Tim McNally Wine Journalist; Broadcast, Print and Internet 

Tim McNally is the host of the daily two-hour radio program, The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, broadcast regionally on WGSO 990AM in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast, which has been on the air for over 12 years. The program is streamed, and the broadcasts as well as the stored podcasts are available on www.wgso.com. 

Tim is a Founding Member of the Board of Directors for the Museum of the American Cocktail based in New Orleans. Tim gives many lectures each year about wine and its history. He is a guest lecturer at Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, in the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management.

Tim is:

  • the wine and spirits editor, feature writer and featured columnist, Last Call, for New Orleans Magazine, a monthly publication;
  • the wine and spirits editor and weekly columnist, Happy Hour, for www.myneworleans.com; and
  • annually serves as a professional judge for more than 8 professional wine competitions along the Gulf Coast, in the South, the Midwest, Oregon, Washington State, and California. He has also judged a number of wine competitions in Portugal.



Heidi Barrett Winemaker

Heidi Peterson Barrett is one of the world’s most renowned and respected winemakers. Since the 1980s, she has created some of the Napa Valley’s most famous wines, including Screaming Eagle, Dalla Valle, Grace Family, Paradigm, and many others. She started her own brand, La Sirena, in 1994, and began her collaboration brand, Barrett & Barrett, with her husband, Bo Barrett of Chateau Montelena, in 2010.

Heidi got her start at a young age. Her father, Dick Peterson, is a scientist-winemaker, and her mother, Diane, an artist. She gravitated toward both fields, and found that the world of wine was an ideal place for her to explore and combine these passions. Growing up, she worked in numerous vineyards and wineries alongside her dad, and decided to pursue it as a career, attending UC Davis for fermentation science and going on to several internships and positions in the industry.

Her career took off in the late 80s when she began working for Dalla Valle as an “independent winemaker”. She began to develop a tiny project called Screaming Eagle shortly afterwards, and from there, things escalated quickly. With 5 perfect 100-point scores for her wines in the span of just a few years, Heidi skyrocketed to international fame, setting a world record for the highest price ever paid for a single bottle of wine ($500,000 for a 6L of 1992 Screaming Eagle at the Napa Valley Wine Auction in 2000).

Today, Heidi maintains a stable of ultra-premium client wineries, including Paradigm, Lamborn, Amuse Bouche, Au Sommet, Fantesca, and Kenzo, as well as her own brands La Sirena and Barrett & Barrett. She and Bo live among their vineyards in Calistoga. In her free time, she enjoys scuba diving, flying her helicopter, making art, and gardening.



Jim Caudill, Director, Marketing Communications, Treasury Wine Estates, Napa, CA

As part of the marketing team at Treasury Wine Estates, the world’s most celebrated wine company, Jim has particular responsibility for public relations support for notable Treasury wineries Beringer, Chateau St Jean, Sterling, Provenance and Etude, among others.  His work in the tourism industry early in his career, where the intersection of food & wine was well underway, led to his interest in wine and a now two-decade old career as consultant for wineries such as Westwood Estate, Wakefield and organizations such as SIP (Sustainability In Practice) and as in-house marketing communications director for several notable wine companies, wine organizations and wineries. He began his career as a newspaper reporter and photographer, and continues to contribute to trade and hospitality magazines as a journalist. His assignments have taken him to wine growing regions in France, Italy, Chile and Argentina, as well as throughout California. He has judged regularly at the San Francisco International, San Francisco Chronicle, San Diego, Sunset, Las Vegas, Sauvignon Blanc Challenge, Zinfandel Challenge, Grand Harvest, West Coast Wine, International Eastern and Green wine competitions and is a member of the Wine Century Club, whose members have tasted and explored at least 100 distinct varietals (Jim is cresting the 200 mark).



Chris Cook Michigan State University and Head Judge, Michigan Wine Competition, Detroit/Lansing

Chris Cook was born in London, raised in France, and came to live in the United States at age nineteen. 

