Editor-in-Chief of TerroirSense Wine Review
President of TerroirSense Academy
Vice President of Association Internationale des Terroirs
Chief Scientific Officer of TasteSpirit
Ian D’Agata has been writing and educating about wines for over thirty years. Internationally recognized as an distinguished expert, critic and writer on many wine regions, his two most recent, award winning books Native Wine Grapes of Italy and Italy’s Native Wine Grape Terroirs (both published by University of California Press) are widely viewed as the “state of the art” textbooks on the subject. The former book won the Louis Roederer International Wine Awards Book of the Year in 2015 and was ranked as the top wine books of the year for the Los Angeles Times, the Financial Times and the New York Times, while the latter was named among the best wine books of the year by Food & Wine Magazine and the NY Times.
As a former staff writer at Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, Contributing Editor at Decanter, Senior editor at Vinous, and contributing writer at numerous other magazines and websites, he has also written extensively on the wines of France, Canada and other wine producing nations. Along with his former student and best pupil, Michele Longo, Ian is also currently the co-author of the Italy section in Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Book of Wine, the world’s best-selling wine guide.
In recognition of his work devoted to the communication of wine knowledge and research, in 2015 Ian was named to Italy’s prestigious Accademia della Vite e del Vino, Italy’s association of university professors, researchers and academicians in the field of wine. Over the years, he has been honoured with numerous other awards and titles, including the Foglia d’Oro from the city of Dolegna in the Collio viticultural area, the Comitato Grandi Cru’s “Italy’s best wine journalist”, the 2016 Les Plumes d’Or awards nomination by French wine producers, winemakers and chefs (associated with Le Grandes Tables du Monde) as one of the world’s eight leading international wine writers and the 2017 Cuvée Award of Excellence (Ontario, Canada).
As a trained medical doctor at the hospitals of the Universities of Cincinnati, Harvard, Montréal and UCSF, Ian has won grants in cellular and molecular biology, which explains his interest and current research focus on the discovery and correct identification of forgotten, native, grape varieties all over the world and to have wines made from all of them once again.
Co-founder of TerroirSense & TasteSpirit
Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TasteSpirit, China’s leading wine media, wine education provider, product recommendation platform and cultural community about wine. Each year TasteSpirit organizes more than 100 wine tastings and courses all over China. In 2017 it was nominated by WSET the only finalist wine school in Asia for Best Educator of the Year. TasteSpirit is also the most important advocate of the concept of Terroir in China. It organizes two influential international wine summits annually – Terroir Renaissance International Wine Symposium and China Wine Summit. He graduated from Telecom ParisTech, HEC Paris, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and holds a master degree.
World-renowned wine writer, French wine critic, researcher of Université de Bourgogne, Jacky Rigaux is one of the most active advocate of the importance of terroir in winemaking. He is also a psychologist and approaches wine as an expression of a historical and cultural context. To underline the importance of the relation between wine and culture, he organizes many summits in France between winemakers and experts: the most important is the annual “Les Rencontres Henri Jayer – Vignerons, Gourmets et Terroirs du Monde”, gathering about 30 vignerons devotee to the philosophy of terroir. He is author of many publications, including “Le Terroir et le Vigneron, Terre en Vues”, “Grands cru de Bourgogne”, “Le réveil des terroirs – Défense et illustration des ‘climats’ de Bourgogne”, “La dégustation géo-sensorielle”.
One of the most refined palates in the world, has excelled in the world of fine food and rare wines for over twenty years and acquired an extraordinary range of professional experience of activities, partnerships and international awards. He has won several awards starting from the most prestigious World’s Best Sommelier awarded by the “Association de la Sommelerie Internationale” in 2013. He has also received a long list of other major awards: Best European Sommelier in 2010, Second Best ASI World Sommelier in 3 consecutive years (2010, 2007 and 2000). His “international career” was launched in 1997 when he was crowned Best Swiss Sommelier.
