Wine Enthusiast  Companies Announces New Tasters for Italy, Reassigns Iconic California Beats, and Begins Reviewing Hard Seltzers & Ready-to-Drink Beverages

Wine expert smells a glass of red wine in her right hand and enters information into a laptop with her left hand, sitting in front of numbered, brown paper bags.
Photo by Tom Arena

VALHALLA, N.Y. (July 27, 2022) Wine Enthusiast Companies, composed of Wine Enthusiast Media and Wine Enthusiast Commerce, announced today new members to the department that tastes more than 25,000 wines annually and provides reputable reviews for readers across the globe. The additions and region assignments round out the restructure of the tasting team announced last month including:

  • Jim Gordon is now Senior Editor, Tasting and will review wines from Napa and Sonoma.
  • Stacy Briscoe will review wines from Lodi, Mendocino County, Lake County, Central Valley, Sierra Foothills and other California.
  • Danielle Callegari joins the tasting team as one of two new tasters for Italy and will review wines from Tuscany, Sicily, Puglia, Abruzzo, Campania, Sardinia, Lazio, Basilicata, Calabria, and Molise.
  • Jeff Porter joins the tasting team as the second new taster for Italy and will review wines from Piedmont, Veneto, Northeast Italy, Lombardy, Northwest Italy, Emilia-Romagna, Marche, and Umbria.
  • Jacy Topps is adding Languedoc-Roussillon to her beat and will now review wines from Vin de France and Languedoc-Roussillon.
  • Layla Schlack will review wines from Alsace.

Additionally, Wine Enthusiast magazine will begin reviewing hard seltzers and ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages. John Holl will be the hard seltzer taster while continuing to review beers. Kara Newman will be the RTD taster while continuing to review spirits.

“There have been significant changes in our tasting department over the last year, and every change is meant to align the right taster to the right region,” said Jacqueline Strum, President & Publisher of Wine Enthusiast Media. “Wine Enthusiast has a long-standing process of blind tasting and we are proud to welcome new team members with fresh perspectives to our tried-and-true process. This department structure allows expansion for more wines to be tasted in regions such as Italy and California to better serve our readers.”

Jim Gordon has been tasting wines for Wine Enthusiast magazine since 2014, predominantly focused on California regions. In his new role as Senior Editor, Tasting, he will be reviewing wines from Napa and Sonoma. Previously, Gordon was the Editor of Wines & Vines for 12 years, Executive Director of the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers in Napa Valley, and Managing Editor of Wine Spectator. He served as Editor-in-Chief for two books, “1000 Great Everyday Wines” and James Beard Award-finalist “Opus Vino.” During his tenure as Editor-in-Chief of Wine Country Living magazine, Gordon helped create Wine Country Living TV with KNTV in San Francisco.

Danielle Callegari joins the Wine Enthusiast tasting team as one of the two new tasters for Italy. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of French and Italian at Dartmouth College and Councilor of the Dante Society of America. Dr. Callegari’s teaching and research focus on premodern Italian literature and food and beverage studies. She has published on a variety of subjects including Dante, early modern women’s writing and religion, and Italian food and politics from the premodern to the contemporary. Her first monograph, “Dante’s Gluttons: Food and Society from the Convivio to the Comedy,” was published in 2022. Callegari is also the co-host of Gola, a podcast on Italian food and beverage culture.

Jeff Porter joins the Wine Enthusiast tasting team as the second new taster for Italy. His sommelier career began in Napa Valley working at Tra Vigne Ristorante. He joined the Bastianich Hospitality Group in 2009 at Osteria Mozza under the auspice of James Beard Award-winning chef Nancy Silverton. Porter then served as the Wine Director at Del Posto Ristorante in NYC and grew to be the Beverage Operations Director for the company. In 2019, he filmed a travel docuseries, “Sip Trip” and began a consulting business. Helping clients create beverage lists and elevate service standards, Porter’s roster includes Hometown BBQ, Red Hook Tavern, the ecoresort Casa di Langa in the Langhe region of Piedmont, and the Barclays Center, home to the Brooklyn Nets and New York Liberty.

For more information about Wine Enthusiast Media or how to submit wines for review, visit For more information about Wine Enthusiast Commerce, visit For media inquiries and interview requests with the Wine Enthusiast tasting team, contact Bonnary Lek.

Published on July 27, 2022
Topics: Latest News