The People

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ONIYX ACOSTA

Founder and Director, Co-Fermented New York, NY

My name is Darwin Oniyx Acosta (they, them). My preferred name is Oniyx Acosta.I identify with Latin-X & LGBTQIA+ community. I am the founder and current director for Co-Fermented, an organization dedicated to the representation of LGBTQIA+ individuals in the wine industry.

ONIYX ACOSTA

Founder and Director, Co-Fermented New York, NY
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MARYAM AHMED

Owner of Maryam + Company and Co-Founder of Diversity in Wine Leadership Forum Napa, CA

Maryam Ahmed (she/her/hers) is a creative entrepreneur based in Napa, CA. Maryam + Company designs brand extension programs and educational experiences for purpose-driven clients that want to grow their business, increase engagement, and deepen their impact while celebrating food and wine. Maryam has experience in distribution, consumer education, dining, enology and viticulture, and events. Most often, her work takes place at the intersection of chefs, sommeliers, activists, sustainability experts, creatives, media, and visionary organizations. Prior to Maryam + Company, she was the director of public programs at the Culinary Institute of America in California.

Maryam co-founded the Diversity in Wine Leadership Forum in 2020 and last June, Maryam + Company launched Field Blends, an immersive food and wine travel experience focused on opening up conversations about what’s emerging in wine and agriculture. Field Blends features unique tastings, tangible takeaways, and local provisions with educational experiences and critical discourse.

Maryam was recently named a Wine Enthusiast Future 40 Tastemaker, listed as one of the Imbibe 75, and nominated for the Social Visionary Wine Star Award in 2022.

MARYAM AHMED

Owner of Maryam + Company and Co-Founder of Diversity in Wine Leadership Forum Napa, CA
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BROOKS ANDERSON

Owner, Boulevardier, Rapscallion, Veritas Wine Room Dallas, TX

www.dallasboulevardier.com

Brooks Anderson was raised in Plano, Texas, and significantly influenced by his French Grandmother who instilled in him a love of food, wine, literature, travel, and a deep sense of intellectual curiosity.

Brooks graduated from the University of Oklahoma. An involved student, his studies and experiences were wide-ranging. Brooks, several other students, and the late Professor J. Rufus Fears took 3-week driving tour of the American Civil War Battlefields in 1994. Also in 1994, Brooks delved into Journalism classes at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. In 1995, Brooks had the great fortune to study at the Sorbonne in Paris.

In 1995 Brooks commenced his studies at the University of Houston Law Center. In 1997, Brooks attended a Summer Study Program in the Greek Isles through Tulane University’s Law School, with Justice Antonin Scalia as a course professor. In 1998, Brooks graduated with a JD from the University of Houston Law Center. After his extensive studies and travels, both through school and with his brother Bradley, Brooks practiced law for 9 years. Most of this time was spent at Anderson & Anderson, LLP, the law firm he founded with his brother Bradley in October, 2002, which still operates today. He met his beautiful and amazingly talented wife Kate in court. She was opposing counsel. Brooks was smitten. In 2008, life presented Brooks and Bradley the opportunity to sign a lease for a small wine bar they named Veritas Wine Room. Brooks left the practice of law to run Veritas’s day-to-day operations. Veritas opened to a deafening silence and for several years the business itself was day-to-day. However, persistence prevailed and Veritas developed a loyal following. Veritas Wine Room has won many national, state, and local awards including Best Wine Bar in Dallas from D Magazine for the years 2009, 2012, 2014, and 2015; Top 25 Wine Bars in America from Travel + Leisure; Ultimate Best Wine Bar in Dallas from Pegasus News; Best Wine List in Dallas 2009 and 2010 from the Dallas Observer; Top 10 Wine Bars in the US 2012 from Gayot. In 2012, Brooks opened Boulevardier with his brother Bradley and their Chef Partners Nathan Tate and Randall Copeland. Boulevardier opened to great critical acclaim and fanfare. Boulevardier has won many national, state, and local awards including the following from D Magazine alone: Best Burgers 2015; 100 Best Restaurants in Dallas 2013; Best French Restaurant Readers’ Choice 2015; Best Bartender in Dallas Readers’ Choice 2015; Best French Restaurant in Dallas 2014 Editors’ Pick and Readers’ Choice; Best French Restaurant in Dallas 2013; Best Brunch in Dallas 2013; and Top 10 Best New Restaurants 2012. In addition, Texas Monthly listed Boulevardier as a Top 10 Best New Restaurant 2012 in the State of Texas and Dallas Observer listed Boulevardier as having one of the Top 10 Best Wine Lists in Dallas. Boulevardier has also been written up in the New York Times, Town & Country Magazine and many other publications too numerous to name here. In 2015, Brooks opened Rapscallion with his brother Bradley and their Chef Partner Nathan Tate. Rapscallion opened to great critical acclaim and fanfare. Rapscallion has won many national, state, and local awards including Top 10 Best New Restaurants 2015 in the State of Texas by Texas Monthly; Top 10 Best New Restaurants in Dallas by D Magazine; Top 50 Best Restaurants in Dallas 2016 by D Magazine; Top 10 Best Wine Lists in Dallas by the Dallas Observer; Best Hot Chicken in the US from Food Republic; and many, many others. Brooks has had the great pleasure and distinct honor to spend thousands of hours drinking and learning from the greatest minds and palates in the international world of wine. Brooks’s extensive wine travels have taken him to Alsace, the Loire, Champagne, Chablis, Burgundy, the Northern Rhone, the Southern Rhone, Costières de Nîmes, Provence, the Willamette and its sub-appellations, Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Santa Barbara, California’s Central Valley, and Texas Wine Country. Brooks’s food travels extend quite a bit further than his wine travels. Brooks hopes to continue his career in Food and Wine and really hopes he does not ever again have to practice law.

BROOKS ANDERSON

Owner, Boulevardier, Rapscallion, Veritas Wine Room Dallas, TX
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TINA ANDERSON

Chemist, Skin and Wine by Tina Marie Fort Worth, TX

TINA ANDERSON

Chemist, Skin and Wine by Tina Marie Fort Worth, TX
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YANNICK BENJAMIN

Co-Founder of Contento Restaurant and Beaupierre Wines & Spirits and Founder, Wine on Wheels, New York, NY

Benjamin has achieved the esteemed title of Sommelier of the Year, as acknowledged by the prestigious Michelin Guide. Yannick, a sommelier based in New York City, is the co-founder of Contento Restaurant in East Harlem and Beaupierre Wines & Spirits in Hell’s Kitchen. Beaupierre, a family business, is led by Hell’s Kitchen natives of French descent. Distinguished from other NYC-based wine shops, Beaupierre upholds family-oriented values and serves as a community hub for inclusivity, diversity, and sustainability.

Yannick is also a co-founder of Wine on Wheels, uniting wine enthusiasts and sommeliers for charitable endeavors. Despite a life-changing car accident in 2003 that left him paralyzed, Benjamin pursued his dreams, attending college and becoming a sommelier. His early professional experiences include working at renowned establishments like Le Cirque, Jean-Georges, Felidia, and Atelier at the Ritz Carlton.

Benjamin and his partners established Contento with the ethos “accessible for all.” The restaurant exemplifies quality hospitality with an inclusive approach. Yannick has been featured among Wine Enthusiast’s Top 40 under 40 and named Person of the Year by New Mobility Magazine in 2017.

Yannick has served as the resident sommelier on the radio show “On The Town with Michael Riedel” on AM 970 The Answer and appeared on major networks like ABC, NBC, and CBS. In 2015, he was featured in “Uncorked,” a documentary series on Esquire TV.

Jancis Robinson of the Financial Times referred to Benjamin as “the new star of New York’s gastronomic firmament,” and The Wine Spectator highlighted his ability to showcase a “kinder, gentler side of the profession.” Yannick’s journey and the success of Wheeling Forward, an organization he supports, have been featured in major publications. In 2021, Yannick was recognized as Sommelier/Wine Director of The Year at the Wine Enthusiast Wine Star Awards.

YANNICK BENJAMIN

Co-Founder of Contento Restaurant and Beaupierre Wines & Spirits and Founder, Wine on Wheels, New York, NY
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ALISHA BLACKWELL CALVERT

Advanced Sommelier and Beverage Director of Madrina St. Louis, MO

Alisha Blackwell-Calvert is an Advanced Sommelier and Beverage Director of Madrina Restaurant. Formerly of Cinder House at the Four Seasons Hotel STL, awards include Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s 2021 “Sommelier of the Year” Wine Star Award nominee, a 2018 “40 Under 40 Tastemaker”, and the 2023 Iconoclast Wine Honoree at the James Beard House. Blackwell-Calvert has served as a mentor in the Bâtonnage Forum program and member of Les Dames d’Escoffier International. Her hobbies include mead consulting and working with draft horses.

ALISHA BLACKWELL CALVERT

Advanced Sommelier and Beverage Director of Madrina St. Louis, MO
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TIFFANY BOBBS

General Manager, Wine Director, and Sommelier, The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen, Jackson MS

Tiffany Bobbs started in hospitality in 1999 and worked her way up from host at Char to current position as General Manager, Wine Director, and Sommelier at The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen. She is currently studying for WSET Level 3, CSS with SWE, and Oregon Wine Expert.

TIFFANY BOBBS

General Manager, Wine Director, and Sommelier, The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen, Jackson MS
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NADINE BROWN

Founder, At Your Service, LLC, Washington, D.C.

