Meet the people behind Wine Tourist Magazine.
The Wine Tourist Magazine is conceived, staffed, and produced by the following people, who share their passion for fine wine, cuisine, and culture.
Brian Yost—Publisher—Editor in Chief. Brian has worked for many years in the publishing industry for Reed Elsevier, the editorial staff of Essays in History and Editor in Chief of Middleburg Life. Brian currently authors EasternWineTourist.com, a wine blog that concentrates on the wine industry and travel opportunities in Eastern North America. He has also contributed to the American Winery Guide, Midwest Wine Press and a handful of Virginia publications. He is a member of the Society of Wine Educators and the American Wine Society. Brian believes in the importance of eating and drinking local, but he also realizes that there is an entire world out there waiting to be explored. Find Brian on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Anne Miaral-Yost—Managing Director. Anne is an avid traveler, foodie and wine lover. In earlier incarnations, Anne earned her Masters Degree from University of the Philippines and a Law Degree from San Beda College of Law. After school, she went on to own and operate a series of successful small businesses, before settling in Charlottesville Virginia. While not busy with the magazine, Anne works for a local law firm. She also loves to entertain, because it provides a platform for practicing her significant culinary skills.
Ava Abiad—Australia Correspondent. Ava Abiad is a gastronaut in the galaxy of food and wine. The Adelaide-based journalist received her education at Bond University and spends her days penning for publications throughout Australia. With a family history in the wine industry, Ava is delighted to join the Wine Tourist Magazine team and share her adventures amongst the vines.
Chris Boiling—Central and Eastern European Correspondent. Chris is a wine and travel writer and winemaker. He was googling the meaning of mid-life crisis when he bought a vineyard and winehouse in Slovenia. He didn't speak the language and didn't know how to make wine (at the time), so he made a right hash of his first few vintages. He has since graduated with a degree in wine production (finishing top in his course) and written about his misadventures in the wine trade for JancisRobinson.com and VinCE magazine. Here, he wants to share his passion for wines and wine regions of Central and Eastern Europe.
Julie H. Case—Northeastern Correspondent. Writer Julie H. Case travels for stories. She has witnessed monks dancing in kitchens, unearthed truffles from a copse of Oregon pines and once ate raw sea urchin off a Chilean fisherman's fingertips. When she is not writing about wine or travel she can be found deep in America's forests, foraging for mushrooms.
Christine Campbell, FWS—British Columbia Correspondent. An avid traveler and lover of ‘all things wine’ Christine holds her Wine Spirits Education Trust Advanced Level 3 certificate with ‘Distinction’. Driven by her passion, she started and completed her French Wine Scholar (FWS) course graduating with ‘Highest Honors’ and is continuing with the inaugural ‘Master of Champagne’ course through the French Wine Society, which she will complete by the end of 2015. With plans to further pursue her interest in wine education, Christine will enroll in the WSET Diploma program in the Fall of 2015. When not studying, Christine writes weekly on her wine blog Girls Go Grape and is a contributing writer for the Alcohol Professor. Based in Vancouver, Canada, Christine sits on the B.C. VQA assessment panel. Follow Christine each #WineWednesday on Girls Go Grape Twitter and Facebook.
Sarita Cheaves—Mid Atlantic Correspondent. Sarita is a DC native with a passion for food and wine. For six years, she served as a Senior Tasting Room Associate at Black Ankle Vineyards. She has a WSET (Wine Spirits Education Trust) certification and spends her energy building her brand, Vine Me Up, where she plans events and discovers wine all over the DMV. She believes wine is approachable and everyone should have a chance to uncover something new. Sarita’s background is in Community Health Education so you may come across events where she organizes a physical activity followed by an exclusive wine tasting. You will find more from Sarita at Vine Me Up.
Nancy Kočiš Galetić—Eastern Europe Correspondent. Nancy hasHungarian roots, but lives in Northern Serbia near the Croatian and Hungarian borders. It was after she completed school that Nancy developed her passion for wine. Her proximity to numerous wine regions has made Nancy an avid wine tourist. She frequently explores nearby wines and wineries. You can find Nancy on Instagram.
Krista Lamb—Ontario Correspondent. Krista is a music journalist turned entertainment publicist turned communications professional. Her passion for wine—in particular Ontario wine—led her to start chronicling her adventures learning about all things vinous. Now, alongside her husband, Shawn, she writes about their adventures balancing healthy living with a passion for the art of wine on her blog Upkeep: Wine, Body & Soul. Follow along with her latest discoveries on Twitter and Instagram.
