Society of Wine Educators 42nd Annual Conference

Speakers

Serafin Alvarado, MS
Serafin Alvarado turned his passion for wine into a successful career, working in positions in wine service, wine sales and most recently, wine education for Southern Wine and Spirits of Illinois. Serafin achieved the distinction Master Sommelier (M.S.) in 2005. Additionally, in 2005 Serafin also received the Bill of Rice distinguished Sommelier of the Year Award for his contribution to the culture of food and wine in the city of Chicago. Serafin has also been included on Crain’s Chicago Business Magazine’s “Top 40 Under 40” in the Chicago area list.
Tony Apostolakos
Tony Apostolakos comes from a family with a winemaking background, as they originally owned vineyards in Central Greece dating back to the early 1900s before emigration to Montreal in Canada. Tony himself took a degree in Economics at the University of Alberta before entering the wine trade, where he now has over 20 years of experience.
Tony first represented Masi in Canada in 1999 before he switched his attention to the United States market in 2005. He has now been appointed Director of Marketing and Sales in USA for Masi and makes regular trips to company headquarters in Valpolicella, to spend time with the Boscaini family and the Masi Technical Group and ensure he is fully up-to-date with the company’s winemaking techniques and global strategy.
When not travelling inside USA for Masi, Tony resides in the Finger Lakes region of New York.
Christopher Bates, MS
Christopher Bates, MS, has spent over 15 years in all aspects of the hospitality industry, lending him a well-rounded perspective of all facets. Christopher and his wife Isabel own and operate F.L.X. Hospitality, F.L.X. Wienery (www.flxwienery.com) , Element Winery (www.elementwinery.com) , F.L.X. Table (www.flxtable.com) and F.L.X. Culture House in the Finger Lakes.
Previously, as General Manager & Executive Chef of Hotel Fauchère, Relais & Chateaux, Christopher oversaw the 16 room hotel and four restaurants. Prior to his time at the Hotel Fauchère, he spent four years at the Inn at Dos Brisas, Relais & Chateaux. Under his direction as GM and Sommelier they won numerous honors such as Mobil/Forbes 5 Stars, Relais & Chateaux, Relais Grands Chefs and were named one of the 100 most exciting wine programs in the US from Wine Enthusiast (an honor that he won again at the Hotel Fauchère in 2013).
In 2012 Christopher was named Best Young Sommelier in the World after winning Best Young Sommelier in America previously in the year. He went on to win TopSomm 2013, Americas most important sommelier competition, before passing his Master Sommelier Exam in May 2013, making him the 199th person in the world to do so, and the first to ever pass as a working Executive Chef. More recently, Christopher was included in Wine Enthusiasts Top 40 under 40 taste makers list.
Christopher and his wife Isabel have settled in the Finger Lakes region of New York with the intention to be a part of the growing hospitality industry, and be a part of the future growth of the Finger Lakes. Christopher is an active member of the sommelier community and continues to educate as a lecturer at The International Culinary Center, and with the Court of Master Sommeliers.
Eric Bauman
Eric is the sparkling winemaker for Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery in Hammondsport, NY. Eric gained his sparkling wine experience in his early twenties when he moved from his hometown in Upstate N.Y. and discovered Sonoma County, California. Visiting wineries and tasting wines there eventually grew into a cellar job at J Vineyards and Winery in Healdsburg, CA from 1997-2005 producing sparkling wines not only for J Winery, but also by contract for Piper Sonoma sparkling wines. Eric feels very fortunate to have a tactile approach to his career learning from numerous winemakers and interns along the way. In the summer of 2005, Eric moved back to Upstate New York looking for opportunities in the Finger Lakes. There, he met Fred Frank (now president of Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery) and his father, Willy Frank who started the winery’s sparkling line of wines. Today, Eric manages a 3,000 case per year sparkling wine cellar. Using traditional methods, the three classic French Champagne grapes and capitalizing on the Finger Lakes climate and terroir, he produces five styles of award-winning vintage and non-vintage sparkling wines.
Jonah Beer
In 1998, a fortunate tour and tasting at a Napa Valley winery– Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars – landed Jonah Beer his first opportunity in the wine industry: glass washer. He took the job and over the course of two and one-half years had worked his way through the company up to Director of Sales and Marketing. It was at this point that Jonah met John Williams, Owner and Winemaker at Frog’s Leap, while the two represented the Napa Valley as a part of a delegation traveling through Canada. The two kindred spirits hit it off right away and a friendship and business relationship was formed.
In 2003 Jonah made his way from the “other Leap” to formally join the Frog’s Leap team as General Manager. Jonah spent his first two years learning everything he could from Mr. Williams about the unique way Frog’s Leap grows its grapes and makes its wines, a learning process that continues today. From organics and dry-farming to running a profitable yet “green” business Jonah has become a devotee of the “Frog’s Leap way.” Today he is running the winery alongside John as Vice President of Winery Operations which offers him the opportunity to work in all aspects of the process: from vineyard to bottle and beyond.
Additionally, Jonah is a partner in two, separate joint ventures, namely Pilcrow – a Cabernet Sauvignon from Mt. Veeder that he makes with his wife Sara Beer and Nicolas-Jay – a new winery in Oregon focusing on Pinot Noir led by Jean-Nicolas Méo of Méo-Camuzet in Vosne-Romanée.
Peter Bell
Peter Bell has been making wine in the Finger Lakes since 1990, first at Dr. Konstantin Frank’s Winery and, since 1995, at Fox Run Vineyards. He holds a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Enology from Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia and an Honors Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.
