Valerie Kathawala is a writer and editor specializing in the wines of Germany, Austria, northern Italy, and German Switzerland. Her particular interest is in biodynamics and regenerative viticulture. Valerie is a regular contributor to the independent print journal Pipette and her work has been published in Meininger’s Wine Business International, Pellicle, WineFolly, The Vintner Project, Planet of the Grapes, and Grape Collective. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to devote herself to "German-speaking wines" along with her co-editor Paula Sidore and a stellar crew of journalists. Valerie lives with her family in New York City and the Hudson Valley. @valkatnyc
Flood Comes for the Ahr and Its Winemakers
Get to Know German-Speaking Orange Wines
12 Questions for Terry Theise
José Vouillamoz on Swiss Wine Grapes
A Suitcase Winery Unpacks on New Ground
Ten Questions for Germany’s Newest Master of Wine
How Freistil Reframes South Tyrol
respekt-BIODYN: Toward Individuality, Together
In the Vinschgau: Small Growers, New Heights
The New Magnetism of "Alt" Mosel
Sammie Steinmetz: A Voice for Change in German Wine
Gantenbein and the Secrets of Switzerland’s Cult Wine
German Wine's Radical Love Machine
Paula Redes Sidore
Paula Redes Sidore is a writer, editor, translator and certified sommelier. With an unusual blend of education and experience, and a flair for linguistic acrobatics she moves smoothly between the worlds of wine and words. In 2012, she founded Weinstory, a creative content and translation agency dedicated to transposing the world of German-speaking wine into English. Trink is the natural extension of that pursuit of all wines umlaut and otherwise. Paula has a Masters degree in fiction writing, as well as sommelier certification with both the Court of Masters and the german IHK. She is a member of the Circle of Wine Writers and her work has been published in JancisRobinson.com, Feinschmecker, Vinepair, Heated and Planet of the Grapes. She lives on the northern wall of winegrowing with her family in Bonn, Germany. @weinstory
Eva Biringer, born in southern Germany, studied art history and theater studies. She writes about food, travel, and feminism for publications like Zeit, Zeit Online, Welt, Feinschmecker, and many more. She currently lives in Berlin. @evaperla
Stephen Bitterolf founded vom Boden after nearly a decade in the wine industry. He was the Wine Director at Crush Wine & Spirits in New York City where he helped build one of the nation’s largest fine wine programs with a special focus on Austria and Germany, Burgundy, California, Champagne, Piedmont and the Northern Rhône. He is also the founder of the Rieslingfeier festival in New York City. His hat is more famous than he is. @vomboden
Sebastian Bordthäuser’s original dream was to be a rockstar. But between solos and concerts, he developed a hunger and thirst for good food and wine — and the people and stories behind them. And so trading his guitar for books, he began studying German and English literature. He spent more than a decade working in gastronomy before setting out as a freelance sommelier, author, and journalist. His work appears regularly in many of Germany's top publications, including Effilee, Welt am Sonntag, Der Feinschmecker, and Meiningers Sommelier-Magazin. Wine, food, cooking and travel remain the heart of his matter. @supersebs
Liam Callanan is a novelist, teacher, and journalist. His novel, Paris by the Book, a national bestseller, was translated into multiple languages and won the Edna Ferber Prize. He’s also a Hunt Prize laureate, and his first novel, The Cloud Atlas (nope, the other one), was a finalist for an Edgar Award. Liam’s work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Slate, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The San Francisco Chronicle, and he's recorded numerous essays for public radio. He's also taught for the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, and lives in Wisconsin with his wife and daughters.
