Darius began working in hospitality at the age of 15, at The Salish Lodge Inn at Snoqualmie Falls, Washington. He spent five years working on the Red Prussian Luxury German train, serving American clientele who were traveling in Europe, gaining some knowledge of wine there as well as on backpacking trips and by harvesting grapes in Italy and Greece. He went home to Seattle and worked as the buyer and staff educator for Theoz restaurant there and for several Tom Douglas restaurants, including the Dahlia Lounge, Palace Kitchen and Etta's Seafood. Darius went on to work in Las Vegas opening Charlie Palmer's Aureole restaurant at the Mandalay Bay Resort. In 2005, Allyn became the 60th American to pass the Master Sommelier Exam and he began his wine consulting business the following year as a partner in Wineworks Consulting Services. After many successful years and projects around the globe, Darius and his wife (a chef) relocated to Los Angeles in 2011 and accepted a position as Sommelier/Beverage Director at Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills.When not busy, Darius also enjoys his first passion of playing music – mostly acoustic guitar, piano, and drums (the only one he was trained on).
Gillian views the selection and enjoyment of wine as expertise without pretense, with an emphasis on the fun and excitement of exploration and discovery. Ballance has spent more than 20 years in the hospitality and fine dining industry, running award-winning beverage programs with a keen focus on wine education. In her free time, Ballance is traveling the wine world attending conferences and wine events or guest judging for wine competitions. Ballance is a graduate of New York University where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. She received her Higher Certificate of Distinction as well as her Diploma in Wines & Spirits from the British Wine and Spirits Education Trust, and in 2012 earned the Master Sommelier diploma from the Court of Master Sommeliers. Ballance is the 18th woman in the world to earn this prestigious ranking. Ballance currently resides in Sonoma and is the Wine Director for the Lodge at Cavallo Point in Sausalito, where she oversees a 2300 selection wine list and 15000 bottle cellar for the luxury property's 2 restaurants.
Kim Beto is known by numerous industry folk for his dynamic and inspired work with Southern Wine & Spirits, but prior to working with Southern, he was the Director of Beverage for the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. Many also know him from his days as the Wine Director and GM at Postrio, and prior to that, he was at his restaurant, 231 Ellsworth.
Shayn Bjornholm, Master Sommelier
Shayn is thrilled to be working (playing?) alongside his idols in wine and food at Pebble Beach Food & Wine in 2012. After rewarding stints in the sommelier world as Wine Director of Canlis Restaurant in Seattle and the wine marketing world as Education Director of the Washington Wine Commission, his career is currently focused on wine education as the Examination Director for the Court of Master Sommeliers.
As one of under 200 Master Sommeliers in the world, Chris Blanchard has a busy itinerary running the wine program at the legendary Chateau Marmont in Hollywood, as well as serving as Managing Director with Kimberly Jones Selections, and working in wine production for projects in France and California. He was most recently the Wine Director and Sommelier for REDD Restaurant, where San Francisco Magazine named Chris as the “Critic’s Choice Best Wine Director” naming him as one of the “4 Stars” in the entire San Francisco Bay Area food scene. Forbes Magazine featured his wine list at REDD as one of the “Top Wine Lists in the World” and Food & Wine Magazine has also featured his wine pairings at REDD, profiling his career calling him a “Star Sommelier”.
Eduardo Bolanos began his wine career in Beverly Hills, CA under the tutelage of the Spago Beverly Hills Wine Director, Chris Miller. Working at Spago, Eduardo Bolanos assisted in building the wine cellar that won the Wine Spectator “Grand Award” in 2010. Eduardo currently works as a sommelier at one of the top restaurants in Los Angeles, Mozza.
Will is a specialist at Chai Wine Consulting headed by Maureen Downey. Chai's globally based team travel the world advising clients on how to most effectively develop their personal collections. Specializing in fine and rare wine, Chai Consulting has become known as the authority in wine authentication, appearing as an expert witness in many recent high profile wine fraud legal battles. Dealing with and handling the great icons of the history of the wine on an almost daily basis, Will is uniquely qualified to advise his clients on how to truly enjoy their collections.
A Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers, Beccy has sixteen years’ experience working in the wine business. She has worked in direct sales, wholesale, education, hospitality, as a cellar master, sommelier and wine director. She has worked with restaurant wine programs as diverse as wine bars to Michelin starred Wine Spectator Award Winners including Sierra Mar, Murray Circle, RN74, and Casanova in Carmel where she currently works as a sommelier. Beccy has traveled to the wine regions of Germany, Austria, France, and Australia.
Born and raised in the North Coast of Ohio, Todd has traversed the country in pursuit of higher education in business, beverage and life. Todd earned his MBA at the University of Arizona and is currently pursuing the Advanced Certification with the Court of Master Sommeliers, while simultaneously helming the acclaimed restaurant and wine program at L’Auberge de Sedona in Sedona Arizona.
Tony is one of the co-founder of BinWise, Inc which is a cloud based beverage management software company and also runs sales. Prior to this, he was most recently head sommelier at Michael Mina for about six years. He also spent time at Slanted Door as head sommelier. In 2001 Tony worked at Rubicon under Master Sommelier, Larry Stone. He also spend time in Telluride, Colorado as manager/wine buyer at 9545 and the Peaks Resort and Spa. Tony holds a BA in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Penn State University, has an advanced sommelier certification and was recognized by Wine & Spirits Magazine as “Best New Sommelier”.
Christie Dufault is a member of the wine faculty at the Culinary Institute of America in the Napa Valley. Previously, Christie worked as the wine director for Restaurant Gary Danko in San Francisco, where she was featured on the Food Network and earned the Grand Award from the Wine Spectator. As the head sommelier at Quince, Christie was awarded “Best Wine Director 2007” by San Francisco Magazine. In 2009, Christie helped open RN74 Restaurant where she remains a part-time sommelier. Christie is also a guest lecturer at the San Francisco Wine School and is a regular contributor to Sommelier Journal.
