, Ferrari-Trento, hosted by senior editor Alison Napjus. Matteo Lunelli got his start in wine in 2003, after leaving a career at Goldman Sachs to join his family's business, including the historic Ferrari winery in northern Italy, Surgiva bottled water, and since 2001, Tenuta Castelbuono in Umbria. Ferrari winery, which dates back to 1902, is one of Italy's most consistently excellent producers of sparkling wine in northern Italy’s Trento DOC area, an appellation dedicated entirely to traditional-method sparkling wine. Earlier this year, Lunelli partnered with Formula 1 racing to become the official bubbly of the premier motor sport league.
Jermaine Stone, CEO of Cru Luv Selections and host of The Original Wine & Hip-Hop Show, hosted by senior editor James Molesworth. Jermaine Stone was born and raised in the Bronx neighborhood of New York with dreams of becoming a rapper. While working a temporary job in the shipping department of Zachys Wine Auctions, Stone's passion for wine grew and he later became a logistics manager, overseeing the transport of $60 million worth of fine wine every year. In 2013, Stone left Zachys to become one of the founding directors of Wally's Auctions, a subsidiary of L.A. retailer Wally's Wine & Spirits. Stone eventually started his own wine brand, Cru Luv Selections, which helps blend the best elements of wine and hip-hop culture. He also hosts a podcast called The Original Wine & Hip-Hop Show, where he interviews wine pros around the world.
Grace Evenstad, owner and founder, Evenstad Estates, hosted by senior editor Bruce Sanderson. Grace Evenstad and her late husband Ken began purchasing land in Willamette Valley in 1989, and founded Domaine Serene that same year. Over decades, the Evenstads have helped transform Willamette Valley from a sleepy community to one of the most respected and dynamic wine regions in the U.S., earning them Wine Spectator's 2018 Distinguished Service Award. In 2015, they became the first Oregon vintners to own land and produce wine in Burgundy when their company acquired Château de la Crée and 25 acres of vineyards in the Côte de Beaune. Earlier this year, Evenstad Estates made a significant expansion in Burgundy's Côte d'Or with the acquisition of Domaine Christian Confuron & Fils.
Channing Frye, former NBA player and owner of Chosen Family Wines, hosted by news editor Mitch Frank. Channing Frye first fell in love with the Oregon wine scene in 2007 while playing for the Portland Trail Blazers, but his tasting—and shooting—skills gained attention when he joined the Lebron James–led 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers. The NBA champ launched Chosen Family, his wine project with L'Angolo Estate, in 2020. The label produces Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah and Rosé from Dundee Hills.
Frédéric Panaiotis, chef de cave, Ruinart, hosted by senior editor Alison Napjus. Frédéric Panaiotis is head winemaker at one of Champagne's most venerable houses, founded in 1729. He began his career studying enology in France, but it wasn't until his uncle poured him a 1976 Richebourg that he knew he wanted to work in wine. Panaiotis joined Ruinart in 2007, following several jobs in Champagne, including a stint at Champagne's governing body, the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC).
Donae Burston, founder and CEO, La Fête du Rosé, hosted by senior editor MaryAnn Worobiec. Donae Burston started his wine career at LVMH where he managed accounts like Veuve Clicquot and Dom Pérignon, followed by a stint at Jay Z–owned Armand de Brignac Champagne. Burston always had an abiding love of rosé, and in 2019, he launched his own. The founder and CEO of La Fête du Rosé (“the rosé party”) is the first Black business owner with a Provence rosé to his name, and he's on a mission to change how Americans view pink wine. Earlier this year, Burston teamed with Constellation Brands as part of their Focus on Minority Founders initiative to help expand the business.
Remi Cohen, CEO, Domaine Carneros, hosted by senior editor Tim Fish. Remi Cohen has spent 20 years in wine, most of it in Carneros. She earned her viticulture degree from U.C. Davis and started her journey at Saintsbury before moving on to Bouchaine and Merryvale. Cohen was recently named CEO of Domaine Carneros, the sparkling wine house founded by Champagne Taittinger in 1987. She follows Eileen Crane, who spent 33 years as the founding winemaker and CEO, and has been an inspiration to many women in the industry.
Amar'e Stoudemire, former NBA player and owner of Stoudemire Wines, hosted by news editor Mitch Frank. Amar'e Stoudemire is known for his storied career on the Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks. Over the years as an NBA player, Stoudemire became passionate about wine during his travels to wineries in Bordeaux and Italy. After moving to Israel toward the tail end of his career, Stoudemire explored the wine region of Upper Galilee and in 2018, made his winemaking debut with three Israeli Cabernets and red blends.
Alberto Antonini, winemaker and consultant, hosted by senior editor Bruce Sanderson. Alberto Antonini is among the most influential wine consultants from Italy. He has enology degrees from the University of Florence, University of Bordeaux and U.C. Davis. He began his career as assistant winemaker for the Frescobaldi group, and eventually became technical director of the Col d'Orcia estate in Montalcino. Antonini then joined the Antinori firm as director of enology, which he held until 1996, when he founded his global wine consulting firm, Matura Group. He consults for wineries in Italy, Argentina, Chile, California, South Africa, Portugal, Canada, Uruguay, Australia and Armenia.
Valentina Abbona, owner and marketing manager, Marchesi di Barolo, hosted by senior editor Bruce Sanderson. Valentina Abbona is the sixth generation owner of her family's Piedmont estate. After graduating from Milan's Bocconi University, Abbona traveled extensively with previous owner and mother, Anna, who taught her the crossroads of tradition and innovation represented by the over 200-year-old winery. Marchesi di Barolo consistently makes outstanding bottlings.
Tiquette Bramlett, president, Vidon Vineyard, hosted by senior editor Tim Fish. Tiquette Bramlett fell in love with Willamette Valley wines while studying to be a sommelier. In 2015, she started working as a tasting room associate at Anne Amie Vineyards and most recently as a brand ambassador for Abbey Creek Vineyard, where she served as the acting liaison for the Willamette Valley Winery Association, Women in Wine and Assemblage Symposium. In May 2021, Bramlett was named president of Vidon, and is believed to be the first Black woman appointed to oversee a winery in a major U.S. wine region.
