2014 Luminary of the Year
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.
This 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. His accomplishments at Ridge Vineyards include making some of the most ageable worthy wines in California. Ridge’s Montebello Cabernet placed 5th at the legendary 1976 Tasting of Paris and has proven its worth every year.
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.
James Beard Award-winning chef Michelle Bernstein is a recently named Chef Ambassador of Ruinart. Beyond successful restaurants, Michy’s and Crumb on Parchment, and her own family, Bernstein dedicates time to Common Threads an after-school program for underprivileged kids and regularly appears on an array of national TV shows, from Top Chef to Good Morning America. In addition, she is part of the Lexus Culinary Masters, a brand ambassador for Crisco, and is a member of the Macy’s Culinary Council and the LEAN CUISINE® Culinary Roundtable.
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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.
Even as a child, Bissonnette was drawn to the kitchen, eschewing cartoons for cooking shows on the Discovery Channel. With this early start, he earned his Culinary Arts degree from The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale by the young age of 19 and spent his early 20s eating and cooking his way through Paris, San Francisco, New York and Phoenix. Eventually Bissonnette settled in Boston and began working in some of the city’s most notable kitchens.
Following stints at a few highly regarded restaurants, Bissonnette opened Eastern Standard as executive chef in 2005. Two years later, he was recruited for the steakhouse KO Prime, winning praise for his modern take on this classic fare. That year in 2007, The Improper Bostonian named him “Rising Star Chef” and KO Prime “Best New Restaurant.” Shortly after, in the fall of 2008, Bissonnette joined Ken Oringer as executive chef and partner of the acclaimed tapas restaurant Toro in Boston’s South End and then together in late 2009 they opened the innovative Italian enoteca Coppa.
Bissonnette is a local champion of nose-to-tail cuisine and is well-known locally and nationally for his exceptional charcuterie and passionate dedication to supporting local, sustainable purveyors. He was spokesperson for the Wisconsin Cheese Board in 2008, has been featured in The Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal, Bon Appetit, and Edible Boston, among many others and in 2011 was awarded the prestigious honor of Food & Wine magazine’s first ever People Choice Best New Chef.
As chef and owner of Coppa and Toro in Boston, Bissonnette continues to helm the kitchens of both award-winning restaurants, and can be found at either (and often both) nightly overseeing his menus of innovative small plates and nose to tail cooking.
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.
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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 2000, Joanne opened Flour, a bakery and café, in Boston’s South End. Flour features breakfast pastries, breads, cakes, cookies and tarts as well as sandwiches, soups and salads. In 2007 she opened a second branch of Flour in the Fort Point Channel area and in 2010 a third branch in Cambridge. The fourth Flour location opened up in Boston’s Back bay in January of 2013.
Flour has been featured in Gourmet, Food&Wine, Bon Appetit, the New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, Lucky Magazine, Inc. Magazine, and Boston Magazine and has received numerous Best of Boston awards.
In 2006, the young and talented chef Christopher Coombs came in contact with Brian Piccini, owner of dbar. The duo joined forces to start Boston Urban Hospitality Inc., with a focus on fresh, local, seasonally inspired menus.
In 2010, Coombs opened his first restaurant with Piccini, Deuxave, located in Boston’s Back Bay. Since, Coombs’ success has been grabbing the attention of both local and national media, including an appearance on Food Network’s Chopped. Today, Coombs continues to awe his guests at dbar and Deuxave, and at his newest project, Boston Chops.
There’s a reason why Dean Corbett is often called the “Dean of Louisville’s restaurant scene.” Over the last 30 years, Corbett has built a stellar reputation in the Louisville community as not only a chef and proprietor, but also a beloved humanitarian, entertainer and family man. Chef S. Dean Corbett’s extensive culinary background includes restaurant, hotel and private club experiences. In December of 2007, Chef Corbett decided to push his restaurant boundaries further and opened Corbett’s: an American place. Located in a beautifully restored 19th century mansion, Corbett’s offers new American cuisine with an award-winning wine list. In 2009, Chef Corbett was one of six chefs to be inducted into the Honorable Order of the Golden Toque. The Honorable Order is the highest recognition a chef can receive in the United States and has a membership restriction of only 100 lifetime active members.
