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.





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.


Jill Ditmire AWS Certified Wine Judge, Print and Broadcast Journalist

Jill is an Omnimedia Wine Specialist who uses her wine wit and wisdom in print, radio, television and retail. An AWS Certified Wine Judge, Pillsbury BakeOff finalist and owner/buyer of The Mass Ave Wine Shoppe & Cafe in Indianapolis are a few of her other titles. Her “Mermaid Tipsy Tales,” videos about wine and food appear on www.massavewine.com.

She writes the “Wine Scene” column for The Broad Ripple Gazette, “Jill’s Swill” for  Indianapolis Up Downtown magazine and The Word newsmagazine in Indianapolis, Dayton and Cincinnati. Jill is no stranger to the broadcast world. Her face and voice have been a daily part of the lives of  viewers and listeners in the Midwest for 25 years.

Jill is a wine judge working a number of competitions each year since 1999 including the Indy International, San Francisco Chronicle and Sonoma County Harvest Fair.

She graduated from Butler University in 1986 with a BS in Radio/Television and Journalism/Political Science.


Doug Frost Master of Wine and Master Sommelier

Doug Frost is a Master of Wine and Master Sommelier as well as an author and wine consultant based in Kansas City, Missouri. Frost is one of four individuals in the world to hold simultaneously the Master of Wine and Master Sommelier titles, achieving his MS in 1991 and MW in 1993.

In 1991 he passed the rigorous Master Sommelier examination and two years later became America’s eighth Master of Wine. He was the second person in history to complete both exams and a quarter century later he is still one of only four people in the world to have achieved both these remarkable distinctions.

According to USA Today, “Frost likely knows as much as anyone in the world about how to make, market, serve and identify wines.” The Wine Spectator has bestowed the accolade of Master of Spirits on Mr. Frost. In 2006 Frost, along with partners Dale DeGroff, Steve Olson, Paul Pacult, Andy Seymour and David Wondrich created BAR (Beverage Alcohol Resource), a spirits and cocktail educational organization; Cheers Magazine selected BAR and its founders as Innovators of the Year for 2007.

Frost was awarded Beverage Innovator of the Year 2009 by Cheers Magazine. He continues to teach and examine for BAR and within the Master Sommelier and Master of Wine programs; currently he serves as President of the Institute of Masters of Wine North America. Frost has joined with industry pioneer Evan Goldstein MS and Limeng Stroh as a member of the team behind Full Circle Wine Solutions, a wine & spirits education firm that grows brand loyalty and client profits through tailored wine programs and effective hospitality training.

In the past, Frost was a fine wine wholesaler in the Kansas City area for fourteen years and represented most of the best wineries and estates from America and the world. His first book, Uncorking Wine, was released in the summer of 1996, and Frost’s next book, On Wine, published by Rizzoli International, was released in the fall of 2001. The Washington Post calls it “fabulous, witty, engaging and wise… conveys more accumulated wine wisdom than most books 10 times as thick.” Frost’s most recent book, Far From Ordinary: The Spanish Wine Guide, was released in October 2005; the third edition was released in 2011. He is currently working on his contributions to the upcoming Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails, due to be released in 2018. Frost is a contributor to the Oxford Companion of Wine, Opus Vino, The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson and The Wine Report, an annual report edited by Tom Stevenson.

He has written about wine and spirits for many publications including the San Francisco Chronicle, the Underground Wine Journal, Drinks International, Practical Winery & Vineyard, Wines & Vines, Wines & Spirits, Cheers Magazine, Sante Magazine, Hemispheres Magazine, Missouri Life, Fine Cooking, and Epicurious.com, and is the beverage columnist for the James Beard award-winning food section of the Kansas City Star. Frost is the creator and host of the KCPT-TV hosted short series called Ferment Nation; the show has garnered two Mid-America Chapter Regional Emmy® Awards, in 2015 and 2017. His previous TV show, Check Please, Kansas City, was also nominated for a Mid-America Chapter Regional Emmy® Award. He also appears as a featured judge on Public Television’s The Winemakers, PBS’s first nationally broadcast reality show.

After more than a decade Frost continues as United Airlines global wine and spirits consultant, helping to select tens of thousands of cases of wines and spirits each year for service aboard the world’s most important worldwide carrier.

He is the founder and director of the Jefferson Cup Invitational Wine Competition, a seventeen-year-old national competition, is Head Judge and founder of the Mid-American Wine Competition, in its tenth year; he also runs the Washington Cup, a seven-year-old competition for American craft spirits. He consults with many retailers, restaurateurs, wineries and distillers in the realms of marketing, merchandising, sales, education and sensory perception. Mr. Frost lives with his wife and two children in Kansas City, where he spends his spare time listening to his massive punk rock, vintage jazz and weird music collection.



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.


Dave McIntyre Washington Post Wine Columnist

Dave McIntyre has been The Washington Post’s weekly wine columnist since October 2008. His writings have also appeared in Wine Enthusiast, the San Francisco Chronicle, Sommelier Journal, Wines & Vines, Washingtonian and several other publications. Meininger’s Wine Business International magazine listed him as one of the most influential wine writers in the United States, and Worth magazine proclaimed him among “the new guard” of wine criticism. He is a Certified Sommelier by the Court of Master Sommeliers.





Jeff Siegel, The Wine Curmudgeon

Jeff Siegel, the Wine Curmudgeon, is an award-winning wine writer whose blog is one of the top 100 wine sites in the world. He is also the co-founder and former president of Drink Local Wine, the first locavore wine movement, and has written seven books. He lives in Dallas.