Benoît Lefèvre—World Correspondent. A wine, travel and photography enthusiast, Benoît loves travelling to wine producing regions in order to write about local winegrowers, winemakers and tourist attractions. He shares his stories on his blog www.vino2travel.com. Born and raised in Lille, France, Benoît currently lives in Montréal, Québec, where he works in international economic development. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Allison Levine—World Correspondent. Allison is owner of Please The Palate, a boutique agency specializing in marketing and event planning for the wine and spirits industry. Allison has a Master’s Degree in International Communications with a focus on cross-cultural training from the American University School of International Service. Allison is certified as an Italian Wine Specialist from the North American Sommelier Association and Level 2 WSET from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust. As a Freelance Writer, she spends her time eating and drinking her way around the world. Allison also writes for the Napa Valley Register, FoodableTV and other outlets, in addition to her blog at Please The Palate; Twitter and Instagram @plsthepalate; Facebook: Please The Palate
Steven McCall—California Correspondent. Steve's mantra is “Food, wine, travel… repeat as necessary.” An Oregon native, Steve spent his childhood summers in the heart of the Willamette Valley wine country. He currently lives within walking distance of the urban wineries in Berkeley, and a short drive from California’s famed Napa and Sonoma Valleys. In addition to exploring US wine regions, Steve has traveled to over 40 countries and has visited winemakers in Europe, New Zealand, and South America. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or his website.
Helena Nicklin—Videographer. Helena Nicklin is Winebird: a freelance writer, presenter and author of 'Winebird's Vinalogy - wine basics with a twist!' She believes that wine education should be as entertaining as drinking the liquid itself, telling stories and painting memorable mental pictures so that this time, you'll remember what you've learned. Winebird.co.uk @TheWinebird YouTube/Winebird
Valérie Nourissat—World Correspondent. Valérie is Founder and Creator of adventureintoflavours.com, a company that provides unique wine experiences through its e-guides, blog and other activities. She has been working internationally in the wine industry since 2008 in sales and marketing as a brand ambassador, brand manager or export manager for producers and distributors. Val is originally from Burgundy, but has lived all over the world in as part of her effort to learn more about wine. When she is not hosting a wine event from her current home in Montreal, Val is on the road looking for the most unique vineyard and interesting winemaker. You can find her at www.adventureintoflavours.com.
Julie Overstreet—Washington Correspondent. Julie is a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW), holds a Wine Business Management Certificate through Sonoma State University and she is a member of the Guild of Sommeliers. Julie is also a member of the American Wine Society and founded and led the first Hawaiian Chapter of that organization. Her passion for wine began while living in the Campania region of Italy, from which she enjoyed extensive wine and food excursions in Italy and France. Julie believes wine and food truly enrich life. She shared her wine and food adventures in her blog, Deep Red Cellar and currently writes for the local magazine “The Crab Cracker” from her home in Camano Island, WA.
Petra Pokorna—Czech Republic Correspondent. Born in Znojmo, Czech Republic, Petra Pokorna grew up in a family of winemakers. Aside from a year working for the Ritz Carlton in Laguna, Niguel, California, Petra has spent her life working in and for her local wine region. Today she manages vinotrh.cz as a representative of Znojmo and selling wine throughout the Czech Republic. Petra’s marketing vision is to tell the stories behind the wines and their producers. She does this through a wine-life blog, written in Czech, and you can also find her on Instagram.
Leslie Rosa—World Correspondent. Leslie is the founder and director of La Dolce Vigna, a wine + culture tour company that organizes authentic experiences in Italy and California. After a decade of working in the art world for eminent institutions and artists in New York, London and around the globe, Leslie Rosa moved to Italy and became a certified sommelier with the Associazione Italiana Sommelier. She has lived in Tuscany (Siena) and the Veneto (Venice) and has traveled extensively throughout the country seeking out small wineries that have a story to tell, local gastronomic wonders, cultural gems and experiences that exude the good life. Now based in northern California, Leslie continues to cultivate la dolce vigna philosophy on the west coast, with custom day tours of California wine country as well as dynamic tastings of Italian wine + culture. You can find Leslie on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn.
Cindy Rynning—World Correspondent. Cindy is a Chicago area resident, an avid wine blogger on her site, Grape Experiences and a contributing writer specializing in wine on other online publications. She graduated from the University of Richmond, obtained a Master’s Degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and holds the Advanced Certificate with Merit from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET). Active on all social media to help advance readers’ knowledge of wines and the wine industry, Cindy attends wine events including dinners, social gatherings, and trade tastings when she isn’t writing. She particularly enjoys having the opportunity to meet and interview winemakers, vineyard owners, and others who share their stories and their wines. Having traveled extensively around the world, Cindy enjoys discovering a country’s culture which includes their people, cuisine, and of course, wine!
Nacho Sánchez—Southwestern Europe Correspondent. Nacho was born in Antequera, a beautiful village in the north of Malaga, the city where he now lives by the beach. It is a region with a strong wine tradition, where some of the Spanish wines with most personality are being produced. He is a journalist and has worked in different media, as well as for NGOs and the Human Rights sector. For the last few years, part of his work has focused on discovering some of the secrets of the local cuisine for various magazines, with wine as the protagonist. Of course, he also loves to travel and, above all, to learn about traditions and cultures from around the world.
