The Panel of Judges for 2017

The Competition is a double-blind wine competition conducted by a select panel of esteemed wine judges.
Sean Brosnihan

Sean Brosnihan

After fifteen years in the restaurant industry, Sean relocated to Sonoma County from his native New England to pursue his passion for wine.

Sean has been with Jordan Winery in the Alexander Valley for the last eight years, operating the Guest Services Department. Sean oversees direct to consumer sales and the visitor experience for all guests at Jordan Winery.

Francois Cordesse

Francois Cordesse

Now Associate Winemaker at Coppola Winery, he was formerly Head Winemaker at Metanzas Creek Winery, and before that Winemaker for Greenstone Winery, Clos du Lac Cellars.

Francois has been a judge at the Riverside International Wine Competition, and Guest Lecturer at UC Davis Extension. He holds a graduate degree in Enology from the University of Montpellier, France.

Debra Del Fiorentino

Debra Del Fiorentino

International Wine Judge, Sommelier, Certified Wine Professional and Certified Specialist of Wine.

She currently holds the esteemed position of Director of Wine Competitions for Vineyard & Winery Management.

Rick Fraga

Rick Fraga

Currently is the Wine Educator for Wilson Winery in Healdsburg.

Additionally he is a professional Wine Judge most recently judging the San Francisco Chronicle and Lake County Wine Competitions.

Denise Gill

Denise Gill

Denise Gill has a broad wine industry background spanning over 22 years and currently at Alexander Valley Vineyards.

Over the past 10 years she has judged professional wine competitions including California State Fair, El Dorado and San Francisco Chronicle.

Teejay Lowe

Teejay Lowe

A developer, grower, retailer and consultant in the industry, these roles have given him a multi-faceted perspective.

A Russian River Winegrowers Association member and grower of premium Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Petite Sirah and Zinfandel.

Christopher Sawyer

Christopher Sawyer

Internationally-renowned sommelier, wine journalist, wine judge, consultant, and public speaker.

Christopher travels the world, and has been featured in USAToday, MSN, NBC, ABC, CNN, Redbook, Maxim, National Geographic Traveler, Esquire and others.

Leslie Sbrocco

Leslie Sbrocco

An award-winning author, speaker, consultant, and television host.  As host of the PBS restaurant review series Check Please! Bay Area Sbrocco has won a coveted James Beard award, three Taste Awards, and three Emmy awards in the span of 11 seasons on air.

Lucio Matricardi, PhD

As winemaker for Mezzacorona and Stemmari Wines, Lucio Matricardi, Ph.D. brings an informed scientific approach to both wineries. Trained in winemaking and viticulture at the University of Bologna, he began his career in agricultural research and was instrumental in designing the modern vineyard architecture needed in Sicily to optimize growing in the unique Mediterranean climate. He also earned his Ph.D. in viticulture and enology from the University of California at Davis, with a focus on barrique and oak aging. He has worked at wineries around the globe, mastering wines from Brunello at Castello Banfi in Tuscany to Shiraz at Miranda winery in South Australia.