Lisa has been active in the wine trade for fifteen years as the the owner and operator of Casey Jones Restaurant & Bar, a second generation family-owned, neighborhood restaurant located in Southern Maryland. Lisa, a diploma candidate with the WSET and Certified Specialist of Wine with the Society of Wine Educators, has been passionately pursuing knowledge of wine through education, travel and photography for a decade. As the creator of Finally Wine in 2009, a collection of family-owned wines, Lisa sought out and brought together great small producers such as Cooper Mountain Winery, Small Vines, Adrian Fog & Giornata, introducing them to the Washington, DC area.
Alex G Bardsley CSW AIWS is presently Sommelier at L'Auberge Chez François in Great Falls, Virginia. While spending much of the last 29 years in hospitality, Alex earned diplomas from the International Sommelier Guild and the Wine & Spirits Education Trust, as well as an MA in Southeast Asian Studies from Cornell University. He has published articles and translations on subjects ranging from Indonesian literature and politics to ethnic Chinese business in Southeast Asia. While pursuing his studies, Alex worked at such restaurants as Maloney & Porcelli, the Oceanaire Seafood Room, New Heights, and Le Zinc, where he served as Wine Director. He has also taught Food and Beverage Operations and Dining Room Operations in the Culinary Arts program at the Art Institute of Washington.
Alexis is a Certified Sommelier, with an in-depth background in all facets of wine and the wine market. She acquired her knowledge and appreciation in the wine industry over the last ten years and is now currently going for her Advanced Sommelier exam. Through the years she has worked her way up to managing the Western Region for ten different wineries from around the world and now has a distribution company in Hong Kong that is expanding across Asia. She is a Certified Sommelier with broad experience in sales, management, brand building, wine education, wine market trends, and immense wine knowledge.
Jeni Bonorino has been in the wine business for over 15 years with a focus on international wine sourcing and selection for companies such as Total Wine, Vino Volo and Liquor Stores N.A. (North America's largest publicly traded liquor retailer). Jeni earned her MBA from Bond University in Australia with a focus in International Wine Marketing from the University of Adelaide. She has written wine numerous articles for international publications as well as taught wine education classes in the United and Brazil. Jeni is currently enrolled in the WSET Diploma program.
Bartholomew Broadbent is the owner of Broadbent Selections, one of America’s finest wine importing and national wine distribution companies. He produces Broadbent Vinho Verde, Port and Madeira. He is ranked 48th on IntoWine’s list of the “Top 100 Most Influential People in the U.S. Wine Industry". In June 1997, Decanter magazine named Bartholomew one of the “fifty most influential in the wine world…the faces to watch in the new millennium”. Bartholomew moved to America in 1985 to start a Port importing company for leading Port brands, spending the next ten years educating Americans on Port and Madeira. In 1988, Bartholomew was responsible for reintroducing Madeira to the US, which had faced extinction during and since Prohibition. He has expanded from his pivotal role in the breathtaking growth of Port and Madeira to “exert 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 of ten in the world to be “driving the most revolutionary changes in wine”. Bartholomew founded Broadbent Selections in 1996 to continue promoting Port and Madeira 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 and wine festivals. He lives in Richmond, Virginia and has a very strong passion for Virginia’s wineries. Bartholomew can be followed on Twitter, Facebook and at www.broadbent.com
Matthew Carroll came into the wine industry by way of the classroom. As a teacher and counselor, Carroll honed skills that serve him well as a sommelier. He has lent his talents to such venues as The Inn at Little Washington, 2941 Restaurant and Rogue 24. He now parlays his skills and experience into working with European Cellars, one of the premier import companies of Spanish and French wines. Matthew works incredibly hard to demystify wine and teach both guests and staffs with his contagious passion for drink. He is currently working toward his Master Sommelier certification.
Michael Cavanagh began his relationship with wine working in fine dining restaurants before managing a tasting room for a mid-size winery on the east coast. He currently is CEO of Cavanagh Family Imports, a wine importing and distribution company based in Baltimore. Michael is also a published wine writer and his work has been featured in Wine Enthusiast, Centurion Magazine, Departures Magazine, The Cultureist, Palate Press, and others. He has also collaborated with the wine education site Corkquiz.com and contributed to books about wineries and restaurants in Australia. Michael is a Certified Specialist of Wine through the Society of Wine Educators
Hayley R. Curry is a Stage Two Master of Wine Student. She earned her Wine & Spirit Education Trust Diploma in 2015 and is a French Wine Scholar and Certified Specialist of Wine. She first became interested in wine while attending law school at the University of Pennsylvania. By day, she is a lawyer in the Office of the Army General Counsel at the Pentagon.