Sommelier Nadine Brown was born and raised in Jamaica and Puerto Rico. She came to the states to pursue a degree in social worker. After working with children for a number of years she later moved to D.C. She started in the industry as a hostess at a new French restaurant opening on Capitol Hill. Today Nadine sits on the Board of the Restaurant Association that represent Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

Nadine first came to wine by reading and found the history of wine fascinated and took her first wine captain course to help her be a better manager. She has worked as a Sommelier, Captain, and managing partner to name of few.

Today Nadine is a twenty three year veteran of the Washington Area restaurant industry. She spent over 14 years at Charlie Palmer Steak as their Wine Director and Sommelier. She is a two-time winner of the Rammy’s Wine Program of the year for the region. Her palette won her the title of rising star from Star Chef in the summer of 2006. Nadine is a proud board member of a new nonprofit called the Verasion Project. The Verasion Project is tasked with fostering more opportunities for BIPOC individuals, through grants, mentorship and master classes. Nadine holds certifications from both the CMS and WSET. Founder of At Your Service LLC, wine tastings, wine education and consulting. She is a mother of two, Estelle and Emerson.

NADINE BROWN

Founder, At Your Service, LLC, Washington, D.C.
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JAMES BROWNE

Independent Contractor, Houston, TX

Retired Parks & Recreation Director for the cities of North Richland Hills, Rowlett and Sugar Land, Texas. 35+ years administrative and management experience leading nationally recognized parks & recreation systems. Currently an independent contractor/sole proprietor providing business development and planning services for Brinkley Sargent Wiginton Architects, specializing in recreation centers, senior adult & multi-generational facilities, natatoriums, waterparks and aquatic facilities.

JAMES BROWNE

Independent Contractor, Houston, TX
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BRAHM CALLAHAN MS

Master Sommelier, Partner and CEO Faucet LLC, and Founding Partner Greenlyte Consulting

Brahm Callahan has 20+ years of experience in the beverage industry coupled with a career spent building and managing beverage programs for numerous award-winning restaurants. With a background in business development, he has worked on a diverse range of projects in the food & beverage world and beyond. With experience opening restaurants in multiple national markets he has developed relationships across the wholesale space in all major markets in the US. He also served on the Board of Directors for the Court of Master Sommeliers Americas as the Finance Chair and Examination Chair. In 2019 he started Faucet LLC with two other managing partners – the business was bootstrapped by the partners and he and the team were able to turn a 12.5 million dollar asset backed capital raise into roughly 20 million in cash and assets in just under 15 months allowing them to maintain control over the business. He has been on the cover of Wine Spectator Magazine, nominated for a James Beard Award, and been included in countless other publications and programs.

BRAHM CALLAHAN MS

Master Sommelier, Partner and CEO Faucet LLC, and Founding Partner Greenlyte Consulting
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DILEK CANER MW Ph.D.

Director of Tasting World, Dallas Wine Center Dallas, TX

www.dallaswinecenter.com

Dilek Caner currently is the Director of Tasting World/Dallas Wine Center, an organization that educates the wine trade and the consumer since 2005. Prior to the formation of Tasting World, Dilek taught at other organizations such as Institute of Culinary Education and American Sommelier Association. Earlier in her career, she has worked at Wine & Spirits Magazine and has been a sommelière at Restaurants Bruno Jamais and Alain Ducasse. Dilek is a Master of Wine, a title which has been earned only by 312 people in the world to date. She also holds a Ph.D. in Economics from New York University.

DILEK CANER MW Ph.D.

Director of Tasting World, Dallas Wine Center Dallas, TX
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KATIE CANFIELD, DipWSET

Partner and Owner, O’Donnell Lane Petaluma, CA

Katie earned her B.A. in Spanish and Global Studies at University of California, Santa Barbara. She’s lived and worked in Chile, Spain, France, where she earned her M.Sc. degree in Wine Business, and the UK, working wine retail and writing for leading trade publication Harpers Wine and Spirit. After returning to her home state of California in 2014, Katie has focused her career on marketing and communications for the international luxury portfolios of Wilson Daniels, Paul Hobbs Wines, and now ODL, where she leads public relations and strategic planning for the company’s global clients. Katie has worked harvests in Chile, Burgundy, and Napa Valley, and holds the WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wine and Spirits.

KATIE CANFIELD, DipWSET

Partner and Owner, O’Donnell Lane Petaluma, CA
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KIMBERLY NOELLE CHARLES, DipWSET

President & Founder, Charles Communications Associates San Francisco, CA

Kimberly Charles’ name is synonymous with wine marketing at its best level. Over her 35+ year career she has, through her creative marketing efforts helped brands such as Taittinger Champagne, Domaine Carneros, Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG, Square One Organic Vodka, Cakebread Cellars, Wente Vineyards, the region of Lodi, E. & J. Gallo among many others attain a level of recognition and draw in the marketplace. She possesses a natural gift of storytelling and helps her clients develop highly tailored messages, strategies and audiences to convey their brand essence and truly stand out. Additionally, her holistic approach to marketing from packaging to messaging coupled with strategic communications planning has helped her company Charles Communications Associates excel in its field. Charles Communications Associates celebrates 20th years in 2023 and specializes in strategic branding, and corporate social responsibility with a focus on launching, reinvigorating and repositioning of brands. Learn more at www.charlescomm.com follow on Twitter @CharlesComm and Instagram and Facebook @AlltheSwirl

KIMBERLY NOELLE CHARLES, DipWSET

President & Founder, Charles Communications Associates San Francisco, CA
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MOLLY CHOI

Senior Vice President, Marketing Broadbent Selections

After graduating Bowling Green State University with a BA in Communications and Public Relations, Molly worked in advertising – first at an agency specializing in blue chip accounts and then to the client side for the LVMH group (Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton). From there she entered the wine world as the marketing manager for Cape Classics, a South African and French wine importer, where she worked for over 20 years focused on sales, marketing and PR. Before joining Broadbent as the SVP of Marketing and Brand Management in 2022, she spent two years in the cannabis industry leading a national sales team for the packaging company, Greenlane (formerly KushCo).

MOLLY CHOI

Senior Vice President, Marketing Broadbent Selections
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JIM CLARKE

U.S. Country Manager for Wines of South Africa and Author of The Wines of South Africa New York, NY

Jim Clarke is the U.S. Country Manager for Wines of South Africa. Prior to joining WOSA in 2013 Jim was the wine director at Armani Ristorante and Megu, both in New York City.

Jim has also been writing about wine for twenty years and has contributed to a wide range of trade and consumer publications including the San Francisco Chronicle, Fortune, World of Fine Wine and Club Oenologique.

In 2020 Jim received the International Louis Roederer Wine Writer Award for Feature Writing and in August of that year Wine Business Monthly named Jim as a Wine Industry Leader of the Year for his work supporting South African wine during the Covid pandemic.

Jim is the author of The Wines of South Africa, published by Infinite Ideas as part of the Classic Wine Library in July 2020.

JIM CLARKE

U.S. Country Manager for Wines of South Africa and Author of The Wines of South Africa New York, NY
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SAMANTHA COLE-JOHNSON

Senior Editor US, JancisRobinson.com Portland, OR

Samantha Cole-Johnson is the US Senior Editor for JancisRobinson.com and the host of the publication’s popular ‘Wine News in 5’ podcast. Her work has appeared in Guildsomm, Wine & Spirits, SevenFifty Daily, Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book, and the fifth edition of The Oxford Companion to Wine. When she is not writing or speaking, she can be found teaching WSET 3 and Diploma at The Wine & Spirit Archive in Portland, Oregon.

SAMANTHA COLE-JOHNSON

Senior Editor US, JancisRobinson.com Portland, OR
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BARRY CRISCO

Dallas, TX

BARRY CRISCO

Dallas, TX
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MARK DAVIDSON

Head of Education Development, Wine Australia

Born in London, raised in Sydney Mark has over 40 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- also won the Spirited Industry Professional award 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 and has judged many other competitions in both Canada and the US. His Wines of Australia book for Classic Wine Library will be available in 2023. Mark is currently Head of Education Development for Wine Australia in North America.

MARK DAVIDSON

Head of Education Development, Wine Australia
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NICK DAVIS MS

Sommelier and Founder, Medium Plus Seattle WA

Nick Davis is a Master Sommelier, and founder of Medium Plus, an online retail business that offers elevated service to enthusiasts and collectors. A native to Seattle, Nick graduated from Ballard High School and the University of Washington before starting his hospitality career in bars and restaurants around the city. Since passing the Master Sommelier exam in 2019, Nick has continued to further his beverage education, and is active with the Court of Master Sommeliers and TEXSOM, in addition to weekly volunteer mentorship sessions for students in the trade. His hobbies include chess, songbird identification, and road trips through the vineyards.

NICK DAVIS MS

Sommelier and Founder, Medium Plus Seattle WA
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KAY DEBOLT

Travel Industry Professional, Bedford, TX

KAY DEBOLT

Travel Industry Professional, Bedford, TX
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ETINOSA EMOKPAE

Sales Representative, Skurnik Wine & Spirits, Philadelphia, PA

Etinosa Emokpae is a wine professional based in Philadelphia via The Bronx, NY. While cutting her teeth at Maialino, Lafayette and Mission Chinese in New York City, Etinosa developed a deep appreciation and love for all things wine. In search of new adventure, she moved to Philadelphia in 2016.

She served as Beverage Director at Walnut Street Café and later Wine Director at Friday Saturday Sunday. She was named one of SevenFifty’s Rising Stars in Philadelphia for 2019. Etinosa is a current WSET Diploma candidate and is a Pennsylvania sales representative for Skurnik Wine & Spirits.

