Jay Youmans MW (Master of Wine)
Jay Youmans has been tasting wine professionally for nearly 30 years. He is the Educational Director and owner of the Capital Wine School, and the owner of Rock Creek Wine Merchants, a sales and marketing consultancy. Jay has served as a wine judge for numerous wine competitions, and has contributed to several books and magazines on wine. Over the years, he has conducted hundreds of public, private, and corporate wine tasting events. Jay is an Advanced Level Sommelier, a Certified Wine Educator (CWE), and Washington, DC's only Master of Wine (MW).
For more information on the Institute of Masters of Wine, visit www.masters-of-wine.org
Kathryn Morgan MS (Master Sommelier)
A DC native, Kathryn Morgan has been focused on wine in the hospitality industry since 1999. She has served as sommelier and wine director at top restaurants in Washington including the historic Occidental Restaurant, Ristorante Tosca, and 2941 Restaurant.
Kathryn has garnered numerous awards and accolades, as well as significant media recognition. Under her direction, 2941 and Tosca all earned nominations for “Best Wine and Beverage Program” from the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington. In 2007, Washingtonian Magazine selected 2941’s wine list as one of the top five in the D.C. metropolitan area. In 2010, the Washington City Paper named Morgan the best sommelier in Washington. In addition, she is featured regularly on tasting panels for Sommelier Journal, has appeared on WUSA TV and BBC World News, and is frequently mentioned in publications such as Washingtonian Magazine, The Washington Post, The Hill Newspaper and The D.C. Examiner.
In August of 2010, Kathryn became the 171st person in the world to earn the Master Sommelier Diploma. She is currently one of only 112 Master Sommeliers in North America, 17 of whom are women.
Kristi Delovitch is a top sales consultant for The Country Vintner in
Washington, DC. Prior to her tenure at The Country Vintner Kristi was the
top off-premise, fine wine consultant at Republic National for 5 years.
In her current role, she consults closely with more than 30 fine wine
retailers, hotels and restaurants and specializes in high-end wine from all
over 15 countries.
Her love of wine has taken her around the world. In September she completed
the 2011 Marathon du Medoc in Bordeaux, France. Other wine adventures have
included Zebra spotting in vineyards in South Africa, navigating the back
roads of Tuscany and blending her own wine in Sonoma.
Kristi is a current WSET Diploma Candidate having passed the Wine Spirit
Education Trust Intermediate and Advanced examinations. She is a WSET
instructor for the Capital Wine School.
Prior to her career in wine distribution, Ms. Delovitch worked as a
freelance writer, authoring significant portions of Fodor¹s travel
publications, including ³Fodor¹s Washington D.C.² and ³Where to Weekend
around Washington D.C.². Ms. Delovitch also worked for TasteDC, leading
over 70 wine tastings. Prior to her work with TasteDC, Ms. Delovitch wrote
two widely acclaimed Italian language educational videos that continue to
air on PBS in major markets.
Kristi holds a BA in Psychology and a minor in Journalism from Clemson
University, where she graduated with Honors from Calhoun Honors College.
During this time, she attended Lorenzo D'Medici college of Culture and
Language in Florence, Italy. Kristi is the proud mother of 2 loving boys
and the wife of an incredibly inspiring "foodie".
The Wine Coach®
Laurie Forster, The Wine Coach® is a wine educator, writer and author of the award winning book The Sipping Point: A Crash Course in Wine. After a successful career in software sales, Laurie decided she was ready for a life change and began to realize that her biggest passions—wine and people—could be parlayed into a new career. Now as The Wine Coach® she blends her training as a professional sommelier with her experience as a life coach to help people connect with wine and each other. Laurie’s specialty is creating unique corporate keynotes, team building events and group tasting seminars where she can deliver on her mission to demystify wine one glass at a time.
In 2002, she began her wine career in Manhattan where she studied with the American Sommelier Association to obtain her certificate in Viticulture and Vinification. Laurie has since earned an Advanced Certificate with the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET), completed her first step towards certification with the Court of Master Sommeliers and has trained at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley. Her wine travels include France, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, California, Oregon and all up and down the east coast.