Bill Curtis is one of the most experienced wine tasters in the industry, with a career that started in the late 60s. In 1981, Curtis started the Wine Club of Charlottesville which has met continuously for more than 30 years. He has judged at numerous wine competitions, and tastes nearly 100 wines each week for his wine program.
Julie Dalton discovered her passion for wine while waiting tables in college at Texas A&M University. While holding a full-time career in the Biotech industry, she nurtured this passion for twelve years to the point of completing her Sommelier Certifications up through the Advanced Level through the Court of Master Sommeliers. Prior to opening Wit & Wisdom in 2011, she was a moonlighting sommelier at Volt in Frederick, Maryland as well as Ranazul Tapas & Wine Bistro in Fulton, Maryland. Despite her east coast roots, she gets back to Texas at least once a year to help run TexSom and was on the inaugural sommelier panel to write for the award winning wines of the TexSom International Wine Awards.
In addition to wearing the Advanced pin, she is a Certified Wine Educator through the Society of Wine Educators and is in the process of completing her Diploma in Wine and Spirits through the Wine and Spirits Education Trust. Julie has represented the Mid-Atlantic Sommelier community for several competitions including the Chaîne de Rôtisseurs Young Sommelier in 2010, the ICC StarChefs SommSlam in 2012 and 2013, the Guild of Sommeliers’ Ruinart Challenge in 2012, and the Wines of Chile competition in 2013.
George C. Davis graduated with a degree in Business Administration in 1975, and immediately put that degree to work as the Manager of Fine Wine and Gourmet at Bacchus & Bread in Richmond VA. Davis has been the Senior Judge for the Virginia State Fair Wine Competition since 1999. George C. Davis is a Certified Wine Specialist from the Society of Wine Educators.
Maria E. Denton is an educator, restaurateur and consultant working in the Washington, DC area. She has been on the board of the Society of Wine Educators since 2008 and is a Certified Wine Educator with the SWE, a Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers and a Spanish Wine Educator with the Wine Academy of Spain
Jeff Dixon is a sales manager for Virginia Imports, a locally-owned wine wholesaler, where he has worked for the last six years. He began his wine journey working for several Virginia wineries while completing his studies at the University of Virginia. He is a WSET Diploma graduate and a Certified Wine Educator.
Barbara Ensrud is a frequent speaker on the subject of wine, including its role in culture, history, myth and symbol. She conducts wine tastings and wine seminars for corporations, conferences and private gatherings. She also consults for restaurants in creating or upgrading wine lists, and with individuals interested in collecting wine or starting a wine cellar.
Michael Franz is a wine writer, educator and consultant. He is editor of Wine Review Online and a freelance contributor to many national and international wine magazines. 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.
Since 1986, David has performed many roles in the alcohol beverage industry--lecturer and teacher to both pros and amateurs, consultant to numerous wine regions, event manager and host, retail buyer, sommelier and restaurant manager, wine/spirits/beer writer/author/judge. He’s an Advanced Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers and a Certified Wine Educator with the Society of Wine Educators, expanding his knowledge of viticulture and vinification by working at five wineries in Germany 1997-2002. He’s led wine education classes at the University of Chicago and, while living 2002-2009 in England, lectured at Oxford and Cambridge universities. He developed and executed the Origins of Wine Civilization event in 2016 at the San Francisco Wine School with plans to replicate at DC’s Smithsonian Associates it 2017.
David Hale has been working in the restaurant/wine industry since he was 16. Most recently he spent 6.5 years working for acclaimed Chef Michel Richard in Washington, DC-first as sommelier at Chef Richard's 4-star flagship restaurant, Citronelle, and later as GM/Wine Director of Richard's award-winning Penn Quarter Bistro, Central Michel Richard. He currently represents wines from France, Spain, and Portugal as Brand Ambassador for Vinifrance Imports and Vin de Terra Imports.
Jessica Helfand is an Economist by training who has spent the last seven years exploring her love of wine. She is the proprietress of the popular wine blog Bottle Babble and works at the Nashville boutique Grand Cru Fine Wines and Spirits. Jess holds the titles of WSET Diploma, Certified Specialist of Wine, Certified Specialist of Spirits, and Italian Wine Professional. Jess lives in Nashville, TN with her husband and two cats.