Deanna leapt into the restaurant and hospitality business at the young age of fifteen. She worked for Matt Prentice Restaurant Group in Michigan for almost seven years starting as a hostess and moved up to General Manger of a fine-dining restaurant and a catering facility. During this tenure she had the good fortune to work with the first woman Master Sommelier, Madeline Triffon. Ms. Triffon’s passion and enthusiasm for wine was instilled into Deanna and that passion continues to grow today. The next step in Deanna’s career was opening up Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar in Birmingham Michigan which featured over 100 wines by the glass. With her experience growing and noticeable talent, it wasn’t long before The Capital Grille came after her to take over their 3 million dollar wine program at the age of 24. After two successful years, Deanna decided to leave everything that she knew and loved to move to the epicenter of wine in North America, Napa Valley. In Napa Deanna learned how to make wine while working in a winery as a Hospitality Director to learn additional aspects of the wine business. Napa was beautiful but a little too quiet for her so she decided to move to bustling San Francisco and work with the famous Chef Gary Danko and a Grand Award winning wine list. Always looking for fresh challenges and exciting opportunities for experience, she is now the Director of Beverage & Private Dining for the iconic Fairmont San Francisco on top of Knob Hill. Deanna is now making an impact on two restaurants, 75,000 square feet of historic banquet space, a 6,000 square foot Penthouse Suite and overseeing all beverage decisions and staff education. It is a dream of Deanna’s to educate thousands about the history of wine, varietals, terrior and taste. She looks forward to continuing to develop the colleagues at the Fairmont San Francisco while extending the depth of wine offerings available to the guests. In addition, Deanna is currently a part-time Sommelier at Nancy Oakes restaurant, Prospect, in San Francisco.
Marita Esteva grew up in Ann Arbor Michigan where she attended the University of Michigan concentrating in film and art. While others might consider the jump to restaurants a derailment, Marita found herself studying jazz vocals at the renowned Firefly Club. Music was a natural expression for Marita and found herself discovering the art of wine. After reading and teaching Hemmingway's “Moveable Feast,” Marita was hooked on the idea of how wine and food inter-weaved itself through life and how every day presented the opportunity to take part in its table of plenty.
She moved to San Francisco in 2004, working for Roland Passot at the Left Bank in San Mateo, under the mentorship of Laurie Theis. Within two months, Marita was promoted to Wine Director and in 2006 she helped design a corporate wine list for all 5 Left Banks with Michael Ouelette.
After opening Passot Tanglewood in San Jose, Marita joined the Kimpton group taking the reins at Scala's Bistro and the Sir Francis Drake hotel as the property's Wine Director. She worked closely with Master Sommalier and Kimpton wine director Emily Wines to bring city-wide wine programs and participating in Emily's somm battles.
Through Marita's passion for wine and sharing this knowledge she mentored half of the staff through the introductory courses of the Court of Master Sommeliers. Her insight as how wine is art and a collective memory was quoted in Tasting Panel magazine, where she was featured alongside the rising new San Francisco sommeliers.
An entrepreneur and marketing junkie at heart, Marita created national programs with Treasury Wine Estates, inspired to be able to create her renowned personalized customer service and wine culture beyond her restaurants four walls. In her continuing effort to open the doors to the wine world to everyone, she has launched matchmakerwines.com.
Dan Fredman is a Wine publicist and consultant based in Malibu, California. Born and raised in San Luis Obispo, he escaped to Los Angeles to pursue a career in music. While in the Big City, an interest in wine grew into an obsession, resulting in him taking a series of retail wine positions while also playing bass behind a number of legendary blues performers (Big Joe Turner, Pee Wee Crayton, Cleanhead Vinson, et al) and producing and/or playing with a broad range of alt.country, jazz, punk, disco, metal and sensitive singer/songwriter artists. Realizing that a life in wine offered better odds of being able to consistently pay a mortgage, he subsequently worked for importers Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant and The Grateful Palate before finally succumbing to the allure of the glamorous world of wine PR. With clients all over the world, wine attention deficit disorder is not longer a concern.
In addition to his PR endeavors, Fredman is the Chief Sommelier at the World of Pinot Noir, a position he also held at the annual Hospice du Rhône event for many years. He also maintains a reasonably-sized LP collection, two vintage Volvos, and dislikes writing about himself in the third person.
Andréa Fulton-Higgins is a Certified Sommelier who rose through the ranks to become a respected wine professional.
“I have experienced a wide variety of wine related jobs. I enjoyed them all, and each venue taught me something about the world of wine and its connection to what I do best. Organizing the Seminar Wines for Coastal Luxury Management’s Food & Wine Festivals keeps me engaged with Producers and Sommeliers from around the country. My passion for Consumer Education is deep, and I am always keen to hear the latest wine story, inspire newcomers to this wonderful profession, and learn from my fellow Sommeliers!”
You can currently find Andréa at The Joel Palmer House, in Dayton, Oregon.
Built in 1857, this Willamette Valley icon has become famous for their Wild Mushroom themed menu accompanied by a wine list that features over 500 Pinot Noirs from Oregon.
After over 30 years in the hospitality industry, you can always count on Andréa to be where the passion for wine is heartfelt.
Alan Gary began his wine career in Atlanta, GA and has traveled back and forth between both coasts gaining experience at every level of the hospitality industry. After studying psychology and communications in college he went to work in restaurants where he developed his passion for the mystic connection of wine and cuisine. Alan earned his Level 2 certification through the International Sommelier Guild and moved to Los Angeles where he became wine director at Rustic Canyon Wine Bar and Seasonal Kitchen. Always looking for the next challenge and a opportunity to further develop his wine knowledge, he has worked at many events such as the Central Coast Wine Classic and Los Angeles Food and Wine. Alan has worked various positions in the wine world such as the sommelier at Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles, a regional sales representative for Langdon Shiverick European Wine Imports and is currently employed by Restaurant Eugene in Atlanta, GA. You can follow his escapades and food and wine journeys on twitter @ Slumsomm.
Amy Goldberger has been with the Fifth Floor for approximately four years and the wine director for almost a year. In that time, has expanded the wine list at the Fifth Floor and has been an integral part of the restaurant team. Goldberger has worked hard to seek out hidden gems and unique wines—purposely making a point to include small producers and esoteric varietals on the list.
“Wine doesn’t have to be serious, and there should be something for everyone,” says Goldberger. “I love working with people to find a wine that’s perfect for their palate and that also complements what they may be eating or the mood that they’re in.”
Along with classic Burgundies and Bordeaux that would make any wine connoisseur excited, Goldberger also has some lesser known varietals such as arneis, pigato and scheurebe on the Fifth Floor’s extensive wine list.
Prior to working at the Fifth Floor, Goldberger was at A Coté, a small Mediterranean influenced neighborhood bistro in Oakland. It was while at A Coté that Goldberger learned about esoteric wines under sommelier Jeff Berlin. Berlin’s list taught Amy about grape varietals from different regions throughout the world.
After spending more than five years studying under Berlin, Goldberger decided to leave A Coté and to work at the Fifth Floor and train under Master Sommelier Emily Wines. Wines was able to pick up where Berlin left off and fill in the gaps to teach Goldberger about classic wines and classic wine regions. Wines has been an important mentor to Goldberger, and has not only also helped her learn about California wines but also the many nuances of the wine industry and fine-dining service as well.