He enlisted for three years in the US Army, served in a combat engineer unit of the Third Infantry Division, which meant he froze his butt off on the Czechoslovakian border, and to this day he remains amazed that he managed to avoid shooting either an animal or a human being. 

He then attended Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York, where he was a mediocre student. Eventually, he took interest in the family business and became a journalist. He held successive reporter and editor positions at newspapers and magazines across the country. 

In 1981-82 he was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Journalism Fellowship at the University of Michigan.

Cook worked at the Staten Island Advance, Newsday on Long Island N.Y., the San Diego Union, the Kansas City Times, and the Detroit Free Press, where he covered news, politics, crime, courts and wrote also about food, wine and restaurants. He was also a member of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize at Newsday for a 38-part series on heroin traffic in the New York area.

In 1995, Cook migrated to freelance writing and television production. He field produced regional news events in the Midwest for ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN. His worked in news and documentary film, primarily for local PBS affiliated stations, has been awarded fifteen regional EMMYs. 

In 2006, Cook became the Chief Restaurant Critic and Wine Writer for HOUR Detroit, the high-end glossy monthly in the Detroit area. 



Eric Degerman Great Northwest Wine, Journalist and Professional Judge

Eric Degerman was born in Portland, Ore., raised in Spokane, Wash., and graduated from the University of Washington prior to sinking roots in the Columbia Valley and the Pacific Northwest wine industry.

While earning his history degree, he worked in the sports department at The Seattle Times, which set him up for 25 years as an editor and award-winning sports writer at the Tri-City (Wash.) Herald. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest, becoming a food writer and wine judge. In 2013, he became president and CEO of Great Northwest Wine, an award-winning journalism site he co-founded with wine writer Andy Perdue.

Along the way, they launched a weekly wine column that is syndicated in 22 newspapers and has a potential print and online audience of more than 5 million readers. Eric also is the wine columnist for Portrait of Portland/Seattle magazine and contributes to the Idaho Statesman.

Eric co-owns and operates the Pacific Northwest’s two largest international wine competitions — the Cascadia International and the Great Northwest Invitational — as well as the Washington State Wine Competition and the Walla Walla Valley Wine Competition, which are fundraisers for the viticulture and enology programs at Yakima Valley College and Walla Walla Community College, respectively. He also organizes the Platinum Judging on behalf of Wine Press Northwest.

His judging history includes the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, Oregon Wine Competition, Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo International Wine Competition, Pacific Rim International Wine Competition, Grand Harvest Awards, Long Beach Grand Cru, Riverside International Wine Competition, Northwest Wine Summit, British Columbia Wine Awards, Okanagan Fall Wine Festival, Washington State Wine Competition, Savor Northwest Wine Awards, Tri-Cities Wine Festival, Idaho Wine Competition, Oregon’s Greatest of the Grape, the Wenatchee Wine and Food Festival Wine Competition and the Capital Food & Wine Festival Wine Competition.

He lives in Washington wine country with Traci, his wife of 26 years, and felines Anakin, Hondo and Pinky.


Jack Jelenko,  International Wine Representative, Partners Wine Group, New Orleans, LA

Jack’s involvement with the wine business spans more than 45 years and his experience directs the development, sales and marketing for the Partners Wine Marketing Group, Inc.

 He has served as Director of Food and Beverage for a major hotel in Vail, Colorado, where he developed one of the leading restaurant wine programs of the mid-Seventies, and has consulted to various wine programs in San Francisco, Denver, Boston, and New Orleans.

He lived and worked in the major wine producing regions. Upon his return to the United States, he was employed  as the National Sales Manager with a national wine marketing firm.

 In 1983, Jack launched his company, the Partners Wine Marketing Group, Inc, which included properties from France, California, Australia, and South Africa. Today, Partners Wine Group, Inc.  focuses on top family properties from diverse corners of the world.