Before coming to the Finger Lakes, Peter worked as a winemaker in Australia and New Zealand. Peter was also a lecturer in the Department of Food Science at Cornell University for many years, and consults to a number of wineries in the eastern United States as well as speaking at conferences throughout the world. In 2004 he was a Visiting Fellow at the University of Adelaide’s Wine Science department.
Connor Best, CSW
Roger Bohmrich, MW
Roger is happy to return this year after presentations at SWE Conferences in recent years. He has enjoyed a fulfilling career in the wine trade and is currently an independent consultant, educator, writer and competition judge. He has worked for two national importers, last as Senior VP-Marketing of Frederick Wildman & Sons. More recently, he was Managing Partner of Millesima USA, the U.S. affiliate of Europe’s leader in direct sales of fine wines to consumers. Roger became one of the first U.S. Masters of Wine in 1993 and led the formation of the Institute of Masters of Wine (No. America), where he served as its first President. He has appeared often as a speaker at wine festivals and conferences, and his articles and writing have been published in the Journal of Wine Research, Wine Business Monthly, Santé, Wines & Vines, and other publications. An article based on his presentation about minerality at the 2016 Conference was released in early 2017. Roger has traveled extensively around the world of wine, and in recent years he has judged competitions in Argentina, Turkey and China.
Bill Brandel, CSW
Bill Brandel’s hospitality career began in Washington, DC in 1978 when he worked in the front of the house for restaurants. His wine studies commenced early when he realized that wines sales were the number one key to making more tips. He moved to Florida where he worked as a captain (in the days before the word sommelier was popular) at Yesterday’s in Fort Lauderdale from 1982 thru 1986: one of the busiest restaurants in the country at that time.
He moved to Los Angeles in 1987 and became Assistant Maitre’d and Captain at Westwood Marquis Hotel until 1991.
Brandel was a member of the Sommelier Association of Southern California during that time.
In 1992, he began a long stint at Southern Wine & Spirits (Passing the CSW and 1st Level Court of Master Somms in late 90’s. He spent four years as a full-line salesperson (On-premise) and 16 years as an on-premise wine manager. With his wine knowledge, he was asked to give countless wine training seminars and was the main speaker at dozens of wine dinners.
Brandel began his own brokerage firm, “Family Wine Partners” in 2012 – for small, family-owned wineries in Southern California.
In 2014, he joined The Tasting Panel & SOMM Journal in January 2014 as VP/Marketing.
Samantha Buyskes
Samantha Buyskes is a vibrant, South African-born, red-headed, green-eyed chef who brings life, vitality and excitement to all she does. Food Network competitor, cookbook author and regional ambassador, Samantha has foraged her way in the Finger Lakes since 2002 and continues to be one of the region’s best chefs. Her focus on time and place, seasonality, community and connection has propelled the region across the nation. Samantha Buyskes opened her first restaurant in Trumansburg, NY in 2002 with a focus on seasonal, regional cuisine. It was through this business that she was able to establish herself and begin to make connections to the region as she has. In 2007 she joined Sheldrake Point Vineyard and brought her restaurant and food philosophy there.
Nova Cadamatre, MW
Nova Cadamatre is the first female winemaker in the US to achieve the title of Master of Wine and one of only a few American winemakers to do so. She resides in the Finger Lakes, NY with her husband, Brian, and son, Nathaniel. Nova is Director of Winemaking for Canandaigua Winery for whom she makes the 240 Days wines; Riesling, dry Rosé, and Cabernet Franc. She also is the owner of Trestle Thirty One, a high end boutique wine brand making age worthy dry Riesling. In 2014, Cadamatre was named to Wine Enthusiast’s Top 40 under 40 list and has numerous 90+ scoring wines to her credit. She also won the Taransaud Award for top performance in the production and handling of wine theory papers for the Master of Wine exam.
Cadamatre began her career in wine after moving to New York to pursue horticulture. As one of the first graduates of Cornell’s Viticulture and Enology program in 2006, Nova relocated to California to assume a number of winemaking roles with many iconic wineries including Beringer, Chateau St. Jean, Chateau Souverain, and most recently at Robert Mondavi Winery. There she was the red winemaker focusing on Cabernet Sauvignon from the iconic To Kalon Vineyard. Nova is a WSET Alumni, blogger, wine writer, Ningxia Winemaker Challenge contestant, and is active on social media. Follow her on her blog at www.novacadamatre.com, on Twitter @NovaCadamatre, on Instagram @nova_cadamatre, and follow her wine brand at www.trestle31.com .
Valerie Caruso, CWE, FWS
Valerie retired from a 25-year military career and moved to Italy for a year-long wine studies program in 2009. Her interest in wine studies stemmed from a wine curiosity that blossomed while living in Northern California 10 years earlier, but she never dreamed her love for wine would turn into an academic and professional quest. She went on to study for a brief time in France before returning to the states to pursue a relentless study of wine. She now owns her own wine education and media business and holds WSET's level 4 diploma in Wine & Spirits, the Certified Wine Educator (CWE) and French Wine Scholar certifications, as well as the Wine Scholar Guild's Champagne Master-Level Certificate. She also was elected to the Board of Directors in 2016. You can find Val in SWEbinars as well as serving up some wine "edutainment" in her weekly podcast, Wine Two Five, with her co-host & fellow CWE Stephanie Davis, on iTunes and iHeart Radio.
Eduardo Chadwick
Eduardo Chadwick comes from a long line of entrepreneurs with a passion for wine and today carries on his family’s legacy. He entered Viña Errázuriz in 1983 after earning his degree in industrial engineering from the Catholic University of Chile. He set out to learn as much as he could about wine and went to the Institute of Oenology in Bordeaux to meet Emile Peynaud, considered the father of modern oenology. He also travelled the world’s wine regions to absorb the best techniques and put them to practice at home.

