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Laura Ness

Laura Ness, aka “Her VineNess,” is a wine journalist and wine competition judge who enjoys writing about the world of wine and the fascinating people who devote their lives to it. In wine, there is always a story. She is a regular contributor to The Livermore Independent, Edible: Monterey, The San Jose Mercury News, Edible: EastBay, and Wine Business Monthly, and is the wine columnist for Los Gatos Magazine, South Valley Times, and the award-winning Spirited magazine. She’s known to carry a corkscrew in every purse because winemakers are generally without one.  

Jim Gordon

As a contributing editor for Wine Enthusiast since 2014, Jim Gordon reviews California wines and writes wine, food, and travel stories. He has enjoyed a long career working with multiple publications and managing the work of numerous top wine and food writers. Jim was the editor of Wines & Vines magazine for 12 years and former executive director of the annual Symposium for Professional Wine Writers. Jim served as editor in chief of two books by publisher Dorling Kindersley of London: Opus Vino, a James Beard Award finalist, and 1000 Great Everyday Wines. Earlier in his career, he was the managing editor of Wine Spectator and editor in chief of Wine Country Living magazine, for whom he helped create Wine Country Living TV with NBC station KNTV in San Francisco. An Ohio native, Jim graduated from Denison University and worked as a daily newspaper reporter before entering the wine world. He lives in Napa Valley where he cooks, gardens, and makes wine as an avid amateur.

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 of 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.