ETINOSA EMOKPAE

Sales Representative, Skurnik Wine & Spirits, Philadelphia, PA
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SARAH JANE EVANS MW

Contributing Editor, Decanter Magazine, London, UK

Sarah Jane Evans MW is a writer, broadcaster, speaker & consultant, Co–Chair of the Decanter World Wine Awards, former Chair IMW, and a Series Editor of the Classic Wine Library. Research focus on wines of Spain, and Chair of the Gran Orden de Caballeros del Vino. WSET Outstanding Alumni Award.

SARAH JANE EVANS MW

Contributing Editor, Decanter Magazine, London, UK
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MARCUS FARRAR

Pricing Manager, Chevron Phillips Petroleum, Dallas, TX

MARCUS FARRAR

Pricing Manager, Chevron Phillips Petroleum, Dallas, TX
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CHRISTY FRANK, DipWSET

Owner, Copake Wine Works, New York, NY

Christy Frank is a leader of the independent retail scene, the founder of Copake Wine Works, and a writer for many industry publications. She is a mentor with multiple organizations and is (perhaps unwisely) launching a canned cocktail business called Hamlet Hound, because everyone loves a dog.

CHRISTY FRANK, DipWSET

Owner, Copake Wine Works, New York, NY
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CHRIS GAITHER MS

Co-Owner, Ungrafted and GluGlu; Direct to Consumer Sales and Education at Brown Estate in Napa Valley, San Francisco, CA

With a career in hospitality spanning 20 years, Chris’s first restaurant job was a means to an end—a way to pay his bills while attending Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. He immediately loved the challenge of serving tables—the fast pace, the attention to detail, and the demand to continue to learn about food and wine. His passion and curiosity for wine led him to apply for—and receive—a coveted wine internship at The French Laundry. Here, Chris went from having a mere interest in wine to being devoted to wine. He moved to San Francisco to work as a Sommelier at Spruce and from there went on to be the Wine Director at Restaurant Gary Danko. After stints at Sociale, Michael Mina and Octavia, Chris got the opportunity in 2018 to open a restaurant/retail shop, Ungrafted, with his wife, Master Sommelier Rebecca Fineman. In May of 2023 they also opened their wine bar, GluGlu, at Chase Center, home of the Golden State Warriors. Diversifying his reach in the wine world, Chris is excited to lead Direct to Consumer Sales and Education at Brown Estate in Napa Valley, the first and only black owned estate winery in Napa Valley.

Despite the long days working at various projects and little time with his family, he continued to set aside time for his studies. He recently passed the rigorous Master Sommelier Exam as of August, 2022. Chris and his wife, Rebecca, are the only Master Sommelier couple with their own restaurants in the world.

Chris’s accolades are numerous and include: 2012 Best New Sommeliers (Wine and Spirits Magazine); 2013 Top New Somm Competition Winner (Guild of Sommeliers); 2013 Zagat 30 Under 30. Chris has been featured on NBC Bay Area (Ungrafted), as well as CBS Bay Area (GluGlu). Chris is also an adjunct instructor at the San Francisco Wine School.

When he is not at work, Chris enjoys dancing, running, and making silly faces with his two daughters.

CHRIS GAITHER MS

Co-Owner, Ungrafted and GluGlu; Direct to Consumer Sales and Education at Brown Estate in Napa Valley, San Francisco, CA
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RACHAEL GOMEZ

Owner, Rachael the Wino Consulting, Texas Wine Ambassador, Dallas, TX

RACHAEL GOMEZ

Owner, Rachael the Wino Consulting, Texas Wine Ambassador, Dallas, TX
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MARY GORMAN-MCADAMS MW

President Mary Gorman-McAdams MW, New York, NY

Mary Gorman-McAdams is a Master of Wine, independent wine consultant, wine judge, educator, conference speaker, and wine business advisor. Elected Council Member of the Institute of Masters of Wine and served on Global Education Committee 2012-2023. Proud judge and speaker at TEXSOM.

MARY GORMAN-MCADAMS MW

President Mary Gorman-McAdams MW, New York, NY
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LISA GRANIK MW

Author, Consultant and Market Adviser, New York, NY

Lisa Granik MW is the author of both Granik’s Guide to Georgian Wine (2020, 2022, 2023, 2024, 2025 forthcoming) and The Wines of Georgia (2020), along with numerous articles about Georgia and other regions world-wide. Her career has spanned the off-premise, distribution and import channels, and most recently has worked as a consultant and market adviser to wineries looking to improve their performance in the American market. Before her career in the wine trade, she was a lawyer and a law professor, with an expertise in international law. With more letters after her name than in her name, she is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including two Fulbright Scholar awards (in 1990-91 and 2017-19).

LISA GRANIK MW

Author, Consultant and Market Adviser, New York, NY
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PETER GRANOFF MS

Owner/Partner-Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant, Oxbow Cheese & Wine, Mission Bay Wine & Cheese, San Francisco, CA

In 1991 Peter Granoff was the 15th American to earn the coveted title Master Sommelier, and is one of the 19 Americans to date that have earned the Krug Champagne Cup by passing all three parts of the exam on the first attempt. He is active today as an examiner and lecturer for the Court of Master Sommeliers Introductory, Advanced and Masters level programs. In 1991 Peter also received the James Beard Foundation Sommelier of the year Award.

In January of 1995 Peter and Robert Olson, a software engineer, launched Virtual Vineyards, an ecommerce pioneer and the first US entity to sell wine on the Internet. Virtual Vineyards was the subject of a Harvard Business School Case Study, and was cited in numerous business and e-commerce marketing journals & texts as a pioneer during that heady (headless?) era.

Prior to Virtual Vineyards Peter spent 25 years in the hospitality industry in the US, France & Switzerland. He is active as a speaker, panelist, judge, and educator in numerous wine consumer and wine industry settings, and has presented at professional wine and e-commerce conferences at Harvard, Wharton, Rhodes, and UC Berkeley, and as far away as Switzerland, France, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

Today Peter is co-proprietor of Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant in San Francisco, Oxbow Cheese & Wine Merchant in Napa, California, Mission Bay Wine & Cheese and Mission Bay Wine Bar @ Thrive City, both in San Francisco.

www.petergranoff.com

PETER GRANOFF MS

Owner/Partner-Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant, Oxbow Cheese & Wine, Mission Bay Wine & Cheese, San Francisco, CA
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JULIETTE GUST

Founder and President, Ethics Suite, Phoenix, AZ

Juliette Gust is the founder and president of Ethics Suite, a company that helps businesses identify, investigate and resolve alleged wrongdoing at their organization by providing a comprehensive solution for internal whistleblower reporting and tracking of workplace misconduct, fraud, or theft. Ethics Suite also provides expert support for internal investigations and ethics and compliance-related consulting services, and is the creator behind HotelEthics. com and RestaurantEthics.com.

Ms. Gust has personally conducted or led close to 2,000 investigations spanning 75 countries and has advised on more than 10,000 employee ethics line reports. She developed and was the Director of the Fraud & Investigations team for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide with 180,000 employees in more than 100 countries. She also served as the Project Manager and a core member of the company’s Anti-Corruption compliance program, leading the development of a best-in-class global anti-corruption risk assessment, audit plan, and third-party due diligence program.

Juliette has been a Certified Fraud Examiner since 2007, and was the 2003 recipient of the International Food & Beverage Forum’s Food & Wine Founder Michael Batterberry Award. She is also a former Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance Showcase of the Star’s “Star”, and the 2004 winner of the Wall Street Journal Award for Excellence in Accounting. She is fluent in Spanish.

JULIETTE GUST

Founder and President, Ethics Suite, Phoenix, AZ
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Davon D. E. Hatchett

Founder and CEO, Bon Vie du Vin Dallas, TX

Davon D. E. Hatchett is a multi-passionate wine professional forging a multi-disciplined career path in the industry as a published freelance writer; a wine law, trademarks, and brand development attorney; and CEO of a wine lifestyle company focused on normalizing diversity in the luxury wine space.

Davon D. E. Hatchett

Founder and CEO, Bon Vie du Vin Dallas, TX
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BRIAN HAY

Owner, Art of the Pair Galesburg, MI

Brian Hay has been working and learning in the food service industry since the late 1980’s. As a young child in Ontario, Canada, he was a faithful viewer of “The Galloping Gourmet”, one of television’s earliest cooking shows. He moved on to more formal studies earning a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Hotel and Food Administration from the University of Guelph, Ontario, and a Master of Science degree in Restaurant Management from Purdue University.

A strong believer in life-long learning, he holds a number of professional certifications, including:

Sommelier diploma from the International Sommelier Guild
Certified Sommelier Certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers
Certified Specialist in Wine and Certified Specialist in Spirits from the Society of Wine Educators
Certified Executive Chef along with a Certified Culinary Educator with the American Culinary Federation.

Brian has been the Program Director and Instructional Dean for 4 Culinary and Hospitality Programs around the country focusing on Culinary Fundamentals and Beverage Management for over 25 years. While doing this, in 2019, he started his own consulting business Art of the Pair.com, where he writes numerous articles related to Food and Beverage pairing along with Tea Reviews. He’s completing his first book on the art of food and beverage pairing.

Where does he get his energy from? He says his own inspiration comes from his family and a simple phrase from Anthony Bourdain: “Good food, good drink, good view, and good company. What else is there in life?”

BRIAN HAY

Owner, Art of the Pair Galesburg, MI
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ELAINE HEIDE

Wine Director, The Allison Inn & Spa McMinnville, Oregon

Elaine’s career in wine spans 20 years of experience in hospitality, retail, distribution, and importation. She currently manages the wine program for a luxury resort in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. She has achieved the WSET Diploma and is currently working toward acceptance to the MW study program.

