Society of Wine Educators 43rd Annual Conference


Adam Acquistapace, CWE
Adam Acquistapace comes from a long line of grocers and grew up in his family’s local, independent neighborhood grocery store in Covington, Louisiana. After college Adam joined the family business full-time. Seeing the potential for growth of the wine and spirits department, he educated himself about wine and the beverage industry. He now regularly teaches wine seminars for consumers and volunteers his time and knowledge to non-profit organizations. Under his guidance, Acquistapace’s Covington Supermarket expanded, while selection grew, prices dropped, and service increased, helping the supermarket earn its name as one of the top wine and spirits retailers in the region. Acquistapace’s stores have earned the Market Watch Leaders Award and much local recognition for their wine departments. Adam also operates Acquistapace’s Wine and Cheese and Slidell Wine Warehouse. Adam has a Business degree from LSU, an MBA and Masters in Finance from Tulane University, and is a Certified Wine Educator.
Serafin Alvarado, MS

Serafin Alvarado’s love of wine began more than decade ago, as a room service waiter for Hilton Hotels in his native Puerto Rico. It was the beginning of a career path that would ultimately lead him to achieve the remarkable distinction of becoming a Master Sommelier (M.S.) in 2005, achieving the status that only 164 other North Americans have reached after passing the rigorous M.S. examination.

Serafin has also turned his passion for wine into a successful career, working in positions in wine service, wine sales and most recently, wine education, joining Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of Illinois, the largest wine wholesaler in the United States headquartered in Miami, Florida, as Director of Wine Education.

After two years working in the hotel industry in Puerto Rico, in 1994, Alvarado transitioned to a key role at Cadierno Corporation, a Puerto Rican fine wine distributor, where he established the island’s most prominent wine school. His wine courses became very popular and highly acclaimed by local press, attributed to his easy, entertaining, yet informative teaching style.

Alvarado’s most formative wine experience came after a move to Chicago in 2001 to work alongside Chef Charlie Trotter at his famed restaurant Charlie Trotter’s. Alvarado led a team of sommeliers responsible of managing one of the finest restaurant wine programs in America, following in the footsteps of his mentors: Larry Stone, M.S. and Joe Spellman, M.S.

In October of 2005, Serafin received the Bill Rice distinguished Sommelier of the Year Award for his contribution to the culture of food & wine in the city of Chicago.

Crain’s Chicago Business Magazine included Serafin Alvarado among 40 outstanding individuals, local to the Chicago area, who have made a major impact in their respective industries before the age of 40. Former winners include professional actors and athletes, presidents and CEOs of major Fortune 500 companies, and high ranking political figures. Crain’s calls these rising stars “The Top 40 Under 40”.

Most recently, Johnson & Wales University recognized Serafin as their 4th Distinguished Visiting Master Sommelier. Today, along with his education responsibilities at Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, Serafin also finds time to teach and mentor Master Sommelier candidates through the program.

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.

Mollie Battenhouse, MW
It's not a widely known fact that a BFA degree can make for a good entry into the food and beverage industry, but that's how Mollie Battenhouse found her way. A student of painting and sculpture, she supported herself through school by working in restaurants. She graduated cum laude from Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia , but the pace and energy of restaurants beckoned, and she made it her mission to assemble a stellar resume. She enrolled in The Culinary Institute of America and graduated at the top of her class. She would go on to work at acclaimed restaurants like Payard Patisserie and Bistro and Pondicherry in New York City. Battenhouse's move into wine began with a part-time job at Joshua Wesson's Best Cellars wine shop in Manhattan. Battenhouse found her home in wine at the store; what started as a part-time gig turned into an eight-year tenure. She returned to the restaurant world to work as head sommelier at Tribeca Grill, where she was responsible for maintaining a Wine Spectator Grand Award-winning wine list. Following Tribeca Grill, Mollie moved to the distribution side of the business, and became the Director of Sales and Business Development for V.O.S. Selections in New York and New Jersey. The Education side of the business came calling, and Mollie went to work for Jackson Family Wines in 2016, where she is currently the National Director of Wine Education. Mollie is also an Advanced Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers. In her free time, Mollie is a partner at RingIT, she teaches classes at The International Wine Center, is an avid gardener indoors and out, swims, and trains for half-marathons.
Roger Bohmrich, MW

Roger has presented myriad themes at SWE Conferences in recent years including minerality, China and Riesling. With this session, he returns to his roots as a Burgundy importer, when he looked after an extensive portfolio at Frederick Wildman & Sons. 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. Roger is one of the first U.S. Masters of Wine 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. Roger has traveled extensively around the world of wine, and in recent years he has judged multiple competitions in the U.S., Argentina, Turkey and China. He currently provides extensive content including essays, vintage profiles and a glossary for His own website is

Yvette Bonanno

Yvette Marie Bonanno started working in her parent’s restaurant when she was only 12 years old. After years of management in front of the house, Yvette realized that her true passion was being in the kitchen. Soon after, she left Baton Rouge to attend the coveted Johnson and Wales Culinary University in Providence, Rhode Island. She was accepted into the Advance Standing Program, and in 1996 she graduated, Summa Cum Laude, with a degree in Culinary Arts. After graduating, Yvette began working as a Sous Chef for the Ritz Carlton in St. Thomas where she earned a Bronze Medal in the 1997 Caribbean Culinary Olympics. She was soon recruited by Atlanta’s Piedmont Driving Club, where she again served as Sous Chef. Wanting to return to home, Yvette lined up a job as the Executive Chef of the Blue Fish Grill in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She then moved on to become the Corporate Chef of the Louisiana Pizza Kitchen Chain before opening her own business, Bonanno’s Fine Catering in 2002 and was named “Chef of the Year” by The American Culinary Foundation.