Emily Campeau is the Wine Director of Restaurant Candide in Montreal, Canada but works remotely from her home in Europe (yes, that’s feasible), where she is also one half of the micro-estate Wein Goutte. Her work has been published in various magazines and web platforms in English and French. In 2018 she was the winner of the Jancis Robinson "Seminal Wine" writing competition. @emycampo_
David spent most of his career around law wishing he was working in wine. He finally began a blog and a website, wideworldofwine.co, in 2014 and a year later was able to write as a full-time occupation. In 2020, wideworldofwine has had more than 35,000 visitors from 111 countries. His interests lie mostly in low-intervention wines. Favorite countries/regions include Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Jura, Alsace, and (grower) Champagne, but these favorites sit beside an appreciation that magical wines can be found almost anywhere, and that what truly makes a wine interesting is its story. Favorite occupation - visiting vineyards. But David has as much passion for music as for wine, and would happily spend all day reading travel and nature writing - if, that is, it's too wet to walk up a mountain or through a forest. @wideworldofwine.co
Daniela Dejnega studied landscape design and discovered her love of wine while writing her thesis on "Erosion prevention in viticulture." Afterwards, she trained at the Weinakademie in Rust, Austria. She now lives in Vienna where she works as an editor at a viticultural trade magazine, writes regularly for Austrian wine publications, and is a frequent judge and taster at wine competitions. @daniela.dejnega
Bart de Vries
A geographer by training, Bart’s understanding of soil, geomorphology, and climate, important factors in winemaking, was kindled at an early age. But it was his move to Basel, on the doorstep of Baden and Alsace, that really stirred up his interest for wine. Since his studies at the Austrian Weinakademie, wine has been his profession. Apart from writing for several European publications, such as Perswijn (NL), Apéritif (Norway), Metropole (Austria), Bart organizes wine trips and moderates tastings. An avid amateur flautist, Bart is also very honored to be writing the English program notes for the Sinfonieorchester Basel for the fourth season running. @_robartus_
Andreas Durst is a photographer, winemaker and oenology consultant for numerous wineries across Germany. Following studies in photo and film design, he worked in the field as a journalistic and studio photographer. In 2006, he began limiting his photography work solely to wine and portraiture. His small garage winery is located in the northern Pfalz, and his photos can be found in countless print and online outlets throughout Germany and around the world. His are the photos are on the TRINK covers of Volumes 1 and 4. @andreasdurst
Carrie Dykes is a freelance wine and travel writer residing in the Hudson Valley region of New York. Her work appears in Wine Enthusiast, SevenFifty Daily, Lonely Planet, Chronogram, and many other publications. She loves finding treasures on forest floors and thrift stores, and vacillates between wanting to live a nomadic life of exploration and getting a bunch of chickens and alpaca and starting a one-acre farm. Follow her adventures along with her husband, son, former Brooklyn-street-cat—Marzipan, and crazy Border Collie—Chippy Cheppy @lilmarzipan
Romana Echensperger MW
Romana Echensperger worked at various top restaurants in Germany and abroad as a sommelier. For four years, she served as head sommelier alongside chef Joachim Wissler at Restaurant Vendôme, a Michelin three-star establishment outside Cologne, Germany. In 2015 she passed the examination in London to become a Master of Wine. Today, she works independently and is on the go as a wine journalist, educator, and consultant. Moreover, she has been intensively involved in the topic of biodynamic viticulture and in late 2020 published a book (“Von der Freiheit den Richtigen Wein zu Machen: Biodynamisches Winzerhandwerk im Portrait,” Westend Verlag) on the subject. @romanaechensperger
Alice Feiring is a journalist, author, and natural wine expert. Her book titles include Natural Wine for the People, The Dirty Guide to Natural Wine, For the Love of Wine, Naked Wine, and The Battle for Wine and Love. Her newsletter, The Feiring Line, focuses on natural, organic, and biodynamic wines from the ground up. @alicefeiring
Liv Fleischhacker is a born and bred Berliner who's worked as a food and drinks writer since 2014. She is particularly well-versed in the city's bars, having experienced Berlin coming into its own as a culinary destination over the past decade. She co-runs the natural wine pop-up series natty. A lover of all foods sour and salty, there unfortunately aren't enough lemon trees in the city for her - all the more reason to seek out Berlin's more innovative eats. Her writings can be found in publications including Food52, Effilee, Mixology, and Munchies. @livfleischhacker
Elizabeth Gabay MW
While others were busy “drinking pink,” Elizabeth Gabay, MW was writing the definitive and praise-winning work on it in her comprehensive book “Rosé: Understanding the Pink Wine Revolution” from Classic Wine Library. A regular in the trade since 1986, she received her Master of Wine in 1998. Her specialist interests include the Mediterranean and Central Europe. She has lived in southeast France on the Italian border for nearly twenty years. www.elizabethgabay.com. @elizabeth.gabaymw