Goldberger received her BA in Anthropology from SUNY Albany in 1994. She then moved to San Francisco and worked in restaurants and bars in the Mission District for more than 10 years, after which she moved to Europe for two years. It was there that she developed a taste for Old World wines. Some of her favorite wines include German Rieslings, and, jokingly, anything that starts with a “v”—vermentino, verdicchio, viognier, vernaccia and verdejo.
Bonnie Graves is a Los Angeles-based sommelier, consultant and journalist who is building a multi-platform brand based on all things wine. A Harvard grad whose parents still aren’t too clear on what she actually does for a living, Graves began her wine career as a sommelier with Wolfgang Puck, Jean-Georges Vongrichten and NY restaurateur Danny Meyer before founding her own consulting firm, New Medici’s Girl Meets Grape in 2005. Clients include wine-producing regions like Champagne, Jerez, Slovenia and Western Australia in addition to her extensive hotel and restaurant beverage programming experience. Graves is the Food & Wine Editor for Westside, Southbay and Ventura Blvd magazines and is a featured correspondent for WineTasteTV; she also was the Wine Editor for Yahoo! for several years. Media appearances include Fine Living, KTLA’s Morning Show, USA Today, the LA Times and FOOD&WINE magazine among others. Graves is very happy to support Los Angeles Food & Wine as the Winery Liaison for the inaugural event. firstname.lastname@example.org
After an exciting career in the restaurant industry, Jimmy joined the team at Araujo Estate Wines in September of 2010. As Vice President of Sales and Marketing, he oversees Araujo’s business throughout North America.
Prior to joining Araujo, Jimmy spent almost seven years working for internationally acclaimed Chef Thomas Keller. After opening Per Se in 2004, he became the restaurant’s Head Sommelier before ultimately moving to the Napa Valley as Associate Beverage Director for the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group. In this role, Jimmy oversaw and collaborated with all the organization’s outlets nationwide - Per Se, The French Laundry, Ad Hoc, as well as all 6 locations of Bouchon and Bouchon Bakery across 3 states. Through his work with the restaurants, Jimmy played an integral part in obtaining and maintaining many great accolades and awards – 3-star Michelin ratings for Per Se and The French Laundry, and Wine Spectator’s prestigious Grand Award for the cellar at The French Laundry, to name only a few.
Prior to his tenure at TKRG, Jimmy also logged hours with two other acclaimed Chefs - Emeril Lagasse at Delmonico’s in New Orleans and Rocco DiSpirito at Union Pacific in New York. He continues to live in the Napa Valley with his wife Dina and young son, also named Jimmy.
Having been exposed to wine from a very young age by a mother who taught him the important lesson that “Champagne goes with everything,” Mike has expanded his knowledge while remembering these basics. A graduate of Harvard University, Mike is director of operations for Chef Josef Centeno’s restaurant group in downtown Los Angeles. Previous restaurant stints include Osteria Mozza, XIV by Michael Mina, Bastide, as well as retail work at The Wine Hotel and private cellar management and consulting services.
A trained visual artist, Wine Director Arthur Hon compares his work in the world of wine as a four-dimensional outlet to express his creativity. A member of Sepia’s savvy team since the restaurant’s 2007 opening, he brings a natural affinity for creating a sensory experience through food and wine.
Arthur began his personal pursuit of wine and work in restaurants while earning his undergraduate and advanced degrees from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago. He joined Sepia and continued exploring wine under the tutelage of Sepia’s then-sommelier, Scott Tyree – whom he credits for championing his learning and providing him with the training and encouragement to translate his interest into something much more.
Arthur is firm in removing the pretension and intimidation that often go along with wine lists, which creates a lively conversation that ultimately inspires the guest to try something new. A supporter of local and sustainable growers, he believes in allowing the grapes to speak for themselves as they harmonize with Executive Chef Andrew Zimmerman’s seasonal American cuisine.
Arthur has passed the Certified Level of the Court of Master Sommeliers Exam and is currently studying for the Advanced Level exam.
Elizabeth Huettinger, Wine Director, Addison, The Grand Del Mar
Certified Sommelier Elizabeth Huettinger is responsible for the maintenance of Addison’s 37,000-bottle wine collection. She supervises the highly trained and credentialed sommelier team, as well as contributes to the outstanding wine dinners, tastings and educational seminars for which Addison is known. In addition, Huettinger oversees the award-winning restaurant’s acclaimed proprietary bottling program. Most recently Huettinger, served as the assistant wine director at world-famed Spago in Beverly Hills, working closely with wine director and Master Sommelier Christopher Miller. Previous to that, she was a sommelier/manager at the former Cavaillon in San Diego. In addition, she worked as a sommelier at Carmel, California’s Aubergine at L’Auberge, where she managed the bar and cocktail program. Huettinger is studying to take the Court of Master Sommeliers’ Advanced Sommelier exam.
A Master Sommelier since 1997, Jay was tapped to be the opening Director of Wine for The Bellagio Resort in Las Vegas. Currently he leads the Fine Wine division for Southern Wine & Spirits Nevada as Vice President – Fine Wine. Often featured in national print and broadcast media as well as many wine and food events, Jay currently serves as Vice President of The Guild of Sommeliers Education Foundation and is a member of the Court of Master Sommeliers, where he is actively involved with the organization’s education and examination efforts.
Jay grew up in Atlanta, Georgia dreaming about playing guitar in a rock band (which he did) and flying jets (which he did not), and got into the wine business by accident - just like the rest of us.
Jardim took over the ‘Wine Director’ position at one of San Francisco’s top restaurants: Jardinière in 2001, a partnership between Chef Traci Des Jardins, twice a James Beard Award Winner and Restaurant Designer Pat Kuleto. In 2010 Jardim was honored with the prestigious award Sunset Magazine’s Sommelier of the Year! His passion for wine has taken him to the most important wine growing regions of the World. His travels also earned him spots in magazine and newspaper articles in England, Germany, Spain and Brazil.
He is a featured guest Sommelier at many National and International wine events. He has participated as a wine panelist for the San Francisco Chronicle and Wine and Spirits Magazine, Dallas Morning News, Bon Appetit Magazine and the Starwine Competition. He has taught an immensely popular class at the University of Berkeley Extension on the ‘Wines of California and Europe’, from 2001 until 2003. He currently also conducts very high profile private and corporate wines classes, seminars and tastings, in the US and Brazil, on all the important wine regions of the world. He has established critically acclaimed Wine Programs for many successful restaurants in the Bay Area and beyond. He can also be seen on the popular PBS weekly television series “Joanne Weir Cooking Class”, as the show’s wine expert.
