2013 Judges

We are very pleased to present the judges for the 2013 Wine Blog Awards. These accomplished individuals have the task of determining the finalists in each awards category, narrowing them down from hundreds to just a few. It is a daunting task. Yet we are lucky and pleased to have these individuals on board to carry it out.


A former VP of Web Search Engineering at Yahoo! and Director of Search at Twitter, Doug has spent the last few years working at the intersection of wine and technology. One labor of love has been Able Grape, a search engine for the wine world, with some 26 million pages of wine information. While building Able Grape, Doug evaluated and categorized tens of thousands of wine sites and blogs, so he hopes to bring a unique perspective to the excellent WBA judging team. Doug holds the Diploma from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, has written for Wine Business Magazine and has given talks at the Wine Writers Symposium and the Wine Bloggers Conferences. He hopes to finish his MW someday, or at least fail it in style, when he doesn’t have a million crazy projects going.


Mike Dunne is a freelance wine writer dividing his time between Sacramento, California, and San Jose del Cabo, Baja California Sur. He contributes a weekly wine column to The Sacramento Bee, writes for various other publications, and tends two blogs, A Year In Wine and Finding Los Cabos. A frequent judge on the wine-competition circuit, he also is one of two chief judges for the California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition.


Paul Gregutt is an independent journalist covering the wines and wineries of the Pacific Northwest. He is the author of the critically-acclaimed “Washington Wines & Wineries – The Essential Guide”, published by University of California Press.
Since 1999 he has been the Northwest editor for Wine Enthusiast magazine, and a founding member of the magazine’s Tasting Panel. His reviews of Oregon and Washington wines appear exclusively in that publication and on his website, www.paulgregutt.com. For the past two years he has been named one of the 100 Most Influential People In the Wine Business. His most recent project is Waitsburg Cellars, a line of wines focused on old vine whites and innovative red blends.


Julie Ann Kodmur is an award-winning publicity and marketing consultant and freelance journalist who founded her own publicity and marketing consultancy in 1997 in St. Helena. She has contributed to The New York Times, Town & Country, The Wine Enthusiast, American Journalism Review and Stanford Magazine; for five years she served as the editor for The Napa Valley Wine Report. She has been a panelist on publicity and marketing topics at numerous wine industry symposia and served as a wine judge. She has taught public relations and journalism at Pacific Union College in the Napa Valley. Julie Ann lives in St. Helena with her family, which includes a Springer Spaniel and a strawberry roan mustang.


Robert Joseph, creator of TheJosephReport.com is the award-winning author of over 25 books including Bordeaux and its Wines, the Complete Encyclopedia of Wine, French Wines and the annual Good Wine Guide. He was co-founder of the International Wine Challenge and Wine International magazine and is editor-at-large of Meininger’s Wine Business International. His experience living in Burgundy led him to want to produce wines himself; he is now co-owner of Hugh, Kevin & Robert which sells over 1.2m bottles of its own innovative branded and award-winning Le Grand Noir wines in over a dozen markets. As director of the DoILikeIt? Consultancy, Joseph is frequently invited to address major industry forums internationally on marketing, communications and social media. His most recent venture involves the creation of personalised e-books that allow people to decide for themselves on their content.


Michelle Locke is a writer and editor based in the San Francisco Bay area. A recovering news reporter, she now specializes in food, wine and travel, writing stories that appear in print and online publications across the country. She is a freelancer contributor to the Associated Press and writes the News in Focus column for Vineyard & Winery Management magazine.


Co-founder and Chief Strategist at VinTank, of the wine industry’s most innovative consultancies, Paul Mabray is a familiar and influential member of the American wine industry. Prior to founding VinTank in 2009, Paul worked in the wine industry in a variety of capacities including founding Inertia Beverage Group, where he created and founded one of the largest and most popular e-commerce platforms for the wine industry. At VinTank, Paul has been a champion of digital innovation in the wine industry working with numerous clients across the globe to help them develop effective tools to brand and market their goods and services. Mabray is regularly sought out as a speaker and panelist at industry conferences and seminars across the world where he speaks to the promise and possibilities of new tools for wine education and marketing.


Jordan Mackay is the James-Beard-award winning wine and spirits writer for San Francisco magazine. His writing on food, wine, spirits, and beer has also appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Decanter, The Art of Eating, Wine and Spirits, Food & Wine, Gourmet and many others. Currently, he writes regularly for San Francisco, as well as a monthly pairing column in Cooking Light. His first book, Passion for Pinot, was published in 2009, and his second, Secrets of the Sommeliers (with Rajat Parr), was released in October 2010, winning the James Beard award in 2011. His latest book, Two in the Kitchen, with his wife Christie Dufault, was published in late 2012. Currently, he is working on a book about Texas barbecue and two more books on wine. He lives in San Francisco.


Dave McIntyre has written the weekly wine column for The Washington Post since October 2008. He also writes Dave McIntyre’s WineLine, a blog that started as an email newsletter in 1999, before the word “blog” was coined. He is co-founder of Drink Local Wine, an organization and website that highlights writing about wines from “The Other 47” states. Meininger’s Wine Business International named him as one of the most influential U.S. wine writers in 2012. Dave has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, Wine Enthusiast, Sommelier Journal, and Washingtonian magazine, among other publications. He lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.


Mary Orlin is the WineFashionista, blending wine and fragrance with style. She is the James Beard Award and Emmy Award-winning co-founder of Orlin Media, specializing in video story telling for wineries. Mary writes about wine and perfume on The Huffington Post where she is a featured blogger. Her writing has been featured in Gastronomique En Vogue and Uncorked. She also produces for the AOL “You’ve Got” video series about interesting and inspirational stories. Most recently Mary was the Executive Producer of the NBC show In Wine Country, which she launched in 2001. The show ran for an nine seasons, and is now in syndication. Prior to NBC, she was a producer on CNN Travel Now, a travel, food and wine show. She was also an editor for Zagat Survey, food and wine editor for the Palo Alto Weekly and a contributor to Travelocity Magazine.


Dr. Liz Thach, MW (pronounced “tosh”) is a management and wine business professor at Sonoma State University in the Wine Business Institute where she teaches in both the undergraduate and Wine MBA programs. Liz’s passion is wine, and she has visited most of the major wine regions of the world and more than 35 countries. In addition, she has published over 90 articles and 5 wine textbooks, including Wine – A Global Business and Wine Marketing & Sales. A fifth generation Californian, Liz finished her Ph.D. at Texas A&M and now lives on Sonoma Mountain where she tends a small hobby vineyard and makes garagiste wine. She also works as a wine judge in various competitions, and has served on many non-profit wine boards. Liz obtained the distinction of Master of Wine (MW) in May of 2011.


David Vogels is Editor of Sommelier Journal, the professional wine magazine based in Boulder, Colo., and its new online Digital Edition. With more than 30 years’ experience in magazine publishing, he is also Executive Editor of the Journal of Clinical Orthodontics. A Certified Wine Professional from the Culinary Institute of America, he holds degrees in journalism from the University of Missouri and in music literature from the University of Colorado.