Born in 1966, he has dual – Italian and Swiss – nationality and is originally from the Varese area. He has worked in various restaurants with one or more Michelin stars in both Switzerland and abroad and has become a specialist in rare and collectors’ wines. He has also been a member of the jury for renowned international wine competitions such as the Decanter World Wine Award, the Mundial du Pinot Noir, the Mundial du Merlot, the Swiss Wine Guide. Furthermore, he is a professor at the prestigious Swiss Changins Wine School and the Hotel Management School (Ecole Hôtelière) in Lausanne, Switzerland, and the Worldsom Sommelier Academy in Bordeaux, France. He has been Guest Speaker at many workshops on wine as well as fine food events all over the world. He is also a wine trader and consultant through his company Paolo Basso Wine in Lugano (Switzerland) as well as a wine producer. His first own label red wine was dedicated to his daughter, “Il Rosso di Chiara”.
Michael Apstein has written about wine for over three decades. As a free-lance writer, he has written over 300 wine columns for The Boston Globe newspaper. His writing has also appeared in a variety of U.S., Canadian, and U.K. publications, including Decanter, The San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Magazine, and Wine and Spirits. Furthermore, he has been a regular guest commentator on Whitley on Wine, a radio show based in San Diego and broadcast nationally. Over the course of his career, Michael, who is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a member of the Division of Gastroenterology at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, has received numerous awards, including a James Beard Foundation Journalism Award in 2000 the Les Grands Jours de Bourgogne Press Trophy in 2008. Michael also judges frequently at numerous international and national wine competitions and is a well-respected wine educator who taught at the Boston Center for Adult Education for 20 years, an activity for which Bon Appetit magazine chose him as one of five instructors nationwide whose “focused classes closely examine a specific wine producing region or wine style.”
Robert Millman’s wine career began in the early 1980s, when he began working from Morrell & Company, one of the USA’s top wine retailers. During that time, he co-founded Executive Wine Seminars (EWS) with Howard Kaplan, which over the years became one of NYC’s most highly regarded wine events companies. EWS organized and conducted over 1000 wine events during its prestigious thirty-three year history. High points included Robert Parker being a regular guest presenter at the tastings, and through 2011, the results of the tastings were published on the Wine Advocate website. Having reached an age where taking a step back from the wear and tear of life in the wine fast lane made sense, Millman currently enjoys being a taster and wine writer for Grapes the Wine Company, an excellent, leading e-retailer based in Westchester (NY).
Laura DePasquale MS is one the most accomplished and influential women in the U.S. wine industry today. Currently the Vice President (VP)/General Manager (GM) for the Artisanal Fine Wine Division for Southern Glazers Wine & Spirits (SGWS) – Florida, she is the first female VP/GM in the SGWS network. Prior to joining SGWS Florida, DePasquale lead a rapid turn around and expansion of Stacole Fine Wines in Florida, Quality Wines in Georgia and The Country Vintner in South Carolina (she moved to the Country Vintner from Palm Bay International where she had been Vice President of Fine Wine Development). A popular and engaging wine educator, speaker, examiner and judge in regular demand to conduct seminars and tastings at numerous high-profile events such as TexSom, South Beach Food and Wine Festival, New York Food & Wine, and Aspen Food & Wine Classic, she is a regular lecturer and examiner for the Court of Master Sommeliers at all levels and was elected to the Board of Directors of the Court of Master Sommeliers in 2010, serving as the first female Vice-Chair for 3 years and a Board Member for 5 years. At TerroirSense, she will focus on the wines of Spain and the Rhône, but will cover other regions as well. Over the years, Ian D’Agata have gotten to know Laura and her husband Cesar extremely well and have led or co-led numerous wine events and tastings with her in Italy and the States. She is quite simply one of the funniest, most intelligent, and knowledgeable people in all wine domains.
Ting graduated from Zhejiang University (China) and completed her studies at the Burgundy School of Business obtaining a Specialized Master of International Commerce in Wines and Spirits. After being the first Asian TV presenter for a European wine channel, she worked in a famous Parisian cellar/négociant as the Asian market director, co-founding at the same time the International Association for Rare and Old Wines by which to share her passion and knowledge about fine wines and wine investment. Her dedication to the culture of the fine, rare and old in wine led her to being awarded the the title of Commandeur d’Honneur of the Commanderie du Bontemps de Médoc, des Graves, de Sauternes et de Barsac. She is now embracing her vocation to become a wine expert in the difficult science of authentication and evaluating the world’s most valuable wines by learning from Aymeric de Clouet, French expert at the Paris Court of Appeal.