Jardim brings a unique international style to his eclectic and award-winning lists, classes and seminars because his approach to wine is focused on the most innovative producers in the World.
A leading wine educator, international wine judge, wine writer, and sommelier, Robin Kelley O’Connor recently joined Italian Wine Merchants (IWM), where he lends, authority & passion to seminars, dinner events, sales, offerings and wine education. In addition O’Connor is currently involved in the wine program at Tark’s Restaurant in Lutherville, Maryland. Mr. O’Connor was previously Lead Specialist & Head of Wine, Americas for Christie’s Auction House. Prior to Christie’s, he was Director of Sales and Education for retailer Sherry-Lehmann. Robin was Trade and consumer education director in the Americas for the Bordeaux Wine Bureau for 20 years. Robin holds Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) and Certified Wine Educator (CWE) certifications from the Society of Wine Educators and passed the Court of Master Sommeliers’ Certified Sommelier exam. Robin has conducted over 2,500 seminars; written for the Trenton Times, Santé Magazine, Wine & Spirit; and served as senior editor for Kevin Zraly’s Complete Wine Course 25th Anniversary Edition. For over a year he traveled around the world with Kevin visiting over 20 Countries, 80 wine regions, 500 appellations and tasted more than 7,000 wines.
Nicole Kosta’s expertise includes all aspects of each guest’s palate from selecting and maintaining the property’s eclectic wine, developing pairing menus, working closely with Executive Chef Adam Mali on an ever evolving menu, and overseeing the staff’s knowledge of wines and dining service. Nicole’s enthusiasm for diverse tastes is evident in the array of her wine selections, more than 600 bottles of wines from 16 countries around the world, available not only at the restaurant but also in banquets as well as In-Room Dining. Nicole, originally from Adelaide, Australia, began her career working under Master Sommelier Madeline Triffon in Detroit, MI. When asked what wines she recommends, she says, “Champagne goes with everything! I am also a huge fan of wines from the Sonoma Coast”.
Seth Kunin (along with his wife, Magan and their daughter, Phoebe) is the owner of Kunin Wines, a boutique producer of Rhone and other varietals from California’s Central Coast. He started the venture in 1998, after a long stint in the restaurant business – most notably as the GM of Santa Barbara’s Wine Cask (the Central Coast’s only Wine Spectator Grand Award winner at the time, and one of fewer than 100 restaurants in the world with the award).
In addition to producing award-winning wines under the Kunin label, Seth was the consulting winemaker for Westerly Vineyards in Santa Ynez’s Happy Canyon for ten vintages, and crafted what FOOD & WINE magazine called “America’s Best” Sauvignon Blanc in 2006. He has served as an associate faculty member in Alan Hancock College’s Viticulture and Enology program and currently sits on the board of the Santa Barbara County Vintner’s Association. He is on the steering committee for the Central Coast Wine Classic and has been working and consulting with the Masters of Food & Wine, Pebble Beach Food & Wine and now Los Angeles Food & Wine for over 15 years.
Born in Santiago de Chile, Christopher Lavin is entrenched in the Southern California restaurant and wine industry. Currently a Master Sommelier Candidate in addition a member of the Society of Wine Educators. In 2007, passed the Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) exam and in 2008 passed the more rigorous Certified Wine Educator (CWE), of which there are approximately 240 world wide. The founder of C&S Wine Specialists, a wine and beverage consulting company that specializes in wine and cocktail list development, inventory management, events, education and marketing. C&S Wine Specialists, Inc. has taken Chris all over the world helping round out his international presence. Living and working in Los Angeles since 1998, Christopher’s resume speaks for itself. His experience in many of Los Angeles top restaurants - both as a Wine Director and General Manager, has given Chris a very well rounded understanding of the food, wine and beverage industry. He has offered his expertise and experience to numerous wine and training programs in greater Los Angeles. Christopher is an accomplished wine taster and cocktail enthusiast. He joined the sommelier team for Wine Future Hong Kong 2011 (www.winefuture.hk) in November 6-8, 2011 - helping coordinate the Grand Tastings with Pancho Campo (MW); Jancis Robinson (MW); and Robert Parker, Jr.
He has been awarded many accolades for his service in the field including Sommelier of the Year by the Southern California Restaurant Association.
Cortney is an Advanced Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, employed as Company Wine Director at Wild Ginger & The Triple Door in Seattle, Washington – a Wine Spectator Grand Award and James Beard Award winning restaurant. Her passion rests primarily in German and Austrian wines, but you can find her drinking almost anything fermented with enthusiasm.
Living in Los Angeles CA, Anthony Lerner is a Level 3 Sommelier through the International Sommelier Guild. In the past he was the Wine Director at Lexington Social House on Hollywood and Vine and is currently the Wine Director and Beverage Manager at Comme Ça Restaurant in West Hollywood.
Seth Liebman solidified his love for wine under the mentorship of Larry Stone at Rubicon in San Francisco. He has worked at Gramercy Tavern, Eleven Madison Park, and Craft in New York City. He is proud to have worked beside Brian Kalliel at Melisse here in Los Angeles. He currently consults for a wine group in New York.
Sur Lucero has dedicated his life to Food and Wine. While growing up in the Napa Valley, Sur spent over two decades in hospitality and earned a full certification in Culinary Arts from the Napa Valley Cooking School.
His restaurant career began in 1992 at the age of the age of 15. By the time he reached 30, his career had been built in dining rooms such as The Little Nell, The Restaurant at Meadowood, Daniel Boulud Brasserie LV, and The French Laundry. Sur spent seven years of his career at The French Laundry where he received his first opportunity to become a Sommelier in 2005. In 2012 Sur Lucero joined the Court of Master Sommeliers by being the fourteenth person to ever “Krug Cup” the Master exam. This means he passed all three parts of the examination on his first attempt.
Sur Lucero has now moved on from his restaurant career and has entered the field of education and public speaking.
David started working in restaurants in 1992, eventually going on to be part of the opening teams for Summit Restaurant at the Broadmoor Hotel, as well as Tom Colicchio's Los Angeles location of Craft. He passed his Court of Master Sommelier’s Advanced Course in 2009, and sat for the Master Sommelier exam for the first time this past April. Now he currently manages Vinum Importing, a wine and spirits importer based in Seattle, Washington.
After leaving the church as a youth minister, Don moved back home to work as a cook for Mt Bachelor ski resort his passion for food, travel and snowboarding would include stints from that Oregon home to Colorado, Washington, Alaska and California. As lead sommelier for Pacific’s Edge Restaurant in Carmel Ca, Don has the perfect venue to express his passion for food, wine and service.
