Contributing Writers

Dr. Richard Smart
Dr. Richard Smart is the Managing Director of Smart Viticulture, an international vineyard consulting business founded in 1991. He consults in 28 countries, with a specialty of vineyard manipulation of wine quality. He is considered an authority on canopy management. Richard Smart has four degrees, a B.Sc.Agr Hons, a M.Sc. Hons, a PhD and a D.Sc.Agr. He began research in 1966 studying irrigation and sunlight interception by vineyards. From 1982 to 1990 he was the Government Research Viticulturist for New Zealand. Presently Tamar Ridge Estates of Tasmania is his principal client, and he is also a partner in the new firm RuralSmart which provides monitoring services to agriculture. He has published over 300 articles and papers. His book “Sunlight into Wine” is recognized world wide, and he is also the Viticulture Editor for the Oxford Companion to Wine.
Tom Payette
From Construction, to cork to consumer. With 30 years+ of experience , it is Tom’s (Winemaking Consultant) pleasure to help people enter the wine business, and to remain in the business, by helping people craft wines that consumers purchase and enjoy. Tom is most helpful if engaged while constructing your building and helping you make your wines.
Nan McCreary
Nan McCreary has 50-plus years of writing experience that includes writing video scripts, press releases, magazine articles, newsletters, advertising copy, training collateral materials, instructional. Her passion for writing is surpassed only by her passion for wine. She holds a Level III (Advanced) Certification from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, a Certified Specialist of Wine award from the Society of Wine Educators, and a French Wine Scholar certification from the French Wine Society. Nan holds a B.A. degree in journalism from the University of Iowa. While at the University, she was enrolled for two years in the internationally acclaimed Writer’s Workshop.Nan lives with her husband of 50 years, Jim, in Houston, Texas.
Dr. Judit Monis
Judit Monis, Ph.D. is a native of Argentina, and holds a doctorate degree in Plant Pathology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and received post-doctoral training at the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Monis is a California-based plant health consultant that provides specialized services to help growers, vineyard managers, winemakers, and nursery personnel avoid the propagation and transmission of grapevine diseases caused by bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Dr. Monis was responsible for developing and running STA Laboratories Plant Health Services program. Previous experience includes research and managerial positions at the USDA Center for Plant Health Science and Technology; Seminis Vegetable Seeds (now Monsanto); and Agritope Inc. She is an avid writer and frequent invited speaker at scientific and growers’ meetings. For more information visit
Stephanie Earthman Baird
Stephanie Earthman Baird has 20-plus years of experience in the wine industry that includes import and distribution, event management and education. Before following her passion for wine, she worked as a senior project manager for ExxonMobil. She holds the highest accreditations from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (Diploma) and Society of Wine Educators (Certified Wine Educator) along with numerous other wine certifications. Stephanie attended Texas A&M University where she earned a Business Administration degree in Business Analysis and Research, and also studied chemical engineering. She owns a wine consulting company called Journey Into Wine and can be reached through
Journey to Wine email
Susan DeMatei
Susan DeMatei, owner of Wine Glass Marketing, has over 10 years of experience in winery consumer direct marketing, including Wine Club, database marketing, CRM, e-commerce, events and general luxury wine marketing encompassing awareness, conversion and loyalty. Overall, she has 20 years of experience specializing in direct sales to a luxury market.Prior to 2012, Ms. DeMatei served as Direct Marketing Manager with Opus One Winery. Prior to that, she held marketing or account executive positions with Fosters Wine Estates, Goosecross Cellars, Butler Shine Stern & Partners, Modern Media, Goldberg Moser O’Neill, BBDO SF, and Mullen Advertising. Ms DeMatei holds a B.S. in Communications from Boston University and an A.S. in Viticulture from Napa Valley College. She is a Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers and a Certified Specialist in Wine/Wine Education with the Society of Wine Educators.