In 2003 she opened “Yvette Marie’s Café,” which was followed by “Taste by Yvette Bonanno” in 2004. The same year, Yvette was named one of Louisiana Cooking Magazine’s “Chefs to watch in 2004,” and was named one of the Baton Rouge Business Report’s “Top 40 under 40” in 2006.

In 2008, Yvette sold her businesses, married, and moved to Colorado. She continued cooking as a private chef in Denver and teaching cooking classes. In 2017, Yvette & her husband opened Cane Land Distilling Company with a silver, cinnamon, and spiced rum, and vodka made from 100% sugar.

Once the spirits were released, Yvette began working and developing shelf stable food products for the company, grocery, liquor, and specialty food markets. Since the release Yvette has returned to Baton Rouge to be closer to the distillery and the manufacturing, distribution, and promotion of her Praline Rum Cakes & Spiced Rum Pecans. She has a few other food products up her chef sleeve and has turned her love and passion for food into profit.

Thomas Colli
A graduate of Rutgers University in Communications, his travels then took him to the wine regions of Europe, South America and the United States where his interest in wine helped determine his future career. He first worked in restaurants and became a Certified Sommelier, and then transitioned to the distributor side. That led to working on the Supplier side and now works for Evaton Sogrape in the Mid-Atlantic region where his focus is on Portuguese wines.
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, running 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.

Ben Coffelt, CSW
Ben Coffelt has a background in wine and spirits retail and has worked for the SWE for over seven years. His primary interest is understanding how wine and spirits have impacted history and culture. He currently holds a CSW and is working towards the CSS and CWE.

Mark Davidson

Born in London and raised in Sydney, Mark has over 35 years of experience in the hotel, restaurant and wine business, fifteen of those as a Sommelier. In 2001 he was name Sommelier of the Year at the Vancouver Wine Festival and also won the Spirited Industry Professional in 2014.

As a Department Head and instructor with the International Sommelier Guild he was instrumental in the on going development of the curriculum and has taught classes in Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Las Vegas.

Mark is an annual judge at Texsom International Wine Awards, Sunset Magazine, LA International wine competitions. In addition, he developed a wine education and restaurant etiquette course for Simon Fraser University Global Asset and Wealth Management MBA program.

Mark is currently Head of Education for Wine Australia in North America.

Annie Edgerton, CSW, CS, DipWSET
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, 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 (, and is active on social media. 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.

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.

Bill Edgerton

Bill Edgerton has appraised wine for 32 years and likes to say that his services are typically needed for the “Three Ds” — damage, divorce, and death. From 1989-1997 he published the “Wine Price File,” a compendium of auction selling prices for tens of thousands of wines that Robert M. Parker, Jr. called “an essential source of current information  on the value of fine wine." He now edits its successor,, which permits the user to see more than 700,000 wine selling prices, sorted by name, vintage, date of sale, and auction selling house. Bill is accredited as a Senior Wine Appraiser by the American Society of Appraisers. He is the author of numerous articles, including “Taking on the Fakes” for the UK magazine “The World of Fine Wine,” as well as a fictional novel, “Wine Killer.” He is currently at work on a study of vibration affect on wine. Bill last presented at a SWE conference on the late harvest wines of Alsace.

Carl Etcheverry, CSW
Carl Etcheverry, a Certified Sommelier from Montreal, is the Wine Director of the Union League of Philadelphia, voted Best City Club in the USA four consecutive times. He was recruited by the Global Traveler Magazine on three occasions to be a judge on the tasting panel of the Annual Wines on the Wing airline wine competition.

Nora Favelukes
Nora Z. Favelukes is a pioneer of premium South American wines in the United States. As an influencer, skilled spokesperson, moderator, negotiator and a natural diplomat with years of international experience, Ms. Favelukes understands the inner workings and complexities of the US, South American and European wine markets. She is also a noted speaker specialized in European and South American wines and the US Wine Market.

Luca Formentini
Luca Formentini, is the 4th generation in the wine sector of a family who had their 100th grape harvest in 2017. He started working in the industry at 19 and was the youngest president of a consortium in Italy. He has been the President of the Consortium of San Martino della Battaglia, the Vice President of the Consortium of Garda Classico and has been the President of the Lugana Consortium for the last seven years. He has also been the President and was a founder of the Strade dei Vini del Garda. Luca has always devoted time to associations, volunteering with groups that aim to product the environment, the landscape and the area of Garda. He is also an active musician and composer of contemporary music. Luca is the proud father of an 11-year-old girl.

Tim Gaiser, MS

Tim Gaiser is an internationally renowned wine expert and lecturer. He is one of 249 individuals worldwide to ever attain the elite Master Sommelier wine title and is the former Director of Education and Education chair for the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas.  He is also an adjunct professor for the Rudd Center for Professional Wine Studies at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, as well as a lead instructor for the Napa Valley Wine Academy.

Over his 30-plus year career, Tim has taught thousands of students in wines and spirits classes at every level as well as developing wine education programs for restaurants, winery schools and wine distributors. He has experience in all phases of the wine industry - online, wholesale, retail, winery, and restaurant - including stints at Heitz Wine Cellars in the Napa Valley and Bix and Cypress Club restaurants in San Francisco, and Virtual Vineyards/the original

Tim has written for a number of publications including Fine Cooking Magazine and the Somm Journal. He also writes for numerous wine and spirits clients including Champagne Perrier Jöuet, Wines of Germany, and the Portuguese Cork Quality Association. Considered one of the leading wine tasters and educators, Gaiser was featured in the Think like a Genius Wine Master training product, created by the Everyday Genius Institute.