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. 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 in the final stage of completing the Master of Wine certification.
Shields Hood has spent over 40 years in the world of wine and spirits. He is a Certified Wine Specialist as well as a Certified Wine Educator. He has worked in almost every aspect of the industry, from retail stores to managing a distributor. He's also a highly respected educator and does seminars and trainings for large companies around the country. In addition to being a former President of the Society of Wine Educators, Shields is currently the General Manager of the SWE. His areas of expertise include California and Bordeaux.
Andrew Howells was born in New Jersey and moved to Los Angeles for high school. He fled the endless freeways of LA for the pine forest of Maine and graduated cum laude from Bowdoin College in 2000, with an A.B. in Government and Legal Studies and a minor in French. While living in France during college, he first experienced the powerful connections between food and place white eating fresh oysters paired with a simple muscadet. In 2004, he entered the hospitality industry, serving as General Manager and Beverage Director for a five unit restaurant group. In 2009, he earned the first of two sommelier certifications, passing the difficult multi-day examination of the International Sommelier Guild. He has since earned a number of additional credentials, including Certified Sommelier from the Court of Master Sommeliers, Certified Specialist of Wine and Certified Specialist of Spirits from the Society of Wine Educators. He is currently pursuing a Diploma Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust.
He and his wife and two daughters live in Washington, D.C.
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.
For 35 years, Don Kinnan has been active in the fine wine trade. Kinnan discovered his passion for wine during his US military service. He has traveled frequently to the wine regions of Europe, South America, New Zealand and California. Upon retirement from the US Army 1983 to pursue his passion in wine, Kinnan became wine manager of a Washington DC fine wine shop. Two years later, he was hired as a field sales manager by a leading wine importer whose ownership included Maison Louis Jadot in Burgundy. This began a 26 year career in sales management and as director of education for the importer.
Kinnan’s passion for wine is evidenced by his involvement in numerous professional organizations. He has been cited by the U. S. Government for his role as founder of the Society for American Wines in Canada. He founded and acted as President of the Decanter Club in Washington, DC, and frequently presents to groups such as the Society of Wine Educators, where he holds that organization’s highest credential, CWE (Certified Wine Educator). He is also a member of the society’s board of directors.
In 2012, Kinnan organized the curriculum and was the lead instructor in the French Wine Society’s Master Burgundy Certificate program, a role he continues today. In 2015, Kinnan chaired the successful organization and conduct of the inaugural Loudoun County Wine Awards Program. Kinnan received his undergraduate degree from Penn State University and his masters from Johns Hopkins.
Brent Kroll is the wine director for the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, which includes nine distinctive chef- driven restaurants, a bakery, a butcher shop and a retail wine shop. As wine director, Brent oversees the wine programs at each of the group’s concepts, leads sta training, and creates unique beverage programming & events.
Kroll’s new role also includes assisting in the creation of compelling and distinctive beverage programs for forth- coming restaurants such as Red Apron and Iron Gate. Those familiar with Kroll and his approachable, sophisti- cated style and incredible passion & knowledge of wine, will recognize his influence at each of the Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s restaurants both in the wine lists and on the dining room floor.
Kroll brings a wealth of knowledge and restaurant experi- ence to his current position. Before coming on the scene in D.C., Kroll worked with Michael Mina Group at Saltwater at the MGM Grand in Detroit, the Fairmont Turnberry Country Club in Miami, and Casa Tua in South Beach. Kroll arrived in the nation’s capital in 2008 and quickly made a name for himself with renowned restaurateur Ashok Bajaj. Kroll oversaw the wine program at Ardeo/Bardeo and later at the Oval Room, where he also created the cocktail menu. In 2010, Kroll accepted the position of wine director at Adour at The St. Regis Hotel. He has been featured in Washingtonian, DC Modern Luxury, and StarChefs.com.
Edward Korry is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Beverage & Dining Service Department in the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI. A Certified Hospitality Educator, Certified Wine Educator, a Certified Specialist of Spirits, a registered tutor of the Wine & Spirits Education Trust and a Formador Homologado del Vino de Jérèz (Certified Sherry Wine Educator), a certified Bordeaux Wine Educator Edward served as President of the Society of Wine Educators 2014-2016; and an executive board member of the US Bartenders Guild Master Accreditation program. He also leads the judging for the prestigious industry food & beverage VIBE Vista Awards and is a wine judge at international competitions. He teaches and has developed classes that specialize in wine, beer and spirits; mixology, coffee and tea; and restaurant management. He championed the development and implementation of beverage and sommelier concentrations/minors at Johnson & Wales University. Edward lectures at national and international conferences and writes beverage articles at home and abroad. He worked and managed in the hotel/restaurant industry prior to joining Johnson & Wales in 1983 as Food & Beverage Director for several of the university’s practicum properties.
