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Robert Whitley writes the syndicated Wine Talk column for Creators Syndicate and is publisher of the online publication Robert's columns covering wine and spirits over the past 25 years have appeared in newspapers and magazines from coast to coast, and he also contributes columns and reviews to Robert is Executive Director of the San Diego International Wine & Spirits Challenge, Winemaker Challenge International Wine Competition and Sommelier Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition in addition to the Critics Challenge. @wineguru


Wayne Belding, MS is a Master Sommelier as well as a wine writer. Based in Colorado, Wayne contributes columns and reviews to the online wine publication WineReviewOnline and is a contributor to Sommelier Magazine. This will be Wayne's debut appearance at Critics Challenge.    @WayneBeldingMS
Michael Cervin is the wine and spirits writer for The Hollywood Reporter, and Fine Wine & Liquor Magazine, the largest wine magazine in China. He contributes to DecanterForbesThe Tasting Panel, and He is the author of six books including California Wine Country, and the forthcoming Santa Barbara Booze, in addition to his wine and spirits blog, Boozehoundz.   @MichaelCervin
Jim Clarke is a regular contributor at Wine Enthusiast, Bloomberg, the World of Fine Wine, and Beverage Media as well as a columnist at Wine Review Online. Jim trained as a sommelier and was formerly the wine director at Megu New York for five years and then the Armani Ristorante for two. Jim's writing interests cover wine, spirits and beer. 
Rich Cook is a prolific reviewer of wines for and also serves on the California Grapevine tasting panel. In addition, Rich is a seasoned wine competition pro. After serving six years as Assistant Director of the four "Challenge" competitions based in San , he was promoted to Director in 2017.  Rich also is Director of the Toast of the Coast and Monterey wine competitions.  @RichCookOnWine
Laurie Daniel, a resident of northern California, has been writing about wine for more than 20 years, most prominently for the San Jose Mercury News. Laurie is an experienced wine judge who has evaluated wines at competitions around the globe. This will be her fourth appearance as a judge at the Critics Challenge.   @LDWine
Michael Franz is Editor of and Sommelier Magazine. In addition to those duties, he contributes columns and reviews to WRO and also writes for France Magazine. Michael was wine columnist for the Washington Post for more than a decade before joining Michael also organizes the annual Wine for Oysters competition in Washington, D.C., and is Chief Judge of the San Diego International Wine Competition. @Michael_Franz

Panos Kakaviatos is an American-born wine writer based in Europe, with particular expertise in Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne and the wines of Alsace. Panos has been contributing to Harper's and Decanter since 2001, and also authors the Wine-Chronicles blog. This will be his first appearance at Critics Challenge.  @PanosKakaviatos

Paul Lukacs has been a columnist for Wine Review Online since its inception in 2004. Together with Marguerite Thomas they have written the Wine With column that pairs wines with popular cuisine. Paul also has written columns on a number of other topics for Wine Review Online. He also has written numerous wine books.

Linda Murphy is co-author of American Wine, in collaboration with Jancis Robinson, MW. Linda is the former Editor of the San Francisco Chronicle wine section and currently writes on wine for Decanter and @LindaMurphyWine

Joe Roberts is the talented, eccentric and downright infamous 1WineDude, a wine blogger extraordinaire who makes tasting wine--and reading about tasting wine--relaxed, fun and entertaining. Joe also writes a wine column for @1WineDude
Leslie Sbrocco, aka Thirsty Girl, is one of the NBC Today Show's frequent wine experts and has authored a number of top-selling wine books, including Wine for Women. Leslie also co-hosts an Emmy Award-winning PBS television show in San Francisco, "Check Please," that covers the Bay Area restaurant scene.   @LeslieSbrocco

Jeff Siegel is The Wine Curmudgeon, an eclectic and very popular wine blog that emphasizes affordable wines. Based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Jeff was wine columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Jeff is author of a book about affordable wines, The Wine Curmudgeon Guide to Cheap Wine. Jeff has written five other books.
Marguerite Thomas has written columns for Wine Review Online since its inception in 2004. She has teamed with husband Paul Lukacs to pen the Wine With column that matches wines with popular cuisine. Marguerite also has a keen interest in spirits as well as wine.

Deborah Parker-Wong is Northern California Editor for The Tasting Panel magazine and a frequent judge at important international wine competitions. She has a WSET diploma and is a member of the Circle of Wine Writers (London) and the Wine Media Guild (New York). Deb authored the Guide to Everyday Wines. @ParkerWong
Wilfred Wong is the chief "Storyteller" at Based in San Francisco, Wilfred is well regarded for his prowess at wine evaluation, which makes him much sought after on the wine competition circuit. He's a dedicated wine judge with an impressive cache of tasting notes that go back several decades.



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San Diego
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