Today he is the winery’s President, and Viña Errázuriz is considered among the world’s finest by international critics and specialized media such as Decanter magazine, which described it as the “quality benchmark from Chile” in July 2005, and Wine & Spirit named it its International Wine Producer of the Year in 2008. Drinks International also named it one of the “Top 5 World’s Most Admired Brands” in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and to crown this journey, the winery was also very proud to receive the first “Robert Parker Wine Advocate Extraordinary Winery Award” as the “Best Chilean Winery 2017” in New York October 2017.

Decanter magazine has named Eduardo Chadwick to their Top 50 Power List on more than one occasion, and his actions on behalf of the national image earned him the First Chilean Recognition Award for his Contribution to the Image of Chile in the World granted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2010.
In 2015, he was honoured with the National Association of Oenologists-Agronomists of Chile’s “Business
Trajectory Award”, in recognition of his long-lasting impact on the Chilean wine industry.

In 2017 he received the highest award granted by the Chilean Food and Wine Writers Association, the “Rosita Robinovitch” award, a distinction granted each year to acknowledge personalities who stand out for their prominent professional trajectories

Most recently, Eduardo Chadwick was awarded the prestigious title of “Decanter Man of the Year” for devoting his life to the service of fine wine and recognized excellence in the wine world.
Jim Clarke
Jim Clarke is the U.S. Marketing for Wines of South Africa (WOSA), a levy-supported organization devoted to promoting South African wine exports. Previous to joining WOSA, Jim was a sommelier in New York City where he ran the wine programs at Megu New York for five years and then the Armani Ristorante for two. In addition, he writes about wine, beer, and spirits for a number of publications both trade and consumer; his pieces have appeared in the World of Fine Wine, Details, the San Francisco Chronicle, and elsewhere. Jim has spoken or lectured at a number of events including TexSom and the American Wine Society Conference.
Jordan Cowe, CWE
Jordan Cowe, CWE is a Canadian wine educator and the co-founder of BeWineful. Jordan developed his concept of Winefulness while studying for the CWE exam on his way to becoming the world's youngest Certified Wine Educator.
Christine Dalton, WSET III
Christine Dalton is a member of Pernod Ricard Winemakers’ International Graduate Wine Ambassador Program, based in Southern California. As representative of the Pernod Ricard wine portfolio, she has spent time learning and working vintage in Rioja, Spain, Sonoma, California, the Barossa Valley, Australia and Marlborough, New Zealand. Previously, she wrote for Wine Spectator as an Assistant Editor, and volunteered at the Astor Center at Astor Wines & Spirits in New York City. She began formal wine training with an introductory wine course at Cornell University while working toward a dual degree in Government and American Studies. She has received a Summa Cum Laude Honor from Harriet Lembeck’s Wine Course, a Level 3 with Distinction qualification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) and is currently pursuing the Certified Specialist of Wine qualification with the SWE.
David Davoust, CSW
David Davoust is an author, educator, researcher and Certified Specialist in Wine. He serves as the wine director for private wine pairing dinners and is currently working on an educational series called, "Wines With a Story™".
Frances Di Savino
Bill Nesto and Frances Di Savino are the co-authors of the award-winning books, Chianti Classico: The Search for Tuscany’s Noblest Wine (UC Press, 2016) and The World of Sicilian Wine (UC Press, 2013). Fran Di Savino is a practicing corporate attorney in the boutique firm, Incounsel, which she co-owns with her brother, Sam. Incounsel provides general counsel services for venture-backed technology companies. Fran has a background in medieval and Renaissance studies and is Bill’s partner in life and on the wine road. Both Bill and Fran have lived and worked in Italy. They have lectured together at Boston University, Harvard University, the 92nd Street Y in New York City, the Georgofili Academy in Florence, Vinitaly in Verona, and the Milan Expo 2015.
Annie Edgerton, CSW, CS
Annie Edgerton has been working in the wine industry for over 25 years, as an appraiser and consultant, wine writer, and educator. She is a CSW (studying for CWE,) and has been a member of the Society of Wine Educators since 2010. She last presented at conference in 2015 with “Let’s Talk Turkey,” showcasing an incredible array of Turkish wines.
Ms. Edgerton is also a Certified Sommelier by the Court of Master Sommeliers, holds the WSET Advanced Certificate (earned with distinction,) and is currently a WSET Diploma candidate.
Within the last few years, Ms. Edgerton developed and trademarked a persona, WINE MINX™, she regularly contributes articles to her blog (www.wineminx.blogspot.com), and is active on social media: IG and twitter @WineMinxAnnie, and “Wine Minx” on Facebook. Her website is www.WineMinxAnnie.com. She is currently at work on a streamlined and witty introduction-to-wine book, “All You REALLY Need to Know About Wine,” as well a guide for wine-loving travelers. She is the creator and host of Broadway Buzzed on YouTube, “Helping People Love Wine, One Broadway Show at a Time,” where she tastes different varietals or styles of wine with stars of Broadway, Off-Broadway, and National Tours. (IG: @BroadwayBuzzed)
Ms. Edgerton is also a professional actor and singer, recently appearing in the Broadway smash hits “Mamma Mia!” and “Kinky Boots,” and in regional theaters, film and television.
Bridget Epp
Bridget Epp joined Wente Family Estates in January of 2005. In her role over the last 10 years as Vice President of Sales for the East and the Central Divisions, she oversaw as many as 26 states for the Wente Family.
Today, in her National role, she is focused on leading the Luxury Channel and Education mission of the Winery.
Epp has an extensive background in the wine industry, including sales and brand management positions at Robert Mondavi Winery, The Terlato Wine Company, and E&J Gallo Winery, where her career began in 1984 in Aspen, Colorado. She received her MBA from the University of Colorado, and her Undergraduate Business and Communications Degrees from Purdue University in West Lafayette Indiana. She was born and raised in Northwest Indiana, and now resides in Roxborough Park, Colorado, with her husband and family.
Alvaro Espinoza
Alvaro Espinoza is the third generation of a Chilean wine family, an acclaimed winemaker and pioneer of biodynamic winemaking in South America. Alvaro holds a degree in Agricultural Engineering with specialization in oenology and received his National Diploma from the Institute of Oenology at the University of Bordeaux.

