Allen Balik

I have been a wine enthusiast, educator, collector and author for more than 35 years.

Allen Balik is a noted wine collector, wine educator, author and a recognized authority on California and European wines. He also serves as a consultant in the wine industry on brand and vineyard development as well as sales and marketing. In this role, Allen brings his extensive 35+ years of experience in marketing and brand development in the luxury product business coupled with 35+ years of involvement in various facets of the wine industry. As a member of numerous tasting groups, Allen samples between 1,200 and 1,500 wines each year. He moderates frequent panel discussions, including the Napa Valley Wine Library’s annual symposium at the Culinary Institute of America Greystone. In his travels, Allen has toured wine growing areas around the world and tasted at numerous wineries, chateaux, and domaines throughout the United States, France, Italy, Spain, Australia and Chile. He recently “hosted” a wine cruise in the Mediterranean at the request of Celebrity Cruises. At the invitation of American Dream Vacations, Allen also lead a wine barge cruise through Burgundy and in the fall of 2016 he lead an extensive tour through Italy's Veneto and Tuscany regions. In August, 2017 Allen will be leading a group of wine enthusiasts to Oporto and on a river cruise of the Douro aboard the AMA Vida. Allen co-authored Guide to Choosing, Serving and Enjoying Wine. Rather than another wine primer, the Guide demystifies wine, encouraging readers to try the beverage as a normal part of their mealtime enjoyment. In February 2011, Allen began writing The Wine Exchange, a bi-weekly column for the Napa Valley Register ( as part of their Friday On Wine section. The column addresses many topics of current interest in wine and seeks an interactive response by readers both on-line and in the print edition. It is the only column in the Register geared to this interactive approach. Allen also authored a monthly column (“A Nose for West Coast Wines”) for the Wine Club web site and is a contributing editor for The Underground Wineletter and writes for Huffington Post. In addition he continues writing numerous tasting notes, publications, release announcements and newsletters for his winery clients as well as conducting various wine education programs within the industry. In 1990, Allen founded “A Culinary Evening with the California Winemasters” ( to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s research and care programs. Twenty-seven years later, “Winemasters” hosts 1400+ guests, 75 California wineries, and 50 guest chefs. Winemasters is one of the largest single day charity wine auctions in the world and ranked in the top ten charity wine events by Wine Spectator. In net proceeds, Winemasters raised $1,715,000 in 2016 and over $28 million since its inception. Allen began Club Essence – Savor Life Through Wine in 2004 ( The company is dedicated to using wine as a vehicle for personal and business entertainment. Through Club Essence, Allen works with hosted groups, conducting wine country adventures, wine education programs, winemaker dinners and wine tastings throughout the year. Allen’s focus on food and wine pairings makes the entire wine experience more enjoyable and exciting while simultaneously enhancing any meeting or meal.

Got a tip?

Do you have info to share with HuffPost reporters? Here’s how.