Every year the Nantucket Wine Festival plays host to some of the most acclaimed leaders in the food and wine world. We pay tribute to these Luminaries for their commitment to tradition, passion for their trade, and continuous pursuit of perfection.
Last year we honored Paul Draper from Ridge Vineyards as the 2014 Luminary of the Year. As one of the foremost winemakers in the world, Draper represents the best of what California has to offer.
The 2015 Luminary of the Year will be announced on January 15 - stay tuned!
Brian Alberg, Executive Chef and Director of Food & Beverage at The Red Lion Inn, is a staunch supporter of the local food movement in the Berkshires and Hudson Valley. He is President of Berkshire Grown, an organization dedicated to promoting the support of local farming and strengthening the relationships between local farmers and restaurants. In the past eight years at the Red Lion Inn, Alberg has established strong relationships with regional farmers and food producers and purchased more than $500K in local foods annually, a compelling contribution to the Berkshire-Hudson economy.
Tom Berry is the Chef/Partner of The Proprietors.
Tom began his professional career as Chef Ming Tsai's right hand with the opening of Blue Ginger. After five years he left Blue Ginger for his first Executive Chef position at Bambara in Cambridge. It was there that he was named “Best Up & Coming Chef” by the Improper Bostonian. In 2005 Tom spent a season on Nantucket as Executive Chef at Straight Wharf, before returning to Boston as Executive Chef at Temple Bar.
Most recently Executive Chef at The Great Harbor Yacht Club, Tom has had an impressive career with stints in both BOS and ACK.
Fred Bisaillon’s first job on Nantucket was the position of Sauté Cook at the former Regatta restaurant at the White Elephant. For three years Bisaillon spent his summers on Nantucket at the Regatta while working seasonally in Martha’s Vineyard and Colorado. Bisaillon was part of the original team during the opening of the Brant Point Grill in 1997 under chefs Michel Nischan and Pat Trama.
Since his return to the island in 2009, Chef Fred, the Brant Point Grill, and the White Elephant have enjoyed accolades from N Magazine, Yesterdays Island, the Nantucket Inquirer and Mirror, and USA Today.
Chef Fred’s newest venture is B-ACK Yard BBQ, featuring authentic barbecue with a Nantucket twist, which is set to open in mid-April in the former Cap’n Tobey’s building on Straight Wharf.
Chef Robert Boslow attended Johnson & Wales in Rhode Island, graduating with an Associates in Culinary Arts in 1988, and a BA in Foodservice Managment in 1990. He's worked at Orient Express Hotels in Vail, Colorado and in Eleuthera, Bahamas; Carefree Resorts in Arizona and California; and various Nantucket Island restaurants including The White Elephant, The West Creek Cafe, Dough Hook Artisan Breads, and Pazzo, Lola, and Lola Burger.
New England Aquarium Executive Chef Bill Bradley’s career path has taken him from lauded Nantucket restaurants The Chanticleer and 21 Federal to California Wine Country’s Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa and The Wine Spectator’s Greystone Restaurant.
After a trip to Italy’s Piedmont region, Chef Bradley, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, returned to Boston to open Restaurant Bricco in the North End. Bricco was named “Best New Restaurant” by Bon Appétit and Boston Magazine.
In addition to his other culinary pursuits, Chef Bradley placed third in the Bocuse d’Or USA Concours, vying to represent the United States in the 2013 Bocuse d’Or in Lyon, France, considered the most important culinary competition in the world today.
A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, Eric brings to Post 390 years of classic technique and training combined with a deep appreciation for local ingredients. Eric landed in Boston in 1989 as Chef de Cuisine at Aujourd’hui in the Four Seasons. This led to a 12 year career with the luxury hotel group, including appointments as Executive Chef at the Four Seasons Biltmore Resort in Santa Barbara and the Toronto flagship hotel where he ran 3 restaurants, private dining rooms, banquets and room service. Through his tenure as Executive Chef as several prestigious Boston restaurants, including; The Federalist and Harvest, Eric earned a reputation for his savory hand-crafted American cuisine, expert technique and deep-rooted relationships with farmers. At Post 390 Eric puts a contemporary twist on the traditional tavern experience, with seasonally inspired dishes that reflect his passion for fresh ingredients and unforgettable flavors.
Christopher Brooks, a native of London, England, joined the GHYC team as Executive Chef in April 2013. He completed a classical European apprenticeship in one of England's finest Country House Hotels, Chewton Glen a Relais & Chateaux property. He completed a culinary degree at Bournemouth & Poole College in the U.K.Christopher moved to the states in 1995 to become sous chef at another Relais & Chateaux property, the Hotel Blantyre, in Lenox, Massachusetts - in 2000 he became the Executive Chef. The Hotel went on to become a Mobil Five Star property in 2003.
In 2007, Mary became the executive chef of Harvest in Cambridge, Massachusetts—a restaurant in the heart of Harvard Square, near Harvard University celebrating farm-to-fork New England cuisine long before it became the trend. Mary has brought the food to a new level of creativity and innovation. Her secret ingredient in the Harvest kitchen is not only all the local produce but all the herbs she grows in her own kitchen garden. Mary is known for having a keen respect for local farmers and fishermen, plus a passion for food preservation, and creating intricate dishes with a skilled hand.
MET on MAIN Executive Chef Greg Faircloth leads the kitchen of one of Nantucket’s busiest and beloved restaurants. One of five restaurants in Boston-based MET Group owned by acclaimed restaurateur Kathy Sidell, MET on MAIN is a European café with an island flair.
Faircloth’s culinary journey began at the wine driven Le Meritage restaurant in the French quarter of New Orleans. Joining the team as Executive Sous Chef, Faircloth assisted the Executive Chef and began honing his skills as a leader in the kitchen. After his culinary experience in New Orleans, Faircloth headed to Nantucket and joined the team at the award-wining Summer House restaurant as Chef de Cuisine.
In 2006, Faircloth received his first Executive Chef position in Boulder, Colorado at Organic Orbit. Today, as Executive Chef of MET on MAIN, Faircloth is excited to be back in Nantucket and looks forward to inspiring and delivering creative cuisine that embodies the essence of clean and bold flavors.
Faircloth studied at the Culinary School of the Rockies and is certified as a Sommelier Chef of Wine Arts.
Chef Tiffani Faison began as a line cook for celebrity chef Todd English. She soon was given the opportunity to travel and cook side-by-side with Chef Todd English, and was then hand-selected by Chef Daniel Boulud to open his first West Coast venture, the Wynn Hotel.
In 2006 Tiffani was cast on the first season of Bravo’s “Top Chef” and placed as the runner-up. Her direct approach and obvious talent earned her respect and praise from industry insiders and viewers alike.
After the frenzy of “Top Chef”, Tiffani went to work for Gabriel Frasca and Amanda Lydon on Nantucket to get back to the roots of cooking. She was then tapped by former mentor Todd English to become the Executive Chef of a 400-room boutique hotel and restaurant in post-Katrina New Orleans. Following New Orleans, Tiffani was asked to work privately for two known actors, earning her praise and recognition from Hollywood’s A-List.
In 2010 Tiffani became Executive Chef at Rocca Kitchen & Bar in Boston, and then in fall 2011, she opened the much-anticipated Sweet Cheeks, a Southern-Style Barbecue restaurant in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood. The restaurant is the first restaurant that Tiffani has had full creative vision for and draws inspiration from her love of barbecue and extensive travels in the South.
Neil Ferguson is the Executive Chef of Galley Beach restaurant.
Originally from southern England, Neil spent 14 years cooking at many of the top restaurants in London. This was followed with two years in France at 3 Michelin starred restaurants in Burgundy and in Paris.
Next Ferguson was appointed Executive Chef of Gordon Ramsay at the London Hotel and moved to New York in 2006 to oversee the opening there. This was followed by his roles at Allen and Delancey where he earned a Michelin star, was awarded Best New Restaurant by Time Out New York and named Rising Star Chef 2008 by Starchefs.com.
Jeff Fournier blends his artistic and culinary creativity when developing his innovative and inspired, locally-sourced creations for his diners at 51 Lincoln in Newton. His signature dish—watermelon steak—is just one of the many examples of the carefully chosen blend of ingredients Fournier uses for his Latin inspired culinary creations.