James Beard Award-winning Chef Tim Cushman is Chef Owner of o ya.
o ya was named by New York Times as the #1 new restaurant in the U.S. in 2008 and was awarded a rare food score of “29” in the 2011/12 Zagat Guide. In 2008 Food & Wine magazine selected Cushman as a Best New Chef and selected o ya as one of the top 10 new restaurants in the world. Bon Appetit and Details magazines have recognized o ya as one of the top 10 sushi restaurants in the U.S. and Eater has recognized o ya as one of nine exceptional omakase menus across the U.S.
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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.
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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.
Geoff Lazlo has cooked in some of the world's most celebrated kitchens, including Chez Panisse, Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Blue Hill (New York) as well as in Bordeaux, France where he helped to teach and lead culinary tours of the region for Two Bordelaise.
Most recently, Geoff was a sous chef at Gramercy Tavern, NYC. While Geoff was at Gramercy Tavern, the team was awarded the Outstanding Restaurant Award in 2008 and Best Chef/New York in 2012 by the James Beard Foundation.
Geoff is committed to using seasonal ingredients, partnering with local farmers, and helping to support the community.
Tony Maws is the award-winning chef and owner behind the acclaimed Craigie on Main in Cambridge, MA. The 2011 James Beard Award Winner for Best Chef Northeast, and a Food & Wine Best New Chef (2005), Maws is celebrated equally for his innovative and traditional work in the kitchen, and is known for his immense talent, creativity, and rugged standards and expectations for himself and his staff, as well as the farmers and suppliers who visit him daily.
At Craigie On Main, Tony’s earthy side and his mad-scientist side combine to create a menu best described as “refined rusticity.” This restaurant, opened in November 2008, is a newer, more spacious incarnation of Craigie Street Bistrot, Tony’s first labor-of-love located a couple miles down Mass Ave., which opened in 2002. In 2013, Tony opened Kirkland Tap & Trotter in Somerville, MA, a funky twist on a casual neighborhood joint.
After earning a BA in Psychology from the University of Michigan, Tony embarked on an eight-year journey that included stints under local chefs Kenneth Oringer at Restaurant Clio and Steve Johnson at the Blue Room; Bernard Constantin at Larivore in Lyon, France; Roland Passot at La Folie and Wolfgang Puck at Postrio in San Francisco; and Mark Miller at the Coyote Café in Santa Fe. Tony is particularly grateful to Chef Chris Schlesinger, for giving him his first big break: a chance to chop vegetables at the East Coast Grill.
Brent Menke is Executive Chef at The Farm Table at Kringle Candle in Bernardston, Massachusetts. The restaurant burst onto the local scene in late 2011, earning the Valley Advocate’s distinction of “Best New Restaurant” for 2012 after being open barely 100 days.
Chef Menke’s career has taken him around the globe, studying different ethnic cuisines and working in the rarefied world of international yachting, cooking for many heads of state, billionaires, and international celebrities. While drawing upon global techniques, chef Menke takes inspiration in the rich farming heritage of the Pioneer Valley utilizing local ingredients to create his distinctive New American fare at The Farm Table.
Chef Menke’s philosophy: “Our noble goals, as we reach out to the community, are to educate the mind, nourish the body, and entertain the soul.”
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.
Marc Orfaly is a seven-time nominated James Beard Awardee, Food & Wine “Best Chef in America” honoree and “One of the Top Chefs to Watch in the Country” by John Mariani of Esquire Magazine and Corby Kummer of Boston Magazine.
