Paso Robles News|Wednesday, September 26, 2018
You are here: Home » Entertainment » Winemakers’ Cookoff announces lineup of judges
  • Follow Us!

Winemakers’ Cookoff announces lineup of judges 


Broken Earth Winery won the Spirit Award at a previous event.

Broken Earth Winery won the Spirit Award at a previous event.

The Paso Robles Rotary Club recently announced its lineup of judges for the 2016 Winemakers’ Cookoff fundraiser scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 13, at the Paso Robles Event Center. The 2016 Cookoff judging crew consists of five respected food and wine industry professionals: Robert Whitley, a San Diego-based syndicated wine writer and wine-industry judge; Mike Cervin, a Santa Barbara-based food and wine journalist and author; William Bloxsom-Carter, former Executive Chef of the Playboy Mansion and current Chef and Owner of The Canyon Villa in Paso Robles; Sara Schneider, wine editor for Sunset magazine; and Brigit Binns, a local cookbook author and culinary educator.

“It’s a great group of talented individuals who know their food and wine,” says Cookoff co-chair David Lundy. “Everyone who participates in the Winemakers’ Cookoff knows they better bring their “barbeque A-game” to this event. And this year, I’m sure the judges won’t be disappointed!”

The judges’ duties include sampling the wine and food pairings prepared on-site by the participating wineries and breweries. They will then determine the winners of the Judges’ Choice awards. In a parallel food and wine pairing competition, participating wineries and breweries solicit votes from attendees for the People’s Choice awards. A “Professional Chef” category also allows a winery to team up with its favorite restaurant or caterer to compete for the best professional entry.

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

Robert Whitley is a columnist for the Creator’s Syndicate, published in major newspapers. He is the host of “Wine Talk.” Whitley is the publisher of Wine Review Online, an online source that draws upon the expertise of top U.S. wine and food journalists. He oversees the Critics Challenge, the San Diego International Wine Competition, the Monterey Wine Competition, and the San Diego annual Wine & Roses Charity Wine Tasting. He oversees numerous other wine tasting events, as well. Whitley hosts two weekly radio shows – Whitley On Wine and The Gourmet Club.

Michael Cervin has been involved in the wine industry and has focused on the Central Coast as a writer, judge and educator for a dozen years. He is the author of the national travel book, “California Wine Country”, and has written for “Decanter,” “Wine Enthusiast,” “Wine & Spirits,” “Sommelier Journal,” “The Tasting Panel,” and “Food & Beverage World”. He regularly contributes to “Fine Wine & Liquor,” the largest wine magazine in China. His professional judging experience has included The Best of Vinho Verde Awards in Portugal, the Taste of Rum Festival in Puerto Rico, the California State Fair Wine Competition, The Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting, the Central Coast Wine Competition, and many other charity wine and food competitions. He is the restaurant critic and travel writer for the Santa Barbara News-Press.

William Bloxsom-Carter served as Executive Chef and Food & Beverage Director of Playboy Mansion West for 28 years before following his dream to become an Innkeeper in Paso Robles. In 2015, he and his wife Katherine purchased The Canyon Villa, offering guests a five-star experience that includes unique dining experiences and winemaker-led private tastings. Chef Carter serves as a judge at several national and international wine competitions held throughout the state and works as a private chef for dinners large and small, for his discerning clientele.

Sara Schneider is Sunset magazine’s first wine editor, responsible for tasting panels, food-and-wine pairing in the test kitchen, wine-related food and travel coverage, Sunset’s International Wine Competition, and the magazine’s wine club. Schneider writes a monthly column on food and wine pairing, trends, and issues in wine, as well as other wine-themed food and travel stories. In 2007, Schneider co-authored the book “California Wine Country,” a Sunset Field Guide. She has judged many wine competitions on the West Coast and internationally. Schneider has been nominated twice for James Beard Journalism Awards and holds the Academy of Wine Communication’s Certificate for Excellence in Wine Writing.

Brigit Binns is the author or coauthor of 26 cookbooks and editor of more than 40 others, several of them written for consumer retail company Williams-Sonoma. She has collaborated on books with some of the country’s most respected chefs, including New York’s Michael Psilakis and Los Angeles’ Joachim Splichal. She adapted all the recipes for Chef Psilakis book, “How to Roast a Lamb: New Greek Classic Cooking”. The book was nominated for a James Beard Award. Binns’ collaboration with San Francisco butcher Ryan Farr (“King of Meats”) on the book “Whole Beast Butchery” was also nominated for the James Beard award. When Binns and her husband, actor Casey Biggs, relocated to California’s central coast wine country, Casey promptly, and accidentally, became the viral Youtube sensation “Paso Wine Man” advocating the fast-growing wine region.

The goal of the Paso Robles Rotary Winemakers Cookoff is to raise money for college scholarships for local high school seniors. To date, the Paso Robles Rotary has given more than $400,000 to this cause and is the largest scholarship donor to Paso Robles High School.

For more information go to or call (805) 239-0655.



Facebook Comments Plugin Powered byVivacity Infotech Pvt. Ltd.

Subscribe to daily news

Join our 5,101 daily email subscribers

Share this post!Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter


About the author: News Staff

News staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote and edited this story from local contributors and press releases. Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on , Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or follow his blog. He can be reached at