After working as a Cellar Master in Undurraga in 1986, he studied winemaking in Bordeaux and worked at Château Margaux and Moët & Chandon. Back in Chile, he worked at Domaine Oriental, Viña Carmen and started Geo Wines - his own consulting company working for different wineries including Viñedos Emiliana, Viña Undurraga, Viña Quintay and Viña Apaltagua.
He has been credited with being one of the key people to identify the Carmenère grape in Chile and was the first to produce and bottle the wine as Grande Vidure.
In 1996, he founded Antiyal, starting the “garagiste” trend in Chile. His Maipo Valley blends of Carmenère, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah have consistently earned outstanding scores (90-94) on Wine Spectator's 100-point scale
In 2007, Alvaro received the Personality of the Year Award from the International Wine Challenge in London. And, in 2015 he was named one of the 50 most influential winemakers in the world by Decanter magazine.
Carl Etcheverry, CSW
Since 2010, Carl has been the Wine Director and Sommelier of the Union League of Philadelphia, which was voted Best Private City Club in the US for the past four years. Prior to joining the Union League, Carl was the Wine and Spirits Manager of the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and Spa near Pittsburgh, PA. He also served as Sommelier of its Five Star/Five Diamond Lautrec Restaurant. In April 2016, in Philadelphia, Carl hosted a vertical tasting of Gruner Veltliner for the wine trade on behalf of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board. And within the past three years, he has twice served as a judge for the Global Travel “Wings of Wine” competition, determining which airline has the best wine list for its business- and first-class passengers. Carl is a CSW and a member of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers.
David Glancy, MS, CWE, CSS, FWS
David Glancy founded San Francisco Wine School in 2011 to create the ideal educational setting from the ground up. He is one of only twelve people in the world to hold both the revered Master Sommelier diploma and Certified Wine Educator credential. A certified French Wine Scholar, Italian Wine Professional, and Certified Specialist of Spirits, Glancy has earned the credential for every program he teaches, and more. In 2012 he created the California Wine Appellation Specialist program and credential to fill a glaring void in the educational market.

Previously he managed restaurants in the Bay Area and abroad, taught wine and business management at Le Cordon Bleu’s California Culinary Academy, conceived and launched the Sommelier Program at the former Professional Culinary Institute, served on the editorial board of Sommelier Journal and was a 3-term member on the board of directors for the Society of Wine Educators. Currently he is on the advisory board for SommCon and the American Institute of Wine & Food.
Felipe Gonzalez-Gordon
Felipe Gonzalez-Gordon brings more than 20 years of industry experience to his role as U.S. Director of the Ribera y Rueda campaign. Prior to joining the Ribera del Duero and Rueda D.O.s, Gonzalez-Gordon worked at the renowned Spanish winery group Gonzalez Byass for over 12 years. As a recognized wine industry expert, Gonzalez-Gordon is often featured in trade publications, including Tasting Panel Magazine, Beverage Media and Businessweek, and is a frequent presenter and panelist at conferences, as well as on broadcast and online wine programs.
Mary Gorman-McAdams, MW
Based in New York, Mary Gorman-McAdams is the Bordeaux Wine Council’s market adviser for the US and Canadian markets, responsible for over-seeing the marketing and educational programs for Bordeaux Wines. Mary became a Master of Wine in 2011, a distinguished title held only by 319 people worldwide. She was also awarded the Vina Errazuriz Award for excellence in the Business of Wine exam paper. During the course of her MW studies, she was the recipient of both the Trinity Champagne Scholarship and the Constellation Brands Award - an international award for MW candidates.In 2012 she was honored as a Dame Chevalier de L'Ordre des Côteaux de Champagne.

Mary has a BA (Honors) in Languages and International Marketing from Dublin City University, and an MBS in International Marketing (First Class Honors) from the Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business (University College Dublin), where she was awarded both the Dean's List Award & the Sir Charles Harvey Award for academic excellence in post-graduate studies.

As a Master of Wine and one of the leading wine educators (WSET certified educator) in the United States, Mary is highly regarded within the North American wine industry and community. She is a regular conference and seminar panelist and speaker. Mary is a member of the North American Education committee for the Institute of Masters of Wine.
Hoke Harden, CSE, CSW
An enthusiastic lover of wine and spirits, Hoke Harden left a career in academia to follow his other muse for the last 35 years, trekking around the world to the great producing regions. Recently referred to as a veritable walking omnibus of wine and spirits knowledge, he has experienced every possible facet of the world of wine and spirits as a retailer, restaurateur, bartender, buyer, wholesaler, supplier, marketer, critic, writer, competition judge and an educator. He is currently with Elixir Vitae Wine & Spirits Consultants, the Taste & Compare Academy of Wine, Spirits and Food in Portland OR, a writer and blogger, a member of the Society of Wine Educators, CSE, CSW, Wine & Spirits Instructor at Mt. Hood Community College, a Master Instructor with the French Wine Academy, a B.N.I.C. Certified Cognac Educator, and Pineau des Charentes Ambassador.
Eric Hemer, CWE, MS, MW
Eric Hemer began his career at Southern Wine & Spirits (SWS) in 1988 as an On-Premise Wine Consultant in Palm Beach County, Florida. He went into management in 1990 and held various positions over the years, culminating in General Manager for American Wine and Spirits of Florida. In 1998, as similar positions were created around the country at SWS, he was appointed Educational Director for SWS of Florida, a return to his original interest in fine wine. Hemer passed the Certified Wine Educator examination in 1999, the Master Sommelier examination in 2003 and the Master of Wine examination in 2013. In 2014, he was promoted to his current position of Senior Vice-President, Corporate Director of Wine Education for SWS of America and today oversees wine educational endeavors in 46 markets across the US and Canada with the new company, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of America.