ELAINE HEIDE

Wine Director, The Allison Inn & Spa McMinnville, Oregon
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BRAD HOLT

Producer and Director of Photography, HoltArts Entertainment, Dallas, TX

BRAD HOLT

Producer and Director of Photography, HoltArts Entertainment, Dallas, TX
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STEPHANIE IKEOGU

Beverage Manager, The Ranch at Las Colinas, F.B. Society, Irving, TX

Stephanie Ikeogu is the Beverage Manager for The Ranch at Las Colinas, F.B. Society’s Texas-inspired Steakhouse in Dallas, TX. She started in the hospitality industry with humble beginnings as a hostess at a local restaurant during her college years. She always aspired to be an Athletic Trainer for a professional soccer team, never having any intention to stay in the industry. Realizing that hospitality was built in her DNA, she took a management position at Pappasito’s Cantina in 2012 and started diving into the Beverage program. Her wine journey began when she accepted a position at another F.B. Society concept, Haywire. She’s is a first-generation Nigerian-American and currently studying wine through the Court of Master Sommeliers-America and the Wine and Spirits Educational Trust.

STEPHANIE IKEOGU

Beverage Manager, The Ranch at Las Colinas, F.B. Society, Irving, TX
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LEA ANNE INGENDORF

Wine Director, Reata Restaurant, Ft. Worth, TX

Lea Anne started with wine in 2009. She worked for Bravo, Brio Restaurant group and wanted to be the wine buyer. She moved on to Max’s Wine Dive in Fort Worth where she started really studying wine. She is currently the wine director for Reata Restaurant in downtown Fort Worth. She is also working on her level two certification as well as CMS and WSET certifications. This will be her first time at the Retreat but she has volunteered with TEXSOM before.

LEA ANNE INGENDORF

Wine Director, Reata Restaurant, Ft. Worth, TX
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MJ INIGUEZ

Academic Assistant, Escuela de Sommelier de Chile, Santiago, Chile

MJ grew up in Concepción, near the Itata valley in Chile. She fell in love with wine after having moved halfway around the world to beautiful Nelson, British Columbia, Canada with her husband. She attended Selkirk College’s Ski Resort Operation and Management program. Soon after MJ completed the WSET Wine level 3, WSET Spirits and Sake level 1 and Court of Master Sommeliers certificate.

After finishing her college degree, she moved to Whistler, B.C. where she had an opportunity to work in Food and Beverage and Customer Service.
She and her husband recently moved back to Chile, where she enrolled in Escuela de Sommelier de Chile, completing all three courses in order to become a professional sommelier, as well as their professional bartender course. During her final semester she placed first in the Best Young Sommelier Chile 2018 competition.

After graduating, MJ quickly began teaching a few classes at Escuela de Sommelier de Chile, and was employed there soon after as their Academic Assistant. She is currently working on her BSc in International Business at DUOC, which she plans on using together with her background in wine in order to help share with the wine world at large some of the lesser-known gems that her beautiful home country has to offer.

MJ INIGUEZ

Academic Assistant, Escuela de Sommelier de Chile, Santiago, Chile
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EUGENIO JARDIM

USA Ambassador, Wines of Portugal, Brand Ambassador for Ernest Vineyards, San Francisco, CA

Eugenio Jardim is the Wines of Portugal USA Ambassador, the Brand Ambassador for Ernest Vineyards in West Sonoma Coast, and the co-founder of WiFi-WineTime, a virtual events company.

He was the Director of Wine Studies for the San Francisco Cooking School and an Adjunct Professor at the Culinary Institute of America Greystone, Napa Valley. He currently conducts very high-profile, private, and corporate, wine seminars and tastings in the US and South America under My Private Somm, his personal venture focused on finely curated wine events.

He was the Wine Director of Jardinière, Chef Traci des Jardins’ flagship Restaurant in San Francisco, from 2001 to 2013 and he was named Sunset Magazine’s 2010 Sommelier of the Year! He also consulted on the wine programs of many award-winning restaurants in California.

Eugenio is a featured guest Sommelier and Speaker at national and international events and a judge at many National and International wine competitions.

EUGENIO JARDIM

USA Ambassador, Wines of Portugal, Brand Ambassador for Ernest Vineyards, San Francisco, CA
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JIRKA JIREH

Wine Consultant, Educator and Advocate New York, NY

Jirka Jireh makes it a point to challenge the status quo and encourage marginalized folx to take up space in whatever industry sparks passion for them, including wine & spirits. A few years ago Jireh left New York for the West Coast in order to connect with what she saw as the inception of a grassroots push to increase BIPOC & LGBTQIA+ representation amongst domestic natural winemakers and the reclaiming of Black and Brown farming practices. In 2020, Jireh organized The Price of Admission, a workshop on bias and sexual assault in the wine world which equipped a network of professionals with language and tools to combat these issues across the country. Later, Jirka would become the Co-Founder of Industry Sessions, a digital wine education program exclusively for marginalized people that spans 14 cities in the US and Canada. Behind the scenes, Jirka uses her network as a tool to advocate for BIPOC in the winemaking sphere and connects like-minded professionals with business opportunities. Her leading voice has become associated with interrogating misogyny and white supremacy within our industry with a focus on restructuring the ways in which we activate & influence change throughout beverage spaces.

Her work has been celebrated in the pages of The San Francisco Chronicle, The Los Angeles Times, Forbes, Imbibe, Cherry Bombe Magazine, Pipette, Punch, and Wine Enthusiast to name a few. In 2021 she was even invited to host an episode of “Mind of a Sommelier”, a spin-off to PBS’ “Mind of a Chef”.

When she is not mentoring, educating, or diving into regenerative farming practices she spends her free time pouring wine at events in community centered spaces that highlight foods of the Diaspora, zipping around the country to show love and support to the various radical beverage businesses founded by her BIPOC & Queer colleagues or popping to the West Coast to check on her winemaking projects.

The majority of Jirka Jireh’s 15 years in hospitality were fine-tuned in New York City’s bustling fine-dining world. She is currently based in NYC where she runs Industry Sessions and consults on a variety of groundbreaking projects geared at reclaiming wine spaces for all people.

JIRKA JIREH

Wine Consultant, Educator and Advocate New York, NY
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TOM KINSER

Client Services Manager and Utility Coordinator for Priority Power Management, HQ The Woodlands, TX

TOM KINSER

Client Services Manager and Utility Coordinator for Priority Power Management, HQ The Woodlands, TX
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TERI KREST

TERI KREST

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MARQUITA LEVY-PENNINGTON

Sales Representative, Banville Wine Merchant New York, NY

Upon retiring from Dance in 2002, Marquita began working in and studying Wine. In 2004, she received her Viticulture/Vinification Certificate from the American Sommelier Association. She homeschools in Wine in preparation for the rigorous Master of Wine program. Her hopes are to teach and write!

MARQUITA LEVY-PENNINGTON

Sales Representative, Banville Wine Merchant New York, NY
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PETER LIEM

Writer, ChampagneGuide.net

American wine writer and wine educator, co-founder of La Fête du Champagne, author of books on Champagne and Sherry. James Beard Award winner. Regional Chair for Champagne at the Decanter World Wine Awards, Champagne consultant for The World Atlas of Wine.

PETER LIEM

Writer, ChampagneGuide.net
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SUSAN LIN MW

Head of Wine Expertise, Belmont Wine Exchange, San Francisco, CA

Susan is the Head of Wine Expertise for fine wine retailer Belmont Wine Exchange in the SF Bay Area. She creates delightfully thought-provoking experiences through music and wine. Susan approaches her craft through an interdisciplinary lens, forged by her background as a high tech program manager, performing arts program developer, and as a classical pianist and dancer. Her research and work on the interaction of music and wine have been featured on Decanter, GuildSomm, Robb Report, and others. Each of Susan’s creations is rooted in academic research and inspired by a deep respect for the essence of wine and music.

SUSAN LIN MW

Head of Wine Expertise, Belmont Wine Exchange, San Francisco, CA
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SHELLEY LINDGREN

Co-Author of Italian Wine and Wine Director and Founder, A16 Restaurant, San Francisco, CA

Shelley Lindgren is the wine director and founder of San Francisco’s Italian restaurant A16 since 2004 . A16 also has locations in Oakland, SF Ferry Building and Tokyo and Yokohama in Japan. She has received the James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine Program; has received the 2023 Slow Wine Fair International Award for Best Selection of Good, Clean, and Fair Italian Wine; and has been knighted by the Italian government, receiving the prestigious “Cavaliere dell’Ordine Della Stella Italia” (Dott.ssa) distinction for her professional dedication to Italian wine. Available on preorder currently, Shelley’s third book Italian Wine – The history, regions and grapes of an iconic wine country will be available August 2023. Shelley’s work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Food & Wine, Punch, San Francisco Chronicle, and many other publications. Shelley started a wine label called Tansy Wines in 2021 with Kitty Oestlien – inspired by Italian varietals of Northern California but also Pinot Noir and an upcoming Cabernet Sauvignon all from organically grown, single vineyards. She served on the board of La Cocina, the Guild of Sommeliers, and Slide Ranch and is a member of Les Dames d’ Escoffier. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, two sons, and a border collie.

SHELLEY LINDGREN

Co-Author of Italian Wine and Wine Director and Founder, A16 Restaurant, San Francisco, CA
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JOHN LONG

Revenue Manager, Hilton, Dallas, TX

JOHN LONG

Revenue Manager, Hilton, Dallas, TX
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FRAN LUCCHESI WASLASKI

Proprietor, Medical Massage Seminars, Dallas, TX

I have been a licensed massage therapist in Texas and Florida for 25 years. I am currently running a medical massage seminar business that often takes me traveling around the United States and internationally. We teach massage therapists, Chiropractors, physical therapists and other health care practitioners how to help their patients get out of chronic pain and try to prevent surgery. Prior to this career I was a professional dancer in musicals, dance companies and Cruise Ships which also took me from Alaska to the Caribbean Islands. I performed various styles of dance including tap, ballet, jazz, ballroom and Argentine Tango. Dance is still my passion and I participate at every opportunity.