Laurie is a regular contributor to several magazines including Baltimore Style and What’s Up Annapolis magazines; a sought after guest expert on radio stations across the country and has her own weekly radio show entitled Something to Wine About® on WBAL 1090AM. Her award winning book The Sipping Point: A Crash Course in Wine, reflects her fresh perspective on wine education and has received rave reviews.
David D. Denton, CWE, CSS
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 conference 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.
Tim O’Hare, CWE, CSW
Tim O’Hare, CWE, has a favorite quote from Ernest Hemingway that just about sums up his relationship with wine and grapes. “ Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.” Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon.
Tim O’Hare was born in Washington, D.C. and now resides in Towson, Maryland. He is married with two children and enjoys spending his off hours cooking, reading, gardening, and is passionate about baseball.
Tim is a graduate the Baltimore International Culinary College, a former Salesman of the Year with Reliable Churchill Distributors, and has passed Certified Specialist of Wine exam, Certified Specialist of Spirits exam, and the Certified Wine Educators exam through the internationally recognized Society of Wine Educators. He recently passed the first and second levels of the Master Sommelier to become a Certified Sommelier.
Also last year, Tim completed the 3rd level of the Advance Program of the Wine & Spirits Education Trust with Merit. In October 2009 Tim became a Bordeaux Wine Trade Educator through the prestigious Bordeaux L’Ecole Du Vin. Tim is currently studying for the Diploma Level for the WSET and next fall he will sit for the 3rd Level of the Master Sommelier’s Exam.
Previously, Tim served as the Director of Training at Reliable Churchill and was employed by them for seventeen years.
Presently, Tim is the Lower Atlantic Regional Director for Education & Sales Training for the Charmer Sunbelt Group. In this role he assists in the development of multi level, multimedia, wine, spirit, and beer educational programs that are utilized in the 15 markets the Charmer Sunbelt Group distributes alcohol beverages. He also directs the sales education department for the Lower Atlantic region. The Charmer Sunbelt Group is the second largest wine and spirit wholesaler in the United States with over 6,000 employees.
Caroline B. C. Hermann, DWS, CSW
Caroline Hermann holds a Diploma in Wine Studies (DWS) with merit and an Advanced Certificate with distinction from the London-based Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET). She is a Certified Specialist in Wine (CSW) with the Society of Wine Educators, and is a Master of Wine candidate. She has researched and written on a variety of global wine issues, from the French wine crisis to the success of Champagne, biodynamic viticultural practices, rosé wine trends, and wine competitions.
Caroline lives in Washington D.C., where she is a WSET and CSW instructor for the Capital Wine School and is in wine retail sales with Whole Foods Market. Her interest in vineyard management and winemaking stem in part from her longstanding commitment to environmental protection, a commitment she practices every day as an attorney for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
No matter where in the world she lives or travels, Caroline has enthusiastically sought out the best food and wine that region has to offer. Prior to moving to Washington D.C., she lived in San Francisco where she balanced her law firm responsibilities with exploring California’s most famous Napa and Sonoma areas to its oldest vineyards in the Sierra Foothills dating back to the Gold Rush. Before law school, she was an equities analyst in international finance with Creditanstalt Securities (now Bank Austria), where she lived in Prague, Czech Republic, and London, England. There, she acquainted herself with copious vinobrani harvest festivals along the Czech-Austrian border which celebrate the first press burcak, and braved wines from communist state-run wineries. She also held a teaching fellowship at Athens College in Greece, and embarked on a year-long critical analysis of the finer points of retsina and Greece’s indigenous varietals. Although she found no vines planted in the Tian Shan Mountains during her multiple China, Kazak, and Kyrgyz treks, she looks forward to China’s emergence onto the global wine stage.
Maria E. Denton, CWE
Maria E. Denton is an educator, restaurateur and consultant working in the Washington, DC area. A firm believer in community involvement, Maria sits on the Board of Directors of both the Dupont Circle Merchants and Professionals association, and Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets. This involvement extends into the wine community as well, as she has been on the board of the Society of Wine Educators since 2008. Besides achieving Certified Wine Educator with the SWE, Maria is also a Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers, a Spanish Wine Educator with the Wine Academy of Spain, and a ServSafe Food and ServSafe Alcohol instructor. You may also find her on Examiner.com as a DC wine writer.
