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Wine Enthusiast Appoints New Reviewers to Tasting Panel

Wine Enthusiast appoints two new members to its tasting panel, while bidding a fond farewell to two long-time contributors.

Michael Schachner, who has been with the magazine for over two decades, is retiring from his post at Wine Enthusiast. Starting with the company in 1997 as managing editor, Schachner laid the groundwork for much of the tone and structure of the magazine that remains today, including the start of the in-house tasting program in 1999. Over his tenure, he has reviewed more than 35,000 wines, with a heavy focus on Argentina, Chile and Spain. His in-depth reporting on these countries followed the rise of South American wine and its growing importance in the U.S. market, as well as detailed dives into classic and under-the-radar areas in Spain. Schachner has become an authority in these major wine-growing areas, lending his insights on the personalities and trends that drive them and providing context to our readers over the past two decades. 

Additionally, Paul Gregutt is moving on from his Contributing Editor position at the magazine. In his over two decades at Wine Enthusiast, Gregutt reviewed more than 23,000 wines, initially covering the entire Pacific Northwest region, yet most recently covering Oregon and Canada. His reporting followed an exciting time in the Pacific Northwest, which has been in a constant state of evolution as a relatively new wine region on the world stage. Over his tenure at the magazine, he has participated in many seminars and wine events focused on his beats, sharing the knowledge he gained through his countless visits to wineries and formal tastings at his home office in Walla Walla, WA. 

These changes bring two new appointments to the tasting panel. Effective now, Jesica Vargas will cover the wines of Argentina and Chile, as well as some other wine-producing countries in North and South America, and Sean Sullivan will cover the wines of Oregon and Canada while retaining the beats of Washington and Idaho. As previously announced, Mike DeSimone now reviews wines from Spain.  

A native of Argentina, Vargas comes to Wine Enthusiast after years of working for several wineries in Mendoza, specializing in marketing and communication. In 2019, she moved to the U.S. where she started the blog Andes Uncorked to share her passion for the wines of South America with a predominantly North American audience. With a degree in journalism and a keen eye for emerging wine trends, Vargas is an exciting addition to the panel and will offer a unique perspective on key wine-producing regions through her in-depth reporting and tasting. Vargas will be tasting out of the Valhalla, NY headquarters. 

A member of the Wine Enthusiast tasting panel since 2013, Sullivan has been an integral part of covering the wines of the Pacific Northwest for the magazine. His experience in the region spans back nearly two decades, initially reporting on his platform Washington Wine Report. As a pillar of the Pacific Northwest wine community, Sullivan is entrenched in his current beats of Washington and Idaho, but is excited to expand his coverage to Oregon and Canada to provide cohesive reporting on winegrowing regions that in some cases span across state lines. Sullivan will continue to taste out of his home office in Seattle. 

To submit wines to Vargas and Sullivan for review consideration, please see the FAQ for proper shipping instructions. All updated submission documents can be found here.

To learn more about the Wine Enthusiast tasting department, visit the Meet the Team page.