Every month we showcase a different group of individuals that have dedicated their lives to the world of wine and food. These aficionados graciously lend us their palates and expertise and blind taste through several uniquely excellent wines. The highest rated wines from the blind tastings are then chosen to be shared with our club members.
Please check out their other endeavors. They are truly allstars in their areas of expertise. A huge thank you, and cheers!
Born in Spain, Laura grew up sharing sips of wine with her father while watching the fishing boats during their family vacations in the North of Spain. Her first sip of Albariño solidified her love of wines and her first winemaking internship solidified her future as a winemaker. After completing her post graduate degree in enology and having worked in different wine regions in Spain, New Zealand and Chile, she landed in the Napa Valley, where she has been making wine for over a decade – from Cardinale, Lokoya, Mt. Brave, La Jota, Galerie and now Ehlers Estate.
Vivien’s career spans management with Southern Wine & Spirits; working with Allied Domecq focused on Callaway Vineyards as VP of Sales and Marketing, launching St. Supéry Vineyards (early 90s), and serving as VP of Sales & Marketing for Sonoma Cutrer and as VP of Sales for Clos Du Val, Domaine de Nizas and Taltarni Vineyards. An active member of the wine community, Vivien is currently chair of the international committee for Sonoma County Vintners, past chair of the international committee for the Napa Valley Vintners and an active member of the California Wine Institute International Committee.
Deborah is Global Wine Editor for the SOMM Journal and The Tasting Panel magazines. In 2018 she was appointed California Editor for the Slow Food Slow Wine Guide (celebrating its tenth anniversary). She teaches as an adjunct professor in the Wine Studies departments at Santa Rosa JC, Napa Valley College and Cabrillo College and owns a Wine & Spirit Education Trust school offering Level 2 & Level 3 certifications. In addition to writing and speaking about wine, she consults to producer groups, judges wine competitions and scores wine for Planet Grape Wine Review. Her motto is: To learn, read. To know, write. To master, teach.
Ben spent 15 years in the restaurant industry, from server to wine buyer to beverage director and sommelier, before he moved to Napa Valley in 2011, where he worked at several Napa wineries – including Tera Valentine, Hall, Somerston Estate and Rutherford Ranch. He is now co-owner & co-winemaker (with fellow former East-Coaster Matt Nagy) for the Benevolent Neglect Wine label. From making only 63 cases of Syrah in 2013, it has since grown to 1500 cases, focusing mainly on Rhône varietals. Their philosophy is to find the best possible fruit, and then do as little as possible to it to create the purest possible reflection of the grapes themselves.