In addition to his various consulting, writing and teaching projects, Tim is now focused on a long term project involving the use of behavioral and neuro-sciences to teach and improve olfactory and palate memory and synesthesia as they apply not only to wine, but to other industries including spirits, coffee, tea, olive oil, and perfumes. He is using this new information to change how people teach wine tasting and other disciplines that involve the use of sensory evaluation.

Prior to developing his wine expertise, Tim received an M.A. in Classical Music. He played classical trumpet as a freelance professional and as an extra with the San Francisco Opera until 1988.

David Glancy, MS, CWE, FWS, CSS

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.

Susannah Gold, DipWSET, CSW, CSS

Susannah Gold often presents wines and wine regions at wine conferences and through her company Vigneto Communications promotes wine and food products in the U.S. with her team.  She holds various wine certificates from schools around the world including an Italian sommelier certificate from  the Associazione Italiana dei Sommeliers (AIS). the Diploma in Wines & Spirits (DipWSET) from  the WSET, the CSW and CSS from the Society of Wine Educators and a certification from the Spanish Wine Academy.  She teaches wine classes, and has written for The Financial Times, Gourmet Retailer, Food, Food & Beverage Business,, the Organic Wine Journal, the Sommelier Journal, F&B Magazine and GDO Week. She pens a wine blog called Fluent in English, Italian, and French, she also speaks Spanish, is learning Portuguese and works with clients in all five languages.

Mary Gorman-McAdams, MW
Based in New York, Mary Gorman-McAdams is a Master of Wine, a wine educator and wine judge. Since 2014, she has worked as the Bordeaux Wine Council’s market adviser for North America, where she has led its marketing and educational programs focused on growing the North American Market for Bordeaux wines.

Mary became a Master of Wine in 2011; a distinguished title held only by 380 people worldwide and was awarded the Viña Errázuriz Award, for excellence in the Business of Wine paper in the Masters of Wine Examination. In 2012 she was honored as a Dame Chevalier de L'Ordre des Côteaux de Champagne.

Mary is highly regarded within the North American wine industry. In 2012 Mary joined the IMW’s Global Education Committee, which manages the Institute’s academic program around the world, including the annual residential seminars and course days.  She also serves as a mentor to MW students.

Mary served on the board of the Society of Wine Educator’s (2012-2014) and is a regular speaker at its annual conference. She is a founding advisory board member of SommCon wine conference and Winebow’s annual Women in Wine Leadership Symposium and in 2018 was inducted as a Dame d’Escoffier, in the New York Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International.

Gilian Handelman
With a career that began as an assistant sommelier in 1987 in the 35,000-bottle cellar of Pierce’s restaurant in the Finger Lakes region of New York, Gilian Handelman couldn’t resist the call of the cellar, moving into wine production in 1988 in Washington State for six harvests in three different wineries.

Handelman was hired in 1994 by Kendall-Jackson as Enologist, where she produced experimental wine, yeast and barrel trials and tracked the 1,500-plus lots of wine made by the winery each year. In 1996, she was tapped to create a comprehensive education program for the winery, where she developed training for KJ’s sales force as well as wine and food education and seminars for trade and consumers. In 2000, Paige Poulos Communications recruited Gilian as Director of Wine Communications where she developed PR and education plans for winery and industry clients. It was here that the diversity of her skillset was brought together, combining sensory evaluation, winemaking and culinary education with strategic initiatives.

In 2002 Gilian was hired by Wine & Spirits Magazine; as their Director of Marketing and Education she created their lauded “Top 100” event, developed the “Best New Sommelier” program, and coordinated and taught scores of classes at culinary and hospitality schools around the United States.

Propelled by a strong desire to return to the world of vineyards and wineries, she was lured back to Jackson Family Wines in 2008, where she currently directs enterprise education for the family’s 40 wineries around the globe.

Gilian lives in Berkeley, California with her husband and two children.

Caroline Hermann, DipWSET, MW
Caroline Hermann is a highly respected wine lecturer, having taught wine industry professionals since 2010 at the Capital Wine School in Washington DC. She has worked in many aspects of the industry, including wineries and retail sales, as well as wine law and regulations. She has studied viticulture, winemaking, and tasting analysis at the University of Bordeaux and Plumpton College, and is a recipient of the AXA Millesimes Scholarship. Caroline holds a Diploma from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust, and is DC's 2nd Master of Wine.

Thom Horsey, CSW, WSET III
Thom Horsey, National Wine Educator for Ste Michelle Wine Estates, is a 40 year veteran of the wine industry. A graduate of Virginia Tech, Thom holds the CSW and WSET Level certifications. Thom has worked for Robert Mondavi Winery, Constellation Brands and Rodney Strong Wine Estates before joining Ste Michelle Wine Estates as National Wine Educator in 2013. He has conducted thousands of seminars on all aspects of wine for consumers, trade and distributors.

Josh Jensen
In the world of fine wine, Josh Jensen is a legend. An innovator and a pioneer, Josh has been named the San Francisco Chronicle’s “Winemaker of the Year,” honored as a “Rockstar of Wine” at World of Pinot Noir, and has graced the cover of Wine Spectator. More than just being universally respected by his peers, Josh played a pivotal role in establishing Pinot Noir as one of North America’s great varietal wines. In doing so, he also built Calera into one of the world’s most revered wineries. Beloved by connoisseurs, Calera has been honored by Wine & Spirits as one of the “Top 100 Wineries in the World” four times, with Robert Parker calling Calera “California’s Romanée-Conti.”

