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2021 NCW Wine Awards | Meet the Judges


Eric Degerman is a wine author and journalist. He was managing editor of Wine Press Northwest for 15 years before launching Great Northwest Wine, a news and information company.


Ken Robertson is a retired newspaper editor with more than 35 years of wine-writing experience. He is a professional wine judge and longtime wine columnist for Wine Press Northwest.

Marco Martinez is editor of Foothills Magazine. He enjoys learning about the regional wine industry through his work for Foothills.


Gordy Venneri is one of Walla Walla’s pioneering winemakers. He co-founded Walla Walla Vintners in 1995, retiring in 2017. He is a member of the Great Northwest Wine tasting panel.

Mike Rader is a financial consultant and longtime wine enthusiast. He judges wine throughout the Pacific Northwest and is a member of the Great Northwest Wine tasting panel.

Allan Williams is the former sales and marketing director for Jones of Washington. He’s worked in the wine industry for more than 25 years.

Kristine Bono is the general manager for Tertulia Cellars in Walla Walla. She worked previously for Alexandria Nicole Cellars in Prosser and Col Solare on Red Mountain.

Dan Carr is co-owner of Visconti’s Italian Restaurants in Wenatchee and Leavenworth, and the Fire and Ice restaurants at Pybus Public Market. His restaurants have received numerous wine-related awards.

Richard Larsen is the research winemaker for Washington State University. He runs winemaking operations at the St. Michelle Wine Estates WSU Wine Science Center in Richland. He’s a member of the Great Northwest tasting panel.

Kent FitzGerald makes his home in Walla Walla. He’s devoted a lifetime to the wine business. He has sat on all sides of the table as a small retailer, corporate retailer, importer, wholesale distributor, wine producer and now winery consultant.

Amberleigh Brownson is a certified sommelier. She is the director of operations for Leader Block Wine Co. & Eatery in Ferndale.

Rick Steigmeyer has been a journalist for more than 30 years, including 25 years at The Wenatchee World before retiring. An amateur winemaker, he writes about wine for Foothills Magazine.