VALHALLA, N.Y. (June 30, 2022) — Wine Enthusiast Companies, composed of Wine Enthusiast Media and Wine Enthusiast Commerce, announced today that Anna-Christina Cabrales has joined the company as its new Tasting Director. Cabrales is responsible for managing the tasting department and upholding Wine Enthusiast’s long-standing process of blind tasting wines for all ratings. The team tastes more than 25,000 wines annually and provides reputable reviews for readers across the globe. Cabrales oversees vital business operations including Buying Guides, annual Top 100 lists, and beat assignments.
Cabrales has a well-rounded wine career that includes corporate world savviness, restaurant industry experience, and social media entrepreneurship. She was Director of Education at Independence Wine & Spirits, a fine wine import and distribution division of Taub Family Selections, where she helped elevate the portfolio to on- and off-premise accounts and collectors. Cabrales was also General Manager and Wine Director at Morrell Wine Bar & Café, and curated a $600K cellar with a 1,200 by-the-bottle wine list and 100 by-the-glass selection. Morrell received high awards during Cabrales’ tenure including “Best By-The-Glass List” from The World of Fine Wine. Prior to that, she served as Project Manager in investor relations for Business Wire. Cabrales is a certified sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers via The French Culinary Institute, has a culinary grand diploma, a bachelor’s degree in economics and east Asian studies with a minor in psychology from Rutgers University-Douglass College, and a degree in investor relations from NYU School of Professional Studies. She is a mentor within Wine Unify, member of Bâtonnage Forum and Les Dames d’Escoffier NY, and founder of Sommation, a community of sommeliers who promote inclusion and conversation around all topics that surround wine.
“We are thrilled to have Anna-Christina join and lead our expert team of tasters,” said Jacqueline Strum, President & Publisher of Wine Enthusiast Media. “She has developed well-respected wine programs, understands why and how beverage trends are taking place, and applies her extensive wine knowledge by ideating with fellow innovators across the wine and spirits industry on what could be next. Her focuses on community, camaraderie, and making wine approachable are aligned with Wine Enthusiast’s 43 years of proudly being a wine resource for everyone.”
In addition to hiring a new tasting director, a new structure for the tasting department will centralize many of the international beats to the Wine Enthusiast headquarters in Westchester, New York, including the iconic Italian beat. As part of this new structure, the company is building the Wine Enthusiast Showroom, Education and Tasting Center (or Wine Enthusiast SET Center) at the corporate office. Wine Enthusiast is a certified school of the venerable Wine & Spirit Education Trust. The addition of the Wine Enthusiast SET Center reinforces the company’s value of continued learning and also serves as a hub for the company’s long-standing practice of blind tasting wines for all ratings.
“In creating this new vision for our businesses, we are truly living our mission – We Bring Wine to Life,” said Adam Strum, Co-founder & Chairman of Wine Enthusiast Companies. “It is with great pride and excitement that we take this next step into the modern era built on the richest database of wine lovers in the industry.”
Updates to the tasting department include the following region assignments (listed in alphabetical order by last name):
- Michael Alberty will review wines from Oregon, Washington and Canada.
- Virginie Boone will review wines from Napa and Sonoma in California.
- Stacy Briscoe will review wines from Languedoc.
- Anna-Christina Cabrales will review wines from Burgundy and Rhône.
- Craig Chamberlain will review wines from Virginia.
- Mike DeSimone will review wines from Spain and Georgia.
- Jim Gordon will review wines from Lodi, Mendocino County, Lake County, Central Valley, Sierra Foothills and other California.
- John Holl will review beers and hard seltzers.
- Matt Kettmann will review wines from the Central and South Coasts of California.
- Kara Newman will review spirits.
- Christina Pickard will review wines from Australia, New Zealand, New York, and England.
- Emily Saladino will review wines from Greece.
- Jesica Vargas will review wines from South Africa and South America.
- Roger Voss will review wines from Bordeaux, Champagne, Provence, Loire and Portugal.
- Aleks Zecevic will review wines from Austria.
- Wine Enthusiast SET Center will review wines from Italy.
For more information about Wine Enthusiast Media, the new tasting team, or how to submit wines for review, visit winemag.com. For more information about Wine Enthusiast Commerce, visit wineenthusiast.com. For interview requests with Cabrales or Wine Enthusiast tasting department team members, contact Bonnary Lek.