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 Research Alliance 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.

Ben Jordan
Ben Jordan oversees all aspects of winemaking, vineyards and production at Early Mountain. A native Virginian who began his winemaking career in Sonoma County, Ben previously held the position of GM and Winemaker with Michael Shaps Wineworks.

He brings to Early Mountain a philosophy representative of our mission to craft high-quality wines that showcase a commitment to the vineyard and the expression of place. Ben works with his brother to run his family's vineyard in the Shenandoah Valley and makes an aromatized wine called War & Rust. Outside of the wine world, Ben enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters. Ben is a graduate of Duke University and received his MFA from Carnegie Mellon University.

Michael Jordan, MS, CWE
Veteran Restaurateur and “Sommelier for the People” Michael Jordan is Director of Global Key Accounts for Jackson Family Fine Wines. Michael travels the globe to work with key decision makers and hospitality industry leaders specializing in education and training sommeliers and service teams. Jordan also hosts a weekly radio show, What’s Cookin’ on Wine - heard on many AM radio markets across the country and podcast on CRN Digital Talk Radio. With over forty years in the hospitality and restaurant business Michael worked his way up to executive chef, and later worked as GM and Sommelier in several world class restaurants. Jordan now represents the Jackson Family and their many wineries. Passionate and friendly, Jordan demystifies the world of wines as an “Ambassador of Flavor” for wine lovers across the globe.

Carrie Kalscheuer, CWE, CS, WSET III

Carrie began her wine career in restaurants two decades ago, advancing to a sommelier role with a Wine Spectator Grand Award-winning restaurant in Kansas City, Missouri. A decade later, she realized her dream of moving to the Willamette Valley to work with Oregon wine and now supports both direct and national sales for REX HILL and A to Z Wineworks, a role that makes her a prominent ambassador for Oregon wines both nationally and internationally.

In addition to a degree in Philosophy, Carrie has earned multiple certifications, including Certified Wine Educator through the Society of Wine Educators, Level 2, Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, and Level 3, Advanced Certification with Distinction through the Wine & Spirit Education Trust.

Carrie serves on the Oregon Wine Board Education Committee, the Oregon Pinot Camp Steering Committee, is an adjunct professor at Chemeketa Community College, where she teaches Wine Appreciation, and has served on the Board of B Local PDX, the Portland-based chapter of B Corporations.

Don Kinnan, CSS, CWE
For 35 years, Don Kinnan has been active in the fine wine trade, both on a business and personal level.  Having traveled frequently to the wine regions of Europe, South America, New Zealand, and California, the depth of his knowledge has been enhanced by his own experience.

Kinnan joined Kobrand Corporation, a family-owned wine importer, vineyard owner, and marketing company, in 1985 covering the Washington, DC, Virginia, and West Virginia areas.  In 1992, he was promoted to Director of Education and was responsible for educational services nationwide.  For the next 20 years, he conducted over 60 day-long seminars annually for distributor sales forces, trade groups, and consumers.

Kinnan’s passion for wine is evidenced by his involvement in numerous professional organizations.  He has been cited by the US Government for his role as founder of the Society for American Wines in Canada.  He also received the French Government’s recognition  being designated “Chevalier dans l’Ordre du Merite Agricole”.  He is currently a board member of the Society of Wine Educators where he holds that organization’s highest credential, CWE (Certified Wine Educator).  Since 2012, Kinnan has been the Burgundy Specialist  for the Wine Scholar Guild, and is the Lead Instructor for the guild’s Master Burgundy Certificate program.

Kinnan received his undergraduate degree from Penn State University and his master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University.  He had a long and distinguished military career in the US Army, from which he retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.  While in the Army,  Kinnan graduated from the Defense Department’s Language Institute for French, the Command and General Staff College, and served as an instructor and, subsequently, as Chief of the Southeast Asian Studies Section at the US Army Intelligence School.

Pamela Kindel Connors, CSW, CSS, FWS, WSET III
Owner of "Training & Talent Development", a company designed to serve the needs of the wine & spirits industry. My mission is to help companies invest in the talent within their organization through coaching and consulting in organizational development, leadership development, customized training, and wine & spirits education.

Over 28 years of human resources, training & development, and sales management experience working within service organizations to include, wine & spirit’s distribution, cruise line and casino operations. Proven track record of successful results working with professional business leaders at all levels to build winning cultures that drive leadership and performance results.

Most recently I worked in wine & spirits distribution with Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits as a Regional HR Business Partner Director specializing in organizational development, change management, talent development, employee engagement, learning & development, mentoring and coaching.   Prior to that I served as the Director of Training for Glazer’s Diageo & Moet Hennessy division leading all sales and management training & development programs, including professional wine & spirits certification.

In addition, I have also specialized as an educator in the beverage alcohol industry earning certifications through professional organizations to include the Society of Wine Educators, Wine Scholar Guild, Wine & Spirit Education Trust, and the Bordeaux Wine School.  Over 15 years conducting professional wine & spirit educational courses and seminars for trade and consumer groups. Elected to serve on the Board of Directors for the Society of Wine Educators in 2017.

Active member of ATD, SHRM, Center for Executive Coaching, Society of Wine Educators and the Wine Scholar Guild.

James Koennicke, CSW, AC

A 10 year veteran of the wine industry in Northern Virginia, Jim has made stops at six different wineries. During this time, he worked in all aspects of the industry: the front of the house, production and on the business side of things. He is currently the Assistant Tasting Room Manager and Head of Food and Beverage Services at Breaux Vineyards in Purcellville, VA. He is also Lead Educator at the Virginia School of Wine, which is co-located at Breaux Vineyards. He holds his CSW from the Society of Wine Educators, the Advanced Certificate from WSET, and is a current member of the Society of Wine Educators.