Gabriel Frasca, a veteran of haunts such as Hamersley's Bistro, Danube, Radius and Spire, and Lydon, formerly of Truc, Upstairs on the Square, and Ten Tables, has taken over Nantucket's own Straight Wharf Restaurant. The menu at Straight Wharf focuses on seasonal, sustainable ingredients, with an emphasis on New England seafood, island-grown produce and herbs from the restaurant's own waterfront garden.
Chef Freeman brings to Oran Mor years of culinary expertise cultivated at the world's top rated resort inns. Chef Freeman has been repeatedly honored as Nantucket’s highest rated chef for food by ZAGAT Survey and has earned accolades from food critics nationwide and abroad. Trained at the Culinary Institute of America, Chris has been featured numerous times at the James Beard House in New York City and has received critical praise from Zagat, Bon Appetit, Coastal Living, Town & Country, Gourmet, National Geographic Traveler and Travel & Leisure.
Michael Getter is chef/owner of Dune. At the age of 24 he became executive chef of the acclaimed 21 Federal on Nantucket. He then moved into the chef/owner position of Nantucket's famed American Seasons Restaurant. His work has been published in Bon Appetite, Gourmet Magazine, New York Times, and the Boston Globe.
Will Gilson’s farm-to-table cooking is rooted in his work at The Herb Lyceum at Gilson’s, the restaurant on his family’s farm in Groton, MA. Gilson was 17 when he began cooking there, and the experience served as inspiration for his current restaurant, Puritan & Company–a refined yet rustic neighborhood eatery in Cambridge’s Inman Square featuring farmers’ market fare. Gilson began making a name for himself in the Boston area in 2007, when he opened the Garden at the Cellar in Cambridge. He left in 2011 to launch a series of successful restaurant ventures, including Eat at Adrian’s, Cape Cod.
Michael Aeyal Ginor is Co-founder and Chef of Hudson Valley Foie Gras. HVFG received the 1996 Award for Excellence from the James Beard Foundation. He was honored with the 1997 Angel Award from the James Beard Foundation and in 1998 received the American Master Taster Award from the American Tasting Institute.
Michael is a food and travel contributor to such publications as Food Arts Magazine, James Beard Magazine, Art Culinaire, Coffee & Cuisine, Singapore’s Cuisine Scene and Great Britain’s Great Hospitality. His cookbook, Foie Gras…A Passion, has won international acclaim.
In 2009, Michael opened Lola, hailed as one of Long Island’s best restaurants and receiving the top rating from the New York Times. In 2011, Food & Wine Magazine nominated Michael for the People’s Choice as Top Ten Chefs in New York and he received Food Art’s Silver Spoon Award.
Born and raised in Atlanta, GA, Matthew Harris received culinary training at some of the most renowned restaurants in the country, including TROIS, Boulevard, and French Laundry. He went on to open Atlanta’s critically acclaimed Market by Jean-Georges, achieving four-star reviews, and trained at Jean-Georges’ famed New York establishments, Perry Street, Spice Market, ABC Kitchen, and the eponymous Jean-Georges Restaurant. Matthew recently opened his second Jean-Georges restaurant, J&G Grill, at St. Regis Deer Valley in Park City, Utah, where he was Chef de Cuisine.
E.J. Harvey has been a chef on Nantucket for over 25 years. He is an alumnus of the Culinary Institute of America (class of '75) and has had continental and traditional training. In 1992, E.J. and his wife Robin opened the SeaGrille. Over the past 15 years, the SeaGrille has earned a reputation as one of the island's finest restaurants, consistently offering outstanding cuisine and warm hospitality.
Chef Steven Haverson’s Executive Chef background began at The Inn at Longshore in Westport, CT, where he was Corporate Executive Chef for 22 Crown Plaza Hotels. Next he moved to the Ritz Carlton Hotel on Central Park in New York City, becoming the Exec after his initial role as Executive Sous. After three years he made my way to working in seven private clubs in NY, CT, AND MA.
Haverson currently resides at the Nantucket Hotel, helping to build their future with wholesome, simple, quality food using the freshest ingredients and offering a variety of dishes that are both comforting and healthy.
Working his way up through various kitchens in Detroit, Flint, and Syracuse, Seth moved to New York city and joined the Todd English group as a sous chef. When opportunities to travel arose, Seth jumped at the chance, helping to launch and helm projects in New Orleans, Los Angeles, and South Florida. In 2010 Todd tapped Seth to lead the kitchens of The Summer House of Nantucket for the season.
After two years in Philadelphia, Seth returned to The Summer House to cook his Mediterranean informed New England coastal cuisine, emphasizing the bounty of the island and the region’s fishing industry.
Executive Chef at Bartlett’s Farm, Neil Patrick Hudson has excelled as a local farm to table chef, nurturing a chef’s need for fresh and local ingredients and applying his techniques to the organic culinary direction of Bartlett’s farm.
Chef Hudson has made his mark on the Nantucket culinary world over the past decade, earning top accolades from the Zagat Survey, Nantucket Today, In Style Magazine, N Magazine, and Cape Cod Life.
Andy Husbands is the Chef/Owner of Tremont 647. Chef Husbands has been praised both locally and nationally for his bold flavors, commitment to using the best ingredients and seasonality, receiving nods from countless publications, from the Boston Globe and Boston Magazine to Wine Spectator and Star Chefs. Chef Husbands competed in the 6th season of Fox Television Network's "Hell's Kitchen" hosted by Gordon Ramsay.
He has published three books: The Fearless Chef, Wicked Good Barbeque, and Wicked Good Burgers with co-authors Chris Hart of the IQUE BBQ team and Andrea Pyenson of the Boston Globe.
Many who dine at Chef All Kovalencik’s restaurant, The Company of the Cauldron, contend Chef All and his team have perfected the recipe for classic, elegant fare and maintaining a high standard of food, service, and quality. The restaurant has always been committed to local purveyors, ensuring the freshest ingredients, and often herbs and foods are grown or gathered by hand before being transformed to plate.
As chef-owner of The Company of the Cauldron, guided with the help of his wife, the pair have been able to create one of the not-to-be-missed experiences of refined dining on Nantucket.
Catalyst Restaurant’s Chef/Owner William Kovel’s interest in food “sparked” at an early age. A native of West Hartford, Connecticut, William Kovel cooked in a variety of cities and countries before settling back down in New England. Kovel received his degree in Culinary and Hospitality Studies at Southern New Hampshire University prior to moving out West to San Francisco where he was able to broaden his knowledge of cuisine and technique beyond the East Coast. Kovel’s culinary career has brought him overseas to London and across the United States before he decided to settle in Boston.
Michael LaScola began as a prep cook at American Seasons two days after graduating from high school. He continued his education at New York’s famed Culinary Institute of America, yet returned to Nantucket every summer to work at American Seasons. Upon graduation, he became the restaurant’s sous chef.
In 2004, Michael and his wife, Orla Murphy-LaScola, bought the restaurant. Under Michael’s direction, the American Season’s menu of seasonal food from four distinct culinary regions of the United States continues to delight guests with specialty dishes infused with versatility and whimsy.
In November of 1997 Anthony took a position at the Park Avenue Cafe in Manhattan, New York, and quickly made Sous Chef. During that time, Anthony worked with Executive Chef David Burke and Chef de Cuisine Neil Murphy.
In April of 2003, Anthony made his way to the island of Nantucket and since then has worked in the kitchens of Oran Mor, The Westmoor Club, and now as the Executive Chef at Le Languedoc Bistro.
Chef Thomas William Pearson is Executive Chef at the Brant Point Grill, located within the iconic White Elephant hotel on Nantucket, Massachusetts.
With more than 10 years of culinary experience, Pearson has also held chef positions at The Fearrington House Restaurant, a Relais & Châteux property in North Carolina, as well as the Pipe and Glass Inn and The Star Inn, both Michelin-starred restaurants in the UK.
Pearson relocated to Nantucket from the UK after falling in love with the island’s natural beauty – the vast open spaces, hidden forests, salt marshes, barrier beaches and dirt trails.
The Boarding House, The Pearl & Corazon del Mar proprietors Angela Raynor and her husband, executive-chef Seth Carter Raynor, have cultivated an impressive national following and collection of awards including New England Travel & Life Best Seafood Restaurant in New England, Conde Nast Traveler Best of the World Awards, Boston Magazine Best Restaurant General Excellence, and the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence 15 times. This Nantucket couple and their team showcase the harvest from local farms and fishermen paired with craft beers, small production wines and unique cocktails.
