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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 and The Weekly Calistogan for many years. He is no relation to Anne Ward Ernst, editor of the Calistogan.)

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