FRAN LUCCHESI WASLASKI

Proprietor, Medical Massage Seminars, Dallas, TX
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KEITH MARTON

Owner, Marton Consulting Seattle, WA

Keith I. Marton, MD, is a seasoned internist and physician executive, but his friends and family know him as a wine geek. Whenever possible he has combined his love of medicine with his love of wine. In medical school his most frequent day trips were to the Napa valley wineries, where he began his education in all aspects of wine.

Over the last 45 years he has done almost everything involving wine except make money. He has been an avid winemaker and collector for 40 years, has regularly led wine tastings and has lectured extensively on the health effects of moderate wine consumption. He has been a leader of several physician based wine and health organizations and represented the US in an international organization (OIV) that develops standards for viticulture and winemaking. He has judged wine professionally for over 20 years and successfully passed the theory exam as a candidate the Master of Wine degree.

KEITH MARTON

Owner, Marton Consulting Seattle, WA
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SHARRON MCCARTHY

Wine Consultant, Educator, Speaker, and Founder Bewitched by Wine Surfside Beach, SC

Sharron McCarthy, Director Emeritus and Past President of the U.S. Society of Wine Educators and former VP Wine Education at Banfi Vintners, is a wine industry legend.

Over the past four decades, this lively, engaging, articulate woman has traveled the world, sharing with others her boundless knowledge and enthusiasm for the joy of wine. From wine clubs and consumer groups, to law firms and Fortune 500 companies, to hospitality and grad students at some of America’s most prestigious centers of learning, to floor staff at wine stores and restaurants, and to frequent appearances on radio and TV, Sharron is in constant demand as one of the wine industry’s most popular and effective guest speakers.

At the heart of her success is a refreshingly unpretentious, progressive approach, firmly aimed at demystifying wine.

Born and raised in Long Island, NY, Sharron McCarthy’s wine business career began in 1978 when she joined Banfi Vintners. 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, where she took on the role of Executive Director for Riunite wines. Sharron later pioneered a role as VP focused exclusively on developing wine education which she left in April of 2021. Founder of Bewitched by Wine https://bewitchedbywine.com

SHARRON MCCARTHY

Wine Consultant, Educator, Speaker, and Founder Bewitched by Wine Surfside Beach, SC
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MICHAEL MCCLENDON

Co-Founder, Sages Vintage, Tyler, TX

Michael McClendon is the co-founder of Sages Vintage, a “custom crush” winery and consultancy in Nacogdoches. In addition to producing world class wines at Sage’s Vintage he has been named as a “Young Turk of Texas Wine ” by Dr. Russ Kane; featured in the Dallas Morning News; and on the cover of Wine and Spirits Magazine as part of their national collective of “Rising Black Voices” in the wine industry. At Sage’s Vintage, Michael has produced over 80 labels for nearly 30 winery and brand owners.

These wines have medaled in competitions across the US including San Diego Critics Challenge, American Wine Society, and San Francisco Chronicle. Michael graduated from The University of Texas at Tyler with a B.S. in Biology. His career has taken him all over the world, from Chile to New Zealand, but East Texas still has a special place in his heart. He has worked with several local organizations such as the Heritage Land Bank Northern advisory committee, Discovery Science Place board of directors, and the former Tyler Bolts Rugby Club. Michael loves spending time with his wife, Senetra, and their nine-year-old son, an avid baseball player.

MICHAEL MCCLENDON

Co-Founder, Sages Vintage, Tyler, TX
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MELISSA MONOSOFF MS

Education Director, Court of Master Sommeliers - Americas Dallas, TX

https://www.mastersommeliers.org//

Certified Cicerone. Education Director, Court of Master Sommeliers–Americas. James Beard Nominee, Best Sommelier (Philadelphia). Diverse industry experience including bartending, importing, distribution and education. CIA graduate.

MELISSA MONOSOFF MS

Education Director, Court of Master Sommeliers - Americas Dallas, TX
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BRIDGET MOORE

Owner, Your Wine Concierge, Dallas, TX

Bridget’s passion lies with food and wine – she is a freelance wine educator and wine concierge. She received her Level 1 Sommelier Certification from The Court of Master Sommeliers, is a Certified Specialist of Texas Wine, is on the Board of the Dallas Chapter of Women for Winesense, is TABC Certified, and works wine events such as the TEXSOM Conference, the TEXSOM Awards, and Pinot in the City. She has travelled extensively to different wine regions of the world and has a soft spot for the New York Finger Lakes region, having been married at a winery overlooking the grapevines on Seneca Lake.

BRIDGET MOORE

Owner, Your Wine Concierge, Dallas, TX
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SHERI MORANO MW

Senior Partner, Preferabli Chapel Hill, NC

Sheri became a MW in 2003. A Duke University graduate, she has worked in a variety of fields, including marketing research & wine education. She is a Senior Partner at Preferabli, the leading AI-driven, B2B2C personalization & recommendation software platform for the wine, beer & spirits industry.

SHERI MORANO MW

Senior Partner, Preferabli Chapel Hill, NC
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LAURA NEITZEL

Director of Branded Content, Lexipol Media Group

LAURA NEITZEL

Director of Branded Content, Lexipol Media Group
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KATHY NOVAK-JOHNSON

Project Leader and Philanthropist Aledo, TX

KATHY NOVAK-JOHNSON

Project Leader and Philanthropist Aledo, TX
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LINDA OLSSON

Recovering Management Consultant and Wine Enthusiast Boulder, CO

LINDA OLSSON

Recovering Management Consultant and Wine Enthusiast Boulder, CO
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CARA PATRICIA

Co-founder and Sommelier of DECANTsf San Francisco, CA

Cara Patricia is co-founder and sommelier of DECANTsf, a wine bottle shop & bar in San Francisco’s SoMa West District. Known for her relaxed style of wine education, Cara’s motto is “Drink for Yourself”, a reminder that regardless of the trends of the beverage world, what you like is most important.

CARA PATRICIA

Co-founder and Sommelier of DECANTsf San Francisco, CA
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BOB PAULINSKI MW

Managing Partner, Moxie Wine Group, Concord, CA

Bob has over forty years in the wine trade. He was a long-time wine store owner prior to becoming an MW in 2002. After selling his shop, he went into corporate roles, holding key leadership roles for major wine retailers throughout the US and Australia, such as Wal-Mart, Southeastern Grocers, Bevmo, and Coles. He is currently a Managing Partner of a wine import company focusing on exclusive brands and private label. He’s also a Consulting Editor for the Somm Journal and Tasting Panel Magazines, along with a wine YouTube channel at Bob Paulinski, Master of Wine which posts new content each week. He routinely works in wineries to stay connected by pruning vines, harvesting, etc. He’s judged in major competitions throughout the US, Europe, South America, Asia and Australia.

BOB PAULINSKI MW

Managing Partner, Moxie Wine Group, Concord, CA
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FRANCIS PERCIVAL

Food editor and columnist for The World of Fine Wine London, United Kingdom

Francis Percival writes on food and wine for The World of Fine Wine. With Bronwen Percival, he is the coauthor of Reinventing the Wheel: Milk. Microbes, and the Fight for Real Cheese. He is also a judge for the World of Fine Wine’s World’s Best Wine List Awards.

FRANCIS PERCIVAL

Food editor and columnist for The World of Fine Wine London, United Kingdom
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BILL PFEIFFER

Project Manager, Principal Engineer, Lockheed Martin and Wine Enthusiast, Dallas, TX

BILL PFEIFFER

Project Manager, Principal Engineer, Lockheed Martin and Wine Enthusiast, Dallas, TX
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LAURA RHYS MS

Prestige Development Manager at Gusbourne Estate London, United Kingdom

www.gusbourne.com

Laura’s career in wine started as a Sommelier in 2004. The early years were spent alongside the industry’s finest, including World Sommelier Champion Gérard Basset MS, MW.

In 2009 Laura won the prestigious “UK Sommelier of the Year” title and in 2010 achieved Master Sommelier status from the Court of Master Sommeliers.

Laura’s time as a Sommelier saw her visit many of the world’s vineyards and head up wine teams for restaurants, including Gerard Basset’s Hotel TerraVina and Michelin-starred, award winning La Trompette.

Inspired by the passion of the English winemakers she met and excited by the quality of the wines she tasted, Laura continued her career at the pinnacle of the rapidly evolving English wine industry.

Laura joined Gusbourne in 2015, as Global Ambassador, where her role encompasses ambassadorial and development duties both in UK and internationally.

She also works closely with winemaker Charlie Holland and the winemaking and vineyard teams.

Based in London, Laura judges for Sommelier competitions as well as national and international wine competitions. She is an active member of the Court of Master Sommeliers Europe and a regular host of tastings, wine dinners and seminars.

LAURA RHYS MS

Prestige Development Manager at Gusbourne Estate London, United Kingdom
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JUNE RODIL MS

Goodnight Hospitality

Born in the Philippines and raised in Texas, June is one of 26 women in the Americas to earn a Master Sommelier credential. She joined Goodnight Hospitality as a partner in 2019 and will open three new concepts with the Houston-based company within the year.