Eric is actively involved in wine education with numerous affiliated organizations as well, teaching at The Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Florida International University in Miami, acting as consulting sommelier and speaker for Chef Jean-Pierre’s Culinary School in Ft. Lauderdale, and is deeply involved in courses, lectures and examinations around the country with the Court of Master Sommeliers, the Institute of Masters of Wine, the Society of Wine Educators, and the Wine and Spirits Education Trust. He resides in Lake Worth, Florida with wife Marianne and daughter Julia.
Lorraine Hems, CWE, CSS, WSET III, CS, CWJ
Lorraine’s been in the wine and spirits industry at retail, wholesale and educational levels for over 35 years. She’s a full-time lecturer of beverage courses in the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY. With SWE, she is a CWE and CSS, serves on the SWE Board of Directors and is their Executive Committee Secretary. She’s also a Certified Bordeaux Educator with L’Ecole du Vin de Bordeaux/SOPEXA. Lorraine is a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers. She teaches WSET courses at RIT, the New York Wine & Culinary Center and for Constellation Brands, and is working on completing her WSET Diploma. Her connection with American Wine Society includes volunteering, presenting, teaching in their Certified Wine Judge program and recently became Chair of the CWJ program. A co-founder of the Rochester Chapter of Women for WineSense, she received their national Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. Checking different wine regions off her “spit bucket” list by traveling, presenting and judging at wine and spirits competitions in both hemispheres is great fun, but the Finger Lakes region is home!
Missi Holle, CWE, CSS, WSET III
Missi Holle graduated from the University of Florida with a Marketing degree. She has worked in the various sectors of the hospitality industry since high school and started learning about wine and spirits while in a local distributor sales role just out of college. Her passion for beverage, as well as food and travel (the perfect trifecta!), has continued to grow through her own personal experiences and her professional pursuit.

She is now a National Account Manager and Educator for Kobrand Wine and Spirits with 20+ years of experience in the wine/spirits industry. She is a Certified Wine Educator and a Certified Specialist of Spirits through the Society of Wine Educators. She is very passionate about teaching and strives to make wine and spirits education easy to understand and, most importantly, fun!
Don Huffman
Don Huffman is responsible for all wine quality/education programs for winery customers and wine industry influencers within the America’s – be it retail, winemaking, on-premise, marketing/communications. Don is also an experienced winemaker for two premium brands located in Green Valley of Solano County in Northern California. Before joining Vinventions to manage their sustainability and education programs, Don was a creative director/owner of a mid-sized marketing and communications firm located in Napa Valley. Don is keen on sustainability issues within the ag community and was appointed by the Governor to sit as a board member for the 25th Agricultural District of California. He’s in the middle of his third term as an elected board member of the Napa County Office of Education, district one. Family man and has judged at several international wine competitions including Los Angeles, San Francisco and London.
Nancy Irelan
Nancy Irelan is the winemaker/co-owner of Red Tail Ridge (RTR) Winery. RTR is the first LEED™ gold certified green winery in NY and specializes in cool climate wines styles encompassing Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Teroldego, Blaufränkisch, Dornfelder, Lagrein, Pétillant Naturel and Methode Champenoise. Nancy and her husband/accountant/grapegrower, Mike Schnelle, moved to the FLX from California a little over ten years ago. Nancy was formerly the Vice President of Viticulture & Enology R&D at E&J Gallo Winery. She received her Ph.D at the University of California-Davis while working with Dr. Carole Meredith in the Viticulture and Enology Department.
Allison Jordan
Allison Jordan is Executive Director of the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance and Vice President, Environmental Affairs for Wine Institute, where she is responsible for oversight of the California Sustainable Winegrowing Program and Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing (CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE). Jordan represents Wine Institute on the National Grape & Wine Initiative board of directors and the California Environmental Dialogue Plenary. Previously, she was a Senior Associate at SureHarvest and Vice President and Acting Executive Director of Resource Renewal Institute. Jordan holds a Master of Public Policy from the Goldman School at UC Berkeley and a Psychology B.A. from Allegheny College, and is a fellow in the German Marshall Fund's American Marshall Memorial Fellowship program. Jordan and her husband are founding partners of Giordano Bros., a San Francisco restaurant group.
James King
James King has been in the wine industry, from winery to educator, for 21 years. Over these 21 years James has worked in London, Sydney, Los Angles, Houston and now Bentonville. For the last 10 years James has been an educator, starting in LA, running the prestigious Wine & Spirit Education Trust and the French Wine Society Certifications. In 2010 James set up the Texas Wine School in Houston, which he sold in 2017 and still has an advisory role. James introduced Certification Programs into the Houston market. Now James is the Beverage Arts Director for Brightwater, A Centre for the Food Study of Food, (part of North West Arkansas Community College) opened in 2017.
Don Kinnan, CSS, CWE
After serving 20 years in the US Army, Mr. Kinnan has been active as a retailer, supplier, and educator in the wine industry for the past 30 years. Until his retirement in 2011, Kinnan conducted 40 multi-day distributor wine seminars annually. He was the founding president of the Society for American Wines in Canada, is the lead instructor for the French Wine Society’s Master Burgundy Certificate program, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Society of Wine Educators.
Russ Kempton, CSS
Russ Kempton, CSS, has been in the alcoholic beverage industry for 35 years having held multiple sales, marketing and management positions. Today he is the owner of Speaking of Grapes and Grains. He has participated over 1,800 seminars, trainings, tastings, events and dinners (private, consumers, customers and charities) related to distilled spirits and wine throughout the United States. As an example; he has an excellent understanding and expertise of Scotch whisky, having traveled on five occasions to distilleries throughout Scotland; also he has the Certificate of Expertise in the Sales & Service of Scotch Whisky in Edinburgh Scotland. Also, in the past, he was the Texas Brand Ambassador for two leading Scottish distilleries-­ Glenmorangie and Ardbeg. Other distilling regions of interest and travel; also on numerous occasions have been distilleries in the United States, Caribbean and Mexico. He also has the Tequila Regulatory Council of Mexico Certification for Tequila expertise. Besides his seminars, training and events; he has written many articles and blogs on the subject; has a unique comprehension and knowledge of the world's prestigious and upcoming distilleries. Also, for the past 17 years he has been a visiting instructor in Survey of Beverage Alcohol classes (Hotel / Restaurant Management) at The University of North Texas. Russ has presented during The Society of Wine Educators Conference on Scotch whisky 2010-­2013, 2015 and conducted two SWE webinars on Scotch whisky during 2015 and spoke again this summer. Russ has also written extensively on distilled spirits during his career including updating the Society of Wine Educators whiskies chapter for their Certified Specialist of Spirits study guide. During 2013-­2015 Russ spoke at the annual NACE conference; National Association of Catering and Events on Scotch whisky, Tequila and American whiskey and spoke again this summer.
Edward Korry CHE, CWE, CSS
Edward Korry is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Beverage & Dining Service Department in the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI. Edward is a Certified Hospitality Educator, Certified Wine Educator, a Certified Specialist of Spirits, a registered tutor of the Wine & Spirits Education Trust, a Formador Homologado del Vino de Jérèz (Certified Sherry Wine Educator), and a certified Bordeaux Wine Educator. In addition, Edward served as President of the Society of Wine Educators 2014-2016, and as an executive board member of the US Bartenders Guild Master Accreditation program. He also leads the judging for the prestigious industry food & beverage VIBE Vista Awards, and is a wine judge at international competitions. He teaches and has developed classes that specialize in wine, beer, spirits, mixology, coffee, tea, and restaurant management. He championed the development and implementation of beverage and sommelier concentrations/minors at Johnson & Wales University. Edward lectures at national and international conferences,and writes beverage articles at home and abroad. He worked and managed in the hotel/restaurant industry prior to joining Johnson & Wales in 1983 as Food & Beverage Director for several of the university’s practicum properties.
Linda Lawry, DWS, CWE
Linda Lawry is the Director of the International Wine Center in New York, where she is the primary instructor for the Wine and Spirits Education Trust Advanced Certificate, and lecturer for the WSET Diploma. She began her career at the International Wine Center in 1985.

