A Guide to Wine, Food & the Good Life

About Us and Our Mission

The Underground Wineletter is an on-line magazine dedicated to wine, food, and the good life. All contributors to our magazine are experienced wine tasters who have spent their lives in search of the best wine and food. The writing is straightforward and honest. There are no nonsensical wine descriptions and no technical terms. We aim to provide relevant, professional, timely, and often controversial content. We are not bloggers, chemists, professors, or wine makers. We are consumers dedicated to providing the best information possible in an understandable and straightforward manner. Along the way, we expect to continue to learn, inform, and have fun. Our motto is “In Vino Veritas.”


Team Member Bios

John Tilson
John was founder and managing editor of The Underground Wineletter and co-editor of Rarities. He has been collecting and tasting wine for over 40 years.  As a prominent investment manager for over two decades, wine was always a true passion, rather than vocation.  Consequently, John has had neither hidden agendas nor obligations to fulfill.  In his  tastings and trips to global wine-growing regions, he has tasted far too many wines to remember them all.  While John is very knowledgeable in California and multiple European wine regions, he is renowned for his Burgundy expertise, having collected, tasted and written about the region and its wines for more than three decades.


Edward Lazarus
Ed is an attorney in Los Angeles and a well-known connoisseur and wine collector. His cellar is legendary, containing many treasures. He was involved with The Underground Wineletter as West Coast Associate Editor since its inception as well as an editor with Rarities.  He has been drinking wine since his college days at the University of Alabama, from where he made frequent visits to New Orleans.  He has always had a particular fascination with the 19th century Bordeaux vintages, particularly 1870.  Ed is involved in many wine societies, including the Grand Cru Society, the International Wine and Food Society and the Society of Bacchus. He regularly visits the wine regions of France and Spain.

Geoffrey Troy
Geoffrey was getting a taste of the greatest wines in the world since he was a child!  His late father, Melvin Troy, had one of the great private wine cellars on the east coast and frequently drank the greatest wines.  Geoffrey was able to start his education at a young age and has become one of America’s great rare wine authorities.  He was a wine consultant to Park Avenue Liquors in Manhattan before establishing the New York Wine Warehouse on Long Island.  Geoffrey has been involved with The Underground Wineletter since its inception as East Coast Associate Editor as well as an editor with Rarities.  He visits France frequently, especially Burgundy.  He accompanied John Tilson and Ed Lazarus on their first wine tasting trips which began in 1981.

Michael Mayfield
Michael Mayfield is the former CEO and Co-CIO of Santa Barbara Asset Management.  He has been tasting and collecting wine for years.   And now, in his retirement, Michael has more time to devote to wine.  Always on the lookout for new wine and food experiences, his passion has led him to numerous wine regions throughout the U.S., Europe, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.  A frequent visitor to France, he recently joined a group of investors in acquiring a Grand Cru property in Burgundy.


In Memoriam

In memory of our former team members who have passed on to the land of Bacchus where the flow of great wine is never ending.

Chris Foskey (1933 – 2012)
The Australian associate editor for The Underground Wine Journal from 1984 to 1998 and contributing editor to the online Underground, Chris retired after a long career as a corporate attorney. He started drinking wine at the age of 14 when his father took him to a Wine & Food Society event. Chris collected  and drank wine his entire life. His favorites were Semillon from Australia’s Hunter Valley and Red and White Burgundies from France.

Albert Givton (1945 – 2017)
Albert was a longtime friend. And, given his knowledge of wine, enthusiasm, generosity and honest wine writing, we were fortunate to have him as one of our contributing editors. He was also a real estate investor who was active in the Vancouver wine community for over 40 years. He published The Wine Consumer from 1985 to 1992 – a critique of the wines available in the British Columbia state-controlled liquor stores. He was Maitre of the Vancouver Branch of the Commanderie de Bordeaux from 1988 to 1997, was the founder and president of Le Tastevin Wine Club from 1977 to 1997, he was a member of Conseiller du Vin de Bordeaux since 1995 and was awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre du Merite Agricole by the French government. Albert authored two books – WineWise, published in 1988 and Carte Blanche, published in 1999. He visited the vineyards of Europe and California on a regular basis.

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