Most recently, June was VP of Operations for McGuire Moorman Hospitality, a hospitality group with 10 restaurants in Austin and one in Aspen. She remains a partner in June’s All Day, her namesake restaurant that was named one of Food & Wine magazine’s Restaurants of the Year in 2017. She is known as a leader in the beverage community and her accolades include: Wine Enthusiast’s
Sommelier of the Year 2018; Wine Enthusiast 40 Under 40 2016; Key Panelist at Women in Wine Leadership Symposium and numerous Food & Wine Festivals across the nation; Food & Wine magazine’s Sommelier of the Year 2014, Star Chef’s Rising Star Sommelier 2012, Wine & Spirits Best New Sommelier 2011 and TEXSOM Best Sommelier Winner 2009.

An avid sparkling wine drinker and determined to find cause for celebration in day to day life, in 2017 she launched her private label wine, June’s Brut Rosé, with Austrian winemaker Markus Huber. Outside of restaurant operations, June loves doing crossword puzzles with her husband, obsessing over her
dog, admiring art she can’t afford, going to the occasional power yoga class, and laughing really heartily with
her friends.

JUNE RODIL MS

Goodnight Hospitality
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JONATHAN ROSS MS

Founder, LEGEND Imports Nashville, TN

Jonathan Ross is a New Jersey born sommelier who spent most of his career working in the New York restaurant industry. Ross’s time in New York was capped off by a 5-year stint as the head sommelier at Eleven Madison Park which culminated in the restaurant’s rise to the #1 spot on The World’s 50 Best Restaurant List. In 2017, Ross passed the master sommelier exam, and relocated with his now wife, Jane Lopes, to Melbourne where he joined the Rockpool Dining Group as beverage director. While in Australia, he also curated the Qantas in -flight and lounge offering, and launched Micro Wines, a boutique wine label sold domestically, and exported to the US and Europe. Upon returning to the US, Ross and Lopes (who also passed the master sommelier exam) founded LEGEND Imports representing 30 different boutique Australian producers distributed across the US. The duo’s 500pg How to Drink Australian wine book released in 2023 in Australia, US, UK, Europe, and Asia, winning numerous awards in Australia and abroad. Ross also serves as the Wine Director the Global Ambassador Hotel in Phoenix, and 12/30 Club in Nashville where the two now live.

JONATHAN ROSS MS

Founder, LEGEND Imports Nashville, TN
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LARS RYSSDAL

Co-Publisher and Director of Operations, Art Culinaire, Healdsburg, CA

When Lars traded records for wine, he dove into roles as salesman, educator, twice-certified sommelier, working sommelier for Seastar Restaurant, The Herbfarm, Cascadia, and brand Manager for Corliss Wine Estates. He became such a fixture on the Northwest wine scene for 25 years, that in 2011, the Washington Wine Commission awarded Lars as the state’s first and only “Ambassador of Wine.” When Lars returned to California in 2012, he took on a General Managing role for Ackerman Family Vineyards in Coombsville, while he and Carol transitioned AC and operations from Issue 110 in New Jersey to Issue 111 in California. Lars enjoys helping facilitate the careers of aspiring sommeliers with his heartfelt involvement in the Court of Master Sommeliers and Society of Wine Educators. He continues to head the sommelier teams at Taste Washington (he has since 2003) and has returned as Chef Sommelier for the Children’s Hospital Auction of Washington Wines. For the past eight years, Lars has led the wine team at San Francisco’s Annual Meals on Wheels Star Chefs & Vintners Gala. He is the brainchild of Art Culinaire’s Looking Glass section, bringing wine education to the magazine through quarterly blind tastings, and day-to-day he facilitates AC’s behind-the-scenes functions as printing, subscription, retail and advertising liaison…and then some.

LARS RYSSDAL

Co-Publisher and Director of Operations, Art Culinaire, Healdsburg, CA
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SANDRA K SAMUEL

Independent Alcohol Sales Contractor| Brand Communicator/Ambassador Dallas, TX

Independent Alcohol Sales Contractor| Brand Communicator/Ambassador.

SANDRA K SAMUEL

Independent Alcohol Sales Contractor| Brand Communicator/Ambassador Dallas, TX
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MONICA SAMUELS

Vice President Sake and Spiritsof Sake and Spirits for Kome Collective, the Japanese division of Vine Connections New York, NY

Monica Samuels is the VP of Sake and Spirits for Kome Collective, the Japanese division of Vine Connections. She is based in New York City.

Monica’s 15+ years of experience in the sake industry include working as a restaurant beverage director, overseeing the category for one of the country’s largest wholesalers, and now directly importing sake and spirits from Japan and beyond. She has been recognized for her efforts in sales and education in Wine Spectator’s “Sake’s True Believers (2013),” Wine Enthusiast’s “40 Tastemakers Under 40 (2014),” received the title of “Sake Samurai” in 2017, and as part of the IWSC and WSET’s “Future 50 Awards (2019).” Monica’s education in sake includes studying under John Gauntner and his Sake Education Council, where she received both Certified and Advanced Sake Professional distinctions; she is also a WSET certified Educator for the L3 Award in Sake. She participates as a judge for many international competitions including TEXSOM, IWC, and the US National Sake Appraisal.

Monica was born in Los Angeles and spent summers in Tokyo at her grandparents’ house growing up. As a bilingual individual with a unique perspective on two very different cultures, she has been particularly successful in demystifying sake for the US audience. Her years in the hospitality business and ingrained passion for the restaurant industry have given her an exceptional understanding of pairing sake with food, particularly outside of the traditional Japanese setting.

MONICA SAMUELS

Vice President Sake and Spiritsof Sake and Spirits for Kome Collective, the Japanese division of Vine Connections New York, NY
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KERRY SHIELS

Winemaker, Côte Bonneville, Sunnyside, WA

Kerry is the winemaker for Côte Bonneville. Her parents planted DuBrul Vineyard in 1992 and were active in the early Washington wine industry, so it only made sense that she began making wine in middle and high school in a series of science projects. After earning her engineering degree from Northwestern University in Chicago, she worked in Torino, Italy and Chicago, Illinois in Fiat’s management development program before deciding to enter the world of wine in 2005. While she was at Northwestern, Côte Bonneville was founded to showcase the distinctive grapes that are grown in DuBrul Vineyard.

Kerry has been immersed in the family businesses of DuBrul Vineyard and Côte Bonneville since the inception, but especially after leaving engineering. Recognizing the importance of quality at every step, she earned her master’s degree in Viticulture and Enology from UC Davis, and gained experience in California, Argentina, and Australia. She worked in all aspects of winemaking at Joseph Phelps Vineyards, Folio Fine Wine Partners, Robert Mondavi Winery, Tahbilk, and Tapiz, before returning to Côte Bonneville full time. Since 2009, she has expanded the range of wines beyond the Bordeaux blends and Chardonnay to also include Riesling, Cab Franc Rosé, Syrah, and a second label, Train Station, celebrating their historic tasting room location.

KERRY SHIELS

Winemaker, Côte Bonneville, Sunnyside, WA
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JAMES SLIGH

Grape Kid, Children's Atlas of Wine Brooklyn, NY

James is a sommelier, writer, + educator based in Brooklyn. He draws the Children’s Atlas of Wine, which maps underrated wine regions, overlooked grape varieties, and the people that grow them. With Jirka Jireh, he co-founded Industry Sessions, a natural wine study for BIPOC beverage professionals.

JAMES SLIGH

Grape Kid, Children's Atlas of Wine Brooklyn, NY
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KYLE STEWART CTS

Co-owner, The Cultured Cup Dallas, TX

An endlessly curious person who grew up in a small Iowa town, Kyle has music degrees from several renowned music schools. After stints teaching college arts and humanities, managing international marketing support for a global company, Kyle and his partner Phil bought a coffee shop. They added tea to the product line and renamed the business The Cultured Cup. Kyle’s fascination with world culture and social rituals led him to tea. Kyle has given numerous World Tea Talks, a TEDxSMU tea talk, and in 2019, The Cultured Cup was named the best tea business in the U.S. at World Tea Awards. In 2023, The Cultured Cup celebrates 28 years in business.
After stints teaching college arts and humanities, managing marketing support for a global company, Kyle bought a coffee shop with his partner Phil Krampetz. They added tea to the product line and renamed the business The Cultured Cup. Kyle has given tea talks at World Tea Expo, TEDxSMU, TEXSOM, and at a White Tea Conference in China.

KYLE STEWART CTS

Co-owner, The Cultured Cup Dallas, TX
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BREE STOCK MW

Wine Industry Education & Management Consultant Willamette Valley, OR

Bree Stock is a Master of Wine, since 2016, she is Oregon’s first MW and the only female MW in the Pacific Northwest. Australian-born, her wine career began in the Canadian on-trade with Sommelier buying roles on both coasts before returning to Australia to pursue a career in wine importing, sales, and winemaking roles. Her curiosity and love for wine led her to travel extensively to pursue harvest roles in Austria, Germany, Portugal, Spain, and the US where she fell in love with Oregon’s Willamette Valley and her now partner, Chad Stock. Together they are committed to knowledge and idea sharing and to expanding the conversation around sustainable and innovative vineyard and wine production in the region. She is the co-winemaker in Limited Addition Wines, and Concinnitas Fermentations and winemaker for Artist Block wine, and Grace + Vine all based in Oregon and sourcing grapes and wine from the Pacific Northwest.