She was a member of the faculty of New York University from 1997 until 2016 in the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies, where she taught a wine and spirits course.

Linda earned the WSET Diploma in 1997. She is a Certified Wine Educator and a Certified Specialist of Spirits of the Society of Wine Educators and a trained chef, having earned a Certificate with Honors from the New York Restaurant School.

Professional associations include serving on the Board of Directors Society of Wine Educators, and as President of Les Dames d’Escoffier New York Chapter.
Bob Madill, AWS, CS, WSET III
Following a decade in Niagara (Canada) working in vineyards, making and selling wine, Bob Madill became a founding Partner of Sheldrake Point Winery, Finger Lakes, NY in late 1996. He managed the winery as Winegrower, Partner and GM for over a decade.
Bob is the Wine Director for Kindred Fare farm-to-table Restaurant, Geneva, NY and the Brand Ambassador for the three Glenora associated wineries – Glenora, Knapp & Chateau LaFayette Reneau. He is responsible for Wine Industry Liaison for the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance and is a Board member of the International Riesling Foundation
Bob received the New York Wine & Grape Foundation’s prestigious Unity Award in 2009.
He is AWS certified, WSET 3 certified, a CS and judges at US and international wine competitions (Alsace, Switzerland and Quebec) and is an AWS Wine Judge instructor.
Sharron McCarthy, CSW
Sharron is a past president of the Society of Wine Educators. Affectionately known as “America’s First Lady of Wine Ed.,” she has introduced Americans from all walks of life to a finer, more nuanced appreciated for the fruit of the vine. From Fortune 500 companies to hospitality and grad students at America’s premier centers of learning, to staff at wine stores and restaurants, Sharron is in constant demand as one of the wine industry’s most effective speakers. A native to Long Island, Sharron McCarthy’s wine business career began in 1978 at Banfi Vintners - a leading name in imported fine wines. In 1986, she formed her own consulting agency. Her partnership with the Italian Trade Commission is widely credited with helping to propel Italy to its current status as America’s leading source of imported wines. She returned to Banfi Vintners in the mid 1990’s to pursue a new role focused exclusively on developing wine education.
Bill Nesto, MW
Bill Nesto and Frances Di Savino are the co-authors of the award-winning books, Chianti Classico: The Search for Tuscany’s Noblest Wine (UC Press, 2016) and The World of Sicilian Wine (UC Press, 2013). Bill Nesto is a Master of Wine who writes and teaches about the world of wine. He is a founder of the Wine Studies Program at Boston University where he is a Senior Lecturer. The wine producers of France’s Champagne district awarded Bill the "Confrerie de Saint-Vincent" for his efforts teaching consumers about Champagne. The League of Chianti inducted him as an honorary member and the Italian Trade Commission has awarded him a Special Recognition Certificate for Distinguished Service. Both Bill and Fran have lived and worked in Italy. They have lectured together at Boston University, Harvard University, the 92nd Street Y in New York City, the Georgofili Academy in Florence, Vinitaly in Verona, and the Milan Expo 2015.
Matilde Parente, MD, CSW
Matilde Parente, MD, CSW is a California-based physician, medical editor and author who is board certified in pathology and integrative holistic medicine. She has been a keynote speaker for the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women campaign, Merrill-Lynch, and Marriott International, among others. A graduate of Duke University and the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, Dr. Parente is the author of Healing Ways: An Integrative Health Sourcebook, Resveratrol and many articles on health and wellness. She is the consulting editor of an in-press four-volume textbook, Genetics. Matilde co-founded the wine educational and charitable organization, WinewomenPSP and is a physician member of the Renaud Society, an international society of medical and wine professionals, and a wine judge for their competitions. After five years as a wine educator and sommelier, she delights in sharing wine appreciation with corporate and convention groups. She blogs and tweets about all things vinous at www.writeonwines.com and @winefoodhealth.
Nicholas Poletto, CSW, CSS, DipWSET
Nick started his wine career 16 years ago working for a distributor selling to restaurants in Manhattan, NY. Five years later in 2007, Nick’s wine studies took him to Martinborough, NZ to assist in winemaking at Mebus Estate. Later in 2008, Nick returned to the US to work as a State Manager for Kobrand Corporation handling both Massachusetts and Rhode Island. During this time he taught WSET classes at Johnson and Wales Culinary Institute. In 2011, Nick was promoted to Director of Education at Kobrand and relocated back to New York. Today, Nick travels around the US conducting wine education classes at all of Kobrand’s distributor partnerships. He holds his CSW and CSS certification and is a DipWSET graduate.
Paul Poux, CSW
Paul Poux, CSW, finds joy in combining food, wine, and travel. Paul provides wine education ‘experiences’ to Millennials, and to the rest of us, for wine brands and regions. Paul also does marketing and sponsor management for food and wine festivals around the country. Paul's favorite wines are Amarone and Muscadet. Tell him yours at paul@pouxcompany.com
Len Presutti, CWE
Len Presutti, CWE, is the Corporate Wine Educator of the Martignetti Companies, a Certified Wine Educator, a Certified International Bordeaux Educator, a Certified Spanish Wine Educator, a graduate of the German Wine Academy, a member of the French Wine Society, is pursuing the Italian Wine Professional Course and Certification and is an active member of the Society of Wine Educators. A professional musician for over twenty years, Len also holds a B.S. in Music Education from Berklee College of Music and has played with bands as diverse as Gladys Knight and the Pips and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra (under the direction of Warren Covington).