Susan H. Gordon
Susan H. Gordon, MFA, is a PhD in Creativity candidate at The University of the Arts; her dissertation project is a language-focused book about the two Prosecco DOCG areas, Conegliano-Valdobbiadene and Asolo. She covers the eastern United States for the Hugh Johnson Pocket Wine Book, and otherwise concentrates her writing on Italian wines — her work has appeared in Gastronomica and on Forbes, Eater, Vogue.com, The Daily Meal, and the Wine Advocate online. She is a VIA Italian Wine Ambassador, and a 3iC Piemonte Wine and Food Specialist, both taught by Italian wine specialist Ian D’Agata. She holds a WSET Level 3 certification, along with current Level 4 studies, and an MFA from The New School. Susan grew up in Rome, then Philadelphia, and is now based in the Bronx in New York City. @susanhillaryg
Philippe C. Grandbois
After receiving his education at the University of Waterloo in Hospitality and Business, French-Canadian Philippe Grandbois began a career in luxury hotels working on the concept and opening teams of numerous hotels, and restaurant and bar projects around the world. In 2005, Philippe launched Grandbois Consulting with a focus on digitization in the wine and spirits industries. Philippe is a Certified Sommelier and Spirits Specialist and has both competed in and judged numerous international wine and spirits competitions. In 2021, he began producing Vermouths and small specialty wines under the Grandbois Weine label. Philippe’s work can be found in several magazines including Conde Nast, Imbibe, Mixology and Chilled. He lives in the Mosel Valley with his wife and business partner Tanja and new daughter Claire-Anne. @philippegbois
Jérôme Hainz is founder of BottleStops, a specialist tour operator offering authentic and lighthearted experiences of Germany's wines and wine culture. Throughout his travels, Jérôme is always on the hunt for delicious and distinctive food and wine pairings. Despite not being particularly spiritual, Jérôme firmly believes that he will be reborn as a white truffle. @bottlestops
Stephanie Hanel, born in Munich, Bavaria, and therefore as a young adult more familiar with beer than wine, became a wine lover with her first contact with natural wine at 2Naturkinder, then dove into the Brooklyn world of natural wines, where winemakers are rock stars, and the variety of wines feels like it could never end. Best memory: summer day with heavy rain, sitting by an open window in a wine bar (only selling Italian natural
wine) and picking some olives and cheese, sipping through one and another glass. Career path: author of multimedia-productions, project manager at a publishing company, content manager of a business network, scientific communicator, composing texts about family-owned German brands and companies, editing and contributing for the website of Naturweinwelt,
and authoring books. @hanelstephanie
Ursula Heinzelmann is an independent scholar and food historian born, bred and based in Berlin, Germany. A trained chef, sommelier and ex-restaurateur, she works as a freelance wine and food writer, specializing in cheese. She has published a number of cookbooks, a food history of Germany, Beyond Bratwurst, as well as several books on cheese, and acted as area editor for the Oxford Companion to Cheese. She is the trustee director of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery as well as curator of the Cheese Berlin festival. @heinzelcheese.
Tom came dangerously close to working in wine on two occasions. First, there were a few steps in the wine trade, pouring and selling, and then later a close call with a chalky, south-facing slope in Kent. As it happened, he found his home at the piano as a performer, composer, and educator in the realms of jazz and contemporary music. Two joyfully unpredictable fields seemed better than one, though, so he now writes about sparkling wine at sixatmospheres.co.uk, also having featured at timatkin.com, Falstaff, The Buyer, and The Drinks Business. He is currently preparing the largest ever single report on English wine for timatkin.com, due for publication in autumn 2021. @six_atmospheres
Neal D. Hulkower, Ph.D., is an applied mathematician and freelance writer living in McMinnville, Oregon. While he has been writing regularly about wine-related topics since 2009, his first contributions to a wine publication appeared in the early 1970s. His wine writing can be found in academic and popular publications including the Journal of Wine Research, the Journal of Wine Economics, American Wine Society Wine Journal, Oregon Wine Press, Practical Winery & Vineyard, Wine Press Northwest, and The World of Fine Wine and on wine-searcher.com. He focuses on applications of mathematics to the world of wine, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, and reviews of wine-related books. He also enjoys covering wine events and personalities. Neal was a Field Coordinator for Slow Wine 2020 and 2021 guides. He is a member of the Circle of Wine Writers. Neal can occasionally be found pouring some of Oregon’s finest in a tasting room at the top of the Dundee Hills.
