Wine News

We are honored and delighted to present our judges for the 2024 Winefest.  These individuals have studied wine and created and evaluated wines that have been widely acclaimed.  Their comments are golden.  Please thank them, and be sure to pick up your score sheets.  For wine makers, the judge's comments are more valuable than any award you may receive.  For wine tasters, there is always a large variety of wines to try out.


Reggie Daigneault (Dan-Yo) lives in Seattle, Washington and has spent the last 30 years in the Washington wine industry as a sommelier, wine director, wine distributor and wine educator. Certifications in the Court of Sommeliers, Wine Scholar Guild, Diploma Level Wine & Spirit Education Trust, and as a Bordeaux Tutor are among some of the achievements along with several accolades for teaching. Reggie loves sharing wine education through teaching, travel and collaborations with industry organizations. Her website outlines some of her options available. She is always open to assisting those who have interest and passion for learning.


Chuck Jackson - Owner/Winemaker Skagit Crest Vineyard & Winery
Chuck started making wine in 1978 as a home winemaker, never missing a vintage in 45 years. Growing with his craft he was asked to be the winemaker for Eagle Haven Winery in Sedro Woolley starting in 2004 and served as winemaker until 2016. Chuck had the dream of an estate winery. He and his wife Donna found property in Sedro Wooley and planted their vineyard in 2011. Skagit Crest Vineyard & Winery had their first commercial harvest in the fall of 2016 producing Estate wines of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris. Several wines have received Platinum awards from Great Northwest Wine magazine.  Their tasting room, open on the weekends, is located in La Conner.


Leigh Pomeroy - Wine Columnist, Mankato Magazine, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Leigh Pomeroy started  in the wine industry working for Oakville Vineyards in Napa Valley in 1972.  He has served as a sommelier for The Chronicle Restaurant in Pasadena, California, was the marketing director for Bargetto Winery, consulted for Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and done crushes for Heintz Cellars and Rombauer Winery.  He has written wine columns for Minnesota Monthly and currently write a wine column for Mankato Magazine. 


John Bell is the winemaker and sole owner of WILLIS HALL, LLC.  In the early 1980s, John developed an interest in wine appreciation. Pursuing all avenues to learn about wines for more than 15 years, John determined that further learning could come about only by his actually making wine. Because he was an employee of The Boeing Company, John availed himself of the opportunity to join the Boeing Employees’ Wine and Beermakers’ Club, a.k.a. the Boeing Wine Club, giving him access to the accumulated experience of fellow members, some of whom had started commercial wineries, as well as access to some of the most highly regarded vineyards in Washington State. 

John’s palate, developed from his earlier wine education, enabled him to fashion wines that were awarded Best-of-Class, Gold Medal, and Best-of-Show awards at Boeing Wine Club and other amateur wine competitions. The next logical step for John was to start WILLIS HALL, so that his wines could be made available for general purchase, consumption, and enjoyment. Vintage 2003 was the inaugural vintage for WILLIS HALL. In 2004 John retired from Boeing and is now making wine full time at WILLIS HALL. And in April 2006 in their inaugural Washington Wine Awards, Seattle Magazine honored John by naming him Best New Winemaker in Washington.


Eva Gallagher, Vineyard Manager and Product Development Lead at 15 Firs, Certified Wine Judge
Eva is proprietor of the fledgling 15 Firs Vineyard in Auburn, Washington.  She went through 4 years of training to achieve the American Wine Society Certified Wine Judge designation in 2023.  Recently, she earned the designation of WSET Level 2 certificate holder with distinction.