Laura Maniec is one of a few women Master Sommeliers in the world to have achieved the highest accreditation given to wine professionals. Laura earned her Master Sommelier designation in 2009, after nearly eight years of intensive study.At 21, just as she became legally allowed to drink, she became a sommelier at Blue Fin in New York City. Later, as part of the wine team at B.R. Guest Restaurant Group, Laura was sent across the country to open new hotels and restaurants. At just 25, she was made a partner as well as Wine and Spirits Director for the entire restaurant group, in charge of 20 restaurants. Aside from overseeing purchasing and creating the wine lists, Laura was responsible for educating the entire front-of-the-house team on wine.
In November of 2011, Laura launched Corkbuzz Wine Studio in NYC's, Union Square neighborhood. Corkbuzz has been named Best Wine Bar in New York by eater.com wine bar and kitchen has been named and her wine classes and events are consistently listed in NY Magazine, Time Out and other publications. Laura is on the Board of Directors for the Guild of Sommeliers and The Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas.
Dana Manison has traveled to many wine regions of the world to visit, learn, and grow her passion and curiosity for everything wine. Her career began in 1999 when she was hired by Southern Wine & Spirits and it was then that she found her lifelong passion.
In 2002, she was able to transfer to California where “it all happens” and continue her career in spreading the love for all things wine, while working with all of the top restaurants and hotels in San Francisco, the Bay Area, and beyond.
She is currently involved with working with the Court of Master Sommeliers, has achieved her Certified Specialist of Wine, has completed her Advanced Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET), and has won multiple awards for Wine Manager of the Year within Southern Wine & Spirits.
When Dana gets a chance to relax away from work you will first and foremost find a glass of champagne in her hand while traveling the world, cooking for friends and family, and spending time with her trusted companion, her dog Jake…
Vilma’s passion for wine began at a very early age. She grew up in Lithuania, where no wine is made and beer is king, but her family was always fond of having a bottle of wine with dinner.
When Vilma moved to the US and began working in restaurants to learn more about food and wine, she was very lucky to be hired as an assistant for Rajat Paar, Wine Director for Michael Mina, at a restaurant in Las Vegas.
After working with Rajat she opened the Wynn Resort, created a wine list for Steve Kalt at Corsa Cusina, worked with Paul Bartolotta, and slowly developed a love for Italy, which led her to Manhattan to work for Mario Batali at the famous Babbo restaurant.
After two years at Babbo, she moved to Aspen, CO where she works at the famous Little Nell hotel. Join Vilma on her blog "Everyday Wine with Vilma"-https://www.thekitchenhotline.com/category/everyday-wine-with-vilma/ or if you are in Aspen come to Wine in Heels –women only wine club where Vilma is sharing her passion of wine and how and why certain wines pair well with certain foods.
She has a diploma from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust and is currently enrolled with the Court of Master Sommeliers to receive her Master Sommelier title.
Brian brings 15 years of hospitality experience with him to Caveau Wine Bar & Merchant, a career spanning the major restaurant hubs of Los Angeles, Aspen, San Francisco, and now Santa Barbara. McClintic was one of four subjects featured in the documentary SOMM, which chronicled his journey to the elusive Master Somellier title -- becoming the 107th individual in the U.S. to attain this honor. SOMM was recently picked up by Samuel Goldwyn Films and awaits a summer release. In addition to Caveau, Brian, and business partner, Eric Railsback, have teamed up on a Santa Barbara Syrah project called Vallin, along with local winemaker, Justin Willett and fellow Master Sommelier Dustin Wilson.
My first wine job was at the David Bruce Winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains, back when David Bruce was a small, family owned winery and I was still an idealistic, hippy surfer. The 1997 “crush” found me literally up to my chest in fermenting Pinot Noir must, which served as a baptism of sorts I suppose. I held a number of wine sales jobs in Santa Cruz and San Francisco before finding myself, in 2001, the Northern California Market Manager for Wilson Daniels, where the Salon Champagne flowed often, the Grand Crus of Domaine Leflaive sometimes, and DRC every now and again. About this time I started working as a Sommelier for the Masters of Food and Wine, the precursor of the PBF&W and now the LA Food and Wine. I think I’ve only missed a year or two since then. In 2008, after a 4 and a half month trip around the world, I moved to Los Angeles for love, where I spent the first year as the Sommelier/Wine Director for Pizzeria Mozza before finding my current position as the Italian Liaison/Southern California Italian wine buyer for K&L Wine Merchants in Hollywood.
Diverse experiences including: Wine Director at The Little Door LA; Los Angeles Times Test Kitchen recipe tester; “Hospitality & Hedonism” at Kuleto Vineyards; Years of Restaurant Management; Private and Catering Chef; and Educator for Learn about Wine & LA Wine Tasting. All of these experiences have given me a broad perspective on all things food and wine.
For 2013 I have made a life transition from traditional Sommelier work. Like many wine folk I have embraced the mantra “It takes a lot of good beer to make/share good wine!” So I have relocated to the Silicon Valley to share this deep passion for beer with the locals. My Beer/Wine Pub to open soon!
Still working with Twist: Cocktails & Wine, which is my small private event company where I can craft intimate wine, beer and cocktail parties, with a decidedly educational twist.
Haley Moore brings fifteen years of hospitality experience to the table. After completing her education in Hospitality Management at San Diego State University, Moore continued her studies at the College of Food, Tourism and Creative Studies in Birmingham, England where she received a culinary certification. Her love for the kitchen was quickly met and then surpassed by her love for wine.
At the age of 24, she was already the Wine Director at the acclaimed Bacar Restaurant overseeing 1,200 selections. In 2009, she became the Lead Sommelier at the nationally acclaimed Spruce Restaurant, overseeing a list with over 2,600 selections. It was during her tenure at Spruce that the list was recognized by the Wine Spectator with ‘Best Award of Excellence’. In 2012, she joined The Stock and Bones Company as the Wine & Spirits Director overseeing four restaurants; Town Hall, Salt House, Anchor & Hope and Irving St. Kitchen.
She has been featured in articles both locally and nationally including The Chicago Tribune, Wine Enthusiast, the Sommelier Journal, and was named one of Restaurant Hospitality Magazines ‘Top 30 under 30’ Sommeliers of America.
Her belief is that wine is simply a snapshot of culture and history. The best wines are not necessarily those that are heavily marketed, but are a collaboration of efforts put forth by some of the most humble people around the world. Her goal is to source exceptional wines that are the best representation of the place from which they come so that with each of her unique wine programs, she can offer everyone that life changing “ah ha” moment with one simple glass.