Edward Korry, CHE, CSS, CWE
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. 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, Edward served as President of the Society of Wine Educators 2014-2016; and 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 and spirits; mixology, coffee and 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.

Jim Laughren, CWE
Jim Laughren, CWE, is a former wine importer, distributor and consultant. He is also the author of two books about wine, “50 Ways to Love Wine More: Adventures in Wine Appreciation” and “A Beer Drinker’s Guide to Knowing and Enjoying Fine Wine.” 

Richard Leahy
Richard Leahy is a wine professional based in Charlottesville, Virginia and coordinates the conference program for the Eastern Winery Exposition, the largest wine industry trade show east of the Rockies. He has been writing about wines of Virginia and the East since 1986, and in May 2012 his book Beyond Jefferson’s Vines, the definitive book on Virginia wine, was published to high praise from reviewers and is now available on in a revised second edition.

In August 2016 Richard launched the Drink Outside the Grape competition for fruit wine, mead, cider and eaux-de-vie, and February 2017 he launched the Best of New England Wine Competition. He judges for the Virginia Governor’s Cup competition, and is a member of the American Wine Society and the Circle of Wine Writers, and also has a website and blog focused on wines of the East at
Rachel Martin

A unique combination of education and experience brought Rachel Martin to launch Oceano Wines with husband and co-proprietor, Kurt Deutsch in 2016. A Virginia native, Martin was present at the inception of what is now considered one of that state’s premier wine producers, Boxwood Estate Winery, in 2005. As Executive Vice President of Winery Operations, Martin’s job was to oversee all facets of production, sales and marketing of Boxwood’s award-winning whites, rosés and Bordeaux-style red blends.

After earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston/Tufts University), Martin decided to make her love of wine a fulltime vocation. She parlayed a degree in Viticulture and Enology from Napa Valley College into a spot in the prestigious Sensory Evaluation program at the University of Bordeaux School of Enology. And from there, Martin ushered in the very first wines at Boxwood, located in Middleburg, a bucolic area previously better known for horses than vines.

Appreciating the distinctiveness of Middleburg’s terroir, however, Martin spearheaded the move toward securing a coveted American Viticultural Area designation from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, the federal agency charged with evaluating the merits of all such applications. The petition she authored on behalf of the region was approved in 2012, making Middleburg Virginia the state’s seventh AVA.

Martin’s forward thinking led directly to Middleburg having its own wine identity separate from the more generic Virginia designation, making her well suited to again start from scratch with Oceano Wines. None other than the esteemed author Jancis Robinson noted Martin’s marketing savvy in her book “American Wine.”

Martin is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier International New York and Washington D.C chapters and was the first woman to be inducted into the District of Columbia chapter of the International Wine & Food Society. A founding board member, she is also closely involved with the beverage/culinary aspect to the annual Middleburg Film Festival. In 2019, Rachel joined Corporate Membership to Women of the Vines & Spirits.

Sharron McCarthy, CSW

Sharron McCarthy, VP of Wine Education at Banfi Vintners and Past President of the U.S. Society of Wine Educators, is a wine industry legend. Affectionately known as “America’s First Lady of Wine Ed,” Sharron has played an instrumental role in introducing Americans from all walks of life to an appreciation for the fruit of the vine. 

Born and raised in Long Island, NY, Sharron McCarthy’s wine business career began in 1978 when she joined the Consumer Affairs Department at Banfi Vintners, one of America’s premier names in imported fine wines. Her ability to master the intricacies of wine and communicate that knowledge to others swiftly became apparent. Within a short space of time she was promoted to Executive Director for Riunite wines, helping to create an array of innovative sales and marketing strategies that propelled Riunite into becoming America’s most popular wine.

In 1986, Sharron went on to form her own consulting agency. A partnership with the Italian Trade Commission in New York is widely credited with playing a pivotal part in advancing Italy to its current status as America’s leading source of imported wines. Sharron subsequently returned to Banfi Vintners in the mid-1990s, to pursue a new and—for the industry at the time – pioneering role focused exclusively on developing wine education.

Sharron served a three-year term as president of the Society of Wine Educators (SWE) from 2007-2010. Sharron is a CSW and was elected Director Emeritus of SWE in 2012.

In February 2015, Sharron was recognized by the Italian Trade Commission and the Italian Consul General of Italy for her efforts, service, and visionary approach toward Italian wines and her decades long efforts to promote Italian wines in the United States. Sharron was inducted into the Wines of Italy Hall of Fame to honor her as a goodwill ambassador for Italian wines and for her dedication to the country of Italy and to the Italian way of life.

Other of Sharron’s many accolades include that she is a Sommelier, Certified by the original Sommelier Society of America and has been honored by the American Wine Society with its prestigious Award of Merit. Sharron is a member of a number of organizations including New York Women’s Culinary Alliance and Women of the Vine.

JJ McKay

A native of the deep south, JJ McKay currently lives in Seattle and spends part of his time in NYC.    Having a rich history in consumer appetites, he has worked on programs with companies including Costco, butter London, the American Heart Association, and The Daily Beast.  In 2016 McKay founded The Fresh Toast, a lifestyle/ platform with a side of cannabis.  They also work with over 800,00o medical professionals in North America.   The Fresh Toast is a leading voice in the industry and recently one best site in the industry.  Already a digital leader in the industry, the Fresh Toast partners with newspapers, Apple News, and more and have become the most trusted voice in cannabis.