After graduating with a culinary degree at Johnson & Wales University in 1990, Marc cut his professional teeth cooking in some of the best kitchens on the East and West coast. He spent the first five years in Boston honing his skills at Olives with Chef Todd English and at Davios restaurant. In 1995, he headed to Los Angeles for three years to work under master chef Joachim Splichal at Patina and with chef-owners Mark Peel and Nancy Silverton at Campanile. Orfaly then made his way to New York City as a private chef for the Tisch family in addition to positions at NYC Creative Edge Parties and Union Pacific Restaurant. In 1999, he returned to Boston to work with acclaimed chef Barbara Lynch at No. 9 PARK.
Orfaly opened his first restaurant, Pigalle, in 2001 to rave reviews. In addition to Pigalle, Orfaly opened Marco, an authentic Italian restaurant in Boston’s North End and consulted on numerous projects such as Peking Tom’s, Summer House and Remick’s.
Today as Executive Chef of The Beehive, Orfaly enjoys focusing on the kitchen and creating The Beehive’s cuisine which often reminds him of an amped up version of Sunday Suppers at his Grandmother’s. Orfaly’s unparalleled culinary background, flare for international flavors and passion for music has proven to blend well with The Beehive culture and cuisine.
From fine French dining to casual and colorful Mexican cuisine, Ken Oringer is chef and owner of restaurants that span the globe. Oringer's five restaurants throughout Boston are among the city's most popular and critically acclaimed. Each uniquely reflects a passion for quality, authenticity and culinary innovation that consistently attracts loyal fans and both local and national accolades. Chef Ken Oringer's career began under Chef David Burke at River Café in New York City before moving to New England to work as the Pastry Chef at Al Forno in Providence, Rhode Island and Jean Georges Vongerichten's Le Marquis de Lafayette in Boston.
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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.
Chef Brendan Pelley's culinary career began at the age of 15 with an after school job as a busboy and dishwasher in a busy neighborhood restaurant in his hometown of Chelmsford. While studying fine arts at UMASS Lowell, his passion for the visual arts gave way to an obsession with the culinary arts as he explored Lowell’s Southeast Asian restaurants and Boston’s fine dining.
He moved to the North Shore and became sous chef at Tryst Bistro in Beverly. Growing ambition led him to Clio to work under Ken Oringer, and then to Summer Winter Restaurant to work under Marc Gaier and Clark Frasier. After stints at the Franklin Cape Ann and Alchemy, Pelley perfected his skills of pairing food and wine as chef de cuisine of the Stonehedge Inn & Spa, home of New England’s largest wine cellar. Pelley now brings his own style of modern American Cuisine to Zebra's Bistro in Medfield.
After working as assistant pastry chef at The Langham, Boston for five years, Ryan Pike was named Pastry Chef in September 2013. As Pastry Chef, Pike overseas the pastry program at the luxury downtown hotel, including the acclaimed Chocolate Bar, which in its 25th year, brings more than 100 chocolate desserts to diners in Café Fleuri every Saturday afternoon September through June. He is also responsible for the dessert menus at BOND restaurant | lounge, The Reserve, in room dining and all hotel functions.
Chef Pike began working in kitchens as a line cook at the age of 14. In high school, he developed a fondness for cooking and art. After graduating, he attended Newbury College, where he combined his two passions, focusing on baking and pastry. While in college, Chef Pike began part-time work at Whites Bakery in Brockton, Mass. and upon graduation in 2003 he accepted a position as full-time production baker. Honing his skills for four years, Pike accepted a position as assistant pastry Chef at Boston’s popular Top of the Hub restaurant, where he worked under Pastry Chef Tommy Choi. Looking to advance his career, Chef Pike set his sights on the hotel industry and when a position as cooks assistant at The Langham, Boston opened, he jumped at the opportunity. In 2011, after gaining close to three years of experience in the kitchen of the hotel Pike was named Assistant Pastry Chef of the hotel.
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.