Molly Christhilf Finnegan
I was bitten by the wine bug over 13 years ago having gotten interested in the culture surrounding wine while studying art history in Italy. I came back to the US and started working at Jefferson Vineyards in Charlottesville, Virginia my senior year of college and then moved to California after graduation. Working for Stag's Leap Wine Cellars in Napa I learned how to make wine, conducted consumer education seminars and I got a BS in Wine Sales & Marketing at Napa Valley College. Wanting to learn more about international wines I worked for Global Wines and Alexia Moore Marketing Co brokering several California & New Zealand properties as well as port from the Symmington family. I have passed the Introductory Level 1 of the Court of Master Sommeliers, earned my Wine & Spirits Education Trust Advanced certificate as well as my Certification for a Specialist of Wine, CSW from the Society of Wine Educators. I am currently as wine sales representative for Winebow, Inc, a distributor who represents 3,000 wines from all over the world and a top importer of Italian fine wines and am working on an exciting new side project of wine & cheese pairing for Cowgirl Creamery.
Michael Franz, Ph.D.
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.
He wrote nearly 300 articles as regular wine columnist for The Washington Post from 1994 to 2005. Franz left the Post in 2005 to help found Wine Review Online as editor and managing partner. Wine Review Online has quickly become one of the world's most widely viewed wine publications, now logging as many as two million hits and 100,000 distinct visitors per month.
Franz is also a wine consultant for 14 restaurants in the National Capital area with combined annual wine sales of more than $10 million. He has conducted more than 1,000 site visits and tastings at wineries across Western and Eastern Europe, South America, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.
He tastes approximately 9,000 wines each year, judges wine competitions regularly around the world, and has acted as Chief Judge for international competitions in Washington, D.C., San Diego, New Zealand and China. He has appeared on numerous television shows, has served as an expert witness in several cases regarding the wine trade in Federal District Court, and is interviewed frequently on public radio.
Ray O’Mara, DWS, CWE, FWS
After graduating the Culinary Institute of America, Ray began his career with Marriott International and ascended through the ranks of Food and Beverage to General Manager.
A long standing member of the Society of Wine Educators, he holds the accreditation of “Certified Wine Educator”.
Ray was a founding member and past president of the Texas Sommelier Society, and has judged in numerous wine competitions including the Dallas International Wine Festival, the Sonoma County Fair and the Virginia Governors Cup.
He passed both the WSET Intermediate and Advance courses with distinction and was invited to travel to Bordeaux by the CIVB to attend Ecole du Vin de Bordeaux where he became an “Accredited International Bordeaux Tutor”.
Ray has also participated in numerous study programs and has earned several other accreditations including: The Court of Master Sommeliers, Certified Sommelier; Spanish Wine Academy, Spanish Wine Educator; French Wine Academy, Instructor; BIVB, Certified Burgundy Instructor; French Wine Society, French Wine Scholar Instructor; French Wine Academy & Inter-Rhone, Rhone Master; Napa Valley Vintners Association, Wine Educator; WSET Diploma, DWS / Associate of the Institute of Wine & Spirits AIWS; WSET, Certified Instructor.
He is currently a Sales Consultant with Washburn Wine Company, Baltimore, Maryland.
Jason Whiteside, AIWS
Jason holds the Level 4 Diploma (with Merit) from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, and is a WSET Certified Wine Educator (Level 4). He is currently employed as the sales manager for Northern Virginia by The Country Vintner, a wine importer and wholesaler located in Ashland, VA. Previously, he has held sommelier positions on the Dutch/French Island of St. Maarten, and was the Wine Director of Cosimo Restaurant & Wine Bar in Malvern, PA. As part of the winemaking team at Chaddsford Winery in Pennsylvania, he helped make the 2006 & 2007 vintages. Jason’s writing has been featured in the SOTHEBY’S Wine Auction Catalogue, Philadelphia-based MAINLINE MAGAZINE, and on the award-winning wine blog 1WineDude.com. He teaches WSET Advanced Certificate and Diploma course for The Capital Wine School.
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