Meet the judges

dan berger

Dan Berger Writer and Wine Columnist | Santa Rosa, CA

Dan Berger began writing about wine in 1976 and has been nationally syndicated since 1979. He and his wife, Juliann Savage, also publish a private weekly wine newsletter, Dan Berger’s Vintage Experiences, available by subscription. He contributes articles to Wines & Vines, Decanter Magazine, the privately published California Grapevine, Wine Press Northwest, trade journals Cheers and Beverage Dynamics, Sommelier Journal, and numerous others. He also runs the Dan Berger International Wine Competition (formerly Riverside International Wine Competition). Among his honors are the Wines & Vines Wine Writer of the Year award; the Father Junipero Serra Award of the California Wine Patrons of Los Angeles; the Wine Literary Award, presented by the Wine Appreciation Guild, and was the 2010 Wine Writers Hall of Fame honoree of the Wine Media Guild in New York. Three of his five books have been on wine.​

Brix Jacque

Jacques Brix

President, US French Association of Wine Executives

Jacques Brix found his calling in the wine industry as a second career… To hone his basic wine production knowledge and enjoyment, he created a vineyard in Texas Hill Country, developed hobby vineyards in Mendocino, Sonoma and Napa Counties, and made “garage” wines for more 2 decades.  As a partner in the oldest and largest wine trade publishing company in North America, Wines & Vines (established in 1919)

As the president of the US French Association of Wine Executives, he continues to emphasize and maximize the relationship between the French suppliers of technology/services for the North American grape growers and wine producers

Bernadette Byre

Bernadette Byrne

Executive Director of the Mendocino WineGrowers

Bernadette moved to Mendocino County almost 30 years ago to work for the Fetzer family as Director of Hospitality, and was instrumental in the creation of the Valley Oaks Food and Wine Center. During her tenure at Fetzer, her dynamic personality was a perfect fit as wine educator, developing trade training programs.  After a decade as Marketing Director of McDowell Valley Vineyards, Bernadette channeled her passion for Mendocino County wines, founding SIP! Mendocino, a wine shop featuring unique and small lot wines. Now as Executive Director of the Mendocino WineGrowers, Bernadette works with Mendocino grape growers and vintners to promote the grapes and wines from Mendocino County.  She has also been a judge in many prestigious wine competitions.

Traci Dutton

Traci Dutton

Sommelier, Wine Judge and Manager – Public Wine and Beverage Studies, CIA | Napa County, CA

Traci Dutton is a sommelier, a wine judge, and the manager of public wine and beverage studies at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena. She joined the CIA in 1998 as beverage manager and sommelier for the college’s Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant. Over the course of more than 30 years in the wine  world, Ms. Dutton has worked in high-end establishments such as Montrachet, The Striped Bass, and 231 Ellsworth, and has served luminaries as varied as Oprah Winfrey, Kevin Bacon, and Chef Paul Bocuse. She has studied and tasted great wines at vineyards around the world, from Portugal and Austria to Argentina and the United States. Her writing on wines and beverages has appeared in Kitchen & Cook, the St. Helena Star, iSanté.com, and many other publications. In 2011, she was named one of the top wine country sommeliers by Tasting Panel magazine.

Renata Franzia

Renata Franzia

Sommelier, Classic Wines of  California (Bronco Wine Co.)

Our family has been in the wine business for four generations. I am currently the Northern California Chain account manager for Bronco Wine Company founded by Joseph, John and Fred T. Franzia in 1974. I began in sales and marketing after graduating from Santa Clara University. I then transitioned into chain sales and enjoyed growing our brands in the marketplace. After starting our own family, I returned to the marketing side and began entering and managing our various companies brands into national and International wine competitions. Over the years we have developed a system to manage the wine awards and accolades. I have recently become a certified wine judge for local wine competitions. Over the years, I have served and taken leadership roles on a variety of non-profits boards ranging from school PTA’s, Athletic Boosters, organized sports to our community’s HOA. I am excited to see what the future holds.

Barry Herbst

Barry Herbst

Wine Director, Bottle Barn Liquors | Santa Rosa, CA

Barry has more than three decades of experience in the wine industry, ranging from sommelier and wine shop owner to high-level retail and private cellar acquisitions. He was raised in Southern California, where he earned his stripes in some of LA’s most celebrated restaurants, among them Chinois on Main and Osteria Angelini. Most recently, Barry was General Manager of the Rare Wine Company in Sonoma, as well as working with Soutirage and Bounty Hunter Rare Wine & Spirits in Napa Valley. Currently, he is the wine buyer for Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa, CA, a 15,000 square foot superstore and arguably has the largest and finest selection of fine wines north of San Francisco. Barry blames a bottle of 1980 Jayer Vosne-Romanée Cros Parantoux for having sent him down the rabbit hole many years ago. Today, he lives in Petaluma, CA with his wife, two children and Australian Shepherd, Elvis, to whom he happily dedicates every spare moment outside of work.

Mendo Wine Growers

Rose Competition

Culinary institute introduces Wine And Beverage Master’s Degree