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Laura Ness

Laura Ness, aka “Her VineNess,” is a wine journalist and judge who enjoys writing about the world of wine and all the fascinating stories it holds. She is a frequent contributor to The Livermore Independent, Wine Industry Advisor, Edible: Monterey and Wine Business Monthly, and is the wine columnist for Los Gatos Magazine, South Valley Times and the award-winning Spirited magazine.

Jim Gordon

Jim Gordon has been covering the wine industry as an editor and reporter for more than 30 years. In 2006, he became editor of Wines & Vines, the media company for North American winemakers and grape growers. He directs the editorial content of Wines & Vines in the monthly print magazine, digital and social media. Gordon is also a contributing editor for Wine Enthusiast magazine and past director of the annual Symposium for Professional Wine Writers at Meadowood Napa Valley. He was editor in chief for two books by publisher Dorling Kindersley of London: Opus Vino, and 1000 Great Everyday Wines. Gordon was managing editor of Wine Spectator for 12 years, and editor in chief of Wine Country Living magazine for four, during which time he helped create Wine Country Living TV for NBC station KNTV in San Jose. He lives in Napa, California.

Fred Swan

In addition to extensive direct experience, oodles of international wine travel, tens of thousands of wines tasted, etc., Fred has studied wine formally and holds a number credentials.
His current credentials include Certified Sommelier, Diploma in Wine & Spirits (WSET), Certified Specialist of Wine, French Wine Scholar, Italian Wine Professional, Level 3 Sake (WSET), Certified WSET Level 3 Educator and Certified Napa Valley Wine Educator. In addition, Fred has formal training as a chef. He has been a fellowship recipient of the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers as well as an inductee of the Eschansonnerie des Papes, the honorary society of Chateauneuf du Pape.

Randy Caparoso

Randy Caparoso is a full-time wine journalist/photographer living in Lodi, California. In a prior incarnation, he was a multi-award winning restaurateur, starting as a sommelier in Honolulu (1978 through 1988), and then as Founding Partner/VP/Corporate Wine Director of the James Beard Award winning Roy’s family of restaurants (1988-2001), opening 28 locations from Hawaii to New York. While with Roy’s, he was named Santé’s first Wine & Spirits Professional of the Year (1998) and Restaurant Wine’s Wine Marketer of the Year (1992 and 1998). Between 2001 and 2006, he operated his own Caparoso Wines label as a wine producer. For over 20 years, he also bylined a biweekly wine column for his hometown newspaper, The Honolulu Advertiser (1981-2002). He currently puts bread (and wine) on the table as Editor-at-Large and the Bottom Line columnist for The SOMM Journal (founded in 2007 as Sommelier Journal), and freelance blogger and social media director for Lodi Winegrape Commission. You may contact him at randycaparoso@earthlink.net.

Peter Granoff

In 1991, Peter Granoff was the 15th American to earn the coveted title Master Sommelier, and is one of the 18 Americans to date that have earned the Krug Champagne Cup by passing all three parts of the exam on the first attempt. He is active today as an examiner and lecturer for the Court of Master Sommeliers Introductory, Advanced and Masters level programs, and is currently serving a 3 year term on the Master Sommeliers Americas Board of Directors. Since 2003, Peter has been co-proprietor of Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant & Wine Bar in San Francisco’s acclaimed Ferry Building Marketplace. In January of 2008 Peter and his current business partners opened Oxbow Cheese & Wine Merchant in the now landmark Oxbow Public Market in downtown Napa, California. With many years of industry experience, Peter has been increasingly engaged as a consultant on projects at the intersection of wine, technology and social media, including the recently launched Coravin, a wine access technology that was more than 14 years from idea to market.

Steve Ferree

Steve Ferree has been studying wine for many years and is a Certified Wine Professional from the Society of Wine Educators, with wine education certificates from the Culinary Institute of America and the Wine & Spirits Education Trust. He is wine educator for Niles Canyon Railway where he features several Livermore Valley wine tasting train excursions each year. In addition, he has been a Wine writer for Examiner.com and his WineProGuy Blog and other wine publications. He focuses on the wine regions of the Central Coast of California, the largest wine region in California.