The Seattle Cider Awards could not be possible without the essential and valued contributions of our distinguished group of professionals. Our tasting panel consists of highly-experienced bar, spirits, and mixology experts and craftspeople that have earned industry-wide recognition and popular consumer appeal.



Our thorough evaluation is of the highest integrity and our thoughtful process provides both our tasting panel and entries the best environment for tasting.

2023 Pouring Team

(L-R Standing) Melinda, Sara, Blake, Julia, LB, David LeClaire – Captain, Wendy, Darrin, Vi, Javi, Sarah

2023 Scoring Team

(L-R Standing) Wendy, Jay, Michelle, Jen, Donna Zandell – Lead

2023 Tasting Panel ~ Saturday

(L-R Seated) Tiffany Tobey ~ CS / Wine Director Tower Club Dallas/Invited Clubs, TX; Stacey L Jones ~ Downtown Spirits / Esquin Wine & Spirits / WA Wine Professional; Debbie Hansen ~ Winemaker/Co-Proprietor, Cougar Crest Estate Winery; Shelly Fitzgerald ~ DipWSET, CS, CSW, AWE, Cava Wine Expert; Van Doren Chan ~ CS / Board of Directors Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers; Lisa Granik ~ MW, Author – Granik’s Guide to Georgian Wine and The Wines of Georgia

(L-R Standing) Jeff Peda ~ International Wine Professional / VinCru USA; Chris Nishiwaki ~ Wine Journalist; Lenny Rede ~ NW Wine Academy / Wine Steward, Metropolitan Markets – Mercer Island; Christopher Gronbeck ~ Previous Owner / Proprietor The Barrel Thief; Matthew Citriglia ~ MS, Director of Wine Education East Region SGWS; Tim O’Brien ~ Wine Director, Salty’s Seafood Grills; Will Camarda ~ Sales Director / Winemaker, Andrew Will Winery; Paul Carayas ~ CS / GM Chez TJ San Jose, CA; Jeff Cox ~ Wine Director, PCC Markets; Ole Thompson ~ Advanced Sommelier / Downtown Spirits / Esquin Wine & Spirits / WA Wine Professional

2023 Tasting Panel ~ Sunday

(L-R Standing) D. Maria Halstead ~ NW Wine Academy / WA Wine Professional; Amberleigh Brownson ~ CS / WA Wine Professional; Dr. Gregory Chan ~ Echanson Honoraire, La Chaine des Rotisseurs – Seattle Baillage; Bruce Sturgeon ~ CS / WA Wine Professional; Alexa Skilling ~ Sommelier/Owner mineralistawines.com; Javi Strohm ~ NW Wine Academy / WA Wine Professional / WSET III; Tracey La Pierre ~ Enologist/Winemaker Seattle Wine Lab



Our process is a single-blind tasting and evaluation process meaning panelists are aware of intended style, fruit composition, and residual sugar components. The awards give include: Best of Class, Double Gold, Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Grand Award of Excellence.