Known as regular on the Seattle social scene and for hosting parties with interesting people and being a matchmaker connecting 10 friends to their spouses.  McKay also serves on the advisory boards of US Bank and UTrip.   JJ has served on the several non-profit boards including the current chairman of Mary’s Place, Pike Place Market Seattle Opera, Pilchuck School and more, he also chaired the 50th Anniversary for Seattle Center.

Felipe Müller
Felipe Müller was born and raised in Santiago, Chile’s capital. Today, at the age of 44, he is considered one of the country´s most influential and important winemakers.

He graduated in Agronomy with a distinction in Oenology and Viticulture from the renowned Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. He was honored for having the best score in the examination of Oenologist at the College of Agricultural Oenologist Engineers of Chile and later received a special mentioning for having the second best wine thesis of his generation.

In 2001 he joined Viña De Martino as second winemaker, in charge of viticulture as well as the vinification for red and white wines. In this winery he worked together with winemaker Marcelo Retamal, and formed a bold and renowned "Wine dupla". Together they investigated new wines, studied in depth various valleys and regions of Chile and vinificated around 350 vineyards throughout the country.

In 2006 he joined Tabalí as Chief Winemaker. The winery’s goal is to make the finest wines of the Limari Valley and ultimately become a reference at a national level, by exploring new terroir, new plantations and new selections of clones.

Felipe Müller was named ‘Best Winemaker of the Year’ in the sixteenth version of “Guía de Vinos de Chile 2010”, Chile’s oldest and most prestigious wine industry publication.

In the year 2011, Felipe was appointed as CEO, keeping his position as Chief Winemaker. From then Felipe was not only responsible for the quality of the wines but also for the global strategy of the company.

In January 2014 Felipe Müller was chosen ‘Best Young Winemaker’ (next to Aurelio Montes who was chosen Best Senior Winemaker) by El Mercurio, Chile’s leading newspaper.

In March 2017, Tabalí signed a joint venture agreement with Champagne Thiénot to produce sparkling wines. Felipe Müller has been appointed CEO and Chief Winemaker for this Joint Venture.
Viviana Navarrete

Viviana studied Agricultural Sciences in the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, specialized in winemaking, and from the beginning of her career she felt very attracted to the terroir of Leyda Valley, due to its potential and its great qualities that are reflected in the wines. In 2007, Viviana became Chief Winemaker of Leyda Winery and works with the prestigious enology advisor Alberto Antonini.

Currently, Viviana´s mission is to make the best cold climate wines of Chile. Wines character, identity and original senses that releases the full potential of Leyda Valley.

Her winemaking philosophy is to reflect the quality and the unique conditions of the terroir and of the vine parcel in every bottle of wine. She focuses on cold climate grape varieties that grow well in Leyda Valley, giving rise to expressive and elegant wines with fruity tastes and complexity.

Viviana is an innovative winemaker, and one of the few that make Sauvignon Gris and Riesling. Thanks to her tireless work, Leyda Winery launched its first sparkling wine with the traditional method in 2012.

In 2013, Viviana was rated one of the top 10 winemakers of Chile, becoming a new star within the Chilean winemaking industry. In an article written by Peter Richards, in the British magazine Decanter, he wrote about the new wave of adventurous winemakers who have left an exciting and refreshing mark on the winemaking scene, among them is Leyda Valley.

Among other pursuits of Viviana, is striving for excellence in microterroir Pinot Noir, as well as experimenting with new cold climate grape varieties not yet grown in Chile.

Ira Norof, CSE, CWE

In 1976 his wine & spirits career began in a retail wine shop.   As his knowledge and passion for the product grew he eventually became a Sommelier in a Beverly Hills Restaurant.   In 1983, he was hired by Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of California and in 1996 he was named the Director of Education of California.  His illustrious career has taken him to visit most of the major wine regions in Europe and The Americas.  He attained the CWE (Certified Wine Educator) in 1999.  He holds a diploma from the Bordeaux Wine School, is a certified International Bordeaux Educator, as well as a certified Cognac Educator by le Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac.  In 2016 he attained CSE.  He is a guest lecturer at Cal Poly Pomona’s School of Hospitality each semester.

He has served as the President of the Society of Wine Educators from 2010 – 2013 and has been on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Chapter of the AIWF and was a member of the Bon Appetit Tasting Panel.  He is actively involved in many wine-related charity events throughout the country.

Chris Ojeda
Chris Ojeda is currently Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits Regional Mixologist that covers all of Los Angeles, Orange County and all other areas of Southern California. He brings to Southern Wine & Spirits 15 years of bar operations experience that range from Bartender, Bar Manager, General Manager, & Global Bar Director. Education and training have been the cornerstone to what has set Ojeda apart.
Matilda Parente, MD, CSW
Matilda Parente, MD, CSW is board-certified in pathology and integrative holistic medicine. Matilda is a member of the Renaud Society, an international society of medical and wine professionals, and wine judge for the Society’s wine competitions. She launched fun and fabulous wine tasting and pairing programs during her five years as wine director and wine educator at a California culinary school. She continues to speak about and write on wine and is the author of ResveratrolHealing Ways: An Integrative Health Sourcebook and co-editor of a genetics textbook. An avowed "wine-ologist," Matilda gives local finds, wine travel and all-things-vinous a swirl at
Michael Potashnik, PhD
Dr. Michael Potashnik founded the International Wine Review (IWR) in September 2005.  He has more than three decades of experience in wine writing and publishing and has co-authored major reports and studies on wine regions in the US (including Sonoma) and across the world.   Prior to founding the IWR, he published the Virginia Wine Guide and established the Virginia Wine and Food Society to the support the state’s wine industry.