Barbara Banke, chairman and proprietor, Jackson Family Wines, hosted by senior editor MaryAnn Worobiec. As co-founder of the family-owned and led company, Barbara Banke has dedicated four decades to building one of the wine industry's most dynamic and distinguished wine collections, which includes wineries such as Kendall-Jackson, Cambria, Cardinale, Penner-Ash, Hickinbotham and Tenuta di Arceno, and vineyards in renowned winegrowing regions across the world. In 2017, Banke received Wine Spectator's Distinguished Service Award for her leadership in environmental stewardship and her dedication to numerous children's and educational charities around the country.
DLynn Proctor, sommelier and director of Fantesca Estate & Winery, hosted by senior editor MaryAnn Worobiec. DLynn Proctor has been in the wine industry for 20 years, and is known as the "Somm to the Stars." He has been featured in television and films—including the wine documentary series, SOMM, and as associate producer on Netflix’s featured film, Uncorked. Proctor spent the last decade in global leadership roles with Penfolds Winery and Fantesca Estate & Winery, focusing on import/export, sales, marketing, strategy, and consumer relations. Previously, Proctor was instrumental in building restaurant and training programs, private client and retail wine lists, and expanding new venue operations, while garnering accolades as an accomplished sommelier. Most recently, Proctor co-founded the non-profit Wine Unify, which welcomes, elevates and amplifies the voices of minorities in the wine industry.
Chris Kajani, winemaker, Bouchaine Vineyards, hosted by senior editor MaryAnn Worobiec. Chris Kajani grew up in Napa Valley, often playing the designated driver during family outings in California wine country. She worked in the biotech industry before getting her enology degree from U.C. Davis and embarking on her winemaking journey. Kajani started working for Pahlmeyer in 2004 and joined Saintsbury two years later, becoming head winemaker in 2013. She joined Carneros's Bouchaine Vineyards in 2015 where she serves as winemaker and general manager, specializing in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Christian Moreau, founder, Domaine Christian Moreau Père & Fils, hosted by senior editor Bruce Sanderson. Christian Moreau was born and raised in Chablis, the northernmost part of the Burgundy wine region. Following a decade in the Canadian lumber business, Moreau came home in 1972 to help his family's winery, J. Moreau & Fils. The company was sold in 1997, but the family retained ownership of its vineyards, and with the 2002 harvest, Moreau and his son Fabien founded Domaine Christian Moreau Père & Fils. The father-son duo have built the Domaine into one of the best sources of Chablis in the region from nearly 29 acres in premiers and grand crus.
Braithe Tidwell, wine director, Brennan’s Restaurant, hosted by news editor Mitch Frank. Braithe Tidwell has worked in wine in New York and New Orleans for the past 12 years, beginning her hospitality education as a backwaiter at Danny Meyer’s Union Square Cafe in New York City. She studied wine while working there and was promoted to server in 2006 and wine director in 2010. Tidwell moved to New Orleans in 2012, achieved her CMS Certified Sommelier credentials in 2013 and became Brennan’s lead sommelier in 2015. Two years later, she became the New Orleans landmark's wine director, taking the helm of their historic wine program and cellar which boasts over 3,000 selections.
Rob McMillan, founder, Silicon Valley Bank wine group, hosted by news editor Mitch Frank. Rob McMillan is one of the top wine industry analysts in the U.S. McMillan's banking career spans over 35 years, most of which have been at Silicon Valley Bank and its Wine Group, which he founded. McMillan has become an influential figure among vintners and consumers, thanks to his decades of experience researching the business, working with winery clients and each year producing a highly regarded analysis, The State of the Wine Industry Report.
Michael Browne, co-founder and winemaker, Kosta Browne Winery, hosted by senior editor MaryAnn Worobiec. Michael Browne got his start in wine over two decades ago when he started the iconic Sonoma County Pinot Noir label with longtime friend Dan Kosta in 1997. They led the meteoric rise of their cult Pinot Noirs from the Russian River Valley, culminating with Wine Spectator's 2011 Wine of the Year. In 2014, Michael and his wife Sarah Browne took control of their CIRQ label and launched Browne Family Wines at their new estate winery. Just last year they created CHEV, a regional-based wine brand of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. In November 2020, Michael Browne released his new book, "Pinot Rocks – A Winding Journey through Intense Elegance."
Alessandro Bindocci, winemaker, Il Poggione, hosted by senior editor Bruce Sanderson. Alessandro Bindocci is the fourth-generation winemaker to lead his family's Montalcino winery. Bindocci, who took over his father's winemaking position in 2005, completed his enology degree at the University of Pisa and is known for making traditionally-styled, classic-rated Brunello di Montalcino wines.
Roberta Corrà, CEO, Gruppo Italiano Vini (GIV), hosted by senior editor Alison Napjus. Roberta Corrà joined GIV nearly a decade ago, and became the head of Italy's largest wine producer in 2015. The Italian Wine Group owns over 3,500 acres of vineyards across 11 wine regions in Italy, with 15 wineries in its portfolio. Estates span the boot, from Nino Negri in Italy's far north to Rapitalà on the southern island of Sicily. Additionally, Corrà was recently elected president of the Italia del Vino Consortium, a group dedicated to the global promotion of the Italian winemaking industry and lifestyle.
Jean Hoefliger, founder of JH Wine Consulting, hosted by senior editor MaryAnn Worobiec. Born and raised in Switzerland, Hoefliger has worked in wineries all over the world—from Bordeaux and South Africa to Spain, Italy and California—including Château Lynch-Bages and Château Carbonnieux in Bordeaux and South Africa’s Meerlust. Hoefliger was winemaker at Napa’s Newton Vineyard for five years and later became a founder, general manager and wine consultant for Alpha Omega. Today, Hoefliger’s global consulting business offers his expertise in winemaking, viticulture and business strategy, serving more than 20 clients including AXR, Newton Vineyard, Michel Rolland Napa Valley, The Debate, Monteverro and Chateau Ste. Michelle.