As Executive Chef of The Langham, Boston, Chef Sapienza hones his skills and wealth of knowledge directing three dining venues and numerous banquet events. His culinary creations, primarily made with in-season New England ingredients, span a number of cuisines such as New American, Italian and French. In BOND Restaurant | Lounge Chef Sapienza’s menu pairs with a chic, metropolitan atmosphere while the menu in the recently opened Reserve features fare that pairs with champagne, wine and good conversation. Café Fleuri features The Langham’s famous Saturday Chocolate Bar and Sunday City Brunch.
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.
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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.
Joshua Smith has recently opened Moody’s Delicatessen and Provisions in Waltham, MA. Moody’s is where meat meets the street. Joshua has created a stunning Old World style deli where he serves artisanal, hand-cured meats produced by his company New England Charcuterie. His signature sandwiches and European style prepared foods are already drawing a crowd. He is also offering pop-up dinners, often collaborating with chefs from around the country, and he continues his full service private catering.
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.
When dell’anima opened in 2007, Thompson took the reigns as executive chef, taking a lifetime of lessons in the kitchen–from selecting vegetables in his grandfather’s garden to making bucatini with Mario. In 2008, Thompson opened L’Artusi, which features a larger space for him to offer a more expansive menu. And at Anfora, a wine bar just two doors down from dell’anima, Thompson offers guests a selection of snacks to pair with partner Joe Campanale’s wine selections. L’Apicio, the newest addition to the family, brings his food to the East Village, furthering his accomplishments in the kitchen.
Chef Matthew Tropeano started in the food industry as a teenager, working as a bus boy at his cousin’s restaurant. He went on to train in classic French cuisine and began working at The Bay Tower Room where he ended as the sous-chef. Tropeano then worked as a saucier at Dallas’s Nana Restaurant under Chef David McMillan.
He followed up his Texas stint with a move to New York in 2003, where he took a line cook position at the famed French restaurant La Grenouille. He was promoted to executive chef after just a year on the team, and during his eight-year tenure at La Grenouille, he received a 3 star rating from The New York Times. From there, Tropeano became executive chef at La Silhouette , where he served straightforward French-American food with a nod to modern twists and bold flavors.
In March 2013, Tropeano was named the executive chef of Pain D’Avignon, where he continues to create an authentic European dining experience while highlighting local ingredients and products from the hub of Cape Cod.
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.
Tim loved the concept of the Summer Shack, where “Food Is Love” and all the food was prepared simply, from scratch, using the best quality of fresh seafood and local produce. He flourished in this environment and after starting as a grill cook, he worked his way to sous chef of the shack at Mohegan Sun. Today, after moving to the Boston area a couple years ago, Tim is the Executive Chef of the original Summer Shack in Cambridge, MA., where he oversees the food operations for both the restaurant and their growing catering division.
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.’’
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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.
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Jean-Paul Bignon, 60, is married, has three children and is a lawyer. He is an officer in the French National Order of “Mérite”.
In the city, this international lawyer, who is a member of the Paris and New-York bars, is a partner with the Bignon-Lebray law firm in Paris.
In the country, he is an enthusiastic farmer, and has taken over the family estate in Picardie, near the village of Bermesnil, where he is the mayor.
In the vineyards, he assists his wife Nancy in the management of Château Talbot, Saint Julien grand cru classé and Château Sénéjac Haut Médoc cru bourgeois. Together they have just bought the domain Saint Andrieu in Côtes de Provence.
Jean-Louis Carbonnier has worked with Château Palmer since 2003, providing the cru with strategic assistance on the public relations and communications fronts in the U.S. In 2012 Carbonnier joined the Château team as North America manager. In 2013 Carbonnier became Château Palmer's Director for the Americas.
Jean-Louis Carbonnier is a native of Reims, France. Prior to joining Château Palmer, Carbonnier worked for the Champagne AOC organization, CIVC, and ran Carbonnier Communications, a boutique communications and marketing company specializing in terroir-driven wine, spirits and cheese.
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.