Scottish born Sian Ferguson-Nagan got her first taste for the wine world during her studies for MA Hotel & Catering Management at Dundee University in Scotland, followed by invaluable training from sommelier Johnnie Walker at One Devonshire Gardens in Glasgow and with the wine team at Gleneagles Hotel, Auchterarder.
Stateside now for 15 years, Sian has worked in Vermont, Oregon and, most recently Colorado where she ran the wine programs for The Capital Grille and then Root Down and Linger restaurant group. She has just recently settled in San Francisco as the newest addition to the wine team at Quince.
Favorite hotspots include New Zealand, Germany, Austria and Oregon, with her passport always ready for the next adventure.
Though food was Rajat Parr’s first love, wine became his great passion. Luckily, Parr works in the best of both worlds as wine director for Mina Group and its signature restaurant, MICHAEL MINA, where he presides over a list that comprises wines from all over the world, including an in-depth list from Burgundy. Parr also presides over the RN74 wine list, a Wine Spectator 2010 Grand Award of Excellence winner. “At Mina Group, I have the opportunity and challenge to find wines that can match the wide range of flavors presented within each restaurant, and even within a single dish at one restaurant,” says Parr. “In building multiple cellars, I have put an emphasis on mature wines which have the depth to fully complement the cuisine. Nothing is more pleasing than finding the perfect pairing.”
Born and raised in San Francisco, California, Gianpaolo Paterlini’s love for food and wine started at a young age. His father, Giancarlo, came to San Francisco from Bologna, Italy to open Acquerello Restaurant in 1989, where Gianpaolo started working at age 14.
After working with Shelley Lindgren at A-16, and Ming Tsai at Blue Ginger, Gianpaolo began working for Rajat Parr as a sommelier at Restaurant Michael Mina in San Francisco just one month after turning 21 years old.
Two years later, he returned to Acquerello to help with the wine program, eventually becoming Wine Director. Gianpaolo has helped expand the wine list to nearly 2000 selections, and now at only 26 years old, he is very proud to lead a team of young and talented sommeliers.
After 15 years serving as wine director and sommelier at high-profile properties such as Aubergine L'Auberge Carmel Relais & Chateaux, Cantinetta Luca and Salumeria Luca, Perez has made the shift to making wine full-time under his own label, Kristi-Lynn. Coupling his extensive experience with his impeccable palate, Perez creates fine wines using on the most seductive and complex grapes, showcasing the pure identity of the varietals from Santa Maria Valley, California; Willamette Valley, Oregon; Mendoza, Argentina; and La Rioja, Spain.
Monterey County Weekly boasts of Perez’s talents and humility by saying, “they simply do not make many wine whisperers like Thomas Perez. With Perez there’s no ego, only an oenology degree and profound understanding of the connection between how the wine is made and how it acts in the glass. ” It is this deep understanding of wine that has him named one of the three top wine experts in the nation by Men’s Health Magazine in 2010.
DLynn Proctor brings to Pebble Beach Food & Wine an aptitude for excellence as a Sommelier and Educator. DLynn has spent many years in the fine dining arena, opening and consulting in several restaurants, and having managed and educated the wine cellars of The Halstin Group, Sambuca Restaurant Group, Wells’ Hospitality Group, Thirteen 26 Ventures, and Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Restaurants. In October 2008, Wine & Spirits magazine named DLynn “Best New Sommelier in America 2008”, and he was named a RUDD Scholar in 2011. Mr. Proctor has been featured in Wine Spectator, Wine & Spirits Magazine, Everyday with Rachel Ray and Decanter. DLynns’ commitment to Italian wines has led to him being sponsored by the Italian Chamber of Commerce at the Vin Italy expo for several years. A member of the Texas Sommelier Association, Mr. Proctor is also a member of the Guild of Sommeliers, Chaine des Rotisseurs, and the American Sommelier Association.
James Rahn began his wine career in Seattle at Café Campagne. From there he moved to Chicago, and carried with him to Café Matou the notion that wines from outside France’s borders were not worth exploring. It was not until opening Girl & the Goat that Rahn began to realize that there were wines from throughout the world that possessed great integrity and merit. After a hectic year at the Goat, he moved on to Benny’s Chop House, where he ran a wine program of more than 1,500 labels from around the world. When his goals for the list at Benny’s had been accomplished, Rahn packed up and moved to Portland to be closer to the Willamette Valley and what he considers the most compelling Pinot Noir in the country. Rahn worked a four month harvest with Dick and Luisa Ponzi before taking over the cellar at the venerable Heathman Restaurant & Bar, where he is very busy restoring the prestige of that historic wine program.
Eric Railsback was recruited by the Mina Group in 2009, while his talents as a sommelier caught the eye of Rajat Parr. Though only 26 years old, he brings over a decade of restaurant experience with him as a wine professional, spanning such programs as the Wine Cask in Santa Barbara, as well as Gordon Ramsay and Mozza in L.A.
Eric’s particular affection for the wine and culture of the old World has led to multiple trips abroad, where he has honed his command of the French language, while working harvests for such illustrious producers as Domaine Dujac in Burgundy, and Weingut Emmerich Knoll in Austria. He currently heads a team of talented sommeliers at the renowned, Burdundian hot spot, RN 74, in San Francisco.
Andrea Robinson is one of only 17 women in the world to hold the title of Master Sommelier and the first woman to be awarded Best Sommelier in America. Her food and wine TV series, Daily Tastings, which she hosts and co-produces with her husband John Robinson, airs daily on www.AndreaWine.com. She is the author of 5 top-selling books on wine and food including Everyday Dining with Wine, which won the prestigious IACP cookbook award. She is also a 3-time James Beard Award winner, honors graduate of The French Culinary Institute’s Classic Culinary Arts program, and host of her own video wine course on www.andreawine.com. Her most recent book, Andrea Robinson’s 2011 Wine Buying Guide for Everyone, released in the fall of 2010. In addition, Andrea has created her own ground-breaking wine stemware series called The Oneä. After 3 years of designing, testing and tasting, Andrea has developed one perfect white wine glass and one perfect red wine glass to optimize all white and red wines.
June Rodil is the General Manager of Top Chef and James Beard Award winner, Chef Paul Qui's flagship restaurant, Qui--opening Spring 2013. June comes from a wine background and has had the honor of being the Beverage Director for the acclaimed Uchi Restaurant Group as well as Congress Austin where she worked closely with lauded Chefs Tyson Cole and David Bull, respectively.