Harmon Skurnik, president, Skurnik Wines, hosted by news editor Mitch Frank. Harmon Skurnik joined his family's wine import and distribution business in 1989, following a 10-year career in marketing and advertising. The company, headquartered in New York City, represents over 500 estates around the world and has a wholesale distribution network in eight states. Since 2019, Skurnik has been an active voice in the industry's fight against tariffs as well. He now serves as a board member for the United States Wine Trade Alliance, a lobbying group that focused on eliminating tariffs on imported wines and spirits.
Jordan Fiorentini, winemaker, Epoch Estate Wines, hosted by senior editor MaryAnn Worobiec. Jordan Fiorentini earned her viticulture degree from U.C. Davis in 2003, where she also interned at Araujo Estate and Tuscany's Antinori Winery. She subsequently embarked on her winemaking journey in her native Georgia, then moved on to Sonoma's Chalk Hill in 2007 as an associate winemaker and later becoming director of winemaking. Fiorentini subsequently joined Paso Robles' Epoch Estate Wines in 2010, where she heads the winemaking program and oversees all vineyard operations, specializing in Rhône variety wines.
Francesco Zonin, executive vice president of Zonin1821, hosted by senior editor Bruce Sanderson. Francesco Zonin is part of the seventh generation to lead his family's Italian wine firm, Zonin1821. The company, founded in 1821, is the largest private vine growing and winemaking company in Italy, with 13 wine labels and 11 estates across Italy and Barboursville in Virginia, where Zonin is president of Barboursville Vineyards. In 2005, Zonin took over the commercial and marketing activities of Zonin1821’s export department. He also heads 1821 Fine Wine and Spirits, a Florida-based wine wholesaler and importer.
Danny Meyer, CEO, Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG), hosted by news editor Mitch Frank. Danny Meyer is a New York restaurateur responsible for transforming the city's restaurant scene with his culinary group USHG. He started his decades-long career when he opened Best of Award of Excellence winner Union Square Cafe in 1985, and later reached stardom with Grand Award winner Eleven Madison Park in 1998. As the pandemic shuttered many New York restaurants, Meyer has become instrumental in keeping the industry afloat over the past year. With U.S. restaurants opening their doors once again, Meyer has big plans to bring employees back to the kitchen and dining room floors.
Cristina Forner, CEO, Marqués de Cáceres, hosted by Thomas Matthews, editorial advisor and former lead taster for the wines of Spain. Cristina Forner is the fourth-generation wine producer of her family's Rioja estate. After fleeing Spain's Franco dictatorship in the 1930s, the Forner family took their wine expertise to Bordeaux, before returning to their homeland to restore the family business in 1970. Forner took over as president in 2007, introducing exclusive products, including the Excellens range of wines from high-altitude vineyards, and a renewed focus on quality winemaking.
Giovanni Manetti, owner, Fontodi, hosted by senior editor Bruce Sanderson. Giovanni Manetti is the second generation to head the Tuscan winery, founded in 1968 by his father Dino. Manetti and his father worked to restore the long-abandoned property for years, which today comprises almost 200 acres of vines and produces over 30,000 cases a year divided among seven wines, everything from a classic-rated Super Tuscan, its pure Sangiovese Flaccianello della Pieve, to a Syrah, a Sauvignon Blanc and a sweet Vin Santo.
Eric Sklar, CEO, Napa Valley Fumé, hosted by senior editor MaryAnn Worobiec. Eric Sklar is an entrepreneur, vineyard owner and public official. Sklar and his family have been growing grapes in Napa for nearly 40 years. In 2006, he co-founded Cabernet-focused Alpha Omega winery, and in 2017, shifted to cannabis production and co-founded Napa Valley Fumé, a vertically integrated cannabis operation based in St. Helena, Calif. He also serves as a board member for the Napa Valley Cannabis Association.
Meghan Zobeck, winemaker, Burgess Cellars, hosted by senior editor James Molesworth. Meghan Zobeck got her start in sports, negotiating player contracts for the Denver Broncos. She later turned to winemaking and began working harvests in Bordeaux, Piedmont, Chile and Australia, eventually landing in Napa Valley at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and Screaming Eagle. In 2015, Zobeck joined Atelier Melka, a wine consultancy founded by renowned winemaker Philippe Melka. Five years later, she became winemaker for Burgess Cellars following Heitz Cellars' purchase of the Howell Mountain property.
Kathryn Hall, proprietor of Hall Wines, Walt Wines, and BACA Wines, hosted by senior editor MaryAnn Worobiec. Kathryn Hall has been involved in the California wine industry since her family first purchased a California vineyard in the 1970s, which Hall and her brother managed for a decade. In 1995, Hall acquired the 19-acre Sacrashe Vineyard in Rutherford with her husband Craig, growing Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine business took a back seat when Hall served as U.S. ambassador to Austria from 1997 to 2001. Upon her return, Hall purchased several Napa properties, and her flagship wine label became a benchmark for Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. Hall also makes Pacific Coast Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with her WALT label, and California Zinfandel with her BACA label which her daughter, Jennifer Brown, spearheads.
Aldo Sohm, sommelier, author and winemaker, hosted by senior editor Bruce Sanderson. Aldo Sohm started his hospitality career in Austria as a teenager, and began his sommelier education in 1998. Over the years, Sohm has won the title of "Best Sommelier in Austria" at the 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2006 competitions, and was crowned "Best Sommelier in the World" at the 2008 competition. Sohm became wine director at New York's Best of Award of Excellence winner Le Bernardin in 2007, and splits his time between his own locale, Aldo Sohm Wine Bar, which he opened in 2014, and educating wine lovers with his recent book Wine Simple.
Kyle MacLachlan, actor and vintner, Pursued By Bear, hosted by senior editor Tim Fish. Kyle MacLachlan is a native of Washington State, and became interested in Walla Walla's growing wine scene in the early 2000s. In the spring of 2005, MacLachlan collaborated with the late pioneering Washington winemaker Eric Dunham to create a wine project called Pursued By Bear, which takes its name from a stage direction, "Exit, pursued by bear," in Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale. The Golden Globe Award winner's label focuses on Cabernet and Syrah, and recently added a rosé to the lineup.
