Dave Stoneberg’s excellent column on Dec. 7, “Star/NVV tasting panel is a wonderful collaboration,” captured the early formation of the panel, and gave some insight into how it became the nationally-recognized newspaper feature it is today.

However, he downplayed one key ingredient that has made the panel so successful for so many years: Dave Stoneberg.

The panel could not have reached its current place in the history of wine journalism without Dave’s enthusiasm and dedication.

In the Star newsroom, I remember his elation whenever he landed a particularly prominent vintner or grower to attend and participate in the panel. And I remember how respectfully he treated all of the tasters – with gratitude and recognition for their donation of time.

His determination to make the tastings exciting to the panelists while also producing interesting articles for the wine-consuming public resulted in something unique in the media: News that teaches us all something new about the Napa Valley’s primary industry.

I commend Dave for bringing stature to the Star’s wine coverage and I applaud Napa Valley’s wine community and Napa Valley Publishing for contributing to this decade-long adventure.

Doug Ernst

Public Information Officer

Napa Valley College

(Editor’s Note: Before Ernst was PIO for Napa Valley College, he was the editor and publisher of the St. Helena Star for many years.)

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