Chef Michael Scelfo has been drawn to the kitchen for as long as he can remember. In 2009, Scelfo took the helm at Temple Bar in Cambridge, where his savvy use of whimsical, seasonal ingredients landed him critical praise. He then served as the first executive chef of Russell House Tavern, a restaurant that was named the 2012 Best Restaurant – Harvard Square by Boston Magazine and The Improper Bostonian. At Alden & Harlow, the Harvard Square restaurant he owns, Scelfo pays homage to his roots by making each ingredient shine, and ultimately, cooking from his heart.
Barton Seaver is on a mission to restore our relationship with the ocean, the land, and with each other—through dinner. He has translated his illustrious career as a chef into his leadership of the Healthy and Sustainable Food Program at the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard School of Public Health. In this role, Barton spearheads initiatives to inform consumers and institutions about how our choices for diet and menus can promote healthier people, more secure food supplies, and thriving communities.
Through his collaborative work with industry leaders, institutions, policymakers, media, and conservationists, Barton has become one of the nation’s leading voices for sustainable food systems. His work on sustainable seafood lead to being named Chef of the Year by Esquire magazine in 2009 and has garnered accolades from the Seafood Choices Alliance, Blue Vision, and the Blue Ocean Institute.
When Chef Justin Shoults made the decision to depart Nantucket’s famous Oran Mor Bistro for Newburyport, the restaurant for which he was being hired did not exist. His instincts were to trade the sure bet of a popular coastal restaurant at which he was well-established, for the adventure of being in on the ground floor for Caswell Restaurant Group’s highly anticipated follow-up restaurant, BRINE. Happily for all concerned, he has never looked back.
As BRINE’s Executive Chef, the affable and innovative Chef Shoults challenges his kitchen team by example to best themselves daily with creatively presented fish delicacies, sophisticated chowders, sumptuous dessert finales and hearty meats crowned with beautiful local harvests and brined components. His goal: to make you hungry at first glance. His colorful Instagram posts chronicle his immaculate attention to presentation and well-considered flavor pairings: a Pork Loin and Braised Shank Duo with Celeriac, Cabbage and Apple should be a New England calling card. Or his playful twist on the traditional Italian Wedding Soup – a Seared Tuna Loin and Tuna Polpetti in a Foraged Mushroom Consommé – that marries tradition and contemporary cuisine in one bowl.
Robert Sisca is the executive chef of Bistro du Midi, in Boston’s Back Bay. Sisca was most recently a sous chef at Le Bernardin, where he helped the restaurant earn a coveted three stars from Michelin and four stars from the New York Times. A graduate of Johnson & Wales, Sisca worked his way through New England, including Gracie’s in Providence and Bosun’s in Nantucket.
At Bistro du Midi Sisca celebrates the food of Provence, also known as the Midi Region. The menu reflects authentic Provençal style cuisine, ingredient-driven and complemented by tradition and technique.
In 2011 Stanton brought his passion for local food to the ultimate level by opening The Meat Market. Central to Stanton’s culinary practices and his philosophy about food in general, is the importance of raising awareness about locally grown agricultural products. He believes we all need to embrace the contributions to flavor, healthful living and stewardship of the land that follow when we support local farms and farmers. His commitment to opening a retail butcher shop dedicated to locally raised meats speaks to his personal convictions about the importance of supporting local agriculture.
A record 32 years with the company, Brooke Vosika is the most tenured Four Seasons Chef. Currently Executive Chef at Four Seasons Hotel Boston, Vosika oversees the hotel’s food and beverage outlets including the bustling Bristol Lounge, heralded as “Boston’s living room,” as well as banquet functions and In-Room Dining. Collectively, these outlets serve well over a half a million guests annually. Vosika’s career has brought him around the world and delivered awards from the Improper Bostonian Magazine and Boston Magazine, in addition to the prestigious Bocuse d’Or and James Beard Foundation.
In 1998 Kevin Williamson opened Ranch 616, a South Texas-style icehouse reminiscent of his many years hunting and fishing in South Texas and the Gulf of Mexico. It was at these ice houses where Williamson was served his finest meals, inspiring him to create a spot similar for local Austinites. At Ranch 616, Williamson combines the flavors of the Gulf Coast with the spices of the border towns of Texas.
Ranch 616 and Chef Williamson have won numerous awards, from his sugar cure rub to his legendary fried oysters voted Southern Living Magazine’s “Best in the South” for three consecutive years.
Jeff Worster is the executive chef of The Chanticleer and Black Eyed Susan's restaurants. Having trained in classical French and Italian cuisine, he has successfully created a unique dining experience at Black Eyed Susan’s. Now, with the highly anticipated re-opening of The Chanticleer with his partner, Susan Handy, Jeff returns to French cuisine, infused with his creative interpretation of the classics.
Kyle Zachary is the executive chef of TOPPER'S.
A graduate of the Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College, Zachary honed his skills in restaurants including Alinea in Chicago, Wheatleigh in Lenox, the Winnetu Inn on Martha's Vineyard, and TOPPER’s as sous chef in 2005. Most recently Kyle was the sous chef at the Intercontinental in Dusseldorf, Germany. Zachary returned to take the reign at TOPPER’S in 2010.
Zachary’s seasonally inspired cuisine at TOPPER's has recently won critical acclaim from Forbes Travel Guide, Zagat, Travel & Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler and Saveur Magazine.
Erin Zircher is the executive chef and a partner at Cru, a premier waterfront oyster bar located on the visually stunning setting of Nantucket Harbor. Erin’s cuisine is simple and innovative, influenced by her classical French training and Mediterranean sensibilities, presenting a fresh interpretation of New England seafood classics.
Eric Asimov is the chief wine critic of The New York Times and the author of “How to Love Wine: A Memoir and Manifesto.” His weekly column appears in the Dining section of The Times, and he contributes to the Diner’s Journal blog on The Times’s web site.
Before he started writing full-time about wine in 2004, Asimov wrote primarily about restaurants and food. He is a co-author of five editions of "The New York Times Guide to Restaurants", and published four editions of “$25 and Under: A Guide to the Best Inexpensive Restaurants in New York.’’
Robert and his wife Jayne own the Dane Gallery on Nantucket. Robert has been blowing glass for over 35 years, and his work is in the permanent collections of numerous museums. Robert has been part of the Nantucket Wine Festival since its inception, and has collaborated with founder Denis Toner on the design of Robert's wine decanters.
Ethan Dupree’s passion for cheese and wine was ignited on Nantucket. Getting his start in high school as the cheese manager at Fahey and Fromagerie, Ethan moved to New York to work with Jean Luc Le Du of Daniel and Le Du’s Wines, and Terrance Brennan at Artisanal Bistro. He continued his viticultural studies at the Lycée Viticole in Beaune, France. Upon graduation he worked for Domaine des Comte Lafon and Domaine du Comte Armand. In 2011 Ethan opened the cheese and wine store Dupree and Company on Nantucket. He leads small group adventures through France and Italy with his travel company Long Table Travel, and is opening a wine bar named Meursault on Nantucket this spring.
John Greeley was born on the Isle of Jersey (home of the Jersey cow breed) and came to America when very young. He was educated at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and says that his career choice of professional radio announcer ended when he first tasted real, hand-made cheese. John changed course and obtained degrees in cheese grading from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and in cheese making from Washington State University at Pullman. For ten years, he operated the Cheese Division of John Dewar Meat Company,and in 1990 became the founder and president of an import company.
During this time, John created programs for retailers, solicited products from cheese makers, tutored and spoke to wine and gourmet food groups about New England and American specialty cheeses. Gourmet Foods International purchased John's company in 2007. John now serves Vice President of Northeast for Gourmet Foods International. John continues to champion American Specialty cheese and participates in many educational events to share his vast knowledge of this industry.
Ihsan and Valerie Gurdal own and manage the Formaggio Kitchen family of stores, located in Cambridge, Boston and New York. Taking over ownership of the shop in 1992, Ihsan Gurdal has presided over the shop’s development into one of the leading retailers of gourmet foods in the country. He has worked extensively with celebrated cheese makers and affineurs throughout the United States and Europe, including Neal’s Yard Dairy of London, Pascal Jacquin of France’s Loire Valley, and Paris’ Fromagerie Barthélémy. His travels around the world have yielded an unparalleled selection of rare and unique cheeses and fine foods.