Kurt Russell, actor and owner of GoGi Wines, hosted by senior editor MaryAnn Worobiec. Kurt Russell's passion for wine started in the early 80s, when he took a trip to Napa and Sonoma, visiting local wineries along the way. The award-winning actor later fell in love with Burgundies from the top domaines, and decided to partner with Peter and Rebecca Work of Ampelos Cellars in Santa Rita Hills in 2008 to produce California Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. When Russell's not on a film set, he can be found blending his vintages with fellow winemakers, chasing the perfection of one of his favorite Grand Crus: La Tâche.
Fabio Trabocchi, chef and founder of Fabio Trabocchi Restaurants, hosted by news editor Mitch Frank. Fabio Trabocchi's illustrious career as a chef and restaurateur spans decades and top positions in the world of fine dining. Originally from the Marche region on Italy's Adriatic coast, Trabocchi’s restaurants include the Grand Award-winning Fiola in Washington D.C., as well as properties in Virginia, Miami and Venice.
Emma Swain, CEO of St. Supéry Winery, hosted by senior editor MaryAnn Worobiec. Emma Swain has been a leader in the wine industry for over 20 years, starting out as COO of Sebastiani Vineyards in 1996, and then as CEO of St. Supéry since 2009. She heads the Napa Valley estate and winery, which specializes in Sauvignon Blanc and red Bordeaux varieties, with Australian winemaker Michael Scholz.
Gaia Gaja, co-owner, Gaja Winery, hosted by senior editor Bruce Sanderson. Born and raised in Barbaresco, Gaia Gaja is the fifth-generation to take over the famed Piedmont winery. She is the eldest of three children, and continues the family's rich winemaking heritage with her sister, Rossana, and brother, Giovanni. Her father, Angelo Gaja, took over in the late 1960s and helped transform the once-sleepy Barbaresco into a center of adventurous Italian winemaking and turned Nebbiolo into a popular grape. Gaja's ventures have since extended to Barolo, Tuscany and Sicily's Mount Etna.
Justin Smith, winemaker, Saxum Vineyards, hosted by senior editor Tim Fish. The son of a grapegrower, Justin Smith grew up in Paso Robles, Calif. surrounded by wine country, and later became a winemaker. Smith produces Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre-based blends from the Willow Creek District of Paso Robles, and earned Wine Spectator's Top Wine of 2010 with his 2007 James Berry Vineyard blend.
Adam Lee, founder of Siduri and head of Clarice Wine Co., hosted by news editor Mitch Frank. Adam Lee grew up in Texas, and started out in wine as a buyer for the Dallas location of Neiman Marcus. In 1993, Lee moved to Sonoma with his then-wife Dianna Novy. Together, they founded Siduri winery in 1994. A heralded Sonoma winemaker, Lee built his reputation on Pinot Noir and sold Siduri to Jackson Family Wines in 2015. Nowadays Lee has several new Pinot projects, including Clarice Wine Co. and a partnership with famed Rhône winemaker Philippe Cambie called Beau Marchais.
Alberto Aiello Graci, owner and winemaker, Graci, hosted by senior editor Alison Napjus. In 2004, Alberto Aiello Graci left behind a future career in banking to develop family vineyards and help grow one of Italy’s hottest wine scenes: Sicily’s Mount Etna. His winery explores the unique terroir resulting from this active volcano as well as high altitude viticulture, with vineyard sites situated between 2,000 and 3,300 feet above sea level. Graci's wines are cultivated from the red grapes Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio, and white grapes Carricante and Catarratto. In 2017, Graci formed a joint venture with Piedmont's Angelo Gaja, expanding his portfolio of wines from the indigenous varieties.
Sarah Jessica Parker, co-owner, Invivo X by SJP, hosted by senior editor MaryAnn Worobiec. Sarah Jessica Parker is an actor-producer-designer that recently added wine collaborator to her career achievements. The Sex and the City star partnered with New Zealand winemaking duo Tim Lightbourne and Rob Cameron in 2019 to create a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, and launched a French rosé the following year. She also blended her 2020 vintage via Zoom, along with Invivo's Graham Norton.
Miguel Torres Maczassek, general manager of Familia Torres, hosted by Thomas Matthews, editorial advisor and former lead taster for the wines of Spain. Miguel Torres Maczassek took over his family's vast wine business in 2012. He is the fifth-generation head of Spain's famed winemaking family, which stretches from its home base in Penedès, to other Catalonian appellations such as Conca de Barberà, Priorat and Costers del Segre, and elsewhere across northern Spain, from Ribera del Duero to Rioja, Rueda and Rías Baixas. Over 150 years, each generation has made a lasting mark by pioneering new wines and disrupting the status quo, and Maczassek is revamping the company's successful modern business model, which includes investments in a mosaic of boutique estates and the ultramodern El Lloar winery in Priorat.
Peter Gago, winemaker, Penfolds, hosted by senior editor MaryAnn Worobiec. Peter Gago joined Penfolds in 1989, and became chief winemaker for the Australian winery in 2002; only the 4th winemaker in the brand's history to be the custodian of Grange, the winery's flagship bottling, which won Wine Spectator's Wine of the Year in 1995. Under Gago's direction, Penfolds continues to both maintain their vast portfolio of signature wines and expand with new bottlings.
Priscilla Incisa della Rocchetta, owner, Tenuta San Guido, hosted by senior editor Bruce Sanderson. Priscilla Incisa della Rocchetta travels the world representing one of the most prominent names in Italian wine. She is the third-generation owner of the family estate, which was founded in Bolgheri by Marchesi Mario Incisa della Rocchetta in 1944. Tenuta San Guido's most famous wine, Sassicaia, was introduced to the world in 1968, and is a Bordeaux-inspired blend that gave birth to both the super Tuscan category and the Bolgheri region.
