Panel of Wine and Hospitality Experts
We evaluate all wines and wineries using our Panel of Wine and Hospitality Experts. All Panel members have a passion for the Sierra Foothills wine region and are at least either Court of Master Sommeliers Level 2 or Wine and Spirits Education Trust Level 3 certified or similar.
In addition to Foothills Wino owner, Guy Tucker, our Panel consists of the following distinguished experts.
Bryan, the person behind the popular wine blog "WineSnob.blog," is an avid enthusiast with a passion for wine, photography, and travel. With his deep knowledge and appreciation for fine artisan wines, Bryan has built a reputation as a trusted authority in the wine world, offering insightful reviews, recommendations, and information on all things related to wine.A true world traveler, Bryan has visited many countries and experienced a wide range of cultures, cuisines, and landscapes. Whether he's sipping on a glass of his favorite Cabernet or snapping a photo of a breathtaking mountain range, Bryan's travels are always an opportunity for him to broaden his horizons and uncover hidden gems off the beaten path.
Overall, Bryan is a talented, passionate, and well-rounded individual who continues to inspire and engage others through his work with WineSnob, his photography, and his travels. He is a true ambassador of the finer things in life, and a true lover of all things beautiful and meaningful.
(Foothills Wino note: In true Bryan fashion, he had Chat GPT write this bio... this is 100% the output)
Kerry Dolan is the owner and operator of The Grazing Grouse, the Sierra Foothills' premier catering service.
Kerry's extensive knowledge of and passion for cheeses and small bites makes her pairing skills and beautiful presentations highly sought after by wineries across California.
Shelby Griffiths is a Sacramento native who found her love for wine through her passion for hospitality, food, history, and her unwavering desire to learn something new each day. She holds the titles of certified sommelier with The Court of Master Sommeliers, Advanced (WSET3) with the Wine & Spirts Education Trust and is pursuing her goal to become a Master of Wine.
Shelby has always held a strong love for the wines coming from the surrounding areas of Sacramento, and encourages many to explore the innovation and history that runs deep within them. She currently resides in Los Angeles and can be found sharing her passion for Sierra Foothills wines at K&L Wine Merchants.
Tyler is left-handed, which means he swirls clockwise. He learned to swirl a glass and tell the difference between Burgundy and Bordeaux during six years as a wine, beer, and spirits buyer for Whole Foods Market.
He spent four years in Amador as the general manager of Vino Noceto. There he fell further in love with Italian varieties and the Sierra Foothills.
Tyler is the owner of Beyond the Fig Wine Merchants, a small bottle-shop in Rocklin. There he brings in great wines made by small, independent producers from around the world. He was awarded a WSET Diploma in 2018.
Tyler is a Northern California native. He received my BA from John Cabot University in Rome, Italy and a M.Litt from the Univeristy of Glasgow (in Victorian literature). He is usually found reading heavier novels and drinking lighter wines. Tyler likes cooking, meandering, shades of green, debates about ranking novels, and time with family.
Justin Lewis is a certified Level 2 Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers and Level 3 with the Wine and Spirits Education Trust. Justin started as a chef and has transitioned into becoming a wine expert who specializes in the wines of the Sierra Foothills.
Just also owns and operates Amador Uncorked Wine Tours where he is known as The Conductor. With Justin’s knowledge and personality, his tours are the best offered in the region and an excellent way to experience the wineries of the Sierra Foothills.
Gordon Mackay is a WSET3 certified wine educator who also happens to be a Civil Engineer, dedicated cyclist and part-time chicken and duck rancher.
Gordon leads the Lodi Wine Swines, a group of enthusiasts that explore wines from all over the world. His wine ramblings are regularly available on Instagram @lodi_swines and other social media and on his website.
A Level 2 certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers, Aiste discovered her passion for wine working for a boutique winery in the mountain town of Truckee. She then worked for a wine shop in Truckee in addition to working harvests in the Sierra Foothills. Aiste now lives in Napa and is working at Jessup Cellars in Yountville.
Aiste also provides Sommelier services including serving at private events, one-on-one cellar consultations, personal wine shopping, private classes, and restaurant staff training through her website.
Mary Orlin is a James Beard and Emmy Award-winning wine journalist, sommelier, wine educator and Sip, Sip, Hooray! wine podcast co-host. She is a Certified Sommelier and WSET Advanced Certified with Merit. Mary writes for Edible Silicon Valley magazine, The Mercury News, her blog WineFashionista.com, and is currently working on a book about the famous California winemaker Paul Masson. She is a wine judge for numerous prestigious wine competitions, including the Central Coast Wine Competition, Amador County Fair, Mendocino Wine Competition, California State Fair and Southern Oregon Wine Experience.
She created the James Beard and Emmy-award winning NBC TV series “In Wine Country,” a wine country lifestyle show showcasing the bounty and art of California’s winemaking regions. The show is the longest running and most award-winning wine TV show in television history. Previously Mary was the wine editor at the San Jose Mercury News, and has contributed to wine publications such as Grape Collective, The Tasting Panel, Napa Sonoma Magazine and Palate Press. She’s been a speaker at the Santa Lucia Highlands Gala and Santa Clara Valley Hop N Vine and has moderated wine panels at trade and consumer events. She was chosen as a fellow for the 2019 Professional Wine Writers Symposium in Napa Valley.
Russ Reyes has been a champion of the Sierra Foothills wine scene for over 20 years, and has taken a personal approach to bringing awareness to the wines and wineries that dot this beautiful region.
Russ started by writing about the wines for an upstart magazine in 2003 called Style Magazine. Over the years he has written about the wineries of El Dorado and Amador for magazines, blogs and for his own ventures, such as Drink Up Magazine in 2011/12. He has served as the Executive Director of the El Dorado Winery Association, a wine judge at various competitions including the California State Fair Home Winemakers Competition and has hosted and produced numerous wine events throughout the region, including Amador Four Fires and El Dorado Passport. With his brand Kilt & Cork, he can be found sipping wine and enjoying fine conversation throughout the year at the many wineries in the Sierra Foothills Region. He is easy to spot, he is the one in the kilt!