usa wine tasting team

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Meet the

USA Wine Tasting Team

The goal of the USA Wine Tasting Team is to expose diverse groups to wine tasting and wine tasting competitions, providing support through resources, knowledge, mentorship, and inclusive camaraderie. We are a
no-judgment group who welcome all levels of wine knowledge to our tasting seminars and competitions. We focus on including women, minorities, and LGBTQ people into the competitive circle.

La Revue du Vin de France!

The competition is Blind Wine Tasting, sponsored by the French wine magazine,
La Revue du Vin de France. Twelve unmarked wines are served to all the teams; they respond with the grape varieties, the country of origin, the region of origin, the producer, and the vintage in only ten minutes per wine.

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Get to Know Us!

Kristen Shubert

French Wine Scholar & Spanish Wine Scholar certified with Highest Honors, and WSETIII certified with Merit. Current United States Champion Wine Taster, competing at the international level in 2016, 2018, 2020, and 2022 with third place in the world in 2016 at the La Revue du Vin De France Magazine International Wine Tasting Competition. She was the first woman to compete for Team USA in 2016. She is currently crafting wine for her own label and is a freelance journalist for wine industry publications, SommJournal and Winemaker Magazine. She also volunteers as the Vice President of Cellarmasters of Los Angeles amateur winemaking group, a 501-C-3 non-profit. Grenache and Petite Sirah have been silver medal-winners at the OC Fair and the 48th Annual Amateur Wine Makers Competition in California. She is a graduate of UNLV with a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management, and a Culinary Certificate from Johnson County Community College Culinary Sciences. She put her Certified Sommelier skills to use at her wine Bar, Vintura in Ventura, CA, from 2016 through 2019, where she created the trademarked wine game, Wine Wars. Follow her at www.Somsisters.com

Stacie Hunt

Stacie is a Certified Silver Pin Sommelier, AIS/WSA, Dame de la Chaine des Rotisseurs and Co-founder, SPLASH Productions, producers of Wine, Cuisine & Art events and exhibitions, videos, and documentaries. She is a producer/host of live streaming shows for wineries, regions, and brands and producer of Wine Spectator magazine documentary. An Emmy® and Belding® Award winning TV journalist; the wine/food contributor to award-winning SOMM Journal and Tasting Panel & Forbes magazines and other publications. Additionally, she is the wine reporter for NPR; an international wine judge; a taster for Wine & Spirits Magazine; and author of Zinfandel 101: A Beginners Guide. Stacie serves as Vice President of the National Association of Wine Retailers and is an adjunct professor at Cal Poly, USC, and UCLA.

Specializations: Italian, Latin American wines, grapes, and regions. The sound of a cork being pulled, or a screw top gracefully cracked, causes her to grin out loud.

Follow here: www.SplashPROS.com

Stacie Hunt

Stacie is a Certified Silver Pin Sommelier, AIS/WSA, Dame de la Chaine des Rotisseurs and Co-founder, SPLASH Productions, producers of Wine, Cuisine & Art events and exhibitions, videos, and documentaries. She is a producer/host of live streaming shows for wineries, regions, and brands and producer of Wine Spectator magazine documentary. An Emmy® and Belding® Award winning TV journalist; the wine/food contributor to award-winning SOMM Journal and Tasting Panel & Forbes magazines and other publications. Additionally, she is the wine reporter for NPR; an international wine judge; a taster for Wine & Spirits Magazine; and author of Zinfandel 101: A Beginners Guide. Stacie serves as Vice President of the National Association of Wine Retailers and is an adjunct professor at Cal Poly, USC, and UCLA. Specializations: Italian, Latin American wines, grapes, and regions. The sound of a cork being pulled, or a screw top gracefully cracked, causes her to grin out loud. Follow here: www.SplashPROS.com

Annette Solomon

Annette’s comprehensive knowledge of wine and the wine industry is a result of her all-encompassing, first hand experience in every aspect of wine production from viticulture through bottle sales.  After completing her Certificate in Enology and Viticulture from Oregon’s Northwest Viticulture Center in 2004, she was selected to work as an understudy to Mark Vlossak of the world-renowned St. Innocent’s Winery.  Subsequently, she worked as a lab technician for one of the Willamette Valley’s largest production wineries, worked harvest for several smaller, boutique wineries and even produced her own wine.  She further developed her global wine knowledge and gustatory skills through course work and subsequent Certification as a Sommelier by the International Sommelier Guild, WSET Diploma certification (candidate 2023) and UC Davis Advanced Tasting Seminar Credentialing.

In 2006, when the Statesman Journal, a Gannett Corporation publication, introduced “The Vinofiles,” a wine blog, they asked Annette to be one of their original writers; later inviting her to publish her own thrice-a-week wine column, in addition to a monthly winery profile and numerous ad-hoc articles for their holiday supplements.  Her contributions were a fixture in the paper for 6 years.  She is continuing to publish by contributing to The International Food and Wine Writers Association (IFWTWA) and her own wine blog.  Annette gained direct sales experience at several wine retail establishments, including service as a Sales Representative for Young’s Market and working as a BevMo! Wine Specialist.  She leverages her Masters of Business Administration from Westminster College and experience as a Senior Pricing Analyst for United Health Care in her current role as Sales Analyst for Riboli Family Wines where she monitors and projects sales for the National Sales team. She enjoys sharing her knowledge of both the wine and business arena with consumers as well as wine makers.

Irna Ponomarenko

Irina Ponomarenko moved to California to pursue graduate work in political science but was soon seduced by the world of wine. She has achieved a Silver Pin Certified Sommelier (AIS/WSA) and
WSET Diploma Certifications, and for several years worked as a wine course developer and educator with the North American Sommelier Association. She is currently working at the California-based
Sommelier Company, putting on wine and spirits events across North America.
– CSW
– Silver-Pin Certified Sommelier (WSA)
– DipWSET
– Cognac Educator (BNIC)
– Certified Sherry Educator
– Languedoc Sommelier Challenge — winner 2019
– Sud de France Sommelier Competition — 2nd place 2019

Irina Ponomarenko

Irina Ponomarenko moved to California to pursue graduate work in political science but was soon seduced by the world of wine. She has achieved a Silver Pin Certified Sommelier (AIS/WSA) and
WSET Diploma Certifications, and for several years worked as a wine course developer and educator with the North American Sommelier Association. She is currently working at the California-based
Sommelier Company, putting on wine and spirits events across North America.
– CSW
– Silver-Pin Certified Sommelier (WSA)
– DipWSET
– Cognac Educator (BNIC)
– Certified Sherry Educator
– Languedoc Sommelier Challenge — winner 2019
– Sud de France Sommelier Competition — 2nd place 2019

 
 

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Thank you to our Sponsors!!

Thank you to our Sponsors!!

Valero Law Group sponsored our Sauvignon Blanc practice on July 23rd in Woodland Hills.  They provided a…

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