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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Salinas Valley Food and Wine Festival - Saturday

Feeling a little outclassed but excited. 

The 2011 judging panel includes five judges along with several apprentices. The judging team will be led by Master Sommelier, Catherine Fallis. Catherine Fallis is the first woman in the world to have earned both the Master Sommelier diplomafrom the International Court of Master Sommeliers and theAdvanced Certified Wine Professional diploma from the Culinary Institute of America. She is a contributing editor for Sommelier Journal. Catherine Fallis will be joined by several other sommeliers, including Randy Caparoso. Randy Caparoso is afounding partner of the Roy’s restaurant group and also acontributing editor for Sommelier Journal. He has his advanced certificate from the Court of Master Sommeliers. Also joining Catherine Fallis as assistacts will be Certified Sommelier and Wine Maker, Shauna Rosenblum; Certified Sommelier and Wine Maker, Pietro Buttitta and Certified Sommelier and Director of Judging, Sheila Taylor. The sommelier assistants include Certified top Sommelier award recipient, Wade Stephens; Certified Sommelier, Angela Lo Barnett, and Certified Sommelier, Thamin Saleh.

Randy Caparoso

Current Bottom Line editor for Sommelier Journal, Randy Caparoso has 30+ years in pairing wine and food. He has achieved an Advanced Certificate in the Court of Master Sommeliers, and served on many judging panels, includingSant√©’s annual national Grand Awards. One of the Founding Partners of the Roy’s restaurant group, Caparoso has also spent time producing his own wines (Caparoso Wines LLC) and continues to speak and write regularly on the subject.

Pietro Buttitta

A third-generation grape grower, Pietro Buttittia is a court-certified sommelier who currently works as the winemaker for Rosa d’Oro Vineyards. Buttitta has also served as a chef at several renowned restaurants, including the Michelin-rated Terra Restaurant in Napa, California. He most recently served as co-chair for the prestigious Lake County Wine Competition.

Thamin Saleh

A passionate sommelier with a wide spectrum of experience, Thamin Saleh has been involved in food and particularly in wine in the Monterey County for over a decade. Currently the Food & Beverage Manager at Solage Calistoga, Saleh can list stints as the Director of Wine at Bacara Resort and Spa, Sommelier/Cellar Master at Park Hyatt-Highlands Inn in Carmel, Marinus General Manager at Bernardus Lodge in Carmel Valley, and G.M and Sommelier at the Quail Lodge Resort and Gold Club. A food and wine expert, he has served on many judging panels.

Wade Stephens

Wade Stephens is a Certified Sommelier from Vino Tabi Winery in Santa Cruz. He is a graduate of the Sommelier program at the French Culinary Institute and has an extensive background in the retail business.

Angela Lo Barnett

Catherine Fallis aka grape goddess®

America's premiere female Master Sommelier.

A popular and entertaining speaker and host for corporate and private events, and the world's only Master Sabreuse, Catherine is founder and president of Planet Grape LLC (, for wine consulting, and of Sabering Champagne! (, for wine entertainment.

Fallis is the only person in the world to have earned both the prestigious Master Sommelier diploma from the International Court of Master Sommeliers and the Advanced Certified Wine Professional title from the Culinary Institute of America. She is also a French Wine Scholar and an instructor at the San Francisco Wine School..

Shauna Rosenblum

Raised on her family’s renowned vineyards, Rosenblum Cellars, Shauna Rosenblum now carries on the family tradition as winemaker for Rock Wall Wine Company. She is a certified sommelier and frequent judge at lauded competitions such as the Orange County Wine Competition, Connoisseur’s Guide to California, and Lake County Wine Competition. Her love of winemaking has won her many awards, including “Best Zinfandel in California.”

Sheila Taylor

Sheila R. Taylor is the Director of Wine Judging for the Salinas Valley Food and Wine Festival. Sheila attained her Certified Sommelier education from the French Culinary Institute, and is a Certified Sommelier at Thomas Fogarty Vineyard and Winery, Viva's in Los Gatos, and Michi's Catering Events. After graduating less than 4 months ago Sheila worked with Gary Danko, Grgich Winery, The Red Cross, Breast Cancer Research, Ferrari Owners Group Charities, The Lake County Wine Competition, and poured at the Duveneck Humanitarian Awards honoring Norman Y. Mineta, Sid Espinosa (Mayor of Palo Alto and Director of Corporate Citizenship at Microsoft) and Susan Ford Dorsey (President of Sand Hill Foundation).

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