Annette Alvarez-Peters, former head of Costco Wholesale Corp.'s alcohol sales, hosted by senior editor James Molesworth. Annette Alvarez-Peters became a wine buyer for Costco in 1995, following brief stints in the electronics and auto departments during her 36-year career at the wholesale company. Alvarez-Peters recently retired from her position as the general merchandise manager for one of the largest wine retail programs in the world, with over $2 billion in wine sales and $4.4 billion in total beverage alcohol sales in 2018. Peters continues to pursue other projects, including Wine Unify, a diversity program which fosters wine education for underrepresented minority groups.
Brice de la Morandière, managing director, Domaine Leflaive, hosted by senior editor Bruce Sanderson. Brice de la Morandière is the fourth-generation to take the helm of his family's famed Burgundy estate, which has been making classic-rated wines for decades, and is Puligny's flagship domaine. De la Morandière was named managing director in 2015, after spending 30 years in the corporate world, and also chairs the Association des Domaines Familiaux, a 26-member group of Burgundy domaines that counts among its members Marquis d'Angerville, Georges Roumier, Armand Rousseau, Domaine de Villaine, Jean-Marie Raveneau and Joseph Drouhin.
Olivier Krug, managing director, Krug Champagne, hosted by senior editor Alison Napjus. Olivier Krug is the sixth-generation director of his family's Champagne house, and the eldest of former director Henri Krug's children. Krug joined the 177-year-old family business in 1989 after studying finance and economics in Paris, and was promoted to director in 2013. The Champagne house, which produces classic-rated wines year after year, was bought by luxury goods company LVMH in 1999, and recently appointed the winery's first female chef de cave.
Marilisa Allegrini, CEO, Allegrini, hosted by senior editor Alison Napjus. Marilisa and her brother, winemaker Franco, are the sixth-generation owners of their family estate in northern Italy's Valpolicella region, which dates back to the 16th century. The brother-sister team took the reins in 1983, after their father Giovanni passed away, successfully growing the Amarone-producing estate and later expanding the family's footprint to include two additional estates in Tuscany, Poggio al Tesoro and Poggio San Polo.
Axel Heinz, winemaker and estate director for Tuscany's Ornellaia and Masseto, hosted by senior editor Bruce Sanderson. Axel Heinz was born in Munich, and family connections took him to Bordeaux where he fell in love with wine. While in Bordeaux, Heinz studied agricultural science and enology, and eventually worked for Château La Dominique in Saint Émilion before joining Bolgheri's Ornellaia in 2005. Since then, he has continued to make world-renowned wines with consistently classic ratings.
Jean-Baptiste Rivail, CEO, Newton Vineyard, hosted by senior editor MaryAnn Worobiec. Jean-Baptiste Rivail's background is in international law and economics, but he also comes from a family of wine merchants who worked in the southern French Alps. Following a career as a business developer for Hennessy Cognac, Rivail joined Newton Vineyard as estate director in 2017. He runs the 560-acre St. Helena estate, mostly planted to Cabernet Sauvignon on steep hillsides, ranging from 500 to 1,600 feet.
Véronique Drouhin-Boss, winemaker, Maison Joseph Drouhin and Domaine Drouhin, hosted by senior editor Bruce Sanderson. From Burgundy to Oregon, Véronique Drouhin-Boss has been mastering New and Old World Pinot Noir and Chardonnay since becoming the fourth generation winemaker at the 140-year-old family estate over 30 years ago. Drouhin-Boss continues to make wine at the Willamette Valley estate, while overseeing the quality of her grand cru fleet of wines in Burgundy.
Mary J. Blige, founder and owner, Sun Goddess Wines, hosted by senior editor MaryAnn Worobiec. Mary J. Blige is a nine-time Grammy Award winner and Oscar nominee whose career spans nearly three decades. Earlier this year, Blige added wine to her repertoire and launched Sun Goddess in partnership with Fantinel winery in northeast Italy. Her debut 2019 bottles include a skin-contact Pinot Grigio, reviving the ramato winemaking tradition, and a Sauvignon Blanc.
Louis-Fabrice Latour, president of Maison Louis Latour, hosted by senior editor Bruce Sanderson. Louis-Fabrice Latour took over the 223-year-old Burgundian firm in 1999, following several decades of growth under his father's leadership. Since taking control of one of the largest négociants in Burgundy, Louis-Fabrice has continued to push the boundaries, purchasing vineyards in Beaujolais and Chablis, and producing an average of 750,000 cases of wine each year.
Robin Lail, founder and owner, Lail Vineyards, hosted by senior editor MaryAnn Worobiec. Robin Lail is a 4th generation vintner and among the biggest contributors to Napa Valley's renowned reputation. Born to John Daniel, Jr., former owner of Inglenook and one of the greatest winemakers in California history, Lail sought to follow in her father's footsteps. Throughout her years, she worked behind the scenes for Napa superstars Robert Mondavi, Bill Harlan, Christian Moueix, and eventually started her own winery with Philippe Melka as winemaker. Her forthcoming memoir will reflect on the forces that shaped her trajectory as a guiding light of Napa Valley.
Michel Chapoutier, owner and winemaker at M. Chapoutier, hosted by senior editor James Molesworth. The Rhône's dynamic master of Hermitage assumed control of his family's Northern Rhône winery in 1990, and has grown the brand to become the largest vineyard owner on the prestigious hill of Hermitage. M. Chapoutier produces over 500,000 cases per year, and consistently churns out classic-rated wines.
Erwan Faiveley, CEO of Domaine Faiveley, hosted by senior editor Bruce Sanderson. Erwan Faiveley is the seventh generation overseeing one of Burgundy’s largest grand cru site holders. Faiveley took over the 195-year-old family business in 2005, at the age of 25, and has since been establishing his own fingerprint on its classic-rated wines. In the past decade alone, Faiveley's acquisitions have brought the winery's holdings to nearly 350 acres, ranging from Chablis to the Côte Chalonnaise.