After Nancy Cushman’s first sake experience, she became fascinated with it and made studying the beverage her mission. She left her career as an advertising executive, completed the Sake Professional Course in Japan, and opened o ya, a contemporary Japanese restaurant, with her husband Tim Cushman.
o ya has received numerous awards, including being named by the New York Times’ Frank Bruni as the #1 new restaurant in the U.S. outside of New York and the top Zagat rated restaurant in Boston in 2012. In 2012, Nancy travelled back to Japan to complete the Advanced Sake Professional Course.
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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.
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.
In 2012, Michael Dulock and Maureene Gaffney paired their passion for the humane treatment of food animals with a love for the age-old craft of butchery to create M.F. Dulock Pasture-Raised Meats. With a pledge to source only humanely raised animals within a 250 mile radius of their shop, they have brought a unique butchery model to the Boston area.
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.
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The national ambassador of Long Meadow Ranch’s portfolio of family-run businesses, Chris Hall creates and executes sales programs directed at achieving the family’s goals for serving the nation's top restaurants and retailers. Chris is also responsible for the wine program at Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch which features wines selected by Chris to complement the restaurant’s American farmhouse cooking.
With an entrepreneurial drive and a natural strength in leadership, the San Francisco native has served in a variety of roles across the full range of the Hall family businesses, including production manager for LMR Rutherford Gardens (now part of Rutherford Estate), on-premise sales manager and, most recently, national sales manager.
A second-generation vintner dedicated to producing elegant, food-friendly artisan wines, Chris is a founder and past president of NG: The Next Generation in Wine, a young vintners trade association that counts among its members a vibrant group of family winery and vineyard owners in the Napa Valley who are second generation or later.
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.
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.
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.
Howard Imber is currently the Regional Manager for Frog’s Leap Winery. Howard previously held the roles of National Sales Manager and East Coast Manager for C. Donatiello Winery & Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, respectively. Howards experience is not only working with Suppliers but with Distributors. He worked in Sales and as a Manger for Charmer industries in New York. In addition, Howard is also a Certified Sommelier. He spent many years honing his skills in the Restaurant business from St. Thomas USVI, to New York where he spent time working at Tavern on the Green and then finished as the Beverage Director for B.R. Guest restaurant group before moving into the his career as a supplier.
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Originally from the Middle East, educated in Switzerland, Rita owned, along with her husband André, New York iconic La Caravelle Restaurant for 20 years. Being exposed to the best wines fueled the Jammets’ passion for Champagne, leading them to create their own La Caravelle Champagne cuvée in 1997. After closing the restaurant in 2004, La Caravelle Champagne has expanded, and is now served in New York’s best restaurants and sold in the most important wine stores. La Caravelle’s timeless classic image endures through the namesake Champagne.
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.
Geoff Labitzke is the Director of Sales and Marketing for Kistler Vineyards.
Geoff began his career as a retailer in Southern California in 1978; he was a guest speaker conducting wine classes at Saddleback College and Orange Coast College. In 1989, he achieved the Certified Wine Educator credential from the Society of Wine Educators. Geoff later served on the Society’s board of directors and was chairman of the annual conference held in Sonoma. In 2006, Geoff was one of two Americans to pass the rigorous Master of Wine examination. Currently there are only 32 Masters of Wine in the United States.
Puri Mancebo is originally from Valladolid in Spain, main town in the Ribera del Duero wine region. Her link to wine was originally a hobby, visiting wineries while studying abroad and tasting wines with friends. Her first job in the wine business was as an export manager in the group Tokaj Oremus in Hungary. Puri lived in Hungary for a year helping with the exports in Europe. Next she joined the team in Spain and became export Manager at Vega Sicilia, which is where she currently resides.