Richard Leahy is a wine professional based in Charlottesville, Virginia and coordinates the conference program for the Eastern Winery Exposition, the largest wine industry trade show east of the Rockies. He has been writing about wines of Virginia and the East since1986, and in May 2012 his book Beyond Jefferson’s Vines was published to high praise from reviewers. Due to the many changes on the Virginia wine scene, he published a second, expanded edition in 2014. In 2007 he organized the Virginia Wine Experience in London which brought the top 64 Virginia wines there for leading British wine media and trade to taste. He was a regional editor for Kevin Zraly’s American Wine Guide, and was Mid-Atlantic and Southern Editor for the Oxford Companion to the Wines of North America. He is a member of the American Wine Society and the Circle of Wine Writers, and also has a website and blog focused on wines of the East at www.richardleahy.com.
Richard has partnered with Charlottesville Day Tours to offer the “Virginia Wine Expert TourSM” that pairs his personal expertise with a custom wine touring experience in the Monticello American Viticultural Area around Charlottesville. Richard is also available for wine tasting services for private events and can be reached at email@example.com.
Paul Lukacs is a wine write, educator, and adviser. He is the author of three books: Inventing Wine: A New History of One of the World’s Most Ancient Pleasure (WW Norton), The Great Wines of America: the Top Forty Vintners, Vineyards, and Vintages (WW Norton) and American Vintage: The Rise of American Wine (Houghton Mifflin hardcover; WW Norton paperback).
Since 1999, Lukacs has worked as a consultant for restaurants in the Washington, D.C. area, helping select wines for wine lists, pair wine with menu items, and train wait staff. He also has served as a judge at numerous wine competitions, both in American and abroad. In addition, he is one of the organizers and founders of the International Oyster Wine Competition, held each November in Washington.
Paul Lukacs is also a professor of English at Loyal University Maryland. His academic specialty is 19th Century American literature, and he has been published in leading academic journals in that field. He lives in Baltimore.
Peter Marks, Vice President of Wine Education for Constellation Brands, manages the Constellation Academy of Wine team, which is responsible for Constellation Brands’ diverse wine education programs.
Marks is one of only 40 Masters of Wine residing in the United States. The prestigious Master of Wine (MW) title is bestowed by the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) in London. The IMW promotes the highest level of educational achievement for the wine industry, which Marks received in 1995. That year he also became the first American to receive the Madame Bollinger Foundation Award, which is bestowed annually to the MW candidate with the highest blind tasting score.
Marks graduated from the University of California at Davis in 1976 with a B.S. degree with highest honors in Food Service Management, and he attended a number of enology and viticulture classes that piqued his interest in the subject of wine and complemented his desire to work in the food service field.
Marks is on the Education and Exam Board of the Institute of Masters of Wine, he is the Practical Chair for the Institute of Masters of Wine Education Committee and he judges many international wine competitions. He is also a member of the Society of Wine Educators, teaches wine classes independently, and he assists with many charitable fundraisers throughout the year.
Christopher McCririe was born and raised in Virginia and is a big advocate of local wines. He holds a Wine and Spirit Education Trust Diploma from the Capital Wine School, and is a Certified Sommelier from the Court of Master Sommeliers. Chris has worked in wine retail, bartending, beverage direction, and distribution. He aspires to become both a Master of Wine and a Master Sommelier.
Dave McIntyre has been The Washington Post's weekly wine columnist since October 2008. His writings have also appeared in Wine Enthusiast, the San Francisco Chronicle, Sommelier Journal, Vineyard & Winery Management, Wines & Vines, Washingtonian, Flavor and other publications. Meininger's Wine Business International magazine listed him as one of the most influential wine writers in the United States in its July 2012 issue. In August 2013, he achieved the Certified Sommelier rank in the Court of Master Sommeliers. Dave started his award-winning blog, Dave McIntyre's WineLine, as an email newsletter in 1999. He is co-creator of Drink Local Wine, an organization that highlights the growth of local wine industries around the United States. He was honored by the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association in 2010 for his support of the regional wine industry. Dave has participated in and moderated wine presentations for the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History, and contributed to the museum's new exhibit, "Food: Transforming the American Table, 1950-2000." His charitable work supports the American Heart Association and So Others Might Eat, an organization that helps feed the homeless.
