Katie earned her B.A. in Spanish and Global Studies at University of California, Santa Barbara. She’s lived and worked in Chile, Spain, France, where she earned her M.Sc. degree in Wine Business, and the UK, working wine retail and writing for leading trade publication Harpers Wine and Spirit. After returning to her home state of California in 2014, Katie has focused her career on marketing and communications for the international luxury portfolios of Wilson Daniels, Paul Hobbs Wines, and now ODL, where she leads public relations and strategic planning for the company’s global clients. Katie has worked harvests in Chile, Burgundy, and Napa Valley, holds the WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wine and Spirits, and is an MW candidate with the Institute of Masters of Wine.
Shana Clarke is a wine, sake, and travel journalist for consumer and trade publications such as Fortune, CNN Travel, Wine Enthusiast, NPR, Hemispheres, and VinePair. She’s served as a judge and a writing mentor at the TEXSOM Awards, holds a Level 3 Advanced certificate from Wine and Spirits Education Trust, and is a Certified Sake Sommelier. In addition, she is a contributing author to the book The Wine Lover’s Bucket List, which published in 2020 by Rizzoli. In December 2022 she released her book, 150 Vineyards You Need to Visit Before You Die. See her work at shanaspeakswine.com or follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @shanaspeakswine
Rachel DelRocco Terrazas is a Tucson, Arizona-based writer, editor, speaker, and consultant with 20 years in the hospitality and beverage space. Her work includes writing and media content on wine, spirits, and the intersection of beverage with wellness, sobriety, art, and culture. She consults with clients on editorial programming, production, and communications. In July 2023 Rachel joined the TEXSOM team to assist with communications and social media content production.
Brian Hay has been working and learning in the food service industry since the late 1980’s. As a young child in Ontario, Canada, he was a faithful viewer of “The Galloping Gourmet”, one of television’s earliest cooking shows. He moved on to more formal studies earning a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Hotel and Food Administration from the University of Guelph, Ontario, and a Master of Science degree in Restaurant Management from Purdue University.
A strong believer in life-long learning, he holds a number of professional certifications, including:
Sommelier diploma from the International Sommelier Guild
Certified Sommelier Certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers
Certified Specialist in Wine and Certified Specialist in Spirits from the Society of Wine Educators
Certified Executive Chef along with a Certified Culinary Educator with the American Culinary Federation.
Brian has been the Program Director and Instructional Dean for 4 Culinary and Hospitality Programs around the country focusing on Culinary Fundamentals and Beverage Management for over 25 years. While doing this, in 2019, he started his own consulting business Art of the Pair.com, where he writes numerous articles related to Food and Beverage pairing along with Tea Reviews. He’s completing his first book on the art of food and beverage pairing.
Where does he get his energy from? He says his own inspiration comes from his family and a simple phrase from Anthony Bourdain: “Good food, good drink, good view, and good company. What else is there in life?”
Independent Alcohol Sales Contractor| Brand Communicator/Ambassador.
Michael Wangbickler is President of Balzac. With nearly 30 years of experience in marketing and public relations, Mike is a trusted advisor and strategic consultant to his clients. While others are frozen when faced with barriers, Mike is energized by it. He relishes analyzing problems for his clients, finding what is wrong, and providing them with innovative solutions. Mike’s strategic mind enables him to sort through the noise and find the best way forward. He embraces ambiguity and can identify paths to real progress.
Before following his heart to wine country, Mike followed his head to Silicon Valley where he spent 8 fast-paced years in technology communications, where he caught the bug for following the latest trends in marketing tech. Armed with a “live to eat” motto and an evident passion for craft food and beverages and the land, Mike entered Balzac’s life in 2004 and became the agency’s President in 2016.
As a studied disciple of Walt Disney, Mike thinks it’s fun to do the impossible. He believes leadership, imagination, and innovation require a certain level of fearlessness and he encourages his team to step off the worn pathways and break new ground. He leads a team who are driven forward by the stories that inspire people to share in a dream. It is with this philosophy that he’s guided successful marketing and communications campaigns for more than 70 global companies and trade associations from a dozen countries.
Shelly Wilfong is a wine educator, writer, and Texas wine podcaster. She founded the Dallas Women’s Wine Club in 2019 and the podcast This Is Texas Wine in 2020. Shelly has contributed articles to the SOMMTV magazine, Texas Wine Lover website, and the State Fair of Texas.