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Juan Mercado grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and was introduced to wine while studying at St. Mary’s College. In 1999, just four years after graduating, he decided to move to Napa Valley to pursue his passion. In 2002, Juan founded Realm Cellars with the singular goal of producing hand-crafted wines of superior quality from the finest vineyards in Napa Valley. Together with Winemaker Benoit Touquette and Consulting Oenologist Michel Rolland, Realm is guided today by the same fundamental virtues from more than a decade ago. This is only the beginning of Realm's journey, and the best is yet to come.
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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.
Carissa Mondavi plays a key role in the Communications and Hospitality at Continuum. She has worked in the vineyards, in the cellar, and as a Senior Wine Educator, and just prior to Continuum, in the Cultural Affairs Department at Robert Mondavi Winery.
Keen on liberating people's experience with wine, she is thrilled to be sharing her family story with others and contributing to the realization of her father's vision. In her free time Carissa enjoys music composition, yoga, hiking, cooking, and dreaming of travel yet to come.
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.
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.
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.
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Rui Ribeiro has always had a love for wine but his interests became more serious when he received his degree in Agronomics at Vila Real University in the Douro. Once filled with knowledge Rui was ready to put his skills to work and started as a winemaker and harvest trainee in 2000. With a passion for nature and viticulture Rui quickly fell in love with the Douro Valley. He was captivated by the impressive beauty of the terraces and the surrounding atmosphere of the Douro. Working as a winemaker for a decade helped solidify his career goals to educate the world about the wines of the Douro Valley for which he has a great passion. When the opportunity arose to travel outside of Portugal for the Symingtons and educate the US market, Rui leapt at the chance.
Rui is the United States Brand Ambassador at Symington Family Estates. He is working under Rupert Symington’s leadership. He frequently visits the US market supporting importers and distributors and provides education and training on all aspects of viticulture in the Douro Valley.
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.
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Born in 1980, Thomas Schlumberger grew up in Guebwiller (Alsace, France) surrounded by the family vineyard, in an environment rich of History and traditions.
Finishing his BA in Business Administration and Chemistry in Charleston, SC (USA), he came back to France and worked in the Perfume Industry.
Part of the 7th generation, Thomas recently joined his uncle Alain and sister Severine to look after their exceptional estate. For 3 years, he has been working as the Export Director of Domaines Schlumberger.
In 1984, Jean Trimbach spent nine months in the United States studying all aspects of the U.S. wine business, first working for six months with his importer, Seagram Chateau & Estate Wines Company in New York, then a three month stint in California working the crush at Gundlach-Bundschu in Sonoma and at Sterling Vineyards in Napa. On his return to France, Jean spent three months at Chateau Mouton Rothschild in Bordeaux.
Jean Trimbach joined the Trimbach company in 1985 and since that date he has been involved in the export business travelling extensively throughout the world.
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.
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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.
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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.
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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!
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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…).
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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.
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.
Andrew Will Winery was started in 1989 by Chris Camarda. The winery is named for his son Will and nephew Andrew. As Chris developed his style of winemaking over the years, he chose to focus on the primacy of the vineyard over variety. He has been in the forefront among Washington vintners to make single estate blends; each wine a different makeup of the Bordeaux varietals. He has been named as one of the 50 Most Influential Winemakers in the World by Wine & Spirits Magazine.
For three generations, wine has been a part of Yves Cuilleron’s family history. His grandfather established Cave Yves Cuilleron in 1920 - by 1947, the wine was being sold bottles. In 1960, Yves uncle became the estate manager. In 1987, Yves took over the company. Since then a new cellar has been built, and a major extension programme has taken place. Everything has been redesigned – the buildings for vinification, maturating, storage and reception. "Without a rigorous approach, passion is not enough. And so I wanted to control everything… That’s the price you pay for quality."
Roberto Damonte is the principal winemaker of the Azienda Agricola Malvirà. Known for its award-winning nebbiolos and arneis, Malvirà is the preeminent winery of the Roero winemaking zone in Piedmont, Italy. Roberto inherited the winery—along with his passion for winemaking—from his father, Giuseppe Damonte, who began producing wine under the Malvirà label in the 1950s.