In 2006, Ihsan was inducted into the Guilde Internationale des Fromagers by Roland Barthélémy and was given the honor of the title of Chevalier by the French Government in 2008 for his tireless dedication to the promotion of artisan foods from France. Other similarly recognized include Thomas Keller, Alice Waters and Julia Child, who was a long time customer of Formaggio Kitchen.
Born in England, Hallam showed early artistic talent when he won a scholarship to London University's Central College of Art. After a formal art education under British master painters Leslie Cole, Patrick Heron, and Hans Tinsdale, he completed his military service in the prestigious Gurkha brigade in Hong Kong and Malaya. Hallam's talent was further acknowledged when he was selected for inclusion in Britain's Royal Society of Artists in Watercolour. We are honored each year - to have Kerry Hallam create our Nantucket Wine Festival image - used for our annual poster and all festival graphics.
David is the director of special events at the prestigious wine purveyor, Acker Merrall & Condit Company as well as the senior wine buyer. David is also the director of the Wine Workshop, America's leading series of fine and rare wine tastings and dinners and hosts at least fifty wine events a year for corporate and private clients. David has developed tasting events for many great winemakers including: Christian Moueix, Jean-Guillaume Prats, Paul Pontallier, Olivier Krug, Michel Chapoutier, Jacques Lardière, Veronique Drouhin, Erwan Faiveley, Olivier Humbrecht and Jean-Louis Chave.
Robert “Bobby” Kacher began his relationship with France’s fine wine producers in 1985. His goal was to seek out small, independent, artisanal growers and producers who shared his philosophy and sought to make wines expressive of their region, full of personality and terroir driven.
Today, Bobby Kacher’s portfolio is a benchmark portfolio. Each wine is a pure expression of its appellation. For the wine lover, these wines offer a tutorial of some of the most sought-after appellations in France. The growers are true to their own personal vision and expression of their regions.
John Kapon is CEO of Acker Merrall & Condit. Through his visionary leadership and ceaseless energy, Mr. Kapon spearheaded the Company’s transformation from a single New York City storefront to the largest fine and rare wine auction house in the world.
Since joining the Company in 1994, Mr. Kapon has elevated Acker Merrall & Condit to the forefront of the auction world. Recognizing a growing thirst for fine and rare wine overseas, Mr. Kapon pioneered the market for wine auctions in Hong Kong, now the world’s leading fine wine center. Today, Acker Merrall sits atop the global wine market.
Philippe Newlin runs Duclot La Vinicole USA, a top Bordeaux wine-importing house owned by the Moueix family of Petrus fame. He is a long-time wine educator with wine-course teaching responsibilities at Columbia Business School, Yale’s School of Management, The Wharton School, and HBS. Philippe started in the wine trade as the Tasting Director of Wine & Spirits Magazine before moving into wine importing. He holds the Diploma degree of the Wine and Spirits Education Trust of London, the highest professional accreditation of this trade-oriented body. This is Philippe’s fourth year conducting tastings and seminars on island with the NWF.
Mâitre d' hotel and Fromager Louis Risoli instills the philosophy of “chasing perfection” into the front of the house by way of his diligent and meticulous orchestration of L’Espalier’s three dining rooms. In doing so, Risoli ensures a dining experience that far surpasses guests’ expectations night after night. He has also defined the role of Grand Fromager across the east coast, having been one of the first in the nation to add this distinctive culinary expertise to a restaurant setting.Risoli's arrival to L'Espalier even predates the restaurant's thirty-year plus owner, Chef Frank McClelland. He is the restaurant's most reliable historian, to include first hand stories of famous guests. As Mâitre d’ hotel for the past three decades, he has been integral in creating and maintaining the standard of excellence that has become synonymous with L’Espalier. Over the thirty years they have worked together, Risoli and Chef McClelland have developed a symbiotic relationship that is unparalleled. Risoli’s ability to anticipate the needs of the dining rooms and communicate with the kitchen is incomparable, some might even say psychic. In addition to maintaining harmony throughout the dining rooms and with the kitchen, Risoli’s intense passion for cheese has been the driving force behind the Grand Fromage, at L’Espalier since 1988, and the Cheese Tuesday program, which he and Chef McClelland initiated in 2002. He is nationally known, a perennial guest and speaker at national cheese conferences and a veritable encyclopedia about worldwide cheese varietals and culinary cheese trends.
After winning Best Young Sommelier in America (2011), Christopher Bates was named Best Young Sommelier in the world (2012). He went on to win TopSomm 2013, America’s most important sommelier competition, before passing his Master Sommelier Exam, making him the 199th person in the world to do so, and the first to ever pass as a working Executive Chef.
Christopher is the General Manager & Executive Chef of Hotel Fauchère, Relais & Chateaux, and runs Element Winery, a small winery in the Finger Lakes of New York.
John Blazon is the former wine director for Walt Disney World. During his tenure, John was responsible for the development of wine concepts and standards, including product selection, service and training for 55 restaurants, 20 lounges, 18 resorts, 3 theme parks and Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival.
Following a 13 year career at Disney, John joined the Jackson Family Enterprises to work within their premium wine division, The Spire Collection. As VP of Sales, John works with a talented team of sommeliers selling luxury wines from the esteemed portfolio to AAA accounts throughout the country.
Raised in Western Massachusetts, Brahm Callahan’s upbringing was very old-world in style. From an early age, Brahm learned just how important a part wine plays to a meal, and growing up he even stomped grapes and made wine with his father. His family bottled several special vintages the year he was born to share with him on his 18th birthday. “They weren’t necessarily the best wines, but it was very special to see how the wines had matured”.
At 17, Brahm started at The Shelburne Falls Wine Merchant, learning many aspects of the business from his mentor Paul-Thiery de la Blotier. By the age of 18, Brahm was running wine tastings, managing the cellar and working on dinners with winemakers and local restaurants. While attending the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Brahm continued to work at the Wine Merchant and worked part time as a Wine Steward in many of the top restaurants of Western Massachusetts.
After moving to Boston to attend graduate school at Boston College, Brahm embraced Boston’s wine community and began working as a sommelier while finishing his graduate work. Through his time at top Boston restaurants, including Excelsior and Rialto, Brahm has developed an interest in small producers who make terroir driven wines. “For me there is nothing better than finding a wine that speaks of its origins and reflects its own unique terroir.” Brahm expanded Excelsior’s list to over 900 selections, staying current with developing appellations and fostering relationships with up-and-coming winemakers.
In 2009, Himmel Hospitality was thrilled to have Brahm as part of the opening team of Post 390, Boston’s first Urban Tavern. There, Brahm created a beverage program that included not only an expansive list of excellent, affordably priced wines; he added a 40+ selection craft beer list and competitive cocktail program. While at Post 390, Brahm passed the grueling Advanced Sommelier exam with the Court of Master Sommeliers on his first attempt, and is currently studying for the Master Sommelier exam.
Brahm is now Wine Director at Grill 23 & Bar, as well as Wine Director for the Nantucket Wine Festival.
Rebecca Chapa, is a Certified Wine Educator, Certified Sommelier and holds the Diploma Wine and Spirits from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust in London. Chapa is Beverage Manager for Eat Drink SF (formally SF Chefs) and has taught wine classes for consumers with her own company, Wine by the Class since 2001. Chapa’s blog www.rebeccachapa.com explores wine, spirits, travel and culture. Chapa launched Tannin Management in 1999 in San Francisco. Now in its 15th year of business Tannin Management spans both coasts with headquarters in San Francisco and Nantucket Island. Clients include Golden Gate Restaurant Association, Nantucket Vineyard, Mahon About Town and Nantucket Book Festival. Chapa is also a singer songwriter.
Lauren Collins, Wine Director at L’Espalier, is a certified Advanced Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers. She began studying with the Court of Master Sommeliers in 2009 and passed the Level 2 Certified Sommelier exam in 2010. Lauren also has been a member of the Board of Directors for the Boston Sommelier Society.
Lauren’s undying passion for wine goes hand in hand with her interest in culture, languages, history and gastronomy. The wine list at L’Espalier is celebrated for offering high quality, distinctive varietals and Lauren maintains this status by continuously searching the globe for new treasures to add to list.
André Compeyre is a native from Toulouse, France. André began his career almost thirty years ago in France and joined the Santambroeus team late 2013 to prepare the new Loew's Regency opening .
