Robert Whitley is a veteran journalist with decades of experience covering everything from sports, news and lifestyle for publications such as Newsday, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Washington Post, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and many others.

Robert is a native of Washington, D.C., where he launched his career as a sportswriter for The Washington Daily News, writing about college and professional basketball before moving to New York in 1970 to cover the then-NBA champion New York Knicks for Newsday.

It was while working as a young reporter in New York that Robert acquired his taste for wine, particularly Bordeaux and Burgundy. Years later, while working at The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Robert was instrumental in forming the P-G wine tasting club along with longtime wine columnist Peter Machamer. The group met regularly at the Pittsburgh Press Club to explore the wines of the world.

Robert's career as a wine journalist began after he moved to California to take a position as an editor at The San Diego Union, where he took over the wine column after The Union merged with the evening San Diego Tribune in 1991. A few years later Robert's column was syndicated nationally by Copley News Service, which was later purchased by the Creators Syndicate.

Robert's weekly "Wine Talk" column is currently distributed by Creators. Robert publishes the online wine magazine, Wine Review Online, where he also writes columns and reviews.

In addition, Robert operates four major wine competitions, including the San Diego International, one of the longest running wine competitions in the United States, and the annual Wine & Roses charity wine tasting and sale, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2013.

Robert's other wine competitions are the three "Challenges," created to focus on critical wine evaluations from three of the most important sectors of the wine industry -- winemakers, sommeliers and critics. Hence the Winemaker Challenge, the Sommelier Challenge and the Critics Challenge.

Robert also judges at numerous wine competitions (wineries enter their wines for evaluation, hoping to win a medal or award that can be used for marketing purposes) worldwide. This year, in addition to his own competitions, Robert is scheduled to judge at the Dallas Morning News TexSomm competition in February, the Sunset Magazine International in April, and the Concours Mondial in May.

Email Robert at whitleyonwine@yahoo.com and follow him on Twitter @wineguru & @WhitleyOnWine.