Ed Rydbeck: I am a past president of the Seattle Wine Society. Currently, I arrange wine and food tastings for the Society a couple times a year. My all time favorite event was when Ben, John, Tim & Tim were speakers and poured their wines. I have been a judge for BEWBC, off and on, for the past several years. I can remember judging John Bell & Tim Narby wines back when. Recently I have been working with QFC and Costco to talk about wines in different stores. When not doing wine events, I own a company that represents printing/graphics manufacturers based outside the Northwest.
Lois Shumski: I grew up in Edmonds. My father worked as an electrical engineer at Boeing for 37 years. For 30 plus years I’ve been in the restaurant/grocery/beverage industry. I worked as a beverage catering director for Gretchen’s of Course, pairing beverages and food. Currently I am the wine buyer for Olson’s Food Emporium in Mukilteo. I deal with over 40 wholesale wine distributors on a weekly basis and have over 3500 wine sku’s in my store. Before I bring a wine into my store set, in most cases, I have personally tasted it, so I can help match my customers wine selections to their palettes or food choices. Being a gourmet cook, one my favorite aspects of the business is being able to correctly match wine with food. I have a great respect for different wines for different reasons. The thing I enjoy most about my job is that it is constantly changing. I learn something new everyday. Whether it’s from a customer, a vendor, a winery, a wine maker, or even a friend, there’s always something to learn.
Chri Walters: Cheri Walters studied under Canada’s first female Master of Wine with the International Sommelier Guild Diploma Program. She travels to wine regions throughout the world interviewing winemakers on their craft for her video blog Indigo Wine Press. She has also been part of the success of Seattle wine programs, including Teatro Zinzanni and The Purple Café and Wine Bar.
Jameson Fink: Jameson Fink is the Wine Editor for Foodista.com, a food and wine contributor to Dabble Magazine, and also manages his own wine writing, blogging, and social media consulting company. He entered the wine business and the world of blogging in 2004 after turning his curiosity and enthusiasm about wine into a full-time vocation and passion.
Since moving from Chicago to Seattle that year he has worked at one of the largest retail wine shops in the Pacific Northwest as their European Buyer, ran an eclectic beer and wine department at a large grocery store in the hip Capitol Hill neighborhood, and presently works at a charming wine bar, Bottlehouse, in the quiet neighborhood of Madrona. He's traveled to vineyards in Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, France, Italy, and Portugal, as well as in Washington State, California, Oregon, and Virgina. He loves Champagne with popcorn, and all things rosé. Named "One to Watch" by Paul Mabray of VinTank in "The 9 Most Important Wine Bloggers in the US,” you can keep up with his grape adventures on his personal blog, jamesonfink.com
John Bell: John Bell is the winemaker and sole owner of WILLIS HALL, LLC. In the early1980s, John developed an interest in wine appreciation. Pursuing all avenues
to learn about wines for over 15 years, John determined that further
learning could come about only by his actually making wine. Because he was
an employee of The Boeing Company, John availed himself of the opportunity
to join the Boeing Employees' Wine and Beermakers' Club, a.k.a. the Boeing
Wine Club, giving him access to the accumulated experience of fellow
members, some of whom had started commercial wineries, as well as access to
some of the most highly regarded vineyards in Washington State.
John's palate, which had been developed from his earlier wine education,
enabled him to fashion wines that were awarded Best-of-Class, Gold, and
Best-of-Show awards. The next logical step for John was to start WILLIS
HALL, so that his wines could be made available for general purchase,
consumption, and enjoyment. Vintage 2003 was the inaugural vintage for
WILLIS HALL. In 2004 John retired from Boeing and is now making wine full
time at WILLIS HALL. And in April 2006 in their inaugural Washington Wine
Awards, Seattle Magazine honored John by naming him Best New Winemaker in
Ellie Zeron Martinez: After getting the Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering in Venezuela, I decided to come to United States of America to learn English as my second language. While I was doing that in Houston, I had a full time job as an Assistant Engineer in Seitel, Inc. working in the preliminary studies before drilling for oil and gas in several Southern States.
Then, another oil company hired me in Dallas, while I was working there, I met my husband, and now we have two beautiful kids. We traveled around this beautiful Country for five years, because of his job in the construction industry, and yes, I visited lots of wineries, and of course, I felt in love with the wine world!
My full time job as Analytic Linguist Consultant for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), keeps me busy year around, but it also helped me to pay for the Winemaking Certificate Program at the University of California, Davis, where I became Winemaker.
I have been making wine for few years in my garage, making mistakes and improving some techniques as well. It’s a very rewarding experience for the whole family!
I have been competing in local fairs with some of my wines and the good results are a great motivation to upgrade my winemaking skills from the hobby style to the professional level, with the help of the lessons learned at UC Davis. I also participated as a Wine Judge in few wine competitions in the last two years, including the Puyallup Fair and the BEWBC Wine Fest. The best part of Judging is that I have the opportunity to encourage Amateur Winemakers to continue and to improve their passion, and also I can share experiences with my fellow winemakers as well as I learn from them.
Henry Smilowicz: Wine lover for over 40 years. Extensive touring of various wine countries including Italy, France Germany, New Zealand and throughout the U.S. Founder of Array Cellars, a Washington State chardonnay (only) producer. Chairman of the "Wine, Spirits, and Culinary Committee" of the Rainier Club in Seattle. And a long- standing member of The Cellar Rats, a rogue organization of Seattle- area winemakers,which includes Tim Narby, John Bell, and Dave Larsen.