Lauren was born and raised in Pennsylvania, where she studied journalism. She relocated to NYC after realizing that the excitement of a large city outweighed the coziness of a small one. After 11 years in Brooklyn, Lauren moved to Berlin, where she’s been since 2018. She’s completing an MBA in wine business and working as a wine buyer and freelance food and wine writer. @laurenjwunscht
Matt Keller cut his teeth bartending for two years in Konstanz, Germany while attending university as an exchange student, and serving locals and tourists in the breathtaking Bodensee region. The experience deeply immersed him in the language, people and traditions of the area while growing his affinity for the region’s imbibing customs and cultures. His career has centered on his passion for international and transatlantic affairs, which included a fellowship in the German Bundestag in Bonn, and positions in government relations in Berlin and Washington. His passion for mixology led to his involvement with the Washington, DC Chapter of the Museum of the American Cocktail in New Orleans, writing, facilitating and leading cocktail history seminars. He authors the blog “District Cocktail - A Drinker’s Notes in Capitol City” and can be found regularly on Twitter remarking on cocktails and life. @dccocktails
Anne Krebiehl MW
German-born but London-based, Anne Krebiehl MW is a freelance wine writer and lecturer. She is the contributing editor for Austria, Alsace, Burgundy, and England for US Wine Enthusiast Magazine and also publishes widely in trade and consumer publications. She lectures, particularly on German wine, judges at international wine competitions and is a panel chair at the IWC. She loves high-acid wines and her work often focuses on Pinot Noir, Riesling, and traditional method sparkling wines. She has harvested and helped to make wine in New Zealand, Germany and Italy. Her first book, The Wines of Germany, published in Infinite Ideas’s Classic Wine Library, appeared in September 2019 and won Domaine Faiveley International Wine Book Of The Year 2020 at the Louis Roederer International Wine Writers’ Awards. @anneinvino
Chandra Kurt is one of Switzerland’s foremost wine writers and critics, based in Zürich. She has authored more than 20 books on wine, including “Wine Tales” and the annual guide “Weinseller,” while also launching her quarterly print magazine “Weinseller Journal” in 2015. She studied at the Universities of Zürich and Lausanne and at the Institute of Masters of Wine in London. Chandra is also an international wine consultant. Much-awarded, she is a member of the Circle of Wine Writers, the Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne, and the Confrérie du Guillon. Chandra was born in Sri Lanka, to an Italian mother and a Swiss father. She spent her childhood in Asia, where her parents were exploring the life of elephants for the Smithsonian Institution. www.chandrakurt.com @ChandraKurt
After a career in the restaurant business, including several detours into wine, I came to Switzerland to marry the love of my life, my wife Veronica. Little did I know the local wine scene would grab my attention as well. The diversity of grapes and styles in Switzerland is amazing and with the new youth movement firmly in place, the Swiss are riding a wave of innovation and self-discovery. My blog artisanswiss.com is a sketch pad, of sorts, for the reference book I'm writing and the impetus to travel to every corner of the country in search of the story. So far, it's been a most rewarding journey. @artisanswiss
Born and raised in Taiwan, now based in NYC, Joyce Lin is a sommelier, writer, educator, and wine consultant, holding both CMS and WSET 3 certifications. Joyce’s interests in food and wine led her to create 酒意思Sip with Joyce, an omnichannel platform providing wine pairing ideas with daily meals, specializing in Asian cuisines. Joyce believes that through food and wine, people of diverse backgrounds can be unified and share the joy of life with each other. @joyce_foodnwine
In addition to being an award-winning writer, artist and critic, Meg Maker is a keen observer and a narrative and creative wunderkind who occupies the artistic space at the intersection of nature and culture. Digging into the praxis and poetics of a topic, is, she believes, first a way to learn, and later a way to teach others. She travels extensively to taste with producers, hear their stories, and see first-hand their motivations, to witness what links them to their land. Wine is food, but it's also a way into story. Meg is a Certified Specialist of Wine and member of the Circle of Wine Writers. Her writings have appeared in trade and lifestyle publications such as Brain Pickings, BuzzFeed, Meininger’s Wine Business International, SOMM journal, and Palate Press. She lives in New Hampshire and is happiest when in the garden or the kitchen. @megmaker
