Editorial Team

Meridith May Publisher and Editorial Director MERIDITH MAY

Meridith is responsible for the branding and content of The Tasting Panel and has successfully increased the magazine's circulation and readership in the past seven years. It has become the fastest growing, most widely distributed publication for the beverage industry.

Her background in radio (KIIS-FM, KLSX and KABC in Los Angeles) and newspaper (Santa Barbara News Press restaurant columnist) - combined with her knowledge of food, wine and spirits - gives her an edge in understanding the changing trends of the industry.

Meridith co-owns The Tasting Panel with Anthony Dias Blue and is also owner/Publisher/Editorial Director of our sister publication, The SOMM Journal.

Anthony Dias Blue Editor-in-Chief ANTHONY DIAS BLUE

Anthony Dias Blue is the recipient of a 2001 James Beard Foundation Award as well as the 1997 Communicator of the Year Award from the prestigious International Wine & Spirits Competition in London. He is one of the most influential food and wine personalities in the United States. His work in various media is circulated to more than 30 million global consumers and trade members each month. He can be found in print periodicals, on radio, in bookstores and in cyberspace.

For more than two decades, Anthony was associated with Bon Appétit, the largest-circulation food publication in the United States, his influential consumer-oriented "Blue Lifestyle Minute" radio program is broadcast several times each weekday on WCBS New York and KABC Los Angeles, while the two-hour "Blue Lifestyle" program airs in 30 markets across the country.

Anthony Dias Blue is Executive Director of the San Francisco International Wine Competition, the nation's largest and most prestigious wine judging event, and is also the founding Director of its sister event, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

In April of 2007, Anthony Dias Blue joined forces with Meridith May to purchase and rebrand The Tasting Panel as a nationwide beverage industry publication.

David Gadd Executive Editor DAVID GADD

David Gadd has been active with Anthony Dias Blue's Blue Lifestyle organization since 1996, having worked on projects as diverse as the "Blue Lifestyle Minute" and Anthony Dias Blue's Pocket Guide to Wine, among many others. He continues to supervise the day-to-day operations of  The Tasting Panel and manage the magazine's sister publication, The SOMM Journal, as well as writing and photographing frequent departmental and feature stories.

Rachel Burkons Associate Publisher RACHEL BURKONS

Multi-talented (and very busy) Rachel Burkons frequently writes features and departmental pieces for The Tasting Panel, as well as photographing stories. She travels extensively to represent The Tasting Panel regionally and internationally, and oversees additional projects, including special issues and various catalogs/brochures produced for  The Tasting Panel's many clients.

Emily Coleman Managing Editor EMILY COLEMAN

A Wisconsin native, Emily Coleman joined the magazine's staff in 2014 to help with the busy publication schedule and has since taken on the role of overseeing The Tasting Panel's production. She has a keen interest in beer and covers beer reviews and stories, as well as writing features and departmental pieces. Outside of work, Emily's alter ego can be found skating for the L.A. Derby Dolls.

Jessie Birschbach Wine Editor JESSIE BIRSCHBACH

Jessica Anne Birschbach-Sheldon (JABS) made The Tasting Panel cut Certified through the Court of Master Sommeliers with a background in fine dining, creative marketing and comedy. JABS brews beer, and sometimes regrets following Angels Baseball. The only time you'll find her "accessorizing" is if she's upgrading her Jeep Wrangler. JABS is of the beach. Whether that beach is on the island of Kauai, where she was born, or where she grew up in San Diego is mostly trivial, just know she's a better swimmer than a walker. So far, being a wine editor is one of her proudest accomplishments.

Karen Moneymaker Senior Editor KAREN MONEYMAKER

Karen has long been involved with the Food and Wine industry, but it wasn't until her studies took her to Bordeaux in 2002 that her love affair with wine truly started. Upon graduation from University of California Davis, Karen dove head first into the wine industry, first as a Sommelier and then moving into Vineyard and Winery side of the spectrum. Karen is Certified through the Court of Master Sommeliers, the Wine & Spirits Education Trust, and the North American Sommelier Association.

Allyson Gorsuch Deputy Editor ALLYSON GORSUCH

After years of running wine programs for restaurants, Allyson Gorsuch is excited to write for a living. She comes to The Tasting Panel from Sonoma County but is originally from St. Louis. She is an Advanced Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers and holds the WSET Level Three. New to Los Angeles, Allyson looks forward to exploring the expansive city, and she is always planning her next trip abroad.

Becky Tsadik Associate Editor and Events Manager BECKY TSADIK

Becky Tsadik spent five years as a chef and event coordinator in Chicago and Los Angeles, where she sharpened her palate on everything from spicy Ethiopian food to fresh Californian cuisine. A native of St. Louis, Missouri, she nabbed a journalism degree from Northwestern University in Illinois, and is delighted to now call California home. Look for her with a clipboard and a smile at speed tastings, cocktail competitions and other industry events hosted by The Tasting Panel.

Jesse Hom-Dawson Associate Editor and Photo Editor JESSE HOM-DAWSON

A Northern California native, Jesse spent six years in New York City before fleeing to Los Angeles for sunny weather and terrible traffic, where she joined Tasting Panel's team in 2015. She lives by the beach in Santa Monica and enjoys cooking and baking with her large collection of cookbooks and kitchen appliances. Jesse is a firm believer in the Oxford Comma, despite what others in the office might have to say about it.

Nicolette Teo Director of Corporate Events NICOLETTE TEO

Nicolette Teo handles editorial tasks and manages traffic for the magazine's busy publishing schedule. She also coordinates logistics for The Tasting Panel's heavy nationwide events schedule. An Olympic swimmer, Nicolette can be found in the closest pool in her spare time.

Advertising and Finance Team

Bill Brandel VP/Marketing & Sales BILL BRANDEL

A veteran of the wine and spirits industry for three decades, Bill has spent his career as a distributor as well as on- and-off premise at high profile accounts in Florida, Washington DC and Los Angeles.  As a Wine Manager for SW&S in Southern California for the past 20 years, he earned his stripes in understanding all sides of the business. His knowledge and experience prove him worthy of heading up marketing and sales for The Tasting Panel and The SOMM Journal.

VP/Finance Director ANNA RUSSELL

Anna comes to The Tasting Panel with over eight years of accounting experience. At  The Tasting Panel, Anna handles all things Finance and works closely with Meridith May in managing the magazine's business endeavors. She graduated from the University of San Diego where she was granted scholarships for both Academics and Athletics. As a former athlete she appreciates the camaraderie and team spirit which is such an intrinsic part of the atmosphere at the Magazine.

In her spare time, Anna enjoys spending time with her  friends and family, hiking with her dog, Dr. Watson, watching her beloved Los Angeles Dodgers, and scientifically testing wine and beer for the good of the publication.

Dr. Watson (seen above) is The Tasting Panel's official Head of Security and is a no nonsense enforcer of proper behavior.

Click here for bios of many of our contributors.

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