She has experience:

*Wine Judging at California State Fair Amateur wine division, Washington State Fair Amateur Wine Division, Evergreen State Fair Amateur Wine Division and Boeing Employees Wine & Beermakers Club.
*Treasurer of Puget Sound Amateur Wine & Beermakers Club
*Member of AWS South Puget Sound Chapter
*Graduate of ‘Cultivating Success’ agricultural training through WSU Pierce County Extension


Tim Narby, MCM Wine Company, Note Bene Cellars, 206-459-2785
Notes from an article in the Great Northwest Wine Magazine:
SEATTLE — Critical to the success of Nota Bene Cellars in Seattle has been the careful grape sourcing and the long-term relationships with the people behind those vineyards.
The 2022 vintage marked the 21st crush for husband/wife winemakers Tim Narby and Carol Bryant. And while Narby walks those vineyards, he makes a point of staying out of the way of the growers. “I have plenty to worry about in the cellar,” he says….
The couple’s foray into winemaking began with a home winemaking kit they received as a wedding gift, which came with a can of blackberry syrup, Bryant recalls with a smile. They graduated to wine grapes and continued their home winemaking exploits for another 16 years.
During that same period, Narby became involved with the Boeing Wine Club, making wines with fellow employees and wine enthusiasts including Chuck Jackson — who later founded Skagit Vineyard & Winery — and participating in the club’s annual competition for amateur winemakers.
“One thing that came out of that,” said Bryant, “is that when you’re consistently among the upper group of winning wines, you start thinking, ‘Maybe we can do this commercially.’ ”
In 2001, Narby and Bryant launched :Nota Bene Cellars. The name they chose, :Nota Bene, is Latin for “
note well.” The abbreviation, NB, conveniently matched the first initial in their last names.
Fortunately, as Narby embarked on his “second career” as a full-time winemaker, he built connections to some great vineyards while serving four years as the head of grape procurement for the Boeing Wine Club  “I was the first member to buy grapes from Ciel du Cheval,” Narby says.


Tracey LaPierre
Tracey is the Owner / Enologist / Winemaker at Seattle Wine Lab since 2015, and offers a full service wine lab and consulting services for winemakers, both commercial and garagiste. She has over 15 years of experience in the wine industry and provides a clear, unbiased and practical approach to winemaking. Tracey has been a judge for the Seattle Wine Awards for many years.

She served as head instructor of winemaking at the Northwest Wine Academy at South Seattle College as well as the Enologist for Mark Ryan Winery from 2013 - 2015, after her role for 5 years as Associate Winemaker at DiStefano Winery in Woodinville, Washington. From 2008 to 2011 Tracey was in California as Winery Lab Taskmaster at Sebastiani Vineyards & Winery.


Shawn Springer

Shawn has been a past judge at the WA State Fair and was a past President of the Seattle Enological Society.


Andrew Martinez, Owner and Winemaker.  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 509-830-8523

Drew (Andrew) is a second generation winemaker in Prosser, Washington.  In 1981 Sergio Martinez and his wife Kristy planted a small vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA. Together Sergio, Kristy, Andrew and Monica Martinez own and operate the small winery located at The Winemakers Loft in Prosser, Washington.

Sergio has worked in the fields since his family moved from Mexico to California when he was just a boy.  It was there in California that he was first introduced to vinifera and dreamed of being a vineyard owner.  Martinez Vineyard may be the first Hispanic owned vineyard in Washington State and Martinez & Martinez Winery is only the second Hispanic owned winery is the state.  Drew ensures that all of the grapes used at Martinez & Martinez winery have the best possible care as he tends to both Martinez and Alder Ridge Vineyards.


Kevin Lantz, Lantz Cellars

Owner and winemaker Kevin Lantz is a self-taught winemaker.  Utilizing extensive research of UC-Davis textbooks and numerous scientific publications, he strives for and achieves masterpieces that are recognized by Seattle magazines as top wines and placed him on the "Winemakers to Watch" list in 2009.  When Kevin was in his early teens, he visited a winery for the first time.  Inspired by the aromas of the cellar, he thought it was the most magnificent smell in the world.  The impact of his first barrel room experience is still with him today.


Leann Stacey, Chorus Frog

Owners Leann and Michael Stacey are members of the American Wine Society.  Both Leann and Michael are AWS certified wine judges and participate in wine competitions throughout the Seattle/Tacoma area and the the United States.