Cristie Kerr, owner and founder, Kerr Cellars, hosted by senior editor MaryAnn Worobiec. Cristie Kerr is one of the most accomplished athletes in women's golf, with 20 LPGA Tour wins to her name and nine Solheim Cup wins. Kerr made her wine debut with her Curvature label in 2006, partnering with Napa's Pride Mountain Vineyards to make Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. In 2013, Kerr started her Kerr Cellars venture with all-star winemaker Helen Keplinger, and has been making Pinot Noir and both red and white Bordeaux blends since then. In August, Constellation Brands took a minority stake in her wine company.
Eric Ripert, chef and owner of Le Bernardin restaurant, hosted by executive editor Thomas Matthews. Eric Ripert was born in France, but has worked in New York city since 1991, as chef and then co-owner of Le Bernardin, widely considered the best seafood-focused restaurant in the country. While his restaurant is the epitome of fine dining, Ripert has spent most of the pandemic shutdown helping a broader community, working with chef José Andrés' World Central Kitchen to feed front-line workers. Le Bernardin, which holds Wine Spectator's Best of Award of Excellence for its wine list, re-opened for dinner service in its dining room on Sept. 30.
Ken Forrester, owner and winemaker, Ken Forrester Wines, hosted by associate tasting coordinator Aleks Zecevic. Ken Forrester founded his eponymous estate back in 1993, making the first vintage in 1994. Forrester is a trailblazer, committed to showcasing the potential of Chenin Blanc in South Africa, and has received a number of outstanding scores from Wine Spectator. His wines were even served at Nelson Mandela's 85th birthday party. Apart from being a vintner, Ken is also a restaurateur.
Larry Stone, co-founder and CEO of Lingua Franca Wines, hosted by senior editor Bruce Sanderson. Larry Stone started his wine career as a sommelier, becoming the 9th Master Sommelier in the United States, and left the restaurant business in 2006 to manage Rubicon Estate in Napa Valley, and later Evening Land Vineyards in Oregon. In 2013, the Seattle-native purchased a promising site in the Eola-Amity Hills of Oregon and planted 66 acres of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Two years later, he founded Lingua Franca with David Honig and consulting winemaker Dominique Lafon.
CJ McCollum, NBA player and owner of Pinot Noir brand McCollum Heritage 91, hosted by senior editor MaryAnn Worobiec. CJ McCollum is a shooting guard for the Portland Trail Blazers, and recently launched his 2018 Pinot Noir in partnership with Oregon's Adelsheim Vineyard.
Joel Gott, owner and winemaker, Joel Gott Wines, hosted by senior editor James Molesworth. Joel Gott is a fifth generation California vintner who launched his wine label in 1996 with his Amador County Zinfandel. The value-oriented vintner's portfolio contains Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and other wines with fruit sourced from Oregon and Washington. Gott is also part of the Three Thieves wine brand with fellow winemakers Charles Bieler and Roger Scommegna, and owns the popular Gott's Roadside restaurants in Napa Valley.
Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon, Chef de Cave, Champagne Louis Roederer, hosted by senior editor Bruce Sanderson. Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon grew up in Reims and developed an early passion for Champagne. He studied vine growing and enology at the École Nationale Supérieure d'Agronomie of Montpellier and joined Louis Roederer in 1989. A decade later, he was appointed Chef de Cave, and additionally in 2006, executive vice president in charge of the production of all the Roederer properties.
Nik Weis, owner and winemaker, Nik Weis St.-Urbans-Hof, hosted by associate tasting coordinator Aleks Zecevic. The Weis family has been making wine for more than 200 years in the small town of Leiwen in the Mosel Valley. But it wasn't until 1947 that the now-famous St.-Urbans-Hof winery started. Nik Weis joined the estate in 1997 after studying viticulture and enology, and took charge in 2003. His passion for viticulture and his region is reflected in his wines, and even though he only produces Riesling, he likes to say that he only makes Mosel.
Katharina Prüm, owner and winemaker, Joh. Jos. Prüm, hosted by associate tasting coordinator Aleks Zecevic. The Prüms have a long history of winemaking in the Mosel, with many estates carrying the name. Maybe most famous out of them all is Joh. Jos. Prüm, which was founded in 1911. Today, the estate is run by Dr. Katharina Prüm, who has been working alongside her father Manfred for the last two decades. Prüm is dedicated to continuing the family style of producing non-dry wines of great complexity, purity of the fruit and mineral expression, as well as their renowned longevity.
Dan Petroski, winemaker at Larkmead Cellars and Massican, hosted by senior editor James Molesworth. Dan Petroski joined Larkmead in 2006 as an intern with no formal winemaking background. Since then, he's been making stellar Cabernets out of Larkmead, one of Napa's most storied estates, and Italian-inspired white wines with his personal label, Massican, which he started in 2009.
Aurelio Montes, owner and winemaker, Viña Montes, and president of Wines of Chile, hosted by executive editor Thomas Matthews. Aurelio Montes is one of Chile's most talented winemakers, and is among the fathers of Chile's modern wine revolution. A native of Santiago, Montes studied enology at Catholic University, graduating in 1971, then built a career working in the cellars of historic companies such as Undurraga and Viña San Pedro. In 1988, Montes started his Chilean winery from scratch with three partners, including the late Douglas Murray. Since then, the peripatetic vintner has expanded to Argentina and California with his Kaiken and Napa Angel labels respectively.
Andy Erickson, winemaker, hosted by senior editor James Molesworth. Erickson has become one of Napa Valley's top winemakers over the years, consulting for top-flight Cabernet producers including Mayacamas, Dalla Valle and To Kalon Vineyard Company. The Midwest native started his career at Harlan Estate before becoming winemaker at Staglin Family Vineyards in 2001, and eventually created his own wine consulting firm, where he helped make wines for cult-Cabernet producer Screaming Eagle. Erickson and his wife and viticulturist Annie Favia also run their own winery, Favia.
Piero Antinori, honorary president of Marchesi Antinori, hosted by senior editor Bruce Sanderson. Antinori has led the 26-generation family business since 1966, and helped create the super Tuscan category with the first releases of non-traditional red blends Tignanello and Solaia. The renowned vintner has also launched wine projects from Chile to Napa Valley, and received Wine Spectator's Distinguished Service Award in 1999.