Her accolades include: Texas Best Sommelier 2009, Wine & Spirits Magazine Best New Sommelier 2011, and Star Chef's Rising Star Sommelier 2012. She is an Advanced Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers and remains diligent in her studies as she prepares for the last level of of examination.
Lars Ryssdal, Certified Sommelier was recently awarded the distinction of being the first official Washington State Ambassador of Wine. Lars has been a sommelier at Bellevue Washington's Seastar Restaurant and Raw Bar as well as Woodinville's Herbfarm Restaurant. While at Seastar Lars co-founded the Wine Hacks Wine School and it is now in it's 10th year. Lars has been the Chef Sommelier for the Auction of Washington Wine for the past 10 years. Currently Lars is the General Manager of Napa Valley's Ackerman Family Vineyards.
Sabato began his career in the hotel business in 1997 when he joined The Greenbrier Hotel working both in and out of the kitchen. By age 23 he was named Beverage Director and Sommelier, the youngest individual to assume this responsibility in the 226-year history of the resort. In 2007 after working with Patrick O’Connell presiding over the Grand Award winning wine program at the legendary Inn at Little Washington, he joined the Little Nell Hotel. In his current role, Sabato has helped redefine the food and beverage operations at one of the premier luxury resorts in the country. He has designed and developed four restaurant concepts, the worlds 1 st ski in-ski out pop-up champagne bar on Aspen Mountain, and joined forces with Daniel Johnnes to create La Paulee Aspen, bringing legendary Burgundy winemakers and Michelin starred chefs Daniel Boulud, Michael Mina and Michel Troisgros to the resort for an unparalleled event centered around wine, food, and skiing. In May, 2012 Sabato became the 4th Bald Master Sommelier in the United States part of that journey was featured in the upcoming documentary SOMM. He now enjoys a cold beer and more than ever!
Thamin Saleh possesses a long history in the food and wine industry. He has worked and consulted for some of the most reputable events, restaurants, resorts and hotels, such as; The Sebastian Vail- CO, Solage Calistoga-CA, Bacara Resort and Spa-CA, Park Hyatt highlands Inn-CA, Bernardus lodge-CA, and Quail Lodge-CA. Holding positions ranging from Sommelier to a General Manger to Wine Director. In addition he has been a captain sommelier with Pebble Beach Food & Wine since its inception. Prior to that, he held the same position as a captain and a sommelier host at the Masters of Food and Wine in Carmel, CA. Thamin is also involved in LAF&W, Central Coast Classics, The World of Pinot Noir, San Francisco Chefs, Salinas Valley Food & Wine Festival. Jeninni is Thamin’s wine label that is dedicated to Grenache. Thamin resides in Vail, CO and Monterey, CA.
Johnny Slamon was always destined to fall into wine. Like many who share in the passion, Johnny was drawn to San Francisco to pursue vinous endeavors. He began, initially, with little in the way of practical restaurant aptitude. Johnny was fortunate enough to catch a break and found himself working for the illustrious Fifth Floor Restaurant with Master Sommelier Emily Wines.
Master Wines graciously mentored Johnny for a number of years and watched him advance through the ranks of the restaurant, eventually selecting him for the role of Lead Sommelier. Emily instructed Johnny with a nurturing mentality, encouraging him to make mistakes, take chances, and most importantly: have fun. Through Emily’s encouragement, Johnny began to participate in the greater wine community. He has lent his services to such organizations and causes: Pebble Beach Food & Wine, SF Chefs. Food. Wine. , the Millennial Wine Drinkers Competition, and the Sonoma County Wine Auction Weekend.
Johnny left the Fifth Floor in the fall of 2010. It was bittersweet, but it was time for Johnny to explore the world outside of the familiar. Johnny joined the Alexander’s Steakhouse team originally in a support role. By April of 2011, he had ascended to the position of Wine Director. Johnny has had the pleasure of continuing the strong wine tradition of Alexander’s while adding in his own sense of style to the list.
Johnny currently holds the title of Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers, and has intentions of earning his Advanced Certification in the near future. When not pursuing his interests in wine, Johnny can be found exploring beer, sake, cocktails, and consuming copious amounts of ginger beer.
Clint joined McCrady's Restaurant in Charleston, SC in 1999 and became the restaurant’s Beverage Director in 2004 and in 2010 he served as Beverage Director for Bon Appetit’s 2011 best new restaurant Husk. He was a semifinalist in the Southeast Region Young Sommelier Competition in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2009. From 2009 to 2011 he was voted “Best Sommelier” by the city of Charleston in Charleston City Paper’s “Best of Charleston” awards. He passed his Court of Master Sommelier’s Advanced Course in 2010. In 2011 he was recognized by Food & Wine magazine as one of the top sommeliers in the country. Now he currently represents Terry Theise and Michael Skurnik’s national portfolio.
After fifteen years in restaurants Tim decided wine was his passion. Since then he has become certified by the Sommelier Society of America and the Court of Master Sommeliers as well as become a Certified Wine Educator and completed the first year ofthe WSET Diploma program. He has worked for artisanal importers, crafted boutique wine lists and consulted on restaurant beverage programs. Known as the Winesurfer for his passion for both surfing and wine, most recently Tim has been working with Chef Vivant a soon to be launched website and tablet app that will revolutionize digital recipe publishing not only for the consumer but give all chefs a vehicle to monetize and promote recipes.
Joseph Spellman, MS is Winery Sommelier for JUSTIN Vineyards and Winery. Since 1979, he has worked principally as a sommelier, in Chicago’s top restaurant cellars, including Tango, Maxim’s, The Pump Room, The Park Hyatt Hotel, & Charlie Trotter’s. He has also had stints in wine retail, wholesale, and importing companies, as well as Joseph Phelps. He has been a leading wine educator, writer, and consultant, and has led wine seminars in the US, UK, Japan, and Australia.
Joseph earned the prestigious Master Sommelier Diploma in 1996. He is a frequent instructor and examiner in the Court of Master Sommeliers, and in 2005 was elected Chairman of the American Chapter of the Court. He has also passed the difficult Certified Wine Educator Examination, in 2003, and has studied for the Master of Wine Diploma with its top instructors.
Another rare achievement was winning the 1997 French Sommelier Competition in Paris sponsored by SOPEXA, and the title “Best Sommelier in the World in French Wines and Spirits.” He is only the second American to have done so. In the following year (1998) he was named the Bon Appetit Wine & Spirits Professional of the Year.
