Please allow me to introduce myself and give you a little background on my qualifications in the wine and beverage industry:
•Beverage / drinks industry veteran for 25+ years •Certified Specialist in Wine - Society of Wine Educators •Level 4 Diploma - Wine & Spirits Educational Trust, London •Sommelier since 1994 •Wine Judge •17 years as fine Wine & Spirits rep for leading wholesaler in CT •Since 2011, Director of Beverages for Max Restaurant Group, with 11 locations in CT, MA, and FL; overseeing training for 500 employees, $20m in beverage sales, and over 150 special events per year. •Created full assortment of beverage training guides for consumers and industry staff called Liquid Education •I have conducted well-over 1000 (and adding more every week!) wine and beverage classes and training seminars for service and consumer students •I have traveled and led groups to many wine regions around the world •Blogger, photographer (mainly of bottles and plates of food), ebook writer •Founder Vintage Wine School (2005), and now The New England Wine Academy (2019)
Living an working in the Beverage Industry in Connecticut is fun and often exciting, but sometimes can be a bit challenging. I have been working here for nearly 25 years, and have spent time in just about every facet and corner of the business.
I started as a bartender many years ago, and was very quickly handed the entire wine program for a landmark, upscale restaurant with several outlets. This is also where I cut my chops as a Somm, well before I even knew what a Somm was. (People would ask me if I was Sommelier, and I would reply that I was simply a wine steward - mainly because I didn't own a tastevin, or even really know how to pronounce "Sommelier".)
I got the bug, though, and this was followed by stints in restaurant management, fine wine retail, wholesale sales, consulting, as well a long and steady self and formal education in wine and spirits.
Currently I am overseeing the beverage program for 11 full service restaurants in three states. This gives me ample opportunity to deal with every facet of beverages and the beverage industry. It also gives me maximum exposure to products and trends, as well as many creative outlets to work with everything from wine to cocktails and beer as well as non-alcoholic items.
In 2017, I made the decision to enter the Master of Wine program. This was a decision long in the back of my mind, and I waited for life's flow to come to a place where I felt comfortable to take on the intense challenge of a program at this level. Taking the entrance exam and being accepted to the program is a tremendous achievement in itself. Now the true test is ahead of me.
In CT, there is a small, dedicated, but sometimes disjointed community of beverage people. This is changing rapidly, though, and my goal is to help bring that community closer together, build our knowledge and improve service skills along the way.