Katharina Matheis is German wine journalist. She was born and raised amid the vineyards of Rheinhessen and worked fo several years as a reporter for WirtschaftsWoche before training as a certified sommelier. Since then she has focused on topics in wine. Her articles have appeared in Handelsblatt, WirtschaftsWoche, Gault&Millau, Spiegel, Feinschmecker, and more. Her favorite subject to cover is organic viticulture. Together with Sven Prange she recently founded the guide sustainable enjoyment neigschmeckt-magazin.de. She lives in Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg. @schoebbeche
Judy Rae Merhar
A traveler without a destination, a scholar without a degree, Judy is perfectly content to follow her meandering path only in anticipation of what turning the next corner may reveal. Born in Germany, raised in Louisiana, with pit-stops in New York, Chicago, Seattle and Austin. Like her interests, Judy’s jobs are varied: flight attendant, pastry chef, travel agent, stationery importer, preschool teacher, bartender and lifestyle columnist. From 2011-2014 she lived with her husband and four daughters in southern Belgium, where she spent every free moment tracing Josephine Bonaparte, M.F.K Fisher, Auguste Escoffier and Julia Child’s footsteps. She writes for the Belgium-based SHAPE Community Life Magazine in addition to her personal websites, "Unveiling Wiesbaden" and "Mincing Words Abroad." Judy is currently chasing monks and nuns who make wine and offer overnight accommodation at abbeys across Germany. @judyraemerhar
Ron Merlino is a certified sommelier, and owner and manager of MusicVine Performing Arts and Wine Consulting. He is at work on an extensive history of wine in the lives of the great Viennese composers from the 18th to the early 20th century — from Mozart and Haydn through Beethoven and Schubert to Brahms, Mahler and beyond. Ron is developing a televised series on wine and the great composers of Germany with MDR Radio and Television Leipzig and is a contributor to BBC Radio 3. He is also collaborating with the Beethoven Haus Bonn in Germany on an extended project highlighting the narrative of wine in Beethoven’s life. BBC Radio 3 and the National Symphony Orchestra of Wales hosted a live event with him on Beethoven and his wines in January 2020. Prior to his professional work as an artist manager, Ron served as Director of Artistic Planning for the San Francisco Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in addition to positions on the artistic staffs of the Baltimore Symphony, the American Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s.
Michael Pabich grew up among second-generation Germans and Poles in northern Wisconsin. Mike has a Masters in fiction writing, and a Masters in English education. He’s taught writing for almost thirty years, at college, in high school, and in Taiwanese bushiban. Over the course of his 30-year ramblings he's explored first beer and then spirits, discovering great cocktails in the supper clubs of northern Wisconsin; in Taipei, Hong Kong, London, Berlin, Paris, and most of America's large cities. Mike currently resides near Washington DC, with a brilliant partner named Beth, two thoughtful and generous sons, and two frankly sub-par cats.
After getting an MA in cultural history from the Royal College of Art in London in 1986 Stuart Pigott realized the only way he could earn a living was to write about wine. Since then he has worked from the Mosel, Berlin and New York City, now residing in the little town of Eppstein in the Taunus Hills of Germany. Although his name is closely associated with Riesling he has undertaken in-depth research in regions as widely contrasting as the Bordeaux, Thailand and Arizona. In 2008-9 Pigott was a guest student at the famous wine university of Geisenheim in Germany. His writing combines a scientific approach with the gonzo journalism inspired by the works of Hunter S. Thompson. Pigott is a Senior Editor at JamesSuckling.com and the first winner of the Professor Müller-Thurgau-Prize who is neither a scientist nor a politician.