G.M. Pucilowski, CWE

G.M. “Pooch” Pucilowski, CWE, is a dynamic and exciting speaker, whose enthusiasm for wine is balanced by his 40+ years of teaching and educating both consumers and members of the trade. A certified wine educator, prolific writer and highly sought-after speaker, Pucilowski brings his infectious enthusiasm and dedication to educating others about the myths and misconceptions people have about wine and the industry. What began as an intense curiosity about wine and the industry decades earlier has turned into a lifelong passion for Pucilowski.

With his ability to talk to wine enthusiasts on any level, Pucilowski breaks down the “complications” of wine into easy to understand segments. From “how to taste wine” to why food pairings don’t work for everyone, any “student” will get the facts he or she needs to know to make an informed decision about what wine to buy.

He was the recipient of the 2016 Wine Lifetime Achievement Award for California’s Wine Industry and the Golden Bear Award for 26 years as Chief Judge. He was also honored as a Supreme Knight from the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Vine.

Glenn Salva

Glenn C. Salva is responsible for all winegrowing activities for ANTICA NAPA VALLEY, the Antinori Family’s Napa Valley, California wine estate. Glenn assumed the role of Wine Estate Manager in December 2002.

The Antinori Family has been making wine for over six hundred years. Throughout its long history, spanning 26 generations, the family has always personally managed the business from their offices in Florence and, today, remains entirely family owned. Marchese Piero Antinori is President of the company and is assisted by his three daughters, Albiera, Allegra, and Alessia. The Antinori Family reputation has grown throughout the centuries by making innovative, sometimes courageous choices, always with unwavering respect for tradition and the land.

In addition to his Napa Valley responsibilities, Glenn also provides assistance to other Antinori wine ventures located in the New World. In Washington State, Antinori along with Ste. Michelle Wine Estates produces Col Solare. Antinori and Ste. Michelle Wine Estates together manage and produce the wines of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars also located in Napa Valley.

Glenn earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University in 1976 where he majored in Viticulture. Glenn brings 30 years of Napa Valley winegrowing experience to his responsibilities at Antica Napa Valley.

Matt Stamp, MS
Matt Stamp is a Master Sommelier and co-founder of Compline, a wine bar, restaurant, and wine merchant in the heart of downtown Napa. Matt worked as a sommelier in some of wine country’s top restaurants, including the French Laundry and the Farmhouse Inn, and cut his teeth at V. Mertz Restaurant, his family’s fine-dining institution in Omaha. As Education Director for the Guild of Sommeliers, Matt wrote and compiled a core program of study for today’s aspiring sommeliers, and in 2014 he was elected to join the Court of Master Sommeliers’ Board of Directors, where he now sits as Vice Chair. He has contributed to Decanter Magazine and was selected as one of Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s “Top 40 Under 40” wine professionals. With a career in fine dining and beverage education, Matt is distilling the exciting, eye-opening, delicious, fun parts of wine and food into a cool and unfussy experience at Compline.

David Strada
David Strada is a self-employed, San Francisco-based consultant to the wine, food, and hospitality industries. He represents the New Zealand Winegrowers across the US. In that capacity he is responsible for media and public relations, market development, importer and distributor relations, and educational and promotional programs.

Chris Tanghe, MS
Chris is a New Englander, having grown up throughout upstate New York, Amherst, Boston and Cape Cod. He attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY graduating in 2000 and has worked in restaurants across the country including Denver, Phoenix, Santa Barbara and Seattle.

His interest in wine first began while at the CIA under the tutelage of Stephen Kolpan and Michael Weiss but didn’t become the focus of his career until later as he was only 18. Pursuing the idea of owning a restaurant, Chris took additional classes in 2006 from the International Sommelier Guild to round out his cooking skillset. A newly minted Master Sommelier was his instructor, and Chris was immediately inspired to pursue the Court of Master Sommelier path. After seven years of hard work and study, Chris passed the Master Sommelier exam on his second attempt in 2013.

He has since worked not only in restaurants but also as a portfolio manager for an importer and distributor in Seattle where he managed relationships with over 300 producers. He also consults on beverage programs for new restaurants, judges for the Decanter World Wine Awards and speaks at numerous wine events throughout the year.

Currently Chris’ station is with Guildsomm as their Chief Instructor traveling all over North America teaching in-depth masterclasses on the world of wine. He also contributes to podcasts, videos and

Alan Tardi, CSW
Alan Tardi first became seriously interested in wine working as a cook in some of New York City’s finest restaurants. Years later, after opening his own restaurant in Manhattan, he began writing for Wine & Spirits Magazine and went on to write for numerous other publications including The New York Times, Food Arts and Wine Spectator. In 2003 Alan moved to the village of Castiglione Falletto in Italy where he worked extensively in the surrounding vineyards and wineries and managed the town’s Cantina Comunale. His first book “Romancing the Vine: Life, Love and Transformation in the Vineyards of Barolo” received a James Beard Award for Best Wine Book of 2006. His second book “Champagne, Uncorked: The House of Krug and Timeless Allure of the World’s Most Celebrated Drink,” published in 2016, received a Gourmand Best in the World Award (French Wine category). 