A student of wine for over 35 years, he was at the Martignetti Liquors retail chain for almost ten years, the last seven as the Wine Director. One of the founding members of the On-Premise Division, Len worked for four years in the field as a salesperson and has been in his current position for over seventeen years.

He has traveled extensively, visiting the vineyards of France (Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Loire, Alsace, Languedoc-Roussillon, and the Rhone including Cote Rotie, Hermitage and Chateauneuf-du-Pape), Italy (Piedmont, Veneto, Tuscany, Umbria, Alto Adige, Castell Romani, Friuli and Lombardy), Spain (Rioja Alta, Alavesa, and Baja, Catalonia Penedes, Rueda, Bierzo, Ribera del Duero, Priorato and Rias Baixas), California (Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Monterey, South Central Coast), Washington State, Oregon (Willamette Valley), Germany (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Rheingau, Rheinhessen, Nahe), South Africa (Paarl, Walker Bay, Stellenbosch, Constantia, Swartland), Australia (Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale), New Zealand (Marlborough), Chile (Elqui Valley, Aconcagua Valley, Casablanca Valley, Maipo Valley and Colchagua Valley) and Argentina (Mendoza, Uco Valley and San Juan).

Not only has he had the opportunity to taste many vintages of the iconic wines of the world, including Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Chateau d’Yquem, Krug Champagne, Chateau Margaux and Chateau Pétrus, but he has personally visited all of the aforementioned properties and, in the case of Chateau Pétrus, dined with the owner, Christian Moueix, at his private residence.