Larry Stone is the Estates Director of Quintessa in Rutherford and works with Huneeus Vintners on other projects such as Neyen in Chile and Flowers in Sonoma Coast. He is also the Dean of Wine Studies for the International Culinary Center. Prior to this appointment, Stone was President of Evening Land Vineyards and general manager of Rubicon Estate in Rutherford. He is a two-time recipient of the James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine Service. An English-certified Master Sommelier, Stone passed the examination on his first attempt. He was elected to the board of directors of the Court of Master Sommeliers in 2004 and became a trustee of the James Beard Foundation in 2005. He is the only American to earn the title of Master Sommelier from the Union de la Sommelerie Francaise. His wine-buying and management expertise brought acclaim to the wine programs at the Four Seasons Olympic, Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons Chicago hotels, Charlie Trotter's restaurant, and finally Rubicon restaurant, which was an iconic destination in San Francisco for 15 years.
Wine Director Joseph Vaccaro brings more than 20 years of Fine Dining experience to Ella Dining Room and Bar in Sacramento, CA. Prior to opening and defining the beverage program at Ella in 2007, Joseph was the Assistant Sommelier at the Michelin-starred Fifth Floor restaurant in San Francisco, where he trained directly under Master Sommelier Emily Wines. During his tenure at the Wine Spectator Grand Award of Excellence winning Fifth Floor restaurant, the restaurant was nominated for a James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine Service and was awarded its first Michelin Star.
Joseph, a Certified Sommelier by the Court of Master Sommeliers, oversees a wine program that is global in its scope, distinctive and thoughtful, with exceptional selections - from rare and highly allocated wines to value-oriented everyday bottles from around the world. The wine List has earned The Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence three years in a row.
Robert Volz opened Pour Wine Bar in Portland OR seven years ago, only knowing two things about wine; wine he liked and wine he didn't. Seven years later, Robert is a Master Sommelier candidate, having passed his Advanced exam in England last summer. Robert is also an International Sommelier Guild as well as the Wine and Spirits Education Trust diplomat. Always willing to travel to pour wine, Robert is the official Sommeleir for the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy and already this year has poured for Mohammad Ali's 70th birthday party, Pebble Beach Food and Wine, the Oregon Wine Awards and for the James Bard Foundation.
Joe Weaver is currently working at Quince restaurant in San Francisco. He has worked in high end dining for the past ten years, and recently moved to San Francisco from San Diego where he headed the front of house staff and wine program for 1500 Ocean; the flagship restaurant of the Hotel Del Coronado. He acquired his passion for food and wine while travelling through Europe and living in Spain. “Life and culture in Spain is so centered around these sensual pleasures it’s hard not to get wrapped up in them.”
Kathryn started flipping burgers at the on-campus diner at the University of Notre Dame. After grabbing her BA in English, she moved to New York and landed a job as a server at August Restaurant in the West Village. To her surprise, she loved waiting tables and learning about old-world wines. And tarte flambee. True love brought her to LA – California wine. She turned her passion for wine into knowledge, taking classes at the UCLA Vintage program. Finally she got her dream job as Wine Director at Rustic Canyon Wine Bar and Seasonal Kitchen in Santa Monica, CA.
John began his career in food service industry in 1991 in Houston, Texas. It was not until 2002, that he discovered his love of wine. Originally from New Jersey, he brings an East Coast sensibility coupled with a West Coast respect for the location and land to his wine list at twice Michelin Starred Luce Restaurant at The Hotel Intercontinental San Francisco. He had been fortunate enough to work with such renowned chefs as Michael Lomanaco, Grey Kunz, Dominque Crenn and now Daniel Corey. Some of his Sommelier influences include Beth von Benz, George Staikos, and Rajat Parr.
I was born in the city of Oakland, California and I am the eldest of two sons. My family is originally from Monroe, LA and Houston, TX.
After high school I went directly to college. Cal State University Northridge, earthquake country, and pursued a BS in Industrial Engineering. While in college I became an engineering marketing manager for a utility company. Wrong place, wrong time! Today I might be a millionaire by owning my own power plant. I worked full time until they re-organized the entire department. I moved back to Berkeley, due to the cost of living in Los Angeles, and became employed with San Francisco Boys & Girls Club. I was employed with San Francisco Boys & Girls Club for ten years and served in each successive management position. My final position, Vice President of Program Services, is when I became a Rotarian in San Francisco. Realizing President-elect of the San Francisco Bayview Rotary club was important but my career growth was even more important I relocated to Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula on Sept 1,2001. I ended my career with Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula on April 15, 2003 to begin my entrepreneur venture of a catering company. I am now co- founder and CEO of Williams & Wynn catering located in Berkeley, CA as well as a licensed travel agent.
I received a BA from San Francisco State University in Recreation and Leisure Studies with certification in non-profit management in May 2005.
I became a Court of Master, Certified Sommelier in March 2007 after attending and completing the wine course at Professional Culinary Institute under the direction of Master Sommelier David Glancy. And in December 2008, I joined Ana Mandara Restaurant in San Francisco under the direction of Joanna Breslin, Advanced Sommelier and 1 year later I became the wine director. It is a modern Vietnamese Restaurant, started 11 years ago by Don Johnson and Cheech Marin. Our Executive Chef and managing partner is Chef Khai Duong. It is a challenging job to match the cuisine with appropriate wines but I welcome the challenge. We have quality wines from all over the world and my best advice to our guests is,” drink what you like and like what you drink”.
I have had an extensive Alpha Phi Alpha career beginning with initiation into Pi Kappa Chapter, California State University Northridge on May 5 1985. I served in numerous offices as an undergraduate student including Western Region Assistant Vice President in the 74th administration, 1987-1988. As an Alumni brother I have been in two chapters; Omicron Theta Lambda, Hayward, CA and currently Gamma Phi Lambda, Berkeley, CA. I have served in numerous chapter, area, district, and regional offices. Northern California District Director, Western Regional Director of Conventions, and the Western Region Vice President.
I enjoy music, singing, cooking, and entertaining. Interaction with people and service to community are my other passions. I believe the best is yet to come.
Dustin was born and raised just outside of Baltimore, MD. His career has taken him to Boulder, CO, Aspen, and San Francisco, where he has trained and worked alongside some of the industry’s top wine professionals. In February of 2011 Dustin became the 107th person to pass the rigorous Master Sommelier exam and later that year, he made the move to New York City to become the Wine Director of the 3-Michelin Starred restaurant Eleven Madison Park. Dustin is one of the subjects in the upcoming documentary film Somm, coming to theaters this summer, he has been featured in numerous publications including Food & Wine, Wine & Spirits, Decanter, New York Times, and Details and in addition, has recently partnered on a new wine label called Vallin, that will focus on Rhone grape varieties grown in Santa Barbara, California, set to release this spring.
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