Cathrine Todd, DipWSET
Cathrine Todd is a wine writer whose work has appeared in Forbes and Snooth as well as a regular wine column in La Voce di New York, called New York State of Wine, that focuses on the current state of the wine scene in New York City. She is the founder and sole contributor of the wine blog Dame Wine which has been nominated for various awards including Louis Roederer International Wine Writers’ Awards, Wine Blog Awards and Born Digital Wine Awards. Before pursuing writing full time, she spent several years selling wines from around the world in the Manhattan market, both wholesale and retail. She has taken a wide range of wine courses over the past 15 years and has earned the qualifications of Certified Specialist in Wine from the Society of Wine Educators and the Diploma from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust. After discovering that Israel is such an exciting wine area, experimenting with ancient varieties, hybrids, Mediterranean blends, old bush vines as well as orange, natural and biodynamic wines, she has become very passionate about Israeli wines and has spent time traveling there and speaking to many producers. Israel is a very diverse place that has pockets throughout the country that each offer an exotically thrilling sense of place that is rooted in an ancient winemaking culture.
Gary Twining, CWE, SWE

Gary’s first career was as a professional musician, with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra on the road, with various performers at the Cleveland, Ohio 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 retired at the end of August 2018 from his fourteen year position as the Director of Sales, Northeastern Ohio, for Cutting Edge Selections, a fine wine wholesaler.  He is still an active wine educator and writes on wine for the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram and the Wine Buzz.

Toshio Ueno, CSW, FWS

Certified Shochu Sommelier, Master of Sake, and Master Sake Sommelier. Toshio is the creator of Sake School of America and English Shochu Adviser Certificate program, and 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. In 2016 he was awarded the industry’s most prestigious title Sake Samurai from Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association.

Lucia Volk, PhD, CWE
Lucia Volk, CWE, runs a wine education business called Mindful Vine in the Bay Area, catering to private and corporate clients.   She is the recipient of the 2017 Banfi Award for the highest overall score in that year’s CWE exam.  She also holds a PhD in cultural anthropology and teaches at San Francisco State University.   She is known to SWE members as occasional SWEbinar speaker and blogger.  Her interest in Uruguayan wine was sparked by a trip to Montevideo and memorable visits and tastings with Uruguayan winemakers.

Peter Vossenberg, M.Ed., CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC
Peter Vossenberg is US Navy Veteran and a 40+ year veteran of the foodservice industry. His career has taken him quite literally around the world, working in restaurants and hotels, but also in nontraditional places like Navy ships and aircraft carriers, Antarctic research stations, private yachts, cruise ships, theme parks and offshore oil rigs. Peter has climbed the ladder of success in both the Front and Back of the House holding every position from busboy to General Manager, from dishwasher to Executive Chef.

Drawing on his vast experience, Peter has also trained future generations as a Culinary Arts Instructor and was the 2018 recipient of the American Culinary Federation’s Chef Educator of the Year award for the Southeast region. Peter holds a Master’s Degree in Education along with his degrees in Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts. He holds several ACF certifications including CEC, CCE, CCA and is also a member of the American Academy of Chefs.

Mike Waller
A master of Pinot Noir, known for his terroir-driven approach to winemaking, Mike Waller has worked alongside legendary vintner Josh Jensen for more than a decade, helping to guide winemaking at Calera. Mike’s winemaking style honors the character and complexity of Calera’s six renowned sites on Mt. Harlan, which are the source for some of the New World’s most revered wines. In the winery, Mike captures the nuance of these grand cru-caliber vineyards to create sophisticated wines renowned for their layered elegance and aging potential.

Karl Wente
Fifth Generation Winegrower and Winemaker Karl D. Wente is responsible for all winemaking at Wente Vineyards. The year 2018 was Karl's nineteenth vintage, and the seventeenth at Wente Vineyards, working with the family’s estate-grown vineyards throughout premium wine regions in California.

Karl combines the latest NASA technology in the vineyards with such age-old pursuits as yoga and music, all part of his larger vision of the world. His education includes a degree in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University and two Master’s degrees: one in horticulture (viticulture) and one in food science (enology), from the University of California at Davis. Studying winemaking and viticulture at UC Davis is another family tradition. Karl’s father and uncle studied there, as did his great-grandfather in 1909, a year after the school was founded.

Karl balances his strong academic background with the traditional hands-on approach of previous generations of Wente family winemakers. For five generations this family has tended the vines that produce the fruit for their wines. Karl grew up working at Wente Vineyards, and expanded that experience with work at the Peter Michael Winery in Sonoma, and Brown Brothers winery in northern Victoria, Australia.

Karl works with his family to farm nearly 3,000 acres of vineyards in some of the most desirable wine regions of California. As one might expect, the farming practices are sophisticated and rooted in a deep understanding of soil, science and sustainability.

The highest expression of Karl's winemaking vision is a series of artisanal, handcrafted wines that have broken new ground for the winery. These small lot wines, the Nth Degree series, were created in a specially built small lot winemaking facility within the main winery. The wines have received enthusiastic response from critics, trade and consumers. In fact, Karl was among Wine Enthusiast’s distinguished list of “40 Under 40” in the May 2013 issue.

Barry Wiss, CWE, CSS
Barry Wiss, Vice President of Trade Relations for Trinchero Family Estates, was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. His hospitality and education career has spanned over 25 years.

At age 15, his hospitality career formally began with a position as busboy in a small restaurant. Upon entering college at age 17, he decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and study geology. As a sophomore, however, Barry determined his true passion was the hospitality industry. At age 18, while working as a restaurant manager, he entered the newly formed Hotel Restaurant Program at the University of New Orleans, where he met his future wife Kim.

Barry’s first hotel position was Assistant Executive Steward for the 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 Kim make their home in Napa. They are one of the lead wine hosts for AMA Waterways River Cruises. Barry is a Certified Wine Educator, Certified Sommelier and Certified Specialist of Spirits, and has also been awarded Advanced Level Certification with the Wine and Spirits Education Trust and served as President of the Society of Wine Educators.