Len has taught seminars and wine courses at colleges, universities and professional organizations, including a Symposium on Culinary Arts at the Harvard School of Public Health (Panel member) and a “Food as Medicine” seminar at Brandeis University (Speaker). He took part in
Ben Probe, CSS, CS
Ben Probe has been in the Beverage and Hospitality industry for over 10 years. He has earned the titles of Certified Sommelier in the Court of Master Sommeliers North America, Certified Cicerone, Certified Specialist of Spirits in the Society of Wine Educators, and International Sake Sommelier (known as a Kikisake-Shi) in the Sake Service Institute and is currently studying for his MBA in Wine Business Management. He currently is a server/sommelier at Ruth's Chris steakhouse in Downtown San Diego where he has lived for over 20 years, and he also acts as an adjunct professor at San Diego State's College of Extended Studies for the first ever crossover course for their business of wine and business of beer programs.
John Rielly, CSW, CSS, CS
John started as Sales Manager for the Western Region for Groth Vineyards in November with a focus on selling the Oakville Estate’s 4 wines in California, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Hawaii.
John spent the previous 4 years as Prestige Wine Manager for Terlato Wines International on the West Coast of the US. John’s main focus was selling premium brands like Gaja, Il Poggione, Duval Leroy, Rochioli, and Chapoutier amongst others primarily in California, Nevada, and Colorado.
He formerly was in Management with the premier Distributor Southern Wine and Spirits for 5 years in San Diego and Orange County representing the Diageo and Moet Hennessy portfolios.
Before that John worked in many premium restaurants and hotels in Colorado and California including Zuni Café in San Francisco and was last in service at IVY/Andaz Hotel in San Diego as Director of Private Dining.
In 2008 John passed the Certified Sommelier exam in New York and in 2010 he passed the Certified Specialist of Wine and Certified Specialist of Spirits Certificates in San Diego.
John lives in the Ocean Beach neighborhood of San Diego and enjoys Golf, Skiing, and travelling the world.
He is currently studying for the Certified Wine Educator Certificate test in 2018.
Michael Schafer, Esq., Sommelier, CSW, CSS, CCTP
Michael Schafer Esq. known as The Wine Counselor®, is an adjunct professor at The Culinary Institute of Michigan at Baker College. He teaches at Oakland Community College, created the beverage program at Dorsey Schools Michigan and taught at The International Culinary School of the Art Institute of Michigan. Consumer classes on wine and spirits are also part of his repertoire. Michael is a CSW, CCTP and Sommelier who entertains while educating. His humorous and fun approach is reflected in his trademark phrase “I taste bad wine so you don’t have to”®. He is a regular contributor to numerous publications and writes quarterly articles for the Tasters Guild Journal and the Journal of the American Wine Society. Schafer is on the Board of Directors of the Detroit Wine Organization, a charitable organization over 6,000 strong that is dedicated to funding charities through entertaining education. Laugh, learn and have fun as The Wine Counselor® "edutains" you about the wonders of Alsace.
David Strada
David Strada is a self-employed, San Francisco-based consultant to the wine, food, and hospitality industries. He has represented the New Zealand Winegrowers throughout their unparalleled success across the US since 1998. In that capacity he is responsible for educational and promotional programs, media and public relations, and market development.
Alan Tardi
Alan Tardi, former NYC chef and restaurateur, has long worked as a freelance journalist authoring articles about wine and food for numerous publications including The New York Times, Wine & Spirits Magazine, The Wine Spectator, Decanter, Sommelier Journal, and Food Arts. In 2003, Alan moved to the village of Castiglione Falletto in the heart of the Barolo region in Piemonte, Italy, where he spent several years working in the surrounding vineyards and wineries through all phases of the growing and production process, an experience which completely changed his perspective on wine. In 2009 Alan began frequenting the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco winegrowing area and, after successive visits during which he developed a rapport with many local farmers and producers, as well as principals of the governing Consortium, was named first ever US Ambassador of Conegliano Valdobbiadene in January 2015. His first book, 'Romancing the Vine: Life, Love and Transformation in the Vineyards of Barolo' (St Martins Press, 2006) won a James Beard Award for Best Wine and Spirits Book of 2006. And a new book, “Champagne, Uncorked: The House of Krug and the Timeless Allure of the World’s Most Celebrated Drink” (Hachette/PublicAffairs 2016) recently won a Gourmand Best in the World Award in the French Wine category.
Gary Twining, CWE
Gary’s first career was as a professional musician, with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra on the road, with various performers at the Palace, Hanna and Front Row Theatres and in the main showrooms in Las Vegas. He found another passion in fine wine and ended up lecturing on the subject at UNLV before coming back to his native Ohio to start in the wholesale wine industry in 1984
A Certified Wine Educator, Spanish Wine Educator and a Distinguished Member of the Society of Wine Educators, he has lectured at the SWE national conferences, seven years at Ohio State University for the Creative Activities Program, Tri C Hospitality Department, The American Wine School, Loretta Paganini, Laurel Run Cooking School, Lorain County Community College Culinary Program, the Fabulous Food Show and various other wine education programs.
Gary is the Director of Sales, Northeastern Ohio, for Cutting Edge Selections, a fine wine wholesaler, is an active wine educator and writes on wine for the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram and the Wine Buzz.
Toshio Ueno, CSW, FWS
Toshio is the only one in the world to hold Master of Sake (酒匠), Master Sake Sommelier (日本酒学講師), and WSET Sake Educator diploma. Born in Japan where his family has grown Japanese wine grape, Koshu, for generations, Toshio grew up helping the business from a young age. Following his college education in the US and employment at an international trading company in Tokyo, Toshio joined Chateraise, a pastry and wine company as Director of Sales. There, he was put in charge of overseeing the personal wine collection of the company's president, which intrigued him to enter the world of wine stewardship and research. Toshio joined Mutual Trading Company in 2002, where he is Manger of the Business Development Department in marketing Japanese foods, Jizake, and Shochu to the mainstream American trade. With his passion and expertise in Jizake, Shochu, and Wine, Toshio aims to further promote Japanese food and Sake cultures to new, international audiences. Since 2010, he has been Vice President & Executive Instructor at Sake School of America.
Michael Wangbickler, DipWSET, CWE
Michael holds a Level 4 Diploma from London-based Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET). He is recognized as a WSET Certified Educator and a Certified Wine Educator (CWE) by the Society of Wine Educators. In addition, he holds a WSET Level 3 Award in Sake. Mike has been teaching about wine, sake and spirits for more than ten years, and most recently with the Discover Wine & Spirits Academy (DWSA), where he is Lead Instructor. He also leads several seminars and workshops on wine and wine marketing throughout the world.

Mike feels passionately about wine and believes that everybody can benefit from some level of education on the subject. His ultimate goal is to give every one of his students the tools they need to appreciate, market, and sell wine with confidence. In addition, Mike currently holds the position of Chief Executive Officer and Partner at Balzac Communications and Marketing in Napa, California.
Niki Wente
Most recently joining the family business in March 2017, 5th Generation and daughter to Phil Wente, Niki joined our Viticulture team as a Viticulturist managing the buying/selling of grapes and winegrower relations. Niki graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in June 2014 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Wine & Viticulture, a passion she has had since she was young. Throughout her college education, Niki interned three summers at Wente Vineyards (2 summers in Viticulture and 1 summer in Marketing) and one summer at Edna Valley Vineyards as a cellar hand.
Following her graduation, Niki immediately joined the Viticulture team at Wente Vineyards through the 2014 harvest season, lending an extra hand. She then took a job opportunity in San Francisco and later a role in Grower Relations and Viticulture at Huneeus Vintners, buying and selling grapes for multiple brands. In addition to Niki’s role as Viticulturist, you will also find her rescuing animals from the vineyards. Today, Niki resides in the Livermore Valley with her boyfriend Nick and their dog, Riley.
Barry Wiss, CWE, CSS
At age 15, his hospitality career formally began with a position as busboy in a small restaurant. At age 18, while working as a restaurant manager, he entered the newly formed Hotel Restaurant Program at the University of New Orleans. After this, Barry’s first hotel position was Assistant Executive Steward for the 1500 room Sheraton New Orleans. Upon gaining experience in back and front of the house operations, Barry was promoted to Food and Beverage Director and transferred to a new Sheraton property in Southern California. In 1993, Barry became Hospitality Director at Schramsberg Vineyards, where he worked closely with the late Jack and Jamie Davies and was responsible for designing their hospitality program. In 1995, Barry became Senior Director of Hospitality and Education for Trinchero Family Estates Winery. Presently, Barry is Vice President of Trade Relations for Trinchero, and responsible for establishing one of the industry’s most creative and innovative culinary and wine education programs, Vine to Dine®. Barry is also the creator of the World Wine Challenge® App.

Barry and his wife, Kim, are one of the lead wine hosts for AMA Waterways River Cruises. He is a Certified Wine Educator, Certified Sommelier, and Certified Specialist of Spirits. Barry has also been awarded Advanced Level Certification with the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, and serves as the President of the Society of Wine Educators.
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