BREE STOCK MW

Wine Industry Education & Management Consultant Willamette Valley, OR
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GUY STOUT MS CWE

Corporate Director Beverage Education, Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits, Houston, TX

http://www.southernglazers.com/

Guy is one of only 274 Master Sommeliers (MS) in the world. He is also a Certified Wine Educator (CWE), Certified Spirits Specialist (CSS), Certified Bordeaux Wine Educator, and previous board member & past President of the Society of Wine Educators. Guy has also served on the Board of Directors of the Court of Master Sommeliers, and has been recognized as a Houston icon for his contribution to the wine and food industry of Texas. He is a graduate of the University of Houston Hilton School for Hotel Restaurant Management. He is the Texas Director of Wine Education for Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits Company. Guy has been the featured “wine expert” on the PBS cooking series Cucina Amore with Damian Mandola and Johnny Carrabba, the founders of Carrabba’s Restaurants. He has also appeared on a number of radio and television talk shows covering wine and food. He was a featured speaker at the Smithsonian Institute Folk Life Festival in Washington D.C. lecturing on the Texas wine industry. He is a member of the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association and owned and farmed Stout Vineyards in the Texas Hill Country AVA, producing Syrah and Tempranillo grapes for the pasted 20 years. He is an active wine judge for a variety of national competitions; including the TexSomm International Wine Awards, California State Fair, Jefferson Cup, Missouri Grape Growers, Indiana State Wine Competition, and the Houston Rodeo Wine Competition. Guy is also a member of the Houston Food and Beverage Managers Association and founder of the Houston Caesar Salad Competition for Charity. He is an active spokesman for the adult beverage industry.

GUY STOUT MS CWE

Corporate Director Beverage Education, Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits, Houston, TX
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ALICE SWANK

Dallas, TX

ALICE SWANK

Dallas, TX
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CHRIS TANGHE MS

Chief Instructor, Guild of Sommeliers

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 Guildsomm.com.

CHRIS TANGHE MS

Chief Instructor, Guild of Sommeliers
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KATHLEEN THOMAS

Wine Goddess/GM, Ada’s Food + Wine; Founder, CORE Body | Mind, LLC Las Vegas, NV

From Jersey to Vegas Kat has strived to share her passion for hospitality and humanity.
In 2020 Kat founded CORE Body | Mind, LLC, a consultancy and support network for the hospitality industry. Self-dubbed as the “Wine Goddess”, Kat is also a certified personal trainer, yoga guide, and cancer exercise specialist, striving to balance hospitality and life for herself and to inspire others. As the Wine Goddess she offers personalised tastings, mentorship for healing and intention, customised seminars for events, all while creating memorable experiences with her warm smile and helping hand.
Connect | Observe | Reflect | Empower

Hospitality Credentials
• Court of Master Sommeliers – Advanced Sommelier
• ICEX Spanish Wine Specialist & Educator
• Wine Scholar Guild – Spanish Educator
• El Camino del Albariño Ambassador
• Certified Specialist of Sherry
• Certified Specialist of Sake
• WSET Level 2 Wine & Spirits – Distinction
• Mentor at Bâtonnage Forum

Wellness Credentials
• CPT ISSA
• RYT 200hr
• CETI Certified
• IG – @winegoddesslv
• FB – Kathleen Lilly, CORE Body-Mind

KATHLEEN THOMAS

Wine Goddess/GM, Ada’s Food + Wine; Founder, CORE Body | Mind, LLC Las Vegas, NV
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MADELINE TRIFFON MS

Master Sommelier, Plum Market Michigan

https://www.plummarket.com/find-your-store/

Madeline Triffon joined Plum Market in 2011 as the in-house Master Sommelier. Plum Market is a full-service grocery retailer with stores in Southeastern Michigan and Metro Chicago. Madeline directs wine tasting events, hand selects wines for in-store and online retail sales, and serves as a corporate wine educator. Madeline is one of 182 professionals who have earned the title Master Sommelier as part of the American chapter; of these 29 are woman. There are 274 people worldwide people who have passed the exam since its inception.  Madeline was the second woman in the world to pass the M.S. exam. She is a Chairman Emeritus of the American Chapter of the Court of Master Sommeliers and has also served as Scholarship Chair. For over 30 years, Madeline has directed wine programs & events in the Metro Detroit area. She has mentored dozens of service professionals and enjoys nothing more than watching them grow and excel. Santé Magazine named Madeline Triffon Wine and Spirits Professional of the Year for 1999. Restaurant Hospitality awarded her their Vanguard Award in 2002 for industry leadership and vision. In 2008, WCR (Women Chefs and Restaurateurs) awarded her their Golden Goblet Award for “Women Who Inspire”. Cheers Magazine gave Madeline their Award for Beverage Excellence in 2011. In 2012, Champagne Krug awarded her a Lifetime Achievement Award for exceptional achievement in wine service, education and hospitality.

MADELINE TRIFFON MS

Master Sommelier, Plum Market Michigan
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TOSHIO UENO MSS, DipWSET

Director, Sake Specialist Division, Mutual Trading Company, Los Angeles, CA

Toshio Ueno MSS, DipWSET, CSW, FWS, SWS, IWS, CS
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), WSET Sake Educator diploma and WSET Diploma in Wine & Spirits. 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 Director of Sake Specialist Department in marketing Japanese foods, Sake, and Shochu to the mainstream American trade. With his passion and expertise in Sake, 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. And in February 2021, he was appointed as The Japanese Cuisine Goodwill Ambassador by Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Honors & Awards:
2022 Ambassador of Yamanashi, Yamanashi Prefectural Government
2021 Japanese Cuisine Goodwill Ambassador, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
2021 Brewing & Distilled Spirits Education Award, Brewing & Distilling Educational Services
2020 Awamori Jinbner, Okinawa Awamori Distillers Association
2019 Professionnel du Vin and Chevalier de la Societe Mondiale du Vin, Chaine des Rottiseurs
2019 to Current Board of Director, Society of Wine Educators
2017 Distinguished Service Prize, FBO Japan
2016 Sake Samurai, Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association

Certification:
日本酒学講師 Master Sake Sommelier & 酒匠 Master of Sake, Sake Service Institute (SSI)
南部杜氏協会 研究科生 Nanbu Toji Guild Pre-Toji Candidate
WSET Diploma in Wine & Spirits, Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET)
WSET Certified Sprits Educator & Sake Educator,
Certified Specialist of Wine, Society of Wine Educators
Certified Sommelier, Court of Master Sommeliers
French Wine Scholar, International Wine Guild
Spanish Wine Scholar, International Wine Guild
Certified Italian Wine Specialist, North American Sommelier Association
Citified Beer Adviser, FBO
Cicerone Beer Server, Cicerone

Judge:
International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC), Spirits Judge
San Francisco World Spirits Competition Judge, Spirits Judge
TAG Global Spirits Awards, Spirits Judge
CINVE Spain, Spirits Judge
New York World Wine & Spirits Competition, Wine & Spirits Judge
International Wine Challenge (IWC), Wine, Spirits & Sake Judge
San Francisco International Wine Competition, Wine Judge
Texsom International Wine Awards, Wine Judge
Las Vegas Global Wine Awards, Wine Judge
Le Mondiale des Vins Blancs Strasbourg, Wine Judge
Berliner Wine Trophy, Wine Judge
Catad’Or World Wine Awards, Wine & Spirits Judge
Vinalies Internationales, Wine Judge

TOSHIO UENO MSS, DipWSET

Director, Sake Specialist Division, Mutual Trading Company, Los Angeles, CA
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JENNIFER UYGUR

Owner, Lucia Dallas,TX

Jennifer Uygur is the co-owner of Lucia, a 2023 James Beard nominee for Outstanding Restaurant, with her chef/husband. Prior to opening Lucia, Jennifer was the Wine Manager at Central Market. She’s a member of the Dallas Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier and is a certified Italian Wine Professional.

JENNIFER UYGUR

Owner, Lucia Dallas,TX
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VIANNA JUNIOR MW

Founder, Vianna Wine Resources United Kingdom

First South American male to obtain the title of Master of Wine. After three decades of experience of different sectors of the Wine Industry, he founded Vianna Wine Resources, a company that consults for wine businesses across the world. Wine judge at selected wine competitions, speaker and writer.

VIANNA JUNIOR MW

Founder, Vianna Wine Resources United Kingdom
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MATT WALLS MW

Freelance Wine Writer, Consultant, and Author, Wines of the Rhône

Freelance Wine Writer, Consultant, and Author, Wines of the Rhône

MATT WALLS MW

Freelance Wine Writer, Consultant, and Author, Wines of the Rhône
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MICHAEL WANGBICKLER

President, Balzac Communications, Napa, CA

Michael Wangbickler is President of Balzac. With nearly 30 years of experience in marketing and public relations, Mike is a trusted advisor and strategic consultant to his clients. While others are frozen when faced with barriers, Mike is energized by it. He relishes analyzing problems for his clients, finding what is wrong, and providing them with innovative solutions. Mike’s strategic mind enables him to sort through the noise and find the best way forward. He embraces ambiguity and can identify paths to real progress.

Before following his heart to wine country, Mike followed his head to Silicon Valley where he spent 8 fast-paced years in technology communications, where he caught the bug for following the latest trends in marketing tech. Armed with a “live to eat” motto and an evident passion for craft food and beverages and the land, Mike entered Balzac’s life in 2004 and became the agency’s President in 2016.

As a studied disciple of Walt Disney, Mike thinks it’s fun to do the impossible. He believes leadership, imagination, and innovation require a certain level of fearlessness and he encourages his team to step off the worn pathways and break new ground. He leads a team who are driven forward by the stories that inspire people to share in a dream. It is with this philosophy that he’s guided successful marketing and communications campaigns for more than 70 global companies and trade associations from a dozen countries.