Zina Sorensen—Bulgaria Correspondent. Zina is a wine enthusiast, small-business owner, sustainable tourism advocate, social media aficionado, travel fanatic and food lover. Besides managing her company Bulgaria Wine Tours, she spends her time trying to raise awareness of Bulgaria as a destination for alternative tourism.
Stacy Slinkard—Correspondent at Large. Stacy is a freelance wine writer and educator who worked for six years in the corporate beer industry before realizing that her personal passion leaned more towards grapes than grains. She holds the Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) from the Society of Wine Educators and her Advanced Certificate with distinction from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET 3). Stacy’s writing has appeared in Wine.com, Wine Folly, VinePair, The Idiot’s Guide to Wine (3rd Edition), The NY Times, The Daily Meal, Spruce.com and other wine-soaked outlets. You can follow Stacy on Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn.
Cindy Swain—Italy Correspondent. Cindy moved from Seattle to Italy, where she runs italicana kitchen, a bilingual food, wine and travel blog. She also writes for a variety of food and wine publications and collaborates with companies to promote their artisanal food and wine via cooking shows, brand ambassador programs and recipe creation. Cindy is on air each Thursday morning on Radio Bruno, where she talks about food and wine trends. She is also a certified sommelier and will soon offer custom wine and food tours in emilia-Romagna, the so-called "food valley." You can find Cindy on Facebook Instagram Twitter Pinterest Vimeo Linkedin
Paula Theotonio—Brazil Correspondent. Paula is a food and travel journalist and social media analyst. In January 2015, she founded the blog Terroir, where she writes about her charming hometown (Petrolina) and its region—Val do Sao Francisco, located in northeastern Brazil. She has lectured about food habits in the backcountry of her region for the major television network in Brazil, Rede Globo. Other than writing, she hosts a local journalistic radio show called Hashtag.
Silviya Topchiyska—Correspondent at Large. A native of Plovdiv, Bulgaria, Silviya the ultimate #winetourist and has long been passionate about travel, exploring new places, history and meeting new people. She turned these interests into a blog about travel and wine. In 2017, Silviya went a step further by creating Custom Trip, a business devoted to customized travel itineraries. During the rest of her life, Silviya runs owns and manages topchiyska.com—a business & HR consulting company. She also studies rare European and US wine vintages. Her most favorite wine by far is from the Bulgarian red wine grape “Rubin.” She believes it best fits her character.
Madalena Vidigal—Portugal Correspondent. Wine and travel were the passions that led Madalena to post-graduate studies in Wine Tourism. They further inspired her to cultivate her own vineyard in Alentejo, Portugal, where she spends her days "Entre Vinhas" (among the vines). For Madalena, wine tourism is visiting wineries, eating in a good restaurant, a cottage in the countryside, stories told by genuine people, and getting to know the origin of the wines she drinks. She hopes to further inspire your wine tourism passions with her blog www.entrevinhas.com.
Michael Walz—Argentina Correspondent. Michael is a specialist in wine tourism, graduated from the Wine Institute Mendoza, where he also teaches English for the Wine Industry and Business English. He has been working as a freelance tour guide in Mendoza since 2011 and founded Vintuition Tours in 2015, providing tailor-made tours in Mendoza’s fascinating wine country. Born and raised in Bavaria, Michael converted from supposedly dyed-in-the-wool beer drinker to wine enthusiast, focusing on Argentina’s emblematic varietals Malbec and Torrontés. You can find Michael at vintuitiontours.com on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Kristy Wenz—Food Columnist. Kristy is a writer, entrepreneur, wine lover, experimental home cook and avid traveler. She first developed a passion for wine touring on a random stop at a winery in Southern California. Since that first experience, Kristy and her husband have explored wineries in 22 states from coast-to-coast. As food, wine and travel often run hand-in-hand, Kristy took her passions to the interwebs. She blogs regularly at Eat Play Love, where she and her family explore cuisines and cultures from around the globe, share in wine adventures and travel excursions. In 2016, Kristy, her husband and two children, will be documenting their family sabbatical throughout Europe, where they plan to discover new cuisines and wine regions first-hand. Follow Kristy at Eat Play Love, on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.
Matthew Wieland—Pacific Northwest Correspondent. Matthew resides in Portland, Oregon, where he explores the world of wine and vine with a focus on the wines of the Northwest. You can follow him at Wagon Wine, as well as on Facebook andTwitter. He began writing about wine while teaching literature and writing. Today, he works in the Willamette Valley wine industry and as an independent wine writer. Cool climate wines have seduced Matthew, however, his palate and broad appreciation benefit his study of many regions, varietals, and styles. When not seeking out new producers, varietals, and labels, you can find him gardening, rock climbing, cooking, and road biking, often with his family at his side.
Valentina Zanella—Wine Education Correspondent. Valentina worked in marketing for the diamond industry before gravitating to her “true calling,” which is wine. Valentina started in the export department for Zonin1821 in Vicenza, which is the largest privately owned producer in Italy. Valentina transitioned to a role as a wine industry event planner, in which she organizes high-end events for top sommeliers and journalists from around the world. You can follow Valentina on facebook or on instagram.