Welcome to all of the judges, stewards and volunteers for the 2018 Cider Competition!

Debra Del Fiorentino
Head Judge. Owner/Mgr Wine Competitions Management
Debra has been judging wine and spirits for 16 years and over 150 wine and spirit competitions. She runs eight International Wine Competitions, one Spirit Competition, and Dan Berger's Cider Competition. As a sommelier and the founder and owner of Spirited Magazine, her partners are the Press Democrat, and Sonoma Media.
Amanda Lathrop
Associate Professor Food Science, Cal Poly
Amanda has been a hobby cider maker for many years, and over the last few years she has taught students at Cal Poly how to make cider. The students harvest apples from a CP ranch, then juice and ferment the cider in their pilot plant. Amanda has made ciders that have won national and international awards. She has also taken the cider course given by Peter Mitchell.
Laura Ness
Freelance Wine Writer
Laura Ness is a longtime wine journalist, columnist and judge who contributes regularly to WineOh.Tv, Wine Industry Network, Los Gatos Magazine, Spirited Magazine and Edible: Monterey, as well as other consumer and trade publications. Her passion is sharing insights into the world of wine and the characters that inhabit it, bringing to life their stories for all to taste. She is based in Los Gatos, California.
Adam Padilla
Manager of Public Wine & Beverage Operations
Adam is a manager of Public Wine & Beverage programs at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America. This year he is curating and organizing the CIA's first Ciderfest at their newest facility in downtown Napa - CIA at Copia. Adam has extensive experience buying cider, beer, wine, and spirits from New York to California. His experience encompasses consumer education, beverage sales, hospitality, event operations, marketing, and public relations.
Bob Peak
Owner, Peak Fermentation Consulting

Bob holds a degree in Chemistry, is a certified judge of beer and wine, an award-winning home brewer. He makes Pinot Noir and Chardonnay yearly. As General Manager at Vinquiry, was trained on the Davis 20-point wine judging scale and approved for TCA cork sensory analysis. Now retired from ownership of The Beverage People in Santa Rosa, he is an independent consultant and teacher regarding fermentation of cider, wine, beer, charcuterie, cheese, and more.
David Sandri
Wine Educator and Advisor
David has been in various parts of the wine and alcohol business for over 25 years, from retail in tasting rooms to production and compliance. He has judged at competitions throughout the country, including the California State Fair, Finger Lakes International, International Wine Challenge (UK), and many others. At College of Marin he teaches classes on tasting, regions, and production, and he also gives lectures through the Wine Business program at Sonoma State University.
Christophe Smith
Robert Parker Wine Advocate
Christophe has an extensive background in the wine industry, from sales and education to his current role in business development at Robert Parker Wine Advocate, the leading wine publication influencing serious wine buyers around the globe for 34 years, The Wine Advocate gives its readers invaluable information on the world of wine as well as a wealth of reviews from unbiased experts.
Dennis Yardroff
Chef and Home-Brewer
Dennis worked in wine-heavy restaurants as a bartender and server in Chicago in the 2000’s. After a brief stint in corporate show business and move to Oakland, he went into the kitchen and spent most of 2011 working first in NYC, then in Berkeley. He opened Lost And Found in the spring of 2014 and curated a diverse, accessible and locally crafted cider, wine, and beer list. He has now left The Hog’s Apothecary in Oakland to join forces with Ol’ Republic Brewing in Nevada City, CA.
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