Mr. Compeyre built his experience working in Michelin Star Restaurants such as; "Le Gavroche" in London, "Les Jardins de l'Opera" in Toulouse, and "Le Chateau Eza" near Monaco.
Over the last twenty years, André has gained national recognition, as a Sommelier creating the wine program at Restaurant Thomas Henkelmann, The Homestead Inn in Greenwich, Connecticut, then as Chef Sommelier for Alain Ducasse at the Essex House from the opening in June 2000 thru 2006. He ran the wine program for the Brasserie Les Halles for four years before he come back to the "Fine dining scene" with David Bouley in Tribeca and Adour at the St Regis New York. Andre spent the last few years in a more cajole setting, having fun at the Bistrot Benoit, completing over nine years of loyal service with Alain Ducasse Entreprise.
His insatiable curiosity for wines from around the world, along with his remarkable palate and sense of smell allows Mr. Compeyre to devise his wine lists in perfect harmony with the savory and sweet dishes on the menu created by executive Chef Dan Silverman and Pastry Chef Jeff Sytsma.
Recently named “Boston’s Best Sommelier” by Improper Bostonian, Nick is the Wine Director of the Forbes 5-star Boston Harbor Hotel and its notable fine dining establishment Meritage. He holds an Advanced Certification through the Court of Mast Sommeliers and through his passion for wine education contributes as a board member of the Boston Sommelier Society.
At Meritage, Nick is known for his inventive multi-course pairings. He is a contributor to various media including Steven Tanzer’s Winophilia website, and participation in the Boston Wine Festival.
William Davis started his career in restaurants, managing high-profile accounts in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area and in Denver, Colorado. He realized that wine and spirits was his passion, and when he sat for his Introductory Exam and Course with the Court of Master Sommeliers over a decade ago, his 'wine bug' was set in stone. In 2004, he decided that a full-time career with Charmer-Sunbelt in Colorado was necessary to pursue a greater understanding of the grape, and received the Certified Specialist of Wine, the Certified Specialist of Spirits, and the highest certification from the Society of Wine Educators, the Certified Wine Educator title (CWE). Restaurants were still 'in his blood', and the dedication that sommeliers give to their craft is a vital part of bringing wine to the consumer, so he passed the Certified and Advanced Sommelier exams in 2007 and 2008, on his first try, and is working to achieve his MS with the Court of Master Sommeliers. The academic approach to wine and spirits also interests him, and he is passed the Advanced Certification with the Wine and Spirits Education Trust in 2010, and is studying for the WSET Diploma. If that isn't enough, he is a member of the Guild of Sommeliers, and was the 2 time Regional Champion (2012 and 2013) Central and Great Lakes Regional Winner of TopSomm, a competition to find the best wine professional talent in the United States. As a co-host of WineGuyRadio and TV from 2008 to 2012 decided to focus on the consumer in late 2012 by introducing Terroir Radio, to teach, educate, mentor industry folk including retail buyers and sommeliers, and share the love of wine to all. Currently, he is the State Manager for Colorado and New Mexico for Wilson Daniels, one of the leading importer and marketer of wines in the United State Sitting with winemakers, and traveling the wine world is essential to his continued growth...and, well, having a glass of vino with the most interesting people on earth doesn't hurt!
Wine classes through the American Sommelier Association led to Gannon’s first sommelier job at Rothmann’s Steakhouse in midtown Manhattan. In 2011 he left Rothmann’s and now splits time between Nashville and New York, as well as traveling extensively throughout New England working for the Spire Collection of fine wines representing Jackson Family Estates. He writes a wine column for the Nashville paper -The Tennessean and holds the Advanced Certificate from the Court of Master Sommeliers. On occasion he is the special event sommelier for private Italian gun club, Tiro a Segno.
Austin Heidt is a Assistant Sommelier and Back Waiter at Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Colorado. Having been in the industry since he was 13 years old he brings a lot of experience and passion to the table including the Everest Restaurant and Tenzing Wine and Spirits in Chicago. In the educational realm, Austin attended the University of Denver School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management, followed by receiving his Masters degree from the Cornell Hotel School and finally completing the ACAP program at the Culinary Institute of America. He holds a Advanced Sommelier certificate with the Court of Master Sommeliers and sat for the Master Sommelier exam the first time this year.
Jamison has reinvented the face of The American Restaurant. The 250-seat, fine-dining institution has been named by The Robb Report and Wine Spectator. The 1,000-label wine list has received nods from Wine Spectator.
Jamison is approachable, affable, creative, ready to take patrons of his Forbes Travel Guide Four Star/AAA Four Diamond restaurant on a heady adventure. His educated palate for sniffing out the best of the best complements sublime dishes from the verdant imagination of James Beard award-winning Executive Chef Debbie Gold, a diminutive powerhouse of culinary magic.
Brent Jones found his love for wine at age 19 while working at The Waterfront in Cincinnati, OH. In 2001 his professional wine career took shape in Aspen, CO while working with Master Sommelier Jay Fletcher at the award-winning restaurant Syzygy. Other restaurants on his résumé include Galley Beach in Nantucket, restaurant Latour in New Jersey, Fifth Floor in San Francisco, Alinea in Chicago, Frasca in Boulder, and both the Caribou Club and Hotel Jerome of Aspen. One of his favorite moments of his wine career occurred while working the 2012 harvest with Domaine Comte Senard in Burgundy.
A native of The Berkshires, Errol has recently taken over as the Maître d’ / Sommelier at Falmouth’s lively C Salt Wine Bar & Grille. Errol is a long time contributor to the wine festival and additionally offers Private Sommelier & Cellar Services in the Greater Boston and Cape Cod area. He is a Certified Sommelier within the prestigious Court of Master Sommeliers and is currently an Advanced Sommelier Candidate. Errol’s most recent prior experience includes running the wine program at Tosca Restaurant in Hingham, but also includes a fabulous season at Nantucket’s own White Elephant Resort.
Todd Lipman’s wine program at Bistro du Midi has been granted Wine Spectator’s Best of Excellence Award and his wine list has been dubbed “one of the city’s most formidable” by Bon Appetit Magazine. He was individually recognized and awarded the title of Boston’s Best Sommelier by Improper Bostonian 2011. He is the all-time winner of the SommSmack competition held by Gordon’s Fine Wines and Liquors in Waltham, where two Sommeliers battle each other under time constraints to pair wines with a surprise menu. He is also known to serve as a guest lecturer and wine writer for blogs and magazines.
Michael joined Chef Daniel Boulud’s Dinex Group in 2007 as Chef Sommelier at db Bistro Moderne and later moved on to the group’s more wine-centric Bar Boulud to manage a cellar of over 500 selections, dedicated largely to the Rhône Valley and Burgundy. Here he attracted renown and a considerable following among connoisseurs for launching New York City’s first “Big Bottles” program, offering guests privileged access to rare and large format bottles poured by the glass. Today Madrigale oversees the wine programs for Bar Boulud, the new Boulud Sud and Épicerie Boulud. “Being in this business validates the way I grew up,” says Madrigale, “knowing that real happiness comes from eating and drinking with people you love.”
Michael has been named “Sommelier of the Year 2012” for both FOOD AND WINE and WINE ENTHUSIAST.
Chef Sommelier is Chef Sommelier at Casa Lever on Park Avenue in Manhattan. Born in Rome, Gaetano came to America when he was twenty-two years old. Always passionate about food as a child, as he grew older, he became just as passionate about wine. Although predominately an Italian wine list, Casa Lever also offers a wide variety of French and California wines.
Eduardo Porto Carreiro began his official career in wine at the age of twenty-one, but had been bit by the wine bug long before. His first job in wine, as a wine clerk stocking shelves and manning the cash register, may not have been glamorous for West Hollywood, CA, but the opportunity allowed him to taste several hundred bottles per week and to place a smell and flavor to the wines of the fabled regions he had been reading about.
In early 2003, happenstance landed him a job as a food runner in one of Los Angeles’ best kitchens, GRACE Restaurant. Fraser recognized his knowledge and passion for wine and quickly promoted him through the ranks from food runner to Sommelier, then Wine Director, all in less than two years. At twenty-three he was the youngest Wine Director in Los Angeles, overseeing the acclaimed wine programs of GRACE and sister restaurant, BLD.
