Melissa Boardman is an award-winning sommelier and wine educator from Albany, New York. She broke into the industry in 2001, rising through the ranks at one of New York’s oldest and foremost wine retailers, Morrell & Company. She moved to Florida in 2007 where she introduced the state to the breadth of the Angels’ share portfolio, opening nearly 200 accounts in 2 years.
Despite her success in wholesale, her fondness for the restaurant industry led her to join the sommelier team at San Francisco’s Spruce, a Michelin star restaurant with a wine list bearing over 3,000 selections. During her time there, Spruce rose from a One-Glass Award to a Three-Glass Grand Award, making Spruce one out of a sheer 100 restaurants in the world to hold this prestigious title.
After 7 years at Spruce, she was recruited to run the wine program at Virginia’s historic Keswick Hall, a Forbes five-star property. Melissa currently lends her talents to Fleurie restaurant in Charlottesville, VA as their Wine Director. Her wine list, which puts a strong emphasis on showcasing local, French, and natural wines, has been recognized with the Best of Excellence - Two Glass Award by The Wine Spectator in 2017, 2018, and 2019. Last year, Wine Enthusiast magazine name Fleurie “Top 100 Wine Restaurants in America.”
Gerald “Jerry” is a member of the American Wine Society where he received his Wine Judge Certificationin 2019. He has been interested in wine since 1970 when he started making wine. He has since workedwith local wineries where he has helped during harvest, bottling and at many wine festivals aroundVirginia. He started judging wine in 2017 when he participated as a student judge at the Indy InternationalWine Competition and the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition. He has worked at the Virginia Governor’sCup Final Competition in the back room for the last 6 plus years. He has taken wine tours in Germany,Spain, Portugal, Italy, Canada, and areas throughout the US. Jerry lives in King George, Virginia with hiswife.
Richard Leahy is a wine professional based in Charlottesville, Virginia and coordinates the conferenceprogram for the Eastern Winery Exposition, the largest wine industry trade show east of the Rockies. Hehas been writing about wines of Virginia and the East since 1986, and in May 2012 his book BeyondJefferson’s Vines, the definitive book on Virginia wine, was published to high praise from reviewers and isnow available on Amazon.com in a revised second edition. Richard is a member of the American WineSociety and the Circle of Wine Writers, and also has a website and blog focused on wines of the East atwww.richardleahy.com/blog. He was the keynote speaker at the 25th anniversary of Gray GhostVineyards in 7/19, and has presented seminars on “Virginia Wines: 400 Years Young and World Class” atthe Society of Wine Educators (8/19) and the American Wine Society (11/17 and 11/16).
A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and a hospitality professional, Ray is a long-standingmember and supporter of the Society of Wine Educators and the Wine Scholar Guild. Ray holds theaccreditations of Certified Wine Educator, French Wine Scholar, Italian Wine Scholar, Spanish WineScholar, and WSET Diploma in Wines & Spirits. He has judged international and regional winecompetitions including the Dallas Morning News International Wine Competition, the Sonoma CountyFair, and the Virginia Governors Cup. Ray has a passion for expanding and sharing his wine knowledgeand has participated in many other study programs, leading to the additional accreditations of CertifiedSommelier, Certified Specialist of Spirits, Certified Specialist of Sherry, Certified Burgundy Educator,Certified Bordeaux Educator, and Napa Wine Educator. Currently, Ray works as a wine educator,conducting individual classes, specialize courses, private events and wine promotions.
Deborah Parker Wong, DWSET is Global Wine Editor for SOMM Journal and The Tasting magazines andwas appointed Senior Editor, California for the Slow Food Slow Wine Guide in 2018. She teaches as anadjunct professor in the Wine Studies departments at Santa Rosa Junior College, Napa Valley Collegeand Cabrillo College and owns a private Wine & Spirit Education Trust school offering Level 2 and Level 3certifications. In addition to writing and speaking about wine, Deborah consults to producer groups,judges wine competitions and scores wine for Planet Grape Wine Review. Her motto is: To learn, read.To know, write. To master, teach.