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.
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Chris Demetre is half of the team for Nicolette Christopher Cellars. Chris was working in biotech production management when family ties in Napa first exposed him to wine. His passion for winemaking grew as he took courses at Napa Valley College and U.C. Davis. He became Lab Director for Cecchetti Sebastiani Winery and helped set up their new winemaking facility before becoming winemaker for the Napa Sonoma Vineyard Group in 2003. In addition to working with Nicolette Christopher, Chris is currently winemaker for Orentano Russian River Pinot Noir.
Paul Draper grew up on an eighty-acre farm near the Chicago suburb of Barrington. In the mid-sixties, having studied traditional winemaking practices in both Italy and France, he set up a small winery in the coast range of Chile and produced several vintages of old vine cabernet sauvignon. Draper joined Ridge Vineyards in 1969 and is known for the fine cabernets and chardonnays of the Monte Bello estate vineyards. He is recognized as a pioneer in the production of long-lived, complex zinfandels, in particular those from the Geyserville and Lytton Springs vineyards.
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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.
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Domaine du Pégau was created in 1987 when Laurence was back from her first step of Oenology School and second step of Trading Wine and Spirits School in Paris. Laurence and her father, Paul Féraud, decided it was time to leave Paul’s parent’s winery to build one of their own, and to develop their brand Pégau. Together they were able to produce the same traditional Châteauneuf du Pape style of the Féraud family.
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Flanagan wines started in 1999. Planting began in 2001 and included Cabernet, Merlot, and Syrah. In 2011, Flanagan acquired the 29 acre 3 Starrs Vineyard in the heart of the Russian River Valley, producing ripe, balanced Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that are classic Russian River Valley wines. Flanagan is becoming known for stunning Syrah and elegant, site-driven expressions of Bordeaux varietals.
Eric, Kit and their 3 daughters (Riley, Lola, and Ruby) make their home at the 3 Starrs Vineyard along with 3 dogs, 4 ducks, 6 Dwarf Nigerian goats, 2 geese, and 1 mule (also named Ruby).
Deborah Hansen, winemaker and owner of Cougar Crest Estate Winery, was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. A graduate of Washington State University, Deborah spent the first 20 years of her career as a pharmacist, practicing in the San Francisco area of California and in Walla Walla, Washington. A career change 15 years ago led Deborah to assume the role of winemaker at Cougar Crest Estate Winery. With 125 acres of farm land in the Walla Walla Valley, and 60 acres of it in vineyard, the transition to winemaking was a natural progression. She and husband, David Hansen, had been raising commercial apple orchards since 1980. Vineyards and winemaking began in 1996, and progressed to commercial winemaking in 2001 with their first vintage of estate wine. The Hansens believe that estate grown fruit and controlling the entire winemaking process including bottling, is the best way to guarantee the quality and consistency of each vintage.
Bernard Hervet, CEO of Domaine FAIVELEY since 2007, was formerly the CEO of Bouchard Père et Fils and of William Fèvre in Chablis.
Located in the heart of Burgundy in Nuits-Saint-Georges since 1825, Domaine Faiveley owns more than 120 hectares of vines on exceptional terroirs including 10 Grands Crus and 21 Premiers Crus in the Côte de Nuits, Côte de Beaune and Côte Chalonnaise.
Alongside Erwan Faiveley, the seventh generation of the family to manage the domain, and Bernard has renewed and strengthened the team, started an investment program, and developed new methods of vinification and aging.
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.
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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.
A devout follower of the LA Dodgers and audiophile with a particular passion for the Beach Boys and the Kinks, Bob’s path through the wine world of Southern and Central California began in the ’70’s with stints in Gilroy, Ventura County and finally Santa Barbara County with Zaca Mesa where he met his winemaking mentor and future business partner, Jim Clendenen (Au Bon Climat). Bob’s first vintage was 1982. In 1989 Bob joined with his old friend Jim Clendenen to build a winery facility of their own on the Bien Nacido Vineyard, where the wines are still made today.
