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Michaela Quinlan is an Advanced Sommelier with over 12 years in the wine industry. Michaela began her wine career in Northern, VA where she shared her time as a Therapeutic Horseback Riding Instructor and working in local family-run wineries and tasting rooms. After experience in wine retail and serving as Sommelier for local restaurants, Michaela returned to New England to continue her wine experience in importing and completing the WSET Advanced Level 3.
Grace Hood is a certified sommelier with over a decade of experience in the wine industry. In the past 15 years, she has worked in every facet of the industry, giving her a wide range of wine knowledge, as well as domestic and international hospitality experience. All starting with a summer job during college pouring in a tasting room in New York, her career has taken her all over the country and the world; the Michelin star countertops of Manhattan, the white linen tablecloths of Texas, the Pacific North West wineries of Oregon and Washington, the world-premiere cellars of Napa Valley, the bustling madness of Ho Chi Minh City, the sun drench vineyards of Santa Barbara and the snow-capped mountaintops of Vail and Montana. She also has been running her own freelance sommelier project, Wines with Grace, since 2014, serving as an educator and event coordinator for corporate and private clients, as well as ambassador and consultant for boutique wine brands. On top of her experience in wine, she has spent more than half of her life in the events and hospitality industry, catering high-end events in the Hamptons during high school and moving into corporate events in college. She has been a mixologist for countless events in the Southern California area, and brings an expert level of knowledge in all things food, beverage and event coordination.
Maria Valetta (@mariathewineblonde) holds the esteemed titles of Certified Sommelier (CMS) and DipWSET (Diploma in Wine & Spirits, WSET London), showcasing her commitment to understanding the intricacies of the wine world. Her expertise extends further with the completion of the Certified Specialist of Wine Certificate (Society of Wine Educators) and Tuscan Wine Masters Certificate (Tuscan Wine Masters Academy). Maria's influence extends across various media platforms, where she passionately showcases her love for wine and food. As the co-founder of the CorkRules Podcast on Corkrules.com, Maria plays a pivotal role in reviewing acclaimed restaurant wine lists and conducting interviews with wine industry professionals. This podcast serves as a valuable resource for wine enthusiasts, offering insights into the diverse world of wine and enhancing their ability to order wine with confidence. In her role as Chairwoman and Director of Wine Sponsorships of the Las Vegas Food & Wine Festival, Maria Valetta significantly elevates the event's wine offerings each year. Her role involves forging lasting connections with wineries, chefs, and key sponsors, solidifying her as a key figure in the vibrant Las Vegas wine and food scene. With an Instagram following of around 40k, @mariathewineblonde expertly engages her audience with content on wine, restaurants, travel, and wine education, making wine accessible and enjoyable, in addition to giving wine and wine region travel recommendations. Featured on the cover of Vegas2LA Magazine as one of the top women in wine to watch in Las Vegas, Maria's impactful work in elevating wine offerings at the Vegas Food & Wine Festival and transforming the way customers order wine through CorkRules is highlighted in a 4-page article. Maria's media presence extends beyond Instagram, as she has been a long-time host of the 'Chef's Kitchen,' a national television series. Her involvement in previous online digital media shows such as 'The Philly Dish' and 'Philly Uncorked' showcases her commitment to promoting wines, restaurants, and the talents of the world's top chefs. Maria Valetta's love for wine is evident in her belief that wine should be fun and easier to understand. Her advocacy for people to "drink what you love" reflects her incredible passion, and her expertise establishes her as a prominent and influential figure in both the wine industry and social media.
Josh is Sommelier and former Maître D’ at Marcel, Ford Fry’s swanky ‘European-inspired’ steakhouse in the Westside Provisions District. Born in Boston, Josh began his career in hospitality at the renowned Boston Harbor Hotel and became hooked on fine food and beverage. After graduating from Boston University with a B.A. in Sociology, he relocated to Atlanta with his wife in 2010 and joined Ford Fry Restaurants at the opening of King + Duke in Buckhead in 2013. Since opening Marcel in 2015, Josh has been driven to share the breadth and beauty of French wine with guests, shining a spotlight on Burgundy, the Loire Valley, and the Rhône Valley as hotbeds for exciting grower-producers worthy of a place at the steakhouse table alongside the heavy hitters of Bordeaux and California. In addition, Marcel’s cocktail program, under Josh’s direction, focuses on ‘Mad Men’-era cocktails from the ‘50s and ‘60s updated with European ingredients. Marcel has been recognized by Wine Enthusiast Magazine as one of ‘America’s Top 100 Wine Restaurants’ for two consecutive years.
After nearly 17 years in the service industry, Alexis decided to specialize and study wine in 2020. The onset of Covid 19 and subsequent lockdown provided an undisrupted opportunity to dive headlong into her studies, earning the WSET certifications of Level 2 With Distinction, Level 3 Advanced With Distinction and Introductory Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers. Alexis is currently studying for her French Wine Scholar certification. In addition to giving small-group private wine classes and tastings, she is the acting Wine Director/Sommelier for a restaurant with a wine list of over 350 bottles. Her focus in study - and taste preference - are the Wines of Central Europe - France, Germany, Austria, and Northern Italy. Her other interests include history, classic literature, travel, and cooking. Her dream job is to direct the wine program at a health resort in the Austrian Alps.
Grant grew up in a 1950s ranch house in the Napa countryside and was introduced to food and wine during his high school days working in catering. While working at Cardinale, a bottle of 2000 Howell Mountain Cabernet Franc changed the way he looked at