 Within the industry, Jack is a member of the Confrérie de La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, the L’Ordre de Côteaux de Champagne, and a Certified Wine Locations Specialist. Additionally, he was the founder and President of the Crescent City Restaurant Rebirth Project, a non-profit foundation created to help rebuild the New Orleans restaurant community immediately after Hurricane Katrina.


Ellen Landis Certified Sommelier, Wine Journalist, Professional Wine Judge

Ellen is the author of the blog EllenOnWine.com and writes for the AWS Wine Journal magazine (AmericanWineSociety.org) and Spirited magazine (www.spiritbiz.com) among other publications. 

Ellen is a moderator for the highly acclaimed Vintner’s Holidays annual event at the Majestic (formerly Ahwahnee) Hotel in Yosemite, and participates as a key speaker, moderator and panelist at various other wine events. For sixteen years, she and husband Ken co-owned award-winning Landis Shores Oceanfront Inn where Ellen served as Wine Director and Sommelier. They recently sold their Inn to devote more time to the world of wine.  Ellen was also a Sommelier at the Ritz Carlton for several years. 

In addition to an MBA, Ellen’s wine education includes UC Davis viticulture course work, CSW certification from the Society of Wine Educators program, and holds the credential of Certified Sommelier from the Court of Master Sommeliers.  Ellen serves as a judge at numerous national and international wine competitions including the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition, Finger Lakes International Wine Competition, Mid-American Wine Competition, The Great American International Wine Competition, California State Fair Wine Competition, American Fine Wine Competition, North Coast Wine Challenge, Amador County Fair Wine Competition, Sonoma Harvest Fair Wine Competition, East Meets West Competition, Harvest Challenge International Wine Competition, The Cascadia Wine Competition, Savor Northwest Wine Competition, Dan Berger International Wine Competition, Michigan Wine & Spirits Competition, Jefferson Cup Invitational Wine Competition, Mendocino County Wine Competition, Monterey Wine Competition, Wine Press Northwest Platinum Judging, Selections Mondiales des Vins Canada, and the Central Coast Wine Competition.



Ken Landis Chef, Professional Wine Judge

Ken recently retired as Chef and co-owner (with wife and Sommelier Ellen) at Landis Shores Oceanfront Inn (named one of the top 15 Inns for Wine Connoisseurs in North America.  Transitioning to working as a consulting chef in Vancouver/Portland area.

He has traveled many wine regions throughout North America including Canada, New York, Virginia, Oregon, Washington, California; international wine regions including Bordeaux, Champagne, Burgundy, Rhone, Tuscany as well as throughout Israel, Australia, Chile, Argentina, Spain and Portugal.  

In addition to creating recipes for Landis Shores, Ken participates as a guest chef at off-site events including the Lodi ZinFest, creating and demonstrating unique recipes, and attends numerous trade events to assist in choosing top notch wines from around the globe for their wine cellar.  In addition to his engineering degree, Ken has successfully completed wine courses at UC Davis, and course work at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco.  He participates in numerous blind tastings, and regularly participates as a wine judge at various wine competitions including the California State Fair Wine Competition, The Sonoma Harvest Fair Wine Competition, American Fine Wine Competition, The Grand Harvest Wine Competition, the Amador County Fair Wine Competition, the San Francisco Chronicle Competition, The West Coast Wine Competition, the top 12 ZINS of Lodi, and Affairs of the Vine competitions.   



Charles Mara The Mara Wine Group, Palm Springs, CA

A nationally recognized wine judge, winery producer/owner and wine merchant, Charles F. Mara is a force within the wine industry. Having traveled to many of the world’s most prestigious wine regions, he is a well respected and knowledgeable wine guru who brings to table a love of wine. Wine judge for numerous prestigious wine tastings, as well as serving on several wine tasting panels, Professor of Oenology and member of the Society of Wine Educators, he has also appeared on local TV and Radio shows, was appointed as the Consumer Representative by the Governor of New York to the State Wine Grape Marketing Order Advisory Board, and has been a “Tastemaster” for monthly wine tasting events designed to increase wine awareness and appreciation by consumers. His knowledge has also led him to be a consultant to many restaurateurs and retailers.

