2011 Rotary Winemakers’ Cookoff Repeats 2010 Judge Lineup

2011 Rotary Winemakers’ Cookoff Repeats 2010 Judge Lineup

Paso Robles, CA, July 11, 2011 – The Paso Robles Rotary Club announced its lineup of judges for the 2011 Winemakers’ Cookoff fundraiser scheduled for Saturday, August 6. The 2011 Cookoff judging crew consists of the same five respected food and wine industry professionals as last year: Mike Cerwin, Santa Barbara-based wine journalist; Lynne Diehl, Central Coast wine-show host and wine-industry journalist; Kathy Marks-Hardesty, local wine industry journalist; Mike Stepanovich, wine writer, judge and college educator; and Robert Whitley, San Diego-based syndicated wine writer and wine-industry judge. 

“Last year, we had an extremely efficient and cohesive group of judges,” said Sharon Ross, the 2010 and 2011 Rotary Winemakers’ Cookoff Chair. “They all wanted to return for this year’s event and we were very pleased to oblige.”

The judges’ duties are to sample the wine and food pairings prepared on site and served to event attendees by the 30 participating wineries to determine winners of the Judges’ Choice awards. In a parallel food and wine pairing competition, participating winemakers solicit votes from attendees for the People’s Choice awards.2011 Cookoff Judge’s Bios

Below are brief biographies of the five talented wine-industry pros lined up to judge this year’s Cookoff:

Michael Cervin, has been involved in the wine industry and focused on the Central Coast for more than a decade as a writer, judge and educator. He is the author of the national travel book, California Wine Country, and has written about wine for “Decanter,” “Wine Enthusiast,” “Wine & Spirits,” “The Tasting Panel,” “Food & Beverage World,” and over 80 others. His judging experience has taken him to the Best of Vinho Verde Awards in Portugal, the Taste of Rum Festival in Puerto Rico, the Monterey Wine Competition, The Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting, the Central Coast Wine Competition, and many other wine and food competitions. He is also the restaurant critic and travel writer for the Santa Barbara News-Press, and he writes several wine columns.

Lynn Diehl enjoyed an interesting broadcast journalism career as a television anchor, reporter and writer, and launched a second career as a wine and food media owner. She is owner and host of Wine Region News Weekend TV, Wine Region News Radio and In the Food Section on Krush 92.5FM, Ten Questions with Lynn Diehl newspaper column, blogs and www.wineregionnews.com. She enjoys helping local Central Coast wine and food businesses tell their stories to the world. A collector of hundreds of cookbooks, she never tires of finding another one that introduces an unusual ingredient.

Kathy Marcks Hardesty, Central Coast wine and food columnist, is an alumna of the California Culinary Academy. She worked for the famed chef Wolfgang Puck in San Francisco in 1989. Marcks Hardesty left the restaurant industry after more than a decade to become Wine Tasting Coordinator for Wine Spectator magazine. She relocated to the Central Coast in 1996 and began writing her wine column in “New Times” of SLO and also writes their weekly Cuisine column. She authors the wine column, “Uncorked,” for Central Coast Magazine and is a frequent contributor to Wines & Vines, a national wine industry magazine. She recently left her 16-month stint as co-host of the weekly show Grapevine Radio, to begin writing her first book, a guide to the Central Coast Wine Country. www.CervinsCentralCoast.blogspot.com

Mike Stepanovich, based in Bakersfield, has been writing his wine column, “Life is a Cabernet” since 1985 and judging wines since 1987. Stepanovich also teaches wine history and wine appreciation classes for California State University Bakersfield and California State University Northridge.

Brigit Binns is the author or co-author of twenty-four cookbooks and editor of many others. She has written many cookbooks for Williams-Sonoma; her recipes are “deliciously inflected with the flavors of Italy, France, North Africa, and Latin America…immensely friendly and appealing.” Brigit has helped some of the country’s most respected chefs create cookbooks. She also writes a blog, Roadfoodie and her recent collaboration, Mr Sunday’s Soups (with Lorraine Wallace), has topped the Amazon cookbook rankings for over a month. Her collaboration with Michael Pslakis, How to Roast a Lamb, earned a James Beard nomination. Brigit lived in Europe for ten years, where she graduated from England’s Tante Marie cooking school, owned her own catering business, and edited the English-language magazine of Spain’s Mediterranean coast.

During its thirteen-year history, the Paso Robles Winemakers’ Cookoff has become one of Paso Robles’ most-popular wine, food and music events. It is also one of its most unique. The Cookoff features not just local wines, but the culinary talents of more than 30 of the appellation’s winemakers. Participating wineries pair their culinary creations with their finest wines and compete for both Judges’ Choice and People’s Choice awards the day of the event. Since the first Winemakers’ Cookoff in 1999, proceeds from the Winemakers’ Cookoff have been deposited in Rotary’s Harlow Ford Scholarship Foundation building a perpetual fund that has enabled the Paso Robles Rotary Club to award scholarships exceeding $350,000 as well as build a perpetual fund that will help guarantee future scholarship benefits. For more information on the Paso Robles Rotary Club and the Winemakers’ Cookoff visit: www.winemakerscookoff.com or call toll-free 877 264-6979.