Photo credit: Bettina Keller, Berlin | @stuart.pigott
Nils Kevin Puls
Nils (Kevin) Puls grew up in the Harz Mountains, the northernmost mountain range in Germany – anything but a wine region. For more than 20 years, he's lived in Hamburg. Also not a wine region – unless you count the ripped- out Stintfang vineyard on the harbor. After studying communications, with a focus on film and television, he became a copy writer and has worked in advertising. Now he's a Creative Director at trade marketing agency. His passion for Austrian wine began with an Italian course, of all things. For 15 years, he's regularly tasted the vintages of the Alpenrepublik –
from the Wachau to the Steiermark. His weakness for estates that work organically and for natural wines started with Gut Oggau's 2007 vintage. He's also a regular visitor to Franken. For the last five years, he's blogged about food, wine, and the people who make them. @ke.vino
Christoph Raffelt is one of an exciting new vanguard of voices when it comes to German wine. And voices is not a euphemism here, as it is indeed his voice together with his stellar cast of winemakers and guests that come together on his monthly podcast Originalverkorkt.de; while his words appear in his online magazine of the same name. He's been on the road since 2016 with Büro für Wein & Kommunikation as a freelance journalist, copywriter and all-round wordsmith. His work has appeared in such esteemed publications as Meiningers, Weinwirtschaft, Weinwelt, Sommelier, Champagne-Magazin and Schluck. @originalverkorkt
Frank Scherp was born and raised in the German-speaking part of the Swiss wine growing region Valais. Studies at the Zurich School for Translation and Interpretation led him to the opposite end of the country where he works today as translator in the life science business. He has no formal wine education whatsoever, but a healthy thirst and a keen curiosity about all things related to fermented grape juice. He lives near Zurich with his better half and two cats, but only one of them shares his love of wine. @frank_n_wine
David Schildknecht trained in philosophy and worked as a restaurateur before spending a quarter century in the U.S. wine trade. His tasting reports, ones from Austria and Germany prominent among them, have since the late 1980s been fixtures of Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar; Robert Parker's Wine Advocate; and, since 2015, Vinous. A columnist and feature contributor for Wine & Spirits, The World of Fine Wine, and Austria’s Vinaria, he is responsible for the German and Austrian entries in the 4th (and upcoming 5th) edition of The Oxford Companion to Wine and a co-author of the 7th edition of Robert Parker's Wine Buyer's Guide. David has also addressed issues of aesthetics in contexts academic and otherwise, and his life in wine leaves time to pursue his passions for cooking, music, history, and his infinitely tolerant wife of five decades.
Torsten Schmidt has been editing and contributing to the cultural pages of his homeland, Germany, since the early nineties. He is a cofounder of culture consulting brand yadastar and was fortunate enough to be able to interview most folks in pop culture he has ever cared about. Recently he extended these conversations to vintners of all generations via his @charakter_boeden podcast. Now, if you care to open a bottle while listening to an Alex Rosner Custom Soundsystem, head to
bahnhof-thalfang.de and give him a shout, he might be around.
Daniel Schönberger is an attorney in big tech. Besides the law, he studied bioethics and a little philosophy. He published a few articles on legal and ethical aspects of Artificial Intelligence but is new to wine writing. Daniel’s wine journey started as a little boy when he joined his father, a part-time controller in the AOC, on his autumnal excursions to the nearby epicenters of local winemaking. He loves spending time in the small family vineyard, tending to the Pinot Noir vines from pruning to harvest. Daniel is a father of two teenage girls, husband, swimmer, and cool water spirit, he listens to Fleetwood Mac and Nordic Jazz, works on extending his small art collection, and lives with his family in Switzerland's northernmost corner. @marco_szydlowski
Liliana Schönberger is a biologist/ornithologist by training holding a PhD in avian ecology. Her big passion is to explore every aspect of nature and then translate it to other humans in the form of photography, lectures, and articles. She is a seasoned polar scientist and guide and being out there in the elements is what makes her the happiest. What fascinates Liliana in viniculture most, is a certain type of alchemy - a relationship and communication between vintner and vines. Since she moved to Switzerland she helps in a small family vineyard and uses this opportunity to understand better the most fascinating plant on Earth, and maybe even to initiate her very own inter-species dialogue with it. @schoenbergerova
Steven Sidore is a professional translator, writer and editor.
