For the third year the Seattle Wine and Food Experience has awarded participating wineries gold, silver and bronze medals and Best of Show awards in red, white and sparking categories. The wines are tasted and awarded medals by Great Northwest Wine’s tasting panel, led by longtime Northwest wine journalists Andy Perdue and Eric Degerman. The panel judged the wines under blind conditions, not knowing the producers, region of origin or prices.


Event attendees have the opportunity to taste wines from more than 100 wineries pouring 600+ wines and learn more about the different wine regions and to compare and contrast wines at the 2016 Grand Tasting.

2015 Award Winners

2014 Award Winners

2016 Seattle Wine and Food Experience Tasting Panel

Members of the 2016 Judging Panel

Doug Charles: After years of restaurant management and wine consulting focusing on the Pacific Northwest, Doug co-founded Compass Wines in Anacortes in 2001, with a primary focus on the rare wines of Washington State. In 2013 he was the first retailer to be awarded the Walter Clore Honorarium by the Washington Wine Commission for his lifelong support of the Washington Wine industry.

Eric Degerman: Eric Degerman is president and CEO of Great Northwest Wine. He lives in Washington wine country and in addition to co-founding Wine Press Northwest magazine for the Tri-City Herald, he also contributes to the Idaho Statesman’s Treasure magazine as well as Portrait magazine in Portland. He is a wine judge at more than a dozen competitions throughout the year.

Lane Hoss: Vice President of Marketing for Anthony’s Restaurants and Head of the Beverage Committee, Lane Hoss joined the Anthony’s family of restaurants in 1982. The Washington Wine Commission awarded Lane the first Walter Clore Honorarium Award in 2003 as well as the Victor Rossellini Restaurateur of the Year in 1995. Today, she is respected for her extensive palate and has served on panels for many wine competitions throughout the Pacific Northwest and California.

Rebecca Murphy: Rebecca Murphy has risen from being the first female wine steward in Texas, to forming her own consulting firm, Vintage Productions, to becoming an accredited writer of wine related articles. She has a weekly column in the Dallas Morning News. She was the founder of The Dallas Morning News Wine Competition in 1985, which became one of the most important competitions in the U. S. In 2014 she sold the competition to the founders of the TEXSOM Wine Conference. Rebecca also handles the operations for the newly established Sunset International Wine Competition, which took place for the first time in July 2012.

Chris Nishiwaki: Chris Nishiwaki is a Mercer Island-based wine, food, restaurant, travel and hospitality writer. He has written for The Seattle Times, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Seattle Magazine, Seattle Metropolitan Magazine, The Kansas City Star, the Journal American and many other publications. He has also appeared in Food & Wine Magazine, Gourmet and Pacific. A television and film consultant, he has contributed to Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods, Drinking Made Easy, The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner and The Glamour and the Squalor, among others. Chris has apprenticed in winemaking since the 2013 vintage under Aryn Morell of Walla Walla’s M&L Production crafting wines for Matthews Winery, Tenor, Alleromb, Mullan Road, Gard Vintners and Ardor Cellars.

Tim O’Brien: Tim O’Brien is the Beverage Director for Salty’s on Alki and is a certified sommelier from the Court of Sommeliers. For more than 20 years he has ran the beverage program. Under Tim’s leadership he has guided the wine program to high acclaim. For 12 consecutive years Salty’s received the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence and for seven years received Wine Enthusiast’s Award of Distinction. In 2004 Tim received the Walter Clore Honorarium. In 2006, Tim was honored as Sommelier of the Year from the Washington Wine Commission and received a Grand Award for Best Restaurant.

Andy Perdue: Andy Perdue is editor and publisher of Great Northwest Wine, an award-winning news and information company. The Washington native also is the wine columnist for The Seattle Times and co-authors (with Eric Degerman) a weekly wine column that is syndicated in 22 newspapers across the Pacific Northwest.

April Reddout: April Reddout is the Wine Program Manager at the Walter Clore Wine & Culinary Center, in Prosser.  April is in charge of buying wine for the center and designing wine education programs for corporate and private events.

Yashar Shayan: Yashar Shayan is a Certified Sommelier and the owner of ImpulseWine.com, an online wine store focused on up and coming boutique Northwest wines. Yashar has worked for many Wine Spectator award-winning restaurants in the Seattle area, most recently the Willows Inn on Lummi Island.

Dawn Smith: A professionally trained chef, Dawn’s passion for wine emerged as a direct result of her experiences in the kitchen. She has earned certifications from the International Sommelier Guild, the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, and is an Advanced Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers. Dawn currently works as a Sommelier at John Howie Steak Restaurant in Bellevue.

Mark Takagi: Born and raised in Seattle, Mark’s interest in wine started while working in restaurants, which guided him into the Washington State wine industry. Mark is the Wine, Beer and Spirits Specialist for Metropolitan Market, a locally owned chain of stores where he has worked for 25 years. He is a judge, speaker and panel member in the wine community and devotes his wine expertise to philanthropy.