Located in the pastoral heart of Nantucket, Nantucket Vineyard was established in 1981 by Dean and Melissa Long. More than three decades later Nantucket Vineyard is riding a surge in quality like never before. Dean came to the island from New Jersey in 1975, and started farming his land out towards Cisco Beach. In 1981 he started the winery. Combining old world techniques with state of the art technology and a growing wine team, Dean now sources all his fruit from Washington State’s oldest and largest wine appellation – the Yakima Valley. A truly unique process and story, the grapes are shipped in a refrigerated truck to Nantucket Island, and Dean and his team take care of the rest - sorting, crushing, fermenting, blending, aging and bottling at Nantucket Vineyard. No longer restricted by the island’s geography and climate to grow grapes, Dean’s selections some delicious traditional wines, as well as a few you won’t find anywhere else.
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.
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After almost 10 years in Argentina, where Manuel Louzada had the opportunity to elaborate high quality sparkling and still wines for Bodegas Chandon, he was offered a new challenge within Estates & Wines: Manuel has been involved in the 2008 harvest at Bodega Numanthia in the heart of the Toro region and he fully took over the management of the winery in May 2009.
Today, within Estates & Wines, Manuel coordinates the global transversal environmental policy. Throughout the last three years he has been responsible for the wine quality standards of their different wineries around the world.
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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.
Peter and Diana Merriam are the owners of Merriam Vineyards.
Peter's knowledge of wine and his many years of experience as a successful wine retailer in Massachusetts made owning a vineyard and making wine under the Merriam label the next logical step in a long relationship with grapes and wine. Peter works very closely with the Merriam Vineyards winemaker and vineyard manager to maintain the quality that has come to be expected from the Merriam Vineyards grapes and award-winning wines.
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.
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.
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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.
Nicki Pruss dove into the world of wine in 1998 as an intern at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars; in 2005 she was named Winemaker. For over a decade Nicki was responsible for crafting the three highly regarded Estate wines: CASK23, S.L.V., FAY; the ARTEMIS Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and the white wine portfolio.
In 2013, after fifteen harvests at SLWC, Nicki left to nurture her own Napa Valley brand, Nicolette Christopher. With her partner, Christopher Demetre, they continue on in the classic tradition to craft wines with balance, elegance and restraint.
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.
Jay spent 11 years making J. Christopher at the Holloran facility in the Willamette Valley before he joined the Dr. Loosen winery in Germany’s Mosel Valley. After many years and many bottles of wine, Jay and Ernst Loosen decided to began making a collaborative Oregon Pinot called Appassionata. In 2010, they formalized their partnership, bought a 40-acre property on Chehalem Mountain in Newberg, Oregon, and began building a new J. Christopher winery. Today, Jay continues as the winemaker for the partnership, while Ernie provides Old World expertise and financial support.
In 1988, François Villard started his professional training at the agricultural college in Davaye (Burgundy). He planted his first vines in 1989. From there he set up his own business and harvest in Chayanay Village, building his winery in Saint Michel sur Rhône.
His first production was made up of 400 bottles of Condrieu. He now makes over 225,000 bottles a year.
His next project is an extension of the HIW Winery and wine production of Crozes.
Entrepreneurs, Oklahoma natives, and husband and wife team of 24 years, Casidy Ward and Lynn Hofacket purchased an abandoned hunting club on a remote, Mayacamas mountain property in 1991. Beginning in 1997, Lynn and his crew transformed the ranch into a rugged 60 acre Cabernet Sauvignon Vineyard in his "ultimate sweat equity project", handling everything from clearing the land to building the reservoir to laying out the terraces . The winemaking goal continues to be to showcase the vineyard and the special place these grapes grow . The wines are called "55% Slope" and "Impassable Mountain" to emphasize the ruggedness of this remote Sonoma County location.