International East Meets West
Meet Our Judges
Kerri moved to the Napa Valley from Connecticut to study wine at the Culinary Institute of America in 2002. She worked in sales and eventually wound up with Whole Foods Market as a Wine, Beer and Spirits buyer. In her 12 year career with Whole Foods, she worked with an elite team to create, manage and mold the core wine list for Northern California. From Whole Foods, Kerri went on to be the Wine Beer and Spirits Manager for Oliver’s Market at the new Windsor location.
Kerri works as a Sommelier and Wine Director at Trecini Winery, and is still with Oliver's.
The Wine Gal & Countess of Cocktails
Ziggy Eschliman is among America’s most enthusiastic, authoritative and entertaining libation experts. For 23 years, Ziggy, known worldwide as “The Wine Gal” has set and reported trends in wine, spirits and all things to imbibe. Her wine country lifestyle brand, ZigStyle, embraces the art of life, entertaining, wine, cocktails and gardening. Her award winning, wine focused radio shows, have a long time loyal following and are broadcast on FM stations and stream worldwide. Her writings are featured in lifestyle and libation based publications. As a wine and spirits expert, Ziggy is a lead judge in both international spirits and wine competitions. Ziggy is a dynamic guest speaker, educator and presenter. ZigStyle is embraced in all she does and is a welcome, catching, organic approach to our busy lives.
Assistant Editor, California Grapevine Wine Newsletter
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.
Ellen is a published Wine Writer, Certified Sommelier, Certified Wine Specialist, Wine Educator and Professional Wine Judge. She is the author of the blog EllenOnWine.com and writes for the AWS Wine Journal (AmericanWineSociety.org) among other publications. Ellen is a moderator for the highly acclaimed Vintner’s Holidays annual event at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite, and participates as a key speaker, moderator and panelist at various other wine events. For the past sixteen plus years, she and husband Ken co-owned award winning Landis Shores Oceanfront Inn where Ellen served as Wine Director and Sommelier. They recently sold their Inn to devote more time to the world of wine. Ellen was also a Sommelier at the Ritz Carlton for several years. Ellen has traveled many wine regions throughout North America including California, Oregon, Washington, Virginia, Michigan, Ohio, Connecticut, New Mexico, Arizona, New York and Canada, and several international wine regions including Bordeaux, Champagne, Burgundy, Rhone, Tuscany, and wine regions throughout Spain, Portugal, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. In addition to an MBA, Ellen’s wine education includes UC Davis viticulture course work, CSW certification from the Society of Wine Educators program, and holds the credential of Certified Sommelier (CS) from the Court of Master Sommeliers. Ellen serves as a judge at numerous national and international wine competitions including the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition, Finger Lakes International Wine Competition, Mid-American Wine Competition, California State Fair Wine Competition, American Fine Wine Competition, Amador County Fair Wine Competition, Sonoma Harvest Fair Wine Competition, West Coast Wine Competition, Grand Harvest International Wine Competition, Grand Cru International Wine Competition, Riverside International Wine Competition, Michigan Wine & Spirits Competition, Jefferson Cup Invitational Wine Competition, Mendocino County Wine Competition, Monterey Wine Competition, Wine Press Northwest Platinum Judging, and the Central Coast Wine Competition
Chef and Co-Owner, Landis Shores Oceanfront Inn
Contributing Writer, Sonoma Magazine | Healdsburg, CA
Linda Murphy is a former San Diego sportswriter who upgraded her drinking habits by moving to Sonoma County in 1990 and insinuating herself into the wine business. After eight years learning the industry as a cellar worker, vineyard sampler and communications director, she shifted her knowledge back to the journalism side, first as managing editor of the New York Times' wine website, WineToday.com, and then to the San Francisco Chronicle, where she was its first wine section editor and won two James Beard Awards. Linda now writes for numerous publications and websites, including JancisRobison.com, Decanter magazine, WineReviewOnline and Sonoma magazine. In March 2013, she and Jancis Robinson published the book " American Wine: The Ultimate Companion to the Wine and Wineries of the United States" (University of California Press) - a celebration of the winemaking efforts in all 50 states.
Christopher Sawyer is an internationally-renowned sommelier, Spirit judge, wine judge, consultant, Spirit and wine journalist and public speaker. Voted Best Sommelier of Sonoma County 2019 by Bohemian Magazine for the sixth consecutive year, he is also a recipient of many more prestigious awards and industry honors.
LARRY Van Aalst