Rachel Signer is the publisher of Pipette Magazine and author of You Had Me At Pét-Nat, a memoir about discovering, drinking, and making natural wine, out this month. @rachsig
Ania Smelskaya is a Brighton-based sommelier and photographer, known for her innovative wine lists that focus on natural producers. Ania is a huge supporter of natural winemaking and believes in sustainability in viticulture (and agriculture) and practices a sustainable approach to her work in hospitality and the wider wine industry.
Amanda Smeltz studied philosophy and literature, and holds an MFA in poetry. She has been a sommelier and wine buyer in New York City for twelve years, most recently at the restaurants Estela and Altro Paradiso in Manhattan. Smeltz’ wine writing has appeared in Esquire and SevenFifty Daily. Her debut poetry collection is Imperial Bender (2013), and her verse has appeared in journals such as Prelude, [PANK], and Barrow Street, among others. In the summer of 2021, Smeltz was a fellow at The Mastheads, a writer’s residency held in Pittsfield, MA, on the grounds of Herman Melville’s farm. Find her photos and occasional bottle shots @smeltzmonger.
As a certified sommelier, Simon Staffler sniffs his way through the wine world - predominantly that of Italy – tasting, texting and teaching for Falstaff Magazine as well as many others. As a passionate cook he can never leave a good plate standing, and is willing to travel miles for a special wine or ingredient. A self-declared jack-of-all-trades, he fronted the band VINOROSSO for 10 years, has been known to add his two cents as a talk host on a local radio station, and has launched a beer brand with friends. Simon Staffler has been working for Wineline International since 2017. He lives in Merano downtown, Südtirol. @sommeliersimon
Clare Tooley MW
Born in Madrid, brought up in Paris, Clare went to boarding school in the UK but lived for the holidays and the flights ‘home’ with her brothers to her Diplomat parents whose work took them to more colorful destinations including Mexico, Belgium and Poland. Four years at Cambridge University immersed in French and Spanish literature were halcyon. She left with a future husband but no idea what to ‘do’ in the world, so turned to wine. She has worked as a wine buyer, seller and story-teller ever since, travelled the world, met fascinating people involved in wine of all nationalities including Chinese pirates and Russian spies, and cemented a true passion for all things vinous. In 2014, Clare and her family moved near Napa where she works full time as a wine buyer, often driving up and down the Silverado Trail. She is the California correspondent for Decanter.com and has had pieces published by Tim Atkin MW and the Academie du Vin Library. Much to her huge joy, Clare became a Master of Wine in February 2021.
Ellen Wallace is an American-raised Swiss who lives high in the Alps. She is the author of the introductory book Vineglorious! Switzerland’s Wondrous World of Wines and she publishes an independent blog in English whose main focus is journeying through the landscape (wines, vineyards, people, history, culture) of Swiss wines, to make these more accessible to wine-lovers in Switzerland and outside the country.
Ellenwine.com also carries features on worldwide wine travels, regularly to Italy, France, Spain. She has a bi-weekly newsletter with a broader wine scope, which pulls on her years as an international journalist and travel writer. She is a regular presenter of Swiss wines to groups and clubs, in English. She has judged at the Mondial de Bruxelles, Mondial des Pinots, Mondial des Merlots and the national Grand Prix des Vins Suisses.
Journalist and wine expert, Britta Wiegelmann studied in Bordeaux at the Faculty of Enology. As editor-in-chief, she reenvisioned the editorial departments of wine magazines "Vinum" and the Gault&Millau "Weinguide Deutschland." Today, the native Rhinelander divides her time between Zurich and Bordeaux. She writes for publications such as "Marmite" and the "Coopzeitung," and is a regular lecturer at the Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University, as well as a moderator, wine taster, and consultant. Yet, as wonderful as wine is, when it comes to her job it is the human encounters that Britta loves perhaps most of all. She is a dedicated hostess: her very favorite thing is a full house and a set table. @brittawiegelmann
Kathleen Willcox has been writing about the business and culture of wine and food for more years than she’d care to reveal. Her work appears regularly in Wine Enthusiast, Wine Searcher, SevenFifty Daily, The Vintner Project, and many other publications. She co-authored the book "Hudson Valley Wine: A History of Taste & Terroir" (2017). @kathleenwillcox