Our Panel

Photo of Liz Thach from SSU

Dr. Liz Thach, Master of Wine

Dr. Liz Thach, MW (pronounced “tosh”) is the Distinguished Professor of Wine and a Professor of Management at Sonoma State University where she teaches in both the undergraduate and Wine MBA programs. Liz’s passion is wine, and she has visited most of the major wine regions of the world and more than 37 countries. In addition, she is an award winning author who has published over 120 articles and 6 wine books, including Call of the Vine, Wine – A Global Business and Wine Marketing & Sales. A fifth generation Californian, Liz finished her Ph.D. at Texas A&M and now lives on Sonoma Mountain where she tends a small hobby vineyard and makes Pinot Noir wine. She also works as a wine judge in various competitions, and has served on many non-profit wine boards. Liz obtained the distinction of Master of Wine (MW) in May of 2011. Panelist/Contributor.




Deborah Parker Wong, DWSET is Global Wine Editor for sister publications the SOMM Journal and The Tasting Panel magazines. In 2020 she was appointed National Editor, US for the Slow Food Slow Wine guide. Deborah teaches as an adjunct professor in the Wine Studies departments at Santa Rosa and Cabrillo Junior Colleges and she owns a Wine & Spirit Education Trust school offering Level 2 and Level 3 certifications. In addition to writing and speaking about wine, she consults to producer groups, judges wine competitions and produces and hosts vodcasts. Her motto is: To learn, read. To know, write. To master, teach. A partial archive of her published work can be found at www.deborahparkerwong.com. Panelist/Contributor.





Fred Swan, Diploma WSET is a San Francisco Bay Area-based wine writer and educator. He holds a Diploma from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust, is a Certified Sommelier, California Wine Appellation Specialist and Certified Specialist of Wine. In 2009, he was awarded a fellowship by the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers. His writing and reviews appear in publications such as GuildSomm.com, daily.SevenFifty.comThe Tasting PanelSOMM Journal, and FredSwan.wine. He teaches for the San Francisco Wine School, judges wine and conducts focused wine tastings, dinners and seminars. Panelist/Contributor.





Lisa Granik, MW has been a Master of Wine since 2006 and holds the WSET Diploma in Wines and Spirits. She is an avid Whisky collector and expert.  A former law professor, she taught in Georgia when it was still part of the Soviet Union. She returned 20 years later courtesy of a USAID effort to assist the Georgian wine industry.  She is an award-winning writer in both print and digital media, and is much in demand for her consulting projects, teaching and speaking engagements. Panelist/Contributor.


Catherine Fallis, MS (pronounced “fall  is”) is the world’s 5th female Master Sommelier and Proprietor at Planet Grape® LLC, a wine consulting firm providing content, reviews, corporate & private tastings, restaurant wine program development, and speaking services. She created her alter-ego, grape goddess®, to help bring wine down to earth for consumers as well as those entering the wine industry. She is one of a handful of female professional sabreurs in the world, opening a bottle of Champagne with a sword in a dazzling theatrical performance. Catherine was recently inducted into Les Dames d’Escoffier and is a Board Member of The American Institute of Wine & Food.

Her diverse wine background as a salesperson, sommelier, distributor, and supplier helped Catherine become the well-rounded and thorough expert she is today. She understands all facets of the wine business, and is a frequent speaker, event host, educator, and consultant for corporations, consumers and the wine trade. She is a highly sought after wine expert and spokesperson for the wine industry. Panel Lead/Editor-in-Chief.