A Virginia native, Frank Morgan works in the Legal and Data Privacy group of a global company by day. He is the author of the DrinkWhatYouLike wine blog, started seven years ago to chronicle his wine travel experiences and to share stories of the wines, wineries, and winegrowers of Virginia. His site was recently named one of the top wine news blogs by Millesima. Morgan is also a contributor for edibleDC magazine, the wine site Snooth, and is the associate editor of Virginia Wine Lover Magazine, the only print magazine dedicated to the state’s wine industry.
Ray O’Mara is a hospitality and wine professional, with over 35 years of experience.
A long standing member and supporter of the Society of Wine Educators and the French Wine Society, Ray holds the accreditation of “Certified Wine Educator” and “French Wine Scholar”. He has judged in numberous wine competitions across the United States, including the Dallas Morning News International wine competition, the Sonoma County Fair and the Virginia Governor’s Cup.
Ray is currently the treasurer of the Society of Wine Educators and an Instructor at the Capital Wine School in Washington, D.C.
A business economist, author, and retired AF colonel with advanced degrees from and teaching experience at FSU and Harvard with a long-time love of wines during his careers in the private and public sectors. He has judged and worked with the Virginia Governor’s wine competition the past five years, has moderated panels for the Eastern Winery Exposition, and is a senior wine and spirits instructor at the Capital Wine School and for Adventure Wine. He holds the Diploma in Wine and Spirits (DWS) from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust and is an Associate Member of the Institute of Wines & Spirits (AIWS). In addition to the WSET Diploma, he has wine teaching certifications from the Society of Wine Educators, Italian Wine Central (Italian Wine Professional), the French Wine Society, Burgundy, Provence, and Spain, and is also a BNIC-Accredited Cognac Educator who presents at Cognac Day for Cognac’s US sister city near Miami and conducts Master-level Cognac seminars at institutions such as the Miami Culinary Institute. He is a co-founder of a Spanish-American wine importing concern and was on the board of Spirits Acquisitions, an incubator company for developing emerging wine and spirits brands; its Clyde May’s whiskey has doubled sales for four consecutive years. He works with marketing and strategic business issues in the wine and spirits industry, and instructs and lectures on wine topics in a variety of venues.
Lucas Paya is an independent consultant for several quality firms within the wine, beverage, andgastronomy industries. For five years, Lucas served as sommelier for acclaimed chef Ferran Adrià’s highly esteemed restaurant elBulli, in Catalonia, Spain, with a wine inventory of over $2M. Most recently, he worked as the wine & beverage director for José Andrés ThinkFoodGroup (TFG), where he oversaw the wine and beverage programs for all fifteen TFG restaurants in the U.S. and internationally. Prior to working for TFG, he represented and promoted a number of top-tier wineries from Spain in the U.S. wine market, and was a collaborator in Eric Solomon’s prestigious wine importing company. Lucas is a member of the respected L’Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne and a Certified Sherry Educator. His expertise on wine and beverages has appeared in multiple publications such as Wines from Spain News, The Boston Globe, El Mundo, Verema, Expansion, LA Times Magazine, Gayot, Angeleno, Gourmet, The Tasting Panel, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Somm Journal, Wine Enthusiast, Wine & Spirits, Food & Wine, Wine Spectator and Punch, among others.
Originally from the Midwest and a graduate of Purdue University, Kat spent 10 years in Internal Audit in the financial industry in Chicago and New York City before her start in the wine industry. Her audit career enabled her to gain a deep understanding of operational and financial controls, traveling internationally and working with professionals from all over the world. Her family’s pastime of wine tasting sparked her interest in wine, and after wine tasting her way through both the East and the West Coasts, she developed a deep passion for the growing wine industry. After numerous tasting courses and completion of Sonoma State University’s Wine Business Certificate program, she finally made her career in the industry a reality, thanks in part to the support of her husband, Matt. Kat spent two years at The Winery at Bull Run managing both the tasting room and the winery’s 1,900 wine club members. Throughout her time at the winery, she successfully completed WSET Levels 2 & 3. During the fall of 2016, Kat took a break from the tasting room to work her first Virginia grape harvest and experience winemaking first hand. Kat is in the process of WSET Diploma Courses, with an aim to teach others about the wine she loves so much.