In the summer of 2010, Eduardo was tapped to create and helm the wine program at Sang Yoon’s LUKSHON Restaurant and oversee the wine lists at Yoon’s FATHER’S OFFICE restaurants.
In 2012, prompted by the geographic inconvenience of falling in love with a woman across the country, Eduardo moved to New York City. Upon arriving in NYC, he accepted a coveted position as a member of the sommelier team at Chef Daniel Boulud’s two Upper West Side restaurants—the Mediterranean-inspired Boulud Sud and rustic French Bistro, Bar Boulud. In the summer of 2013, he was named Chef Sommelier of DBGB Kitchen & Bar, Daniel Boulud’s downtown restaurant, where he manages the wine, beer, and spirits programs.
Matt Reiser is a managing partner of Maslow 6 Wine Bar in TriBeCa, as well as an independent Brooklyn based wine consultant. He began his career in Boston where he achieved national recognition as wine director at one of Boston’s most beloved restaurants—UpStairs on the Square.
Reiser has twice presented wine at the James Beard Foundation, interned in Burgundy with Clive Coates, MW and was a panelist for the NYU American Association of Wine Economists. He has also served as a judge for wine competitions and has been citied in numerous publications.
Matt Ryan began his career in wine as a food-runner for a fine-dining restaurant in Boston. From there, he made the transition to server at fast-paced restaurants, refining his knowledge of the world of wines. Matt became a Certified Sommelier in 2011 while working in a large retail store, where he was a manager in the wine department until 2013. He credits the exposure to such a wide variety of wines as an exceptional learning tool. Matt currently works as the General Manager for Beaver Brook Bottles in Waltham, MA, focusing on small-production fine wine and a wide selection of craft beer.
Clint Sloan 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.
Aviram Turgeman is the Chef Sommelier of Restaurant Nice Matin on Manhattan's Upper West Side. The famous wine program features 2,500 selections, highlighting mature wines, mostly from Bordeaux and Provence, alongside the rest of France, Classic Europe, and California. The restaurant owns wine collections such as JFK's that features pre-phylloxera historical vintages, the famed Restaurant Chanterelle collection, among others.
In addition, Aviram is the beverage director of the "Chef Driven Group" that consists of the Tour de France restaurant group, Barbounia, as well the 5 Napkin Burger group.
Born in Bordeaux (Pomerol) where her family owns a renowned winery, Château Bourgneuf, Marie Vayron has always been surrounded by great wines and vineyards. She holds a Communication & Media Diploma (La Sorbonne, Paris) and an MBA in Marketing and Management in Wines & Spirits.
She started her career joining her two passions. Marie likes to host high-end wine events and please her guests by giving them made-to-measure experiences. She chose to join her professional passions by combining luxury, events and wine. For the past 3 years, Marie was the events manager of the Wine & Business Club in Paris, hosting many events at Le Bristol Hotel. Marie was also the production manager of “In Vino”, a French food and wine TV program. Her passion for food led her to work and communicate with some of the most famous French Chefs (Eric Frechon, Thierry Marx, Alain Dutournier, Guy Martin…).
In 2008 at 5 Star/5 Diamond restaurant Montagna, Dustin was named 'Best New Sommelier' in Wine and Spirits Magazine, won the prestigious Chaine des Rotisseures Jeaune Sommelier competition for the Southwest Division and went on to take 3rd at the U.S. In 2010 he won the Inaugural TopSomm competition for the Southwest Region of the U.S. and was a finalist in the first ever TopSomm National competition. In 2011 he became the 107th person to pass the rigorous Master Sommelier exam. In October of that year, Dustin made the move to New York to become the Wine Director of Eleven Madison Park.
Known as masters of Nuits-Saint-Georges, the Ambroise’s farm premier crus, les Vaucrains, En Rue Chaux, and les Terres Blanches (in white), and two village wines (including an old-vine bottling)—although that is only to name a few.
Certified in organic farming by ECOCERT, they prune to limit yields to as much as 20 percent below appellation norms. The wines are harvested by hand only once they have achieved the perfect maturity. If ripeness is the goal in the vineyards, freshness is the goal in the cellar.
Kale Anderson is the director of winemaking at Pahlmeyer Winery. As a California native, his interest in the wine industry led him to earn a B.S. in Viticulture and Enology from U.C. Davis in 2002. Since then he has held positions at Colgin Cellar’s Pritchard Hill Estate, Terra Valentine, Cliff Lede Vineyards, and finally Pahlmeyer Winery. His passion for producing wines is 10 years strong, and far from finished.
Almost 25 years ago in a Jazz Club in Paris, Dimitri Augenblick had his first glass of wine...It was a love at first sight! As the business developmentmanager and member of the family owner, Dimitri is working with the team of Cos on making great wines, on meeting worldwide Wine lovers, chefand sommeliers. This is not only a part of his job but also his passion. Cos is today one of the greatest wines of the Médoc which can even surpass The Premier Cru. Through all the wines of Michel Reybier's Estate such as les Pagodes de Cos, Château Marbuzet, Goulée by Cos, Cos Blanc and more recently Hetszolo a Tokaj from Hungary, Dimitri's purpose is to place them in all the best spots of the world.
Megan Baccitich, director of winemaking at Paul Hobbs Winery and CrossBarn Winery, works alongside renowned winemaker Paul Hobbs to produce chardonnay, pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon from some of Napa and Sonoma’s most esteemed vineyards.
Growing up in Healdsburg in Sonoma County, Megan was surrounded by wine from a young age. A lifelong lover of science and nature, she planned to study biology in college until a part-time high school job at a wine-focused restaurant inspired her to pursue winemaking. Megan went on to earn a Bachelor’s of Science, Enology degree from Fresno State University. In 2001, she interned at Ferrari-Carano where she completed her first vintage, followed by a second internship in Dry Creek Valley in 2002. In 2003, Megan accepted a full-time position as assistant winemaker at Taft Street.
In 2006, Megan joined Paul Hobbs Winery as assistant winemaker. Megan quickly rose from assistant winemaker to winemaker and in 2013 she was named director of winemaking for both Paul Hobbs Winery and CrossBarn Winery. Megan works alongside Paul Hobbs to ensure a seamless metamorphosis from vineyard to bottle, making wines that showcase the vineyard site and are allowed to form themselves in the winery.
Craig Becker, a Southern California native, is a founding member of Somerston Wine Company.
Becker oversees all of Somerston’s winemaking and vineyard operations. He has a tremendous thirst for knowledge about each element of winery and vineyard operations and is constantly developing new ideas for improvement. Becker’s management style encourages innovation and entrepreneurship by allowing employees to take ownership of, and improve, their positions, the vineyards, and the winery. He maintains strong relationships with vineyard workers, many of whom live on-site, having worked the property for decades before Becker knew it existed.
Gary Brookman has been at the helm of production at Miner for more than a decade. He serendipitously discovered his true calling during a post-college stint working a harvest in Australia’s McLaren Vale. After making his way to Napa Valley, Gary honed his winemaking skills during a thirteen-year tenure at Joseph Phelps Vineyards and three harvests at Franciscan. Following a chance encounter with Dave Miner, Gary was welcomed on as Miner’s winemaker in 1997. A diligent student of his craft, Gary works closely with each of our growers and alongside Dave to fine-tune and elevate the quality of Miner wines with each passing vintage. Gary manages to find balance making twenty-five plus bottlings at Miner, including his eponymous label. Hitting the backroads for a rigorous bike ride or hiking in the Sierras with his wife Joan is reserved for downtime. Since his first crush down under, Gary remains captivated by winemaking’s unique blend of art and science.
Chris Carpenter is the winemaker for some of Napa Valley’s most prestigious wineries, including Cardinale, Lokoya, La Jota and Mt. Brave. He has earned a reputation for taming Napa mountain tannins and creating legendary Cabernet Sauvignon. He believes in maximum attention in the vineyards and minimal intervention in the winery to create the purest expression of place.
Chris grew up outside Chicago and developed a thirst for knowledge. He earned an undergraduate degree in biology at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, then went on to receive his MBA at the University of Illinois, Chicago while selling medical products and bartending at both an Irish pub and later a music club. The music club surrounded him with musicians and artists and together, they started exploring and discovering the great food and wine scene in Chicago.