Bartholomew Broadbent is the owner of Broadbent Selections, which was nominated by Wine Enthusiastfor Importer of the Year in 2019. In June 1997, Decanter magazine named Bartholomew one of the “fiftymost influential in the wine world…the faces to watch in the new millennium”. Bartholomew moved toAmerica in 1986 to start a Port importing company, Premium Port Wines, for leading the Symingtonfamily, spending the next ten years educating Americans on Port and Madeira. In 1988, Bartholomew wasresponsible for reintroducing Madeira to the US, where it had faced extinction during and sinceProhibition. He has “expanded from his pivotal role in the breathtaking growth of Port and Madeira toexert a profound influence on the US wine market” says Decanter. Profiled by Wine Spectator ,Market Watch “The Pioneer of Port” , American Fine Wine Magazine  and Forbes.com, son of Michael Broadbent MW, Bartholomew was also named by Wine & Spirits  as one often in the world to be “driving the most revolutionary changes in wine”.
Bartholomew founded Broadbent Selections in 1996 and today, among the 39 wineries he represents,Broadbent is especially known for importing the finest of the finest wines from South Africa, Lebanon,New Zealand and Portugal. Bartholomew has been a wine speaker for most of the major cruise lines andwine festivals. He lives in Richmond, Virginia and has a very strong passion for Virginia's wineries.
Dave McIntyre has been The Washington Post's weekly wine columnist since October 2008, and hiscolumn is syndicated around the world. His writings have also appeared in Wine Enthusiast, the SanFrancisco Chronicle, Sommelier Journal, Washingtonian and other publications. He contributed chapterson Virginia and Maryland to Lonely Planet's "Wine Trails United States & Canada”(2018) and the 8thedition of the World Atlas of Wine, by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson (2019). He also contributedentries on wines of the Eastern United States to several annual editions of Oz Clarke's Pocket Guide toWine.
Meininger's Wine Business International magazine listed Dave as one of the most influential wine writersin the United States in its July 2012 issue. In August 2013, he achieved the Certified Sommelier rank inthe Court of Master Sommeliers. Dave started his award-winning blog, Dave McIntyre's WineLine, as anemail newsletter in 1999. He was co-creator of Drink Local Wine, an organization that highlighted thegrowth of local wine industries around the United States. He was honored by the Atlantic Seaboard WineAssociation in 2010 with its Wine Grape Productivity Tray and in 2014 with its Monteith Trophy for hissupport of the regional wine industry. Dave has participated in and moderated wine presentations for theSmithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History and the Smithsonian Associates program.His charitable work supports the American Heart Association.
A business economist, author, and retired AF colonel with advanced degrees from and teachingexperience at FSU and Harvard with a long-time love of wines during his careers in the private and publicsectors.
He has judged and worked with the Virginia Governor's wine competition the past nine years, hasmoderated panels for the Eastern Winery Exposition, and is a senior wine and spirits instructor at theCapital Wine School and for Adventure Wine. He holds the Diploma in Wine and Spirits (DWS) from theWine and Spirits Education Trust and is an Associate Member of the Institute of Wines & Spirits (AIWS).In addition to the WSET Diploma, he has teaching certifications in wine and spirits from the Society ofWine Educators, Italian Wine Central (Italian Wine Professional), Burgundy and Provence. He is also aBNIC-Accredited Cognac Educator who presents at Cognac Day for Cognac's US sister city near Miamiand conducts Master-level Cognac seminars at institutions such as the Miami Culinary Institute, as wellas a certified instructor for the French Wine Scholar and Spanish Wine Scholar programs of the WineScholar Guild. He is a co-founder of Spanish-American Wine Merchants, served on the board of SpiritsAcquisitions, an incubator company for developing emerging wine and spirits brands, including ClydeMay's whiskey, and now a board member for vodka start-up Monkey in Paradise. He works withmarketing and strategic business issues in the wine and spirits industry, and he instructs and lectures onwine topics in a variety of venues.