Robin Dohrn-Simpson
Robin Dohrn-Simpson is a San Diego-based wine, beer, food and travel writer. She suffers from an extreme case of wanderlust. She’s traveled the world in search of a good taco, pasta, wine or ice-cold beer. When not sitting at her desk she can usually be found exploring a wine region somewhere in the world. Robin holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business and a Professional Certificate in the Business of Wine at San Diego State University. She enjoys teaching Tai Chi Chih and Yoga in her spare time. Robin is a member of the International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association. To see where she is currently exploring check out her website at:
Kerry Scott
Kerry Scott is Program Manager for MAS Labor, the country’s largest agent for the H-2A and H-2B guest worker visa programs. MAS will provide approximately 18,000 workers to nearly 1000 employers in forty-plus states this year. Kerry is primarily responsible for business development for MAS. He visits with and speaks to seasonal employers and commodity and trade-sector organizations all over the country, including vineyard and winery organizations. Kerry has the good fortune to live and work in the Monticello AVA in Virginia, was stationed for several years between the Mosel and Nahe Rivers in Germany, and served as an Army reservist for more than a decade (weeks at a time) at the American Embassy in Vienna, Austria, one of Europe’s great wine capitals.
Brian Kennon
Brian Kennon is an insurance agent with Midwest Winery Insurance, from Missouri that focuses solely on the craft beverage industry (wineries, breweries, brewpubs, distilleries, meaderies, cideries) in the Midwest. He specializes in offering affordable, customized insurance solutions that are often unique risks to this industry.
Drew Horton
Drew Horton has been active in the wine industry for over 25 years having started as a wine salesman, and then as a winemaker. With a BA in Anthropology and early career experience working in kitchens, Drew brings a unique perspective at the intersection of food, culture, and of course wine. Mr. Horton has produced award-winning vintages in Santa Barbara, California before moving to Minnesota in 2010 where he began working with cold-hardy, hybrid grapes at Chankaska Creek Winery. In 2015, Drew moved from commercial winemaking to providing outreach as a field specialist for the Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute at Iowa State in Ames, Iowa. Since returning to Minnesota in September 2016, Drew now works for the University of Minnesota’s Grape Breeding & Enology Project as an Enology Specialist conducting research winemaking and as a field/outreach specialist.
Brian Kaider
Brian Kaider is a Maryland-based attorney with broad experience in the beverage industry. Brian received his law degree from The George Washington University Law School and practiced intellectual property prosecution and litigation at a major international law firm before starting his own practice. An avid home beer- and wine-making enthusiast, Brian is passionate about the beverage industry and fostering its continued growth and success. His beverage clients rely on his expertise in protecting their patents, trademarks, and copyrights; drafting and negotiating commercial leases and other contracts; and resolving their commercial disputes. On weekends, Brian and his wife frequently visit local wineries in search of the perfect Cabernet Franc.
Piero Spada
Piero Spada’s passion for wine stems from the intersection of his deep-rooted Italian heritage and his inherent interest in the biological sciences. Piero received his BS in Biology from UW-Madison, and later received his MS from Cornell’s Viticulture & Enology program. Today, Piero is a Cold Climate Grape & Wine Production Specialist who helps winegrowers develop their own vintner fingerprint. Whether establishing a vineyard, starting a winery, or taking your wines to the next level, Piero’s expert guidance will help you hit your goals. Maximize Your Grapes’ Potential in the Vineyard, Actualize That Potential in the Winery! For more information please visit
Adrienne Roman
Adrienne Roman is a Canadian writer, editor, and producer from Toronto, Ontario. She now lives close to the lush vineyards of Ontario’s historic Niagara-on-the-Lake, and covers a number of diverse subjects for businesses and media outlets, including food and drink, lifestyle, travel, education and parenting, health and holistic living, and arts and entertainment. Visit her website at
Alyssa L. Ochs
Staff Writer
Alyssa is a New Mexico-based freelance writer and craft beverage enthusiast who has a background in political science and law. For over three years, she traveled full-time in an RV with her husband and dog while getting to know lots of amazing local breweries, wineries, and distilleries across America. In addition to writing for The Grapevine Magazine and Beverage Master: Craft, Spirits and Brew Magazine, Alyssa also writes professionally about philanthropy, health, travel, and the environment.
Becky Garrison
Staff Writer
Becky Garrison is a freelance writer currently based in Portland, OR. Follow her travels via Twitter/Instagram @Becky_Garrison and like her Facebook Page BeckyGarrisonWriter.