The Idaho Wine Awards could not be possible without the essential and valued contributions of our distinguished group of Northwest wine professionals. Our Tasting Panel features top local and national wine professionals consisting of highly respected Masters of Wine, Master Sommeliers, wine buyers, wine directors, sommeliers and journalists.



Our thorough evaluation is of the highest integrity and our thoughtful process provides both our Tasting Panel and entries the best environment for tasting.

2023 Pouring Team

(L-R Standing) Melinda, Sara, Blake, Julia, LB, David LeClaire – Captain, Wendy, Darrin, Vi, Javi, Sarah

2022 Wine Awards Pouring Team

2023 Scoring Team

(L-R Standing) Wendy, Jay, Michelle, Jen, Donna Zandell – Lead

2023 Tasting Panel ~ Saturday

(L-R Seated) Tiffany Tobey ~ CS / Wine Director Tower Club Dallas/Invited Clubs, TX; Stacey L Jones ~ Downtown Spirits / Esquin Wine & Spirits / WA Wine Professional; Debbie Hansen ~ Winemaker/Co-Proprietor, Cougar Crest Estate Winery; Shelly Fitzgerald ~ DipWSET, CS, CSW, AWE, Cava Wine Expert; Van Doren Chan ~ CS / Board of Directors Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers; Lisa Granik ~ MW, Author – Granik’s Guide to Georgian Wine and The Wines of Georgia

(L-R Standing) Jeff Peda ~ International Wine Professional / VinCru USA; Chris Nishiwaki ~ Wine Journalist; Lenny Rede ~ NW Wine Academy / Wine Steward, Metropolitan Markets – Mercer Island; Christopher Gronbeck ~ Previous Owner / Proprietor The Barrel Thief; Matthew Citriglia ~ MS, Director of Wine Education East Region SGWS; Tim O’Brien ~ Wine Director, Salty’s Seafood Grills; Will Camarda ~ Sales Director / Winemaker, Andrew Will Winery; Paul Carayas ~ CS / GM Chez TJ San Jose, CA; Jeff Cox ~ Wine Director, PCC Markets; Ole Thompson ~ Advanced Sommelier / Downtown Spirits / Esquin Wine & Spirits / WA Wine Professional

2023 Tasting Panel ~ Sunday

(L-R Standing) D. Maria Halstead ~ NW Wine Academy / WA Wine Professional; Amberleigh Brownson ~ CS / WA Wine Professional; Dr. Gregory Chan ~ Echanson Honoraire, La Chaine des Rotisseurs – Seattle Baillage; Bruce Sturgeon ~ CS / WA Wine Professional; Alexa Skilling ~ Sommelier/Owner mineralistawines.com; Javi Strohm ~ NW Wine Academy / WA Wine Professional / WSET III; Tracey La Pierre ~ Enologist/Winemaker Seattle Wine Lab



Each entry is personally received, reviewed, confirmed and entered into our program matrix. Each bottle is proofed for soundness by a team of certified sommeliers to ensure the wine is true to its’ origin. All entries are checked for bottle variation and tainted wines (TCA, Acetic Acid or Oxidation) are never poured for our panel.