Matt Perrella is a Wine Sales Representative with Winebow and a WSET (Wine and Spirits EducationTrust) Certified Instructor at the Capital Wine School in Washington, DC. In addition, Matt has experiencein multiple aspects of the industry, including fine wine retail and working harvests in Oregon andWashington State. Matt is in the Masters of Wine Study program.
Just some of the roles Steven Spurrier has taken on and excelled at over his wine career have been those of critic, journalist, buyer, entrepreneur, wine guide, vintner, visionary, mentor, restaurateur, author,educator, judge, communicator and consultant. All of this is recorded in his memoirs “Wine, a Way of Life”published in 2018. After school at Rugby and university at the London School of Economics, he joinedChristopher's in St James's in 1964, then the poshest of London carriage-trade merchants. Soonafterwards he did the Grand Tour of Europe's vineyards. He worked a vintage in Burgundy and spentanother six months in Bordeaux, the Rhône, Alsace, Champagne, Germany and Spain. It was in the1970s that Spurrier first came to fame as a wine merchant in Paris, with his store Les Caves de laMadeleine. Later he would start the first consumer wine school of its kind, L'Académie du Vin. He iscurrently the President of the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and was named 2017 DecanterMan of the Year. In 2019, having revived the Academie du Vin name, he co-founded with colleagues TheAcademie du Vin Library, a venture intending to bring back the “literature” of wine, the first of four bookspublished that year being the Commemorative Edition of Michael Broadbent’s seminal Wine Tasting.
Maria E. Denton, CSS CSW CWE, is the Beverage Director for the two highest-grossing restaurants in Washington, DC--Old Ebbitt Grill and The Hamilton. She brings over 25 years of experience to this role, having started her wines and spirits career in the restaurant industry, working her way from server to General Manager along the way. Maria has also worked in the beverage wholesale business, as a wines and spirits instructor, and as a lead sommelier for several international wine events. Always an advocate of wines and spirits education, Maria is a mentor to several DC-area sommeliers, and she served on the Society of Wine Educators Board of Directors from 2008 to 2014.
David is the only American faculty member of the Wine Academy of Spain in Madrid and is a sommelier at Charlie Palmer Steak in Washington, DC. He holds all three certifications from the Society of Wine Educators–the Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW), the Certified Specialist of Spirits (CSS), and the Certified Wine Educator (CWE), and holds the Official Sherry Educator title from the Consejo Regulador of Sherry. In addition, David has passed the Advanced Sommelier exam held by the Court of Master Sommeliers and is a Certified Bordeaux Educator through the L'Ecole du Vin Bordeaux. He is the head sommelier for many prestigious events including Robert Parker's master tasting in Logrono, Spain; Staglin Family Vineyards' annual Music Festival in Napa Valley; the Society of Wine Educators' annual conferences in Monterey, CA, Washington, DC, New Orleans, LA, and Sacramento, CA; and the Vinoble Fortified and Dessert Wine Festival in Jerez, Spain; among others. He resides in Arlington, VA, with his wife Maria.
Molly Finnegan joined Ole Imports as Mid-Atlantic Key Account Manager in January of 2018. Molly came to Ole from MundoVino, a member of The Winebow Group, where she worked for more than thirteen years. As MundoVino's U.S. Iberian Portfolio Sales Manager, she was responsible for building 29 brands with 225 SKUs. For the past three years, she has overseen the U.S. market working with integrated and external distributor networks, producers and public relations functions to ensure sales goals are obtained. Earlier, while serving as a sales rep in Washington, D.C. for Winebow, Molly was named the organization's Sales Person of Year three times.
Prior to moving to Washington, Molly resided in Northern California where she spent three years at Stag's Leap Wine Cellars in Napa as assistant manager for its visitor center. In this role, she managed and trained visitor center representatives to share the winery's history, provide first-class accommodation, identify customer's ideal wine, and give a comprehensive explanation of the winemaking process. Following her time at Stag's Leap, she made to transition to sales at Alexia Moore Wine Marketing, where she brokered several California and New Zealand Properties. Before moving to Napa, Molly began her career in the wine industry at Jefferson Vineyards in Charlottesville, VA.
