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Mary Ewing-Mulligan, MW was the first woman to earn certification as a Master of Wine and is co-author of Wine for Dummies and numerous 12 other wine books, as well as Director of the International Wine Center in New York City since 1984. Mary also writes frequently for newspapers and magazines and travels the world extensively in the course of covering wine. She is an experienced and sought-after wine judge and has been Chief Judge of Critics Challenge since its inception. @MEMMW

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 Director of the San Diego Wine & Spirits Challenge, Winemaker Challenge International Wine Competition and Sommelier Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition in addition to the Critics Challenge. @wineguru


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 Decanter, Forbes, The 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

Laurie Daniel, a resident of northern California, has been writing about wine for more than 20 years, most prominently the San Jose Mercury News. Laurie is an experienced wine judge who has evaluated wines at competitions around the globe. This will be her second appearance as a judge at the Critics Challenge.

Michael Franz is Editor of 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

Ed McCarthy is co-author of Wine for Dummies and solo author of Champagne for Dummies and 12 other wine books. Ed’s broad experience with wines the world over is invaluable in an important international wine competition, and he has judged at every one of the previous ten Critics Challenges. Ed also writes a column for @EdChampagne

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 Linda recently became Executive Editor of Sonoma Magazine. @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 This will be his second trip west (Joe is based in Philadelphia) to participate in the Critics Challenge. @1WineDude

Leslie Sbrocco, aka Thirsty Girl, is one of the NBC Today Show's requent 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, which are clearly his passion. Jeff has written five other books. @winecurmudgeon

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). Deborah is a frequent contributor to Sommelier Journal and other nationally distributed wine and spirits publications. Deb-authored the Guide to Everyday Wines. This will be her second appearance at Critics Challenge. @ParkerWong



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