Daniel Runnerstrom is relatively new to wine, but is working hard to compensate for any gaps in time or experience. In 2013 while working at Uchi in Austin, Texas he decided to take the Intro level exam through the Court of Master Sommeliers. While at Uchi he helped to overhaul the company & beverage training program, homebrewed several batches of beer, and drank a lot of sake. After moving back to the D.C. area in 2014, finding a more wine-focused job at Iron Gate, joining a few blind-tasting and study groups, and attending as many in-depth classes as he could find, he decided to go for the Certified level through the CMS and passed in March of 2016
Jeff Siegel, the Wine Curmudgeon, is a nationally known wine writer whose blog is one of the top 100 wine sites in the world. He is the co-founder and former president of Drink Local Wine, the first locavore wine movement. His latest book is The Wine Curmudgeon's Guide to Cheap Wine.
Lucinda Smith currently holds the Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) and Certified Specialist of Spirits (CSS) titles from the Society of Wine Educators as well as the Advanced Certification with Merit and the Intermediate Certification with Distinction from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust. She is also a certificate holder from the Sommelier Society of Washington, D.C.
Lucinda has been a member of the Guild of Sommeliers and the Society of Wine Educators and was a judge for several years for the Virginia Governor's Cup Competition in prior years. Currently, she is a judge for the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition and for the Loudoun Wine Awards. At the request of Doug Fabbioli, owner and winemaker at Fabbioli Cellars, she initiated and ran for four years the LoCo Tasting Group which is for winemakers of Loudoun County and their staff as well as marketers of Loudoun County wines. Lucinda was also a founding member of the Piedmont Epicurean Arts Center in Loudoun County.
Currently, Lucinda consults for the hospitality industry integrating technology needs (Point of Sale, gift card programs, loyalty programs, reservation systems, etc) and training on service standards as well as represents several Virginia wineries in selling their wines to both restaurant and retail licensees.
Nick Stengel is the Executive Sous Chef of Willow Restaurant in Arlington, VA. He earned his BA at American University and an MPA from George Washington University. After leaving the political and research field, Nick Stengel became a cook in 2002. He is a member of the American Association of Wine Economists and the French Wine Society. Nick Stengle blogs at Mastering Wine.
Marguerite Thomas is an award-winning photojournalist specializing in wine, food and travel. She is a columnist at Vineyard & Winery Management Magazine. For the past ten years she has been an annual contributor to Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book. Her work regularly appears in scores of publications, including Decanter, Santé, Wine Enthusiast, and Wine & Spirits. She frequently serves as a judge in national and international wine competitions.
Kasia Tomecka DWS has loved wine since she studied abroad in France, at which point she was exposed to the ""best wines in the world"" according to her host family: French wine! Luckily, she already had some experience in the restaurant world, and upon her return to the states, she continued to grow and develop as a wine enthusiast and wine professional. In the more recent years, she managed a winery in the developing wine region of Virginia, worked as a Sommelier of a high end resort, and continued to spend her free time learning about (and teaching about) wine through the WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust) at the Capital Wine School. She is a WSET Certified Educator and a Diploma (Level 4) Graduate.
"I love wine, love learning about wine, and love teaching people why wine is worth loving!"
Tracy is a food, wine, and hospitality expert, having worked in virtually all aspects of the industry since the year 2000. She spent a decade in the Napa Valley, where she worked as a Sommelier for the Michelin-starred Martini House restaurant; was Director of Sales and Marketing for the highly-regarded Vineyard 29 winery; and eventually began making wine for her own successful Napa Valley label, Analog Wine Co. She also served as President of PellOneda, a fine wine import and distribution company based in New York City, specializing in wines from France and Israel, and sake selections from Japan.
In 2011, Tracy founded Waldron Wine Selections, LLC in Washington, D.C., providing cellar management and wine education services to private collectors, restaurants, and wineries on the East Coast.
Tracy holds the WSET Diploma, and WSET Level III Advanced Certificate.
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.
Sebastian Zutant realized his calling was in the food and beverage industry at an early age. Raised in Olney, MD in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., Zutant dabbled in the restaurant before attending the College of Charleston in South Carolina.
In April 2013, Sebastian opened his own restaurant, The Red Hen, with partners Mike Friedman and Mike O'Malley. The 50-seat, Italian-influenced American restaurant is located in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of DC and designed by Zutant's wife, Lauren Winter of Edit.
Zutant oversees the beverage program. The concise cocktail list incorporates Italian wines and spirits, and tilts toward clean, straight-forward drinks with seasonal additions.
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.