and the

Southwest Wine Competition

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The judging co-chairmen are:

Shirley Jones - Sapello, New Mexico

Shirley is currently a freelance writer with articles appearing in Gateway Magazine, Spirit Magazine, The Magazine of the Rocky Mountain Southwest and Local Flavor. She has been a contributor for Hugh Johnson's wine reference books, such as Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book and Hugh Johnson's Wine Companion, providing information on the Southwest wines. Shirley is a board member of the New Mexico Vine and Wine Society and the Program Chair for the Northern Rio Grande Chapter of the New Mexico Vine and Wine Society.

She has been an assistant wine maker, assistant editor and food editor as well as a talk show host, hosting "Table Talk", an hour program dedicated to the wines and foods of the Southwest. She has been a wine consultant to several restaurants in the United States and abroad. Shirley also has a great deal of judging experience having judged at the following competitions: Dallas Morning News Wine Competition, the Lone Star Wine Competition, Concurso de Vino, Fiestas de la Vendimia, the Southwest Wine Competition and the New Mexico State Fair.

Connoisseur Classic Southwest Wine Competition Judges Are:

Harold Baer - Denver, Colorado

Mr. Baer is the managing editor of the Colorado Wine News - a quarterly newsletter featuring reviews of the wines of the world. He is a member of the Society of Wine Educators and a member of the screening panel of Jancis Robinson's forthcoming book on new world wines. He has conducted and served on many tasting panels as well as conducted educational sessions on wine.

Charlie Leocha - Boston, Massachusetts

Charlie Leocha is an acclaimed travel writer who spent more than 22 years living in Europe. He contributes to scores of magazines, does travel interviews on radio, writes a column scheduled for AOL and is one of the gourmet mavens for

Charlie grew up with wine in Italy and in Germany. He currently reviews restaurants at more than 150 different ski resorts in the USA, Canada and Europe from Ski Apache in Ruidoso to New England, and from Whistler, Canada to the Alps in Europe.

He has tested wines together with top editors of Wine Spectator and Oinologia Magazine at many major wineries in the Navarra and Rioja regions of Spain, the Bordeaux and burgandy regions of France, Veneto and Piemonte in Italy, as well as in the Mosel and Rhine Valleys of Germany and the Valais in Switzerland. He recently went on his first tasting trip to Sonoma and will return from another tour of wineries in Norther Spain just prior to the Southwest Wine Competition. His Spanish tour will be combined with a week of festivities at Pamplona's "Running of the Bulls".

Javin M. Taylor - Las Cruces, New Mexico

Javin Taylor, PhD, professor of electrical and computer engineering at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico has possessed a serious interest in wine for 20 years. He has been a member of "Los Amigos del Vino", a congenial group of about 50 "friends of wine" in Las Cruces for 14 years. He has been a Los Amigos del Vino board member for 12 years, author and publisher of the monthly newsletter for ten years, and treasurer-database manager for ten years. Los Amigos del Vino's board members take turns presenting monthly theme-based tastings consisting of five or six wine selections. As an educator and researcher, Taylor enjoys the self-imposed months of study required to select a tasting theme, decide upon the characteristics to compare and contrast, taste, select and obtain the wines, and finally present the tasting to the group.

Etienne Cowper - Mount Palomar Winery
Temecula, California

Etienne Cowper, 48, is a man of varied background and interests. After earning a degree in Cultural Anthropology, and living for a time in the Southwest, he returned to college at Cal State University, Fresno, where he received a Masters Degree (With Distinction) in Agricultural Chemistry (Enology), and a Graduate Program Award. He also taught as a Graduate Assistant in the Enology program.

Following winemaking internships during his education, Mr. Cowper became winemaker at Konocti winery in Lake County, where his wines won numerous awards. He then joined Kendall-Jackson Winery as Senior Assistant Winemaker/Enologist. During three years at Kendall-Jackson, he headed a number of successful projects for the winery. These experiences gave Mr. Cowper the opportunity to work closely with legendary winemakers John Parducci, Jed Steele, and Andre Tchelitscheff.

Cowper joined Mount Palomar Winery prior to the 1991 harvest. His mark was immediately evident on these wines. His wines at Mount Palomar are marked by great palatability and balance of the wines' elements. His wines have won numerous Gold Medal, Best of Class, and Best of Show Awards in major competitions.