MICHAEL WANGBICKLER

President, Balzac Communications, Napa, CA
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CATHY WARD SANDLIN

Realtor, Dallas, TX

I am a third generation Dallasite and a graduate of Texas Tech University. I’ve had a 40 year career in Advertising Sales & Marketing, the majority with The Dallas Morning News. I am currently a Realtor in Dallas working with Keller Williams. I have served with the Los Angeles Advertising League and the Press Club of Dallas. In addition, I have worked with the California Association of Realtors. I volunteer with Meals on Wheels and the Alzheimer’s Association. I grew up in a family that was interested in wine and participated in several wine educational classes. I have also earned my First Level, Sommelier, volunteered for the last five years with TEXSOM, not only in the annual Wine Awards but also have helped with the conference. It is an honor to be affiliated with TEXSOM.

CATHY WARD SANDLIN

Realtor, Dallas, TX
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JESSICA WAUGH

Founder and Owner, JWaugh Education and NeuroSips™ Henderson, NV

Jessica Waugh is the founder and owner of JWaugh Education and NeuroSips™, a platform dedicated to assisting students in unlocking their learning potential. The focus is on identifying individual learning styles, harnessing unique strengths, and fostering authenticity. Established in 2020, JWaugh Education initially served as a resource for those preparing for beverage certification exams. Since 2023, Jessica has expanded the scope to provide learning style and neurodivergency coaching, aiming to support students in successfully navigating various beverage exams. Before venturing into entrepreneurship, Jessica accumulated a decade of experience as a sommelier on the Las Vegas Strip. She later held the position of Director of Education at Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits for six years. Jessica’s expertise extends to passing a multitude of certification exams, reflecting her dedication to the craft. Motivated by a desire to share practical insights on effective study techniques and personalized learning, Jessica Waugh strives to guide others on their educational journeys. Her commitment lies in helping individuals discover their strengths and achieve success in their academic pursuits. Jessica’s story is one of genuine passion, knowledge, and a sincere commitment to enhancing the learning experience for all.

JESSICA WAUGH

Founder and Owner, JWaugh Education and NeuroSips™ Henderson, NV
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DAVID WAY

Classic Wine Library Author of Piemonte and Editor of WSET Diploma in Wines Textbooks

David Way initially specialised in the wines of the Tuscan Maremma before broadening his interests to the rest of Italy and beyond. He works as Senior Researcher for WSET on the five textbooks for the Level 4 Diploma in Wines. He spent four years researching his book on Piemonte, the first to cover the entire region in the depth normally reserved for Barolo.

DAVID WAY

Classic Wine Library Author of Piemonte and Editor of WSET Diploma in Wines Textbooks
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SHELLY WILFONG

Wine Educator, Writer, Texas Wine Podcaster Dallas, TX

Shelly Wilfong is a wine educator, writer, and Texas wine podcaster. She founded the Dallas Women’s Wine Club in 2019 and the podcast This Is Texas Wine in 2020. Shelly has contributed articles to the SOMMTV magazine, Texas Wine Lover website, and the State Fair of Texas.

SHELLY WILFONG

Wine Educator, Writer, Texas Wine Podcaster Dallas, TX
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DEBBIE ZACHAREAS

Managing Partner, Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant, Mission Bay Wine & Cheese and Oxbow Wine & Cheese Merchant, Napa, CA and San Francisco, CA

Debbie Zachareas is the Proprietor and Managing Partner at the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant in San Francisco’s restored Ferry Building, Mission Bay Wine & Cheese in San Francisco, and the Oxbow Cheese & Wine Merchant in downtown Napa. She was the consulting wine director to the Warriors at the Chase Center and has recently opened her latest Wine Bar at Chase Center’s Thrive City, Mission Bay Wine Bar. She is the wine consultant to Izzy’s Steak House in the Bay Area, and the Madrona in Healdsburg. She is also a well-known wine judge, lecturer, sommelier, and guest speaker throughout the country.

Zachareas has served as a trustee for the French American International School and International High School, as well as Family House, San Francisco. She chairs and volunteers for a number of fundraisers close to her heart, including Make a Wish, Meals on Wheels and the Food Bank, just to name a few.

Zachareas’s past include developing some of the most innovative wine programs that have helped to shape the city’s wine culture. She was the founder of one of San Francisco’s most extensive wine programs at bacar restaurant, the wine buyer for the Ashbury Market, EOS Restaurant and Wine Bar, the opening sommelier at Rubicon Restaurant, and the opening wine director at Vertigo in the TransAmerica Building. She won the inaugural Wine Director of the year award for San Francisco Magazine and was the only sommelier ever to have won the award twice. Nationally recognized by Food and Wine Magazine, Market Watch, Wine Spectator and Saveur Magazines, Bloomberg, Women in Wine Leadership, The California Wine Institute and she remains a renowned international wine judge and brings a passion and expertise wine to her profession.

DEBBIE ZACHAREAS

Managing Partner, Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant, Mission Bay Wine & Cheese and Oxbow Wine & Cheese Merchant, Napa, CA and San Francisco, CA
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RACHEL DELROCCO TERRAZAS

Freelance Wine Writer, Media Consultant, and Editor Tucson, AZ

Rachel DelRocco Terrazas is a Tucson, Arizona-based writer, editor, speaker, and consultant with 20 years in the hospitality and beverage space. Her work includes writing and media content on wine, spirits, and the intersection of beverage with wellness, sobriety, art, and culture. She consults with clients on editorial programming, production, and communications. In July 2023 Rachel joined the TEXSOM team to assist with communications and social media content production.

RACHEL DELROCCO TERRAZAS

Freelance Wine Writer, Media Consultant, and Editor Tucson, AZ
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JILL ZIMORSKI MS

Professor, DePaul University in Chicago in the School of Hospitality and Sports Business Chicago, IL

Jill Zimorski, MS, DipWSET, is a Professor at DePaul University in Chicago in the School of Hospitality and Sports Business, teaching courses in wine & spirits. Jill spent the first part of her career working as a Sommelier and Wine Director and then worked on behalf of a supplier while based in Chicago where she currently resides.

She is now a full time educator and consultant; partnering with restaurateurs on beverage management, hospitality and service projects, with private clients on events & cellar management and is a frequent speaker for public & private events. Jill is also an educator with the American Wine School in Chicago, teaching WSET Wine & Spirits classes and has been a contributor to the SommTV network for both her video series “Study Hall,” and her podcast “Reading & Drinking” reviewing wine books.

JILL ZIMORSKI MS

Professor, DePaul University in Chicago in the School of Hospitality and Sports Business Chicago, IL
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MELISSA ENNIS

Warehouse Associate, TEXSOM Dallas, TX

After volunteering with TEXSOM Awards for several years, Melissa joined the TEXSOM team in March 2022, bringing with her an extensive background in home furnishings, both retail and wholesale, including management, sales, and customer service.

Volunteering sparked her interest in the wide spectrum of wine, and she and her husband love grilling and pairing wine with their favorite meals. In her own words, “There’s nothing better than enjoying a nice glass of wine in beautiful surroundings.”

MELISSA ENNIS

Warehouse Associate, TEXSOM Dallas, TX
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PAULA FITZPATRICK

Consultant, TEXSOM Dallas, TX

From her beginnings behind a fast-food counter at the age of 16, Paula knew she loved all things hospitality related. She continued her career moving from restaurants to hotels and resorts, using her creativity to imagine and execute memorable events from weddings and charity galas to the National Mayors Conference, corporate conferences, and PGA tournaments. Prior to joining TEXSOM, Paula spent two decades with the Four Seasons Resort and Club in Dallas. In addition to event planning, her interests include cycling, gardening, and performing arts. Her international travels continue to feed her enthusiasm for all things related to food and beverage.

PAULA FITZPATRICK

Consultant, TEXSOM Dallas, TX
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AMIE HENDRICKSON

Operations Manager, TEXSOM OKC, OK

Amie Hendrickson joined the TEXSOM team as Operations Manager in January 2019 after 20 years as General Manager at Edmond Wine Shop, a fine wine and beverage retailer in Oklahoma. In addition to her duties at the shop Amie coordinated education for Wine Forum of Oklahoma at Oklahoma State University, a biennial education event that raises scholarships for the hospitality program. Her studies include the disciplines offered by the Court of Master Sommeliers, Society of Wine Educators, and WSET.

AMIE HENDRICKSON

Operations Manager, TEXSOM OKC, OK
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JAMES TIDWELL MS CWE

Co-Founder, TEXSOM and Producer, TEXSOM Awards

James Tidwell is a writer, speaker, and educator. Tidwell founded and produces the TEXSOM Conference and produces the TEXSOM Awards.

He consulted on The World Atlas of Wine 8th Edition as well as the forthcoming update to the Oxford Companion to Wine, contributes to the annual Hugh Johnson Pocket Wine Book, and is an editorial committee member for the Classic Wine Library.

He is a Grand Jury judge for the Wines of Portugal Challenge 2022 and 2023, Regional Chair for the USA and Central America at the Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA) 2023, and a judge for The World of Fine Wine magazine’s World’s Best Wine List Awards.

His articles have been published in World of Fine Wine, Lonely Planet, and other outlets. For three years he published the annual digest TEXSOM Presents Sommelier.

He was selected Rising Star Sommelier 2007 by StarChefs, nominated as WSET’s Outstanding Alumni 2017, nominated for the Person of the Year in Wine Enthusiast magazine’s Wine Star Awards 2019, and was named one of Wine Business Monthly’s Wine Business Leaders 2021.

He passed the Master Sommelier Diploma examination in 2009.

Prior to entering the wine business, Tidwell graduated from Louisiana State University, majoring in International Trade and Finance, and the Culinary Institute of America, earning a degree with Honours.

JAMES TIDWELL MS CWE

Co-Founder, TEXSOM and Producer, TEXSOM Awards
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