Molly attained first level certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers, earned the Wine & Spirits Education Trust Advanced Certificate, and received Certification as a Specialist of Wine from the Society of Wine Educators. She earned a B.A. in English from the University of Virginia and an A.S. in Wine Sales and Marketing from Napa Valley College. A native of Baltimore, Molly lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband, Chris, and 2 year-old son, Charlie.
Michael Franz is a wine writer, educator and consultant. He is editor of Wine Review Online as well as Sommelier magazine. Franz worked as the regular wine columnist for The Washington Post from 1994 through 2005 before leaving to help found Wine Review Online. Franz tastes approximately 9,000 wines each year and regularly judges wine competitions around the world.
Gus Kalaris is the founder and owner of Constantine Wines, Inc a thirty year old wine distribution and import company that has enjoyed a great reputation for premium offerings. Gus is responsible for all purchasing, sales and marketing. Under his leadership, Constantine Wines has enjoyed decades of uninterrupted growth. Kalaris also has extensive experience building wine brands that compete in all ranges. Prior to starting Constantine, he held consulting positions with Mar-Salle Imports and Washington Wholesalers. Gus is a very outgoing and seasoned professional. In addition to his ownership responsibilities at Constantine, Kalaris founded AXIOS, super premium Napa Valley wine brand in 1999 to much acclaim. The success of Axios has spawned the WORTHY, TRUTH, and KALARIS FAMILY brands. Gus, a Greek American, born in Washington, DC is fluent in the Greek language and dedicated to his heritage. Kalaris has received numerous awards and national recognition for his charitable endeavors and serves on many charitable and philanthropic boards including Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Cal Ripken Sr Foundation. His proudest achievement is the raising of his family. He, his wife and their two children reside in Maryland.
Marguerite Thomas is an award-winning photo-journalist specializing in wine, food and travel. She has two books about wines of the Eastern US: “Wineries of the Eastern States” and “Visiting East Coast Wineries” (both published by Berkshire House, now Countryman Press). She writes a column plus weekly wine reviews at www.winereviewonline.com, where she is also co-writer of Wine With, a food and wine pairing feature. For the past 15 years she has been an annual contributor to Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book (the world’s best selling wine guide) covering the eastern United States section of the book.
She was for ten years a columnist at Vineyard & Winery Management Magazine, until the magazine folded in 2017. As travel editor at The Wine News for almost twenty years she contributed monthly feature articles, and she wrote a monthly column about food and wine for the Los Angeles Times International Syndication. Her work has appeared in scores of publications, including Decanter, Sommelier Journal, Time Out New York, Wine Enthusiast, Wine & Spirits, National Geographic Traveler, and Garden Design. She frequently serves as a judge in national and international wine competitions. She teaches wine tasting and education classes, and has been a speaker and panelist at various universities and conferences.
She lives in Baltimore, Maryland.
Caroline Hermann is a highly respected wine lecturer, having taught wine industry professionals since 2010 at the Capital Wine School in Washington DC. She has worked in many aspects of the industry, including wineries and retail sales, as well as wine law and regulations. She has studied viticulture, winemaking, and tasting analysis at the University of Bordeaux and Plumpton College, and is a recipient of the AXA Millesimes Scholarship. Caroline holds a Diploma from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust, and is DC's 2nd Master of Wine.
Douglas Zerbst is the Director of Fine Wine for Republic National Distributing Co. of Virginia. He has many years of experience in restaurants, kitchens and hotels as a chef, food and beverage manager and sommelier.
Vanessa Moore is an entrepreneur originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana relocated to NorthernVirginia in 1999 after completing undergraduate studies at Louisiana State University. Today,she is the sole owner of two Alexandria based wine stores and a soon to open wine and craftbeer bar south of Old Town. Established and rebranded in 2004, Unwined has been recognizedby Eric Asimov as a New York Times top "Pick for your Local Wine Shop." Vanessa holdscertifications with the Court of Master Sommeliers and Italian Wine Central and previouslyserved as a judge for several Virginia wine competitions including the Governor's and MonticelloCups. Her passion for educating and caring for people through the enjoyment of wine issupported by her husband of 15 years and their three four-legged children.