During a visit to Napa Valley, Chris discovered a lifestyle that combined his love of the sciences with his growing passion for culinary and wine pursuits— a way to be challenged both intellectually and creatively. Soon after, he would start studying at UC Davis where he earned a master’s degree in both viticulture and enology. He further studied as a research-intern in Italy at Tenute Antinori, Santa Cristina Estate before landing in Napa Valley at the Cardinale Estate in 1998. In 2000, Chris was appointed winemaker for Lokoya and he went on to assume that role for Cardinale, La Jota, and Mt Brave—where he makes wines sourced from the mountains.
The passions that developed in his 20s and 30s continue to shape his personal life as well as his professional life. Chris and his wife founded the Napa Valley chapter of Slow Food and served as Chair for Slow Food USA, an organization dedicated to preserving regional foods and small food purveyors, and to celebrating local farmers and chefs. He is the President of the Napa Valley Youth Symphony, an avid concert goer, and he occasionally plays the trombone. And he continues his love affair with the restaurant business by bartending every Friday night at the Rutherford Grill where he “learns more about human nature and about life in general, behind the plank.”
Laura Catena is a fourth generation Argentine vintner, physician and author. Catena's great grandfather founded the Catena winery in Mendoza in 1902 after emigrating from Italy. Her father, Nicolas Catena Zapata, often referred to as “the Robert Mondavi of Argentina,” helped facilitate the ascent of Argentine wine onto the world stage.
Laura graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1988 and has a Medical Doctor degree from Stanford University. She is currently managing director of Bodega Catena Zapata and her own Luca Winery in Mendoza, Argentina, as well as a practicing Emergency Medicine physician in San Francisco.
Catena has been called the “face” of Argentine wine. She has been an invited speaker at the American Society of Wine Educators, Decanter Wine Encounter, The Smithsonian Institute and the Vancouver Playhouse among others.
In 2010 Laura Catena released her book Vino Argentino, An Insider’s Guide to the Wines and Wine Country of Argentina (Chronicle Books), the first book about Argentine wine by a U.S. publisher. Dave McIntyre of The Washington Post writes: "Vino Argentino is a mouthwatering introduction to the wines and culture of Argentina."
Educated in winemaking and viticulture at the University of Reims and the University of Bordeaux, Paul went on to acquire his practical knowledge of wine at Château Margaux, making wine at the side of one of the great masters in œnology, Emile Peynaud, and later with Louis Latour in Burgundy.
After acquiring a wealth of experience working for some of the greatest names in the wine world, Paul is the National Fine Wine Director at Shaw-Ross International Importers. He works with Sacha Lichine and Patrick Léon in the development of the 4 unique rosés from the Château D'Esclans estate.
Deputy Cellar Master Dominique Demarville was selected by Cellar Master Jacques Péters to joined Veuve Clicquot in July 2006. Dominique developed a true passion for champagne viniculture and viticulture after his first harvest in Champagne in 1985. He obtained a technical degree in Oenology and Viticulture at Lycée Viticole de la Champagne in Avize, followed by a specialized two-year degree in oenology at the University of Burgundy, Dijon. During his studies, he experienced winemaking in several complementary regions such as Alsace, Burgundy, Bordeaux, and Champagne in Aÿ and Rilly-la-Montagne.
Joe Donelan, founder of Donelan Family Wines, began his journey of wine discovery in the 1980s, led by an inspired sommelier at Toppers Restaurant on Nantucket. With a vision for creating superior-quality, terroir-driven Syrah and Rhone-varietals, Joe established relationships with unique Sonoma County vineyards and brought together a production team to found Donelan Family Wines. With his family’s name stamped on the each bottle and two sons involved in the day-to-day operations of the business, Donelan Family Wines is a true family venture for Joe.
Laurent Drouhin followed his father to the vineyards at a tender age, roller-skated in the cellars and played in the cuverie. His fondest memory (a la Marcel Proust) is the smell of the macerating must.
Today, Laurent is the Maison Joseph Drouhin ambassador to the United States and the Caribbean. Besides his commercial responsibilities, he is also involved in communication and other public relation activities such as tastings and wine dinners. He has lived in New York since 2005.
Tom Eddy completed his oenology degree at UC Davis, part of the Class of ’74, a group of winemakers often credited for the meteoric rise in the quality of wine in California in the last 30 years. Before starting the family wine company in 1989, Tom had been winemaker for some of the largest and smallest wineries in California. A published author and recognized winery expert, Tom’s personal stamp of winemaking and winery construction has influenced much of the Napa and Sonoma Valleys, with a broad consulting client base extending from California to Texas and from Washington State to South America.
Matt Hobbs is National Sales Manager and a partner in Paul Hobbs Wines which is located in Sebastopol, California and produces the “Paul Hobbs” and “CrossBarn by Paul Hobbs” wines. One of Paul Hobbs’s ten siblings, Matt has worked with Paul for most of the last twelve years. For six of those years, he was general manager of the winery. He is currently responsible for managing the winery’s sales in the United States and the Caribbean.
From 2007-2009 Matt lived in Mendoza, Argentina where he worked as the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for The Vines of Mendoza, a premier vineyard development and hospitality company.
Upon returning to the U.S. and before rejoining Paul Hobbs Wines in 2011, Matt was General Manager of Epoch Estate Wines in Paso Robles, California which is a producer of ultra-premium Rhone-variety wines.
Prior to originally joining Paul in 2001, Matt was a Consultant at Swander Pace and Company in San Francisco, California where he advised medium and large-size food and beverage companies on corporate growth and development strategy. Before that, he was a Financial Analyst for a large private placement portfolio at The Prudential Insurance Company of America in Newark, New Jersey and Chicago, Illinois.
Christopher Howell has dedicated more than twenty years to Cain Vineyard & Winery. His commitment to Cain stems from a realization that one can only learn from one vintage to the next, and that depth of knowledge of a single vineyard takes years to acquire. His focus is on fine winegrowing—following the process from vineyard into the winery and finally into the glass. There are just two essential prerequisites for doing this—knowing wine and loving wine. In both of these, he remains a perpetual student.
To call Jennifer Huether a trailblazer would be an understatement. Huether is the first female Master Sommelier in Canada, and one of only 18 female Master Sommeliers in North America. She also is the staff sommelier and brand ambassador at Cliff Lede Vineyards, as well as for sister property FEL Wines. Huether joined the company in the fall of 2012 to promote the brands in Canada and in the U.S.
“Having a Master Sommelier on staff gives us a competitive advantage in the industry,” Huether says. “The plan is for me to help educate our team at the winery and our sales staff at distributors throughout North America, as well as consumers.”
Cliff Lede’s newest employee got her start in the Toronto restaurant business. Most recently, she served as the head sommelier for Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), where she oversaw an award-winning wine program that spanned several different restaurants and featured a team of 10 sommeliers. Before that, Huether worked for fine dining restaurants Oliver and Bonacini.
Over the years, Huether’s passion for wine and wine knowledge has led to extensive studies. She passed the Court of Master Sommeliers Master Exams in February 2011; before that, she competed in the Ontario Sommelier Competition in 2006 and was labeled “Best Sommelier in Ontario” by the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers.
She was accepted into the Advanced Sommelier Program from the Court of Master Sommeliers and gained accreditation in the first round of testing in 2004 in London, England. She gained the Diploma of Wine and Spirits from Wine and Spirit Education Trust in 2003, and graduated “top of class” from the International Sommelier Guild in 2000.
Today, when she’s not swimming or logging frequent flier miles on behalf of Cliff Lede and FEL, Huether serves as a Board Member of the Guild of Sommeliers, and is an active teacher at the Court of Master Sommeliers. She lives in Toronto.
Sean Larkin is the owner/winemaker of Larkin Wines. Since the first vintage in 1999, Larkin has been on a roll. Crafting serious wines culled from a short list of Napa Valley vineyards, he has managed to quickly capture the eye of critics and connoisseurs alike for his lusty brand of brawny reds. Sean produces 500 cases annually.
In 1911, F.J. Fournier, after making a fortune in Mexican silver mines, bought the Island of Porquerolles, where he planted 450 acres of vines. He died in 1935 leaving behind a widow and six daughters. In 1957, the island was divided in 4 parts corresponding to the 4 natural plains.
Lelia Fournier, married to Dominique Le Ber, was the only member of the family to replant 50 acres of vines on her land, and in 1964 built a new winery. In 1980, their son, Sebastien Le Ber, took over the running of the farm. The Domaine de l’Ile rented an additional 100 acres from the state, which had converted almost all of the island into a natural park.
