Winemaker, Dry Creek Vineyard | Healdsburg, CA
Tim Bell, Winemaker at Dry Creek Vineyard, has worked with a wide range of grape varieties and wine styles over his 25-year career in Napa Valley, Sonoma, and the Central Coast; still wine, sparkling, dessert, even Kosher. Tim graduated with honors in winemaking at University of California, Davis, learning the intricacies of wine chemistry and microbiology that would inform his stylistic choices in creating complex and nuanced blends. Hands-on cellar work at premium California wineries led Bell to the historic Freemark Abbey Winery for 10 years, and later to Kunde Family Estate. He joined Dry Creek Vineyard in 2011 and has elevated the winery’s robust program of award-winning Dry Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Meritage blends, as well as a portfolio of single vineyard selections.
Director of Wine Education, Sales & Marketing, Sigel’s Fine Wines and Great Spirits | Dallas, TX
In a wine career that has spanned over 30 years, Jasper Russo has worked in every tier of the wine trade throughout Texas and Louisiana, ranging from Sommelier (Atlantic Café, San Simeon), Retail (Marty’s Food & Wine, Sigel’s) Wholesale (Tarrant Distributors, Sigel’s) and Importing (Wilson Daniels). Jasper has over 20 years’ experience judging wine events, including The Dallas Morning News Wine Competition and TexSom International Wine Awards. Follow Jasper on Twitter and Facebook as sigelswinebuyer.
Sales Manager, Alcohol, Safeway | Pleasanton, CA
Elsie Wolfe has 27 years’ experience within the Supermarket Industry. She currently manages the strategy and sales for total alcohol—wine, spirits and beer for Safeway Northern California Division, the largest division of Albertson’s Companies. As a California native, Elsie is passionate about leveraging local partnerships and inspired to bring wine history to life in her stores. She has participated in the New York Wine Spectator Experience for the past several years as well as the Women of the Vine Symposium. Prior to her current role, Elsie was the Vice President of Meals & Ingredients for the entire enterprise of Safeway consisting of 8 divisions before the merger with Albertson’s Companies. Elsie holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Santa Clara University and an MBA from St. Mary’s College of California. She was recognized in 2014 by Progressive Grocer as one of the Top Women in Grocery.
Master Sommelier and VP of Prestige Accounts, American Wine & Spirits | San Francisco, CA
Frederick L. Dame, Master Sommelier brings an impressive blend of experience, expertise and enthusiasm to the world of wine and cuisine. He is the first American to have served as President of the Court of Master Sommeliers Worldwide and assists restaurateurs and hoteliers in developing their wine programs in his role as Vice-President of Prestige Accounts, American Wine & Spirits of California. He is currently the President of the Guild of Sommeliers Education Foundation. He holds Honorary Professorships at Purdue University and The University of South Carolina. Dame's ability to transmit his passionate interest in wine make him a natural teacher. One of just seventy-three Americans to have passed the Master Sommelier Examination, Dame was the first to successfully pass all three parts in a single year. This feat and his high score won him the coveted Krug Cup of the British Guild of Sommeliers in 1984. Dame founded the American Branch of The Court of Master Sommeliers in 1986 and has played an active role in the expansion of the Master Sommelier program throughout America since that time. Dame is also an active member of the Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, serving as the current Vice Conseiller Culinaire of the Monterey Peninsula Bailliage. He has been awarded Officier Commandeur in recognitiion of his 30 year membership with La Chaîne and is the recipient of the Bronze Star of Excellence, awarded for outstanding service by a Bailli.
Sommelier at the three-Michelin-star Single Thread Farm, Restaurant & Inn in Healdsburg California
Alexandria is a sommelier at the three-Michelin-star Single Thread Farm, Restaurant & Inn in Healdsburg California. SingleThread is where she has called home since early 2019. Alex is a live-long student, continuously sharpening her skills, with a new found passion of using food and herbs as medicine. Alex moved to Healdsburg after spending a year in Australia in 2018. However, Alex is a Midwesterner at heart, specifically from Chicago, and with that her hospitality mirrors that. Her love for sharing knowledge with others and making people happy is what makes her who she is. In Alex's free time she enjoys cooking for her loved ones, practicing yoga and exploring the scenic sights of her surroundings on her bike or hiking. Outside of the restaurant she spends time consulting for wine companies and is a contributing writer for winetraveler.com. Her genuine affection for travel and wine is apparent through the sharing of her experiences, tips and tricks in writing and teaching.
Wine + Beverage Director, The Matheson, CS | Sonoma County, CA
Jon is a Certified Sommelier the Wine + Beverage Director at The Matheson, a new multi-level concept opening in Healdsburg in Spring 2021 that features a fine dining restaurant and rooftop bar on the town’s main square. Jon grew up just outside of Washington D.C. in Loudoun County, part of Virginia’s own burgeoning wine country, and cut his teeth on the nascent farm to table dining scene there in the early aughts. He relocated to Sonoma County shortly after and had the opportunity to work with Matheson owner Dustin Valette at Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen where he served as a mixologist and sommelier. He went on to run the fast paced and exciting beverage program at Chalkboard and Brass Rabbit, directing the bar program at Chalkboard and shaping the wine program at each property. Looking to expand on his knowledge of the broader world of wine as well as learn from some of the finest restauranteurs in the business, he spent a two year stint in New York City, working as a sommelier in Charlie’s venerable Aureole and then as the Wine Director + Bar Manager for the Archer Hotel at Bryant Park on 38th street. He oversaw an ambitious 500 bottle list at the steakhouse their and oversaw a modernization of the cocktail program at their busy roof top bar, Spyglass, which boasted an up close and uninterrupted view of the Empire State building. Jon moved back to his adopted home of Sonoma county at to work with business partners Dustin Valette and Craig Ramsey to open The Matheson.
Assistant Editor of the California Grapevine wine newsletter
Assistant Editor of the California Grapevine wine newsletter, Bob Foster has been a wine judge for over 30 years in California, Oregon, Iowa, Missouri, Virginia and even Baja California. He is the Director of the Mid-American Wine Competition (held in Iowa and open only to the wines of the Midwest). Bob is also a retired prosecutor, retiring after 33 years of service with the California Attorney General’s Office. During his career he twice argued (and won) cases at the Supreme Court of the United States.
Winemaker, Coursey Graves
Cabell’s love for winemaking began in Burgundy where he worked his first harvest during an undergraduate semester abroad. Post grad, he returned for additional vintages picking grapes, scrubbing tanks and barrels, and learning traditional winegrowing methods passed down through generations. His desire for knowledge took him next to harvest in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, and later to Christchurch, New Zealand where he earned graduate degrees in Enology and Viticulture from Lincoln University. It was there he developed the passion for cool climate wines that guides his style today. Before starting Coursey Graves in 2017 with partner John Graves, Cabell made wine for Alder Springs Vineyard, Dumol, Flanagan, and Kosta Browne.