Philippe Pascal, owner of Cellier aux Moines, hosted by senior editor Bruce Sanderson. Philippe Pascal began his career at luxury goods conglomerate LVMH, advising the chairman himself, megabillionaire Bernard Arnault, before retiring to pursue Chardonnay and Pinot Noir at a 900-year-old monastery near the village of Givry. Pascal purchased Cellier aux Moines in 2004, and runs the Burgundy winery with his wife Catherine and their three children.
Rick Tigner, president and CEO of Jackson Family Wines, hosted by executive editor Thomas Matthews. Tigner joined Jackson Family Wines in 1991, following positions at E. & J. Gallo and Louis M. Martini, and became CEO in 2015. The Sonoma-based executive oversees more than 40 wineries worldwide, including Kendall-Jackson, in locations throughout California, Oregon, France, Italy, Chile, Australia, and South Africa.
Charles Springfield, sommelier, educator and author, hosted by senior editor James Molesworth. The New York-based sommelier specializes in teaching wine courses, hosting wine-related events and promoting wine appreciation through his lifestyle marketing company. Last year, Springfield released his first wine education book, "The Less is More Approach to Wine", and recently published his newest book, "Maneuvering Rosé Wine with Style."
Greg and Morgan Norman, founder and proprietor, respectively, of Greg Norman Estates, hosted by senior editor MaryAnn Worobiec. Greg Norman is a professional golfer-turned-businessman whose Great White Shark Enterprises designs and builds golf courses, among numerous other ventures. Norman started his Australian Shiraz and Cabernet label in 1996, and has since expanded the collection to New Zealand and California varieties. His daughter, Morgan, has been playing a bigger role in the family business with her marketing and brand redesign strategies.
Bart and Jaime Araujo, owners of Accendo Cellars, hosted by senior editor James Molesworth. Bart Araujo's journey to Napa started in 1990, when he and his wife, Daphne, became proprietors of the historic Eisele Vineyard and launched Araujo Estate Wines, which was later bought by French billionaire François Pinault. Now, Bart and his daughter Jaime are partners at the Cabernet estate, with Jaime also spearheading her own brand, Trois Noix, on the side.
Rajat Parr, sommelier, author and proprietor/partner at Domaine de la Côte and Sandhi Wines in California and Evening Land Vineyards in Oregon, hosted by senior editor Bruce Sanderson. Parr was born in Calcutta, India, and made his way to the U.S. after high school, eventually graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in 1996. Parr climbed the ranks of sommelier stardom and became wine director at the Michael Mina restaurant group in 2003, and pivoted to winemaking shortly after in Santa Barbara's Sta. Rita Hills, then Oregon where his three wine labels specialize in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Parr is also the author of "Secrets of the Sommeliers" and "The Sommelier's Atlas of Taste."
Lamberto Frescobaldi, president of Marchesi de' Frescobaldi, hosted by senior editor Bruce Sanderson. In the mid-1980s, the Tuscan aristocrat spent four years in California studying viticulture and enology at UC Davis, and from the mid-1990s until 2004 developed a partnership in Tuscany with Robert Mondavi. Today, Frescobaldi leads his family's 700-year-old wine business, whose wine empire includes 10 Tuscan estates, from Chianti's Castella Nipozzano to Bolgheri's Ornellaia and Masseto.
Cathy Corison, winemaker at Corison Winery, hosted by senior editor James Molesworth. The Napa-based winemaker started her Cabernet journey nearly 45 years ago, when Napa only had 30 wineries to its name. After working at Chappellet in the 1980s, Corison consulted with Rombauer, Etude and Staglin, and eventually started her small, family-run winery in 1987.
Charles Woodson, owner of Intercept Wines, hosted by senior editor MaryAnn Worobiec. Woodson is a Heisman Trophy winner, Super Bowl champion and former NFL Defensive MVP. In 2005, he got his start in the wine business with TwentyFour, a high-end Cabernet label out of Napa, and recently launched Intercept, a collection of Paso Robles and Monterey wines comprising Cabernet, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and a red blend.
Eben Sadie, winemaker at Sadie Family Wines, hosted by associate tasting coordinator Aleks Zecevic. Sadie is one of the trailblazers of South African winemakers, known for embracing the forgotten old vines of South Africa and promoting the heritage of the country. He founded his winery back in 1999, after working at Spice Route, and since then has become an almost celebrity in the world of wine, crafting single-vineyard bottlings that have inspired a whole new generation of South African winemakers.
Ben Aneff, president of the U.S. Wine Trade Alliance and managing partner at Tribeca Wine Merchants, hosted by news editor Mitch Frank. In 2006, Aneff got his start in the wine trade by joining Tribeca Wine Merchants, a New York-based wine shop specializing in Burgundy, and eventually became managing partner in 2014. Earlier this year, Aneff became president of the U.S. Wine Trade Alliance, which represents members of the U.S. wine industry who oppose wine tariffs.
Tonya Pitts, wine director, One Market Restaurant in San Francisco, hosted by executive editor Thomas Matthews. Pitts, who also worked at Zuni Café and Stars in San Francisco, oversees a 600-selection list that holds a Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence. She serves on the advisory board of Wine Unify.
Terry Arnold, senior vice president, human resources, Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits, hosted by executive editor Thomas Matthews. With approximately 20,000 employees, SGWS is the nation's largest distributor; Arnold, a former captain in the U.S. Army, is responsible for developing and implementing policies to manage and motivate this team. Among his leadership roles is working with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
André Mack, sommelier, vintner and author, hosted by executive editor Thomas Matthews. Mack got his start as a sommelier at the Palm in San Antonio, and eventually became head sommelier at chef Thomas Keller's Grand Award winner Per Se in New York. Mack founded Maison Noir, his Oregon wine label, in 2007, and also became a restaurateur and wine shop owner with & Sons, a ham bar in Brooklyn, and neighboring Vyne Yard.
