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 Managing Editor/Marketing Manager RACHEL BURKONS

Multi-talented (and very busy) Rachel Burkons frequently writes features and departmental pieces for THE TASTING PANEL, as well as photographing stories, conducting interviews and hosting segments of the magazine's "Taste Buds" radio program. 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.

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.

Jonathan Cristaldi Deputy Editor JONATHAN CRISTALDI

Jonathan comes to the publishing world via an eclectic path that began in New York City with experimental theater and led to a stint in public relations, before finding his true calling in the wine and spirits industry. In 2009 he founded The Noble Rot, a pop-up traveling wine saloon, which has been featured in national press and television. A move west in 2012 brought with it an introduction to THE TASTING PANEL and a serendipitous opportunity to join the magazine as Deputy Editor. In that roll, Jonathan writes about wines and spirits, covers events and is responsible for managing all editorial aspects of custom publication projects. He is WSET Advanced Certified.

Emily Coleman Associate Editor EMILY COLEMAN

A Wisconsin native, multi-talented Emily Coleman joined the magazine's staff in 2014 to help with the busy publication schedule. She has a keen interest in beer and will be contributing beer reviews and stories to THE TASTING PANEL, as well as writing features departmental pieces. Outside of work, Emily's alter ego can be found skating for the LA Derby Dolls.

Brian KusteraAssociate Editor BRIAN KUSTERA

Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA and with a propensity for the spotlight, Brian is ever the entertainer- musicals and Chardonnay being his not so guilty pleasures. Providing THE TASTING PANEL with a variety of editorial and administrative services (favorite duty: puppy sitting), he is looking forward to extending his knowledge in the industry while meeting some wonderful people along the way.

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 8 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 (see 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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