Charles is also noticed, not once but twice, in the Guinness Book of World Records. One listing is “most paid for a single bottle of wine,” – an 1806 Lafite-Rothschild for $28,000 (1978) – and the other is “most paid for a bottle case of American wine” – 1979 Opus I for $24,000 (1981).


Brenda Maitland International Food, Wine and Spirits Judge

A New Orleans native, Brenda Maitland became familiar with wine and spirits at an early age. Growing up in an environment with her father in the business, dinnertime wine tastings were a nightly, family affair. Her parents often entertained the many European and U.S. winemakers or brand ambassadors visiting the city.

Years later, armed with a journalism degree from LSU, she took up evening wine studies while maintaining her daytime vocation. As an editor for several business and leisure publications, she wrote about technology, the arts, sports, food and made films before combining her profession with her passion and beginning a wine column nearly 25 years ago.

Following her epicurean lifestyle, Maitland primarily continues her work as a food, wine and spirits writer for national, regional and local publications, currently Gambit Weekly and French Quarterly. Other publications her work has appeared in are Country Roads, TravelHost, New Orleans Magazine, Times-Picayune, Louisiana Cookin’, Home by Design, Gulf Coast Wine and Dine, and Culinary Concierge.

Maitland is a  member of the board of directors of the Museum of the American Cocktail, and a former board member of the Chaine des Rotisseurs, New Orleans Bailliage. She also served as president of the New Orleans Wine Society and is a founder and past board member of the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience.


 Kevin O’Neill, Director of Wine, Antoine’s Restaurant, New Orleans, LA 

Kevin O’Neill is the Director of Wines and Beverages at Antoine’s Restaurant in New Orleans. Antoine’s is a 178-year-old institution with a wine cellar over half a block long that can store over 25,000 bottles of wine. Kevin curates a wine list of over 750 different wines. He started with the restaurant as a busboy and waiter for three years before taking over the cellar. He is a lifelong resident of New Orleans.

He has his level 3 with the Wine and Spirits Education Trust and a bachelor’s degree fromTulane University where he studied English and American Studies. He spent time working as a substitute teacher in New Orleans charter schools, as a writer about education reform for a New Orleans based blog called noladefender.com, and as an extra in the film industry.

When Kevin isn’t filling his bins with wines from emerging regions, he enjoys birding, running along Bayou St. John, and studying modernist poetry and novels. You can reach him at koneill@ antoinesrestaurant.com or @drynwetice.

William Carlos Williams has informed some of the principles that guide his wine interests.

First, every wine has to express itself. Every wine has to express its vintage. Every wine has to express the pure and eternal qualities of the wine of all men.

And second, the wine industry must be constantly in revolution, being reborn and that exactly is the only classic. That the aberrant is the classic.

Rene Suddth, Wine Manager, Galatoire’s Restaurant, New Orleans, LA


Spreti Valenti CS Sommelier and Senior Wine Buyer, Anne’s Boutique Wines, Costa Mesa, CA

Anne’s was ranked the Top Wine Shop in Orange County in 2017.  Spreti serves a professional wine judge for numerous, prestigious wine competitions in the U.S. and Europe (San Francisco Chronicle, LA International, Pacific Rim International (where she is chief Judge) – and in Europe:  Feminalise (Paris) and International Wine Challenge – London). As a consultant and educator, Spreti consults with clients to develop their wine programs and produce widely attended events. Spreti also works as an educator, teaching wine classes to both public events and university audiences.  Spreti’s consulting work has been published in both Spanish and English in the US and Abroad.