Julia Coney, journalist and educator, hosted by executive editor Thomas Matthews. Coney has been a wine writer and educator since 2016. She is an advocate for diversity in the wine industry and recently founded Black Wine Professionals, devoted to finding and developing talented new voices.
Will Blackmon, former NFL star and owner of The Wine MVP, hosted by senior editor James Molesworth. Nicknamed "The NFL Wine Guy," Blackmon is a former Super Bowl champion whose client-based service covers personal wine buying, educational opportunities, private events and a monthly subscription wine box.
Brenae Royal, vineyard manager, Monte Rosso vineyard, hosted by senior editor James Molesworth. Royal manages a historic California vineyard that dates to the late 1800s, and is now owned by E. & J. Gallo.
Mac McDonald, owner and winemaker of Vision Cellars, hosted by executive editor Thomas Matthews. The Sonoma-based winemaker fell in love with Burgundian-style Pinot Noir at an early age, and focuses on making complex Pinot Noir in California. McDonald is also the founder and chairman of the Association of African American Vintners (AAAV), a voice for Black-owned wineries and winemakers.
Carlton McCoy, CEO of Heitz Cellar, hosted by executive editor Thomas Matthews. McCoy is a Master Sommelier and former wine director at Grand Award–winning restaurant the Little Nell. McCoy joined the legendary Napa winery in 2018, teaming with agriculture magnate and owner Gaylon Lawrence Jr.
Anthony Hamilton Russell, owner of Hamilton Russell Vineyards, hosted by associate tasting coordinator Aleks Zecevic. Hamilton Russell is the second generation family owner of Hamilton Russell Vineyards, the pioneering Pinot Noir and Chardonnay specialist in the strongly maritime Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, 75 miles southeast of Cape Town in South Africa. Anthony is entering his 30th year at the helm as Hamilton Russell Vineyards celebrates its 40th vintage of estate grown Pinot Noir.
Film producer and importer Martine Saunier of Martine's Wines, hosted by senior editor Bruce Sanderson. Saunier was a pioneer in French estates, introducing Leroy, Henri Jayer and Château Rayas to the U.S.
David Ramey, owner and winemaker, Ramey Wine Cellars, hosted by senior editor Bruce Sanderson. Ramey has influenced California's Chardonnay supremacy during a winemaking career spanning nearly 40 years.
Roger Nabedian, general manager of E. & J. Gallo's premium wine division, hosted by senior editor Bruce Sanderson. Nabedian's portfolio includes 15 wineries in premier grape-growing areas of California and Washington; its LUX Wines division imports iconic wineries from Italy.
Christian Navarro, president of Wally’s Wines & Spirits, hosted by executive editor Thomas Matthews. Wally's, with locations in Beverly HIlls and Santa Monica, is known for its large wine selection and star clientele. Its in-house restaurant holds a Grand Award.
Winemaker Paul Hobbs, hosted by senior editor Bruce Sanderson. Hobbs, based in Sonoma County, excels with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, and consults with wineries around the world.
Chris Carpenter, winemaker at Jackson Family Wines, hosted by senior editor James Molesworth. Carpenter focuses on the small-production, highly focused wines beneath the company's umbrella, including Lokoya, Mt. Brave, La Jota and Cardinale.
Grand Award–winning chef Charlie Palmer, hosted by executive editor Thomas Matthews. Palmer's restaurants, in New York, Washington, D.C., Nevada and California wine country, hold seven Wine Spectator Restaurant Awards.
Aviram Turgeman, wine director at Chef Driven Restaurant Group, hosted by senior editor James Molesworth. Chef Driven holds eight Awards from Wine Spectator for their wine lists, including a Grand Award at New York's Nice Matin.
Marcello Fiorentino, chef and owner of Grand Award winner Marcello's La Sirena, hosted by executive editor Thomas Matthews. La Sirena, family-owned since 1986, is located in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Diana Snowden Seysses, winemaker at Snowden Vineyards and Domaine Dujac, hosted by senior editor James Molesworth
Maison Louis Jadot president Pierre-Henry Gagey, hosted by senior editor Bruce Sanderson
Argentinian vintner Laura Catena, managing director of Catena Zapata, hosted by senior editor James Molesworth
Napa vintner David Duncan, proprietor and CEO of Silver Oak, Ovid and Twomey, hosted by senior editor James Molesworth
French vintner Jean-Charles Cazes, owner of Château Lynch Bages and general manager of Famille JM Cazes, hosted by senior editor James Molesworth
Importer, marketer and vintner Bill Terlato, CEO of Terlato Wine Group and Terlato Wines, hosted by senior editor Bruce Sanderson
Megastar singer P!nk (Alecia Moore), owner of Two Wolves Wine, hosted by senior editor James Molesworth
South African vintner Jean Engelbrecht, proprietor of Rust en Vrede, hosted by senior editor James Molesworth
California vintner Bill Price, owner of Three Sticks, hosted by senior editor Bruce Sanderson
Joe Wagner, founder and CEO of Copper Cane Wines, hosted by senior editor James Molesworth
Michael Quinttus, president and CEO of importer Vintus, hosted by senior editor Bruce Sanderson
Napa grape king Andy Beckstoffer, hosted by senior editor James Molesworth
Sherry-Lehmann CEO Chris Adams, hosted by senior editor Bruce Sanderson
Wilson Daniels president Rocco Lombardo, hosted by senior editor Bruce Sanderson
Chef Emeril Lagasse, hosted by executive editor Thomas Matthews
Restaurateur Danny Meyer, hosted by executive editor Thomas Matthews
California Chardonnay master Mark Aubert, hosted by senior editor James Molesworth
Napa winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown, hosted by senior editor James Molesworth
Chef and World Central Kitchen founder José Andrés, hosted by executive editor Thomas Matthews
Altamarea Group beverage director Hristo Zisovski, hosted by senior editor James Molesworth
Symington Family Estates CEO Rupert Symington, hosted by senior editor James Molesworth
Heitz Cellar CEO Carlton McCoy, hosted by senior editor James Molesworth
Importer Michael Skurnik, hosted by senior editor James Molesworth