Born in Bordeaux and educated in America, Sacha Lichine began working at his family’s former property, Château Prieure Lichine, during his youth. Sacha’s first enterprise was organizing luxury wine tours in France which helped facilitate the establishment of Sacha Lichine Estate Selections for wines from the Rhone.
A pivotal moment for Sacha was his 2006 acquisition of Château D’Esclans in Provence. In keeping with his uncanny sense of innovation, Sacha felt that Rosé had strong developmental opportunities to become more serious from a production standpoint in addition to being served and consumed more broadly. Working with Patrick Léon, they created 4 unique rosés from the Château D'Esclans estate.
Ernst Loosen was born into a great tradition of German winemaking. Since he took over Dr. Loosen, they have received countless awards and reviews in the wine press. The estate has become a member of the VDP, Germany’s association of top-rated wine estates, and has been named one of the 10 best estates in Germany by nearly every wine publication worldwide. Ernst was named Germany’s Winemaker of the Year in the 2001 edition of Gault Millau’s Weinguide Deutschland and Decanter magazine’s Man of the Year in 2005. He was also the International WINE Challenge’s White Winemaker of the Year in 2005.
For as long as she can remember, Cherie Melka has had an interest in winemaking. After earning her microbiology degree at Northern Arizona University, she pursued that interest in the vineyard country of northern California.
For five years, Cherie ran the laboratory at Ridge Vineyards, working under the direction of legendary winemaker Paul Draper. During this time, she met PhilippeMelka, fell in love and moved to France shortly thereafter. While there, she earned a certificate from the University of Bordeaux III.
Upon their return to California, Cherie worked with Beaulieu Vineyards in Quality Control, then moved on to Silver Oak Cellars as Laboratory Manager. But she I longed to be more involved in wine production. About this time, she began to appreciate the fact that Philippe wasn't just making wine, he was crafting it. And so, following her passion, Cherie decided to dedicate her time solely to Melka Wines.
Today, Cherie enjoys running Melka's operations and working with Philippe in all facets of winemaking.
Paul, the eldest son of Sir Peter and Lady Michael, recalls the first time he set foot on the land that was to become the Peter Michael Winery: “I was a teenager on summer vacation with my family in 1982 and I found myself planting vines on this hot, dusty and extraordinarily beautiful hillside in Knights Valley. It was an experience I’ll never forget.”
Paul graduated from the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne in 1990 and worked with the Forte Group of Hotels in London, Paris and Dubai, before completing his MBA at Ashridge Management College in 1994. Today, he is involved in overseeing the management of the family’s Vineyard at Stockcross, a high-reputation restaurant and luxury Relais & Chateaux hotel in the UK. Paul is also Chairman of My Tiny Planets Ltd, the creative studio behind Tiny Planets and tinyplanets.com. His work as executive producer with Tiny Planets earned two BAFTA awards (British Academy for Film and Television Arts). As part of the Michael Family’s holdings, Paul also manages a diverse portfolio of international businesses that provides seed funding and management consulting to small technology and media companies.
Paul is active in charity events to raise funds for prostate cancer research in the USA and the UK. He is fluent in French and conversant in Spanish. Paul and his wife Emily have three young children.
Corinne Michot was born and raised in the Loire Valley, the heart of the French countryside. Early on she developed an affinity for the fresh, crisp flavors of the local Loire Valley vintages, which led her to study sommellerie at Tours.
Master of Wine Gérard Basset, the World's Best Sommelier in 2010, invited Corinne to work as an assistant sommelier in England when she was 19. Under Basset’s mentorship she quickly rose through the ranks of his prestigious Hôtel du Vin chain. At age 21 she became Head Sommelier at the Birmingham Hôtel du Vin, and then worked as Head Sommelier in Brighton for three years with the same company, before relocating to London in 2004.
In London, Corinne was appointed Head Sommelier at Gordon Ramsay's celebrated Connaught Hotel, run by Angela Hartnett. During her tenure at the Connaught she also designed the wine list for Cielo by Angela Hartnett, another Gordon Ramsay restaurant in Boca Raton, Florida.
In 2007 Corinne took a year off in Asia to satisfy a life-long interest in travel. After earning her Master Diver rating in Thailand, she began to think about a return to Europe to begin anew in the Bordeaux area, the most dynamic wine producing market in France.
Upon her return to France Christian Seely invited her to work for AXA Millésimes, and created the position of ‘Brand Ambassador’ for her. This new role couples her broad sommelier’s knowledge with her strengths in communication to reinforce the AXA Millésimes brand.
At the Nantucket Wine Festival, Corinne is representing Château Pichon-Longueville Baron and Châteaux Suduiraut.
Born and raised in Chicago, Dave Miner lived for a number of years in southern California before staking his claim in Napa Valley.
Miner began his journey in the wine business in 1993 as President of Oakville Ranch Vineyards, following a number of years spent working in the software industry. He launched his own label beginning with the 1996 vintage to critical acclaim that quickly solidified his position as a serious new vintner in Oakville.
After spending 11 years in Canada, Christian MOREAU came back to Chablis in 1972, with his wife Christine and their 3 children. Christian started working with his father, the 4th generation of the founder Jean-Joseph Moreau who started the wine business back in 1814. And since that time there has always been a family member involve in the wine trade.
Christian’s son Fabien, after completed a Master Degree in wine management and commercial administration at the University of Bordeaux, is now in charge with his father of all the vineyards and vinification of Domaine Christian MOREAU Père et Fils.
Joe completed the Michigan State winemaking program at an accelerated rate and received a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture, after which he spent a year with a Michigan winery before pursuing his winemaking dreams in California. At Donelan Family Wines, you’ll find Joe with his hands in all aspect of the winemaking process, from analyzing wine samples in the lab to managing the racking and bottling of the cellar.
A winemaker by training, Janet Pagano has a B.S. in Fermentation Science from U.C. Davis. She is currently the Managing Partner of Ovid Napa Valley. Janet is a past Chairman of the Napa Valley Wine Auction and has served on the Boards of the Wine Institute and Napa Valley Vintners. She was President of the St. Helena Family Center and former Chairman of the Napa Valley Community Foundation. Her husband and two children keep her busy sailing, fishing, cooking, hiking and traveling.
Frédéric Panaïotis graduated from the Institute National Agronomique Paris-Grignon in Viticulture & Oenology, and earned the Diplome National d’Oenologue of the Ecole Nationale Superieure Agronomique in Montpellier in 1988.
Panaïotis joined Champagne Ruinart in 2007 as Chef de Caves. In this position, he has the responsibility of creating the blends, from the non vintages Blanc de Blancs and Rosé to the prestige cuvees of Ruinart, Dom Ruinart and Dom Ruinart Rosé. He also plays a significant role in the communication efforts of Champagne Ruinart, travelling extensively to international markets.
Austin Peterson grew up in a winemaking family on Spring Mountain, immersed in the culture and business of wine. His interest in wine from an early age led him to study viticulture and enology at UC Davis. Following his graduation he compiled an impressive resume that included winery positions at prestigious estates in Napa, France, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina. Austin began his career at Ovid in 2006, as assistant winemaker. In 2010 he was named winemaker. He continues his passionate pursuit to make the best expression of our estate each and every year.
Co-owner Suzanne Pride Bryan and her husband, Stuart Bryan, Pride’s National Sales Manager, work with Suzanne’s brother Steve Pride, co-owner and GM to carry-on the tradition of intense, extracted mountain grown wines at Pride Mountain Vineyards.
Celebrating nearly 20 years since its founding in 1990, Pride Mountain Vineyards has been named one of the “world’s best wine estates” by Robert Parker, Jr. joining just 156 other wineries from around the world for this distinction. The Wine Spectator has placed Pride’s wines on their Top100 Wines of the World list five times since the year 2000.
Rob Sinskey believes that the goals of making luxuriously elegant wines and farming with earth friendly methods are not mutually exclusive. Rather, he has found that caring for the land and conscientious business practices have helped to define the well-crafted wines of RSV. Over the past twenty-five years, Sinskey has grown his 100% organic and Biodynamic certified winegrowing operation to over 200 acres of premium vineyards in the Carneros and Stags Leap districts of Napa and Sonoma Valleys. He holds true to the philosophy that “Wine is not an athletic event.” Wine should not be a “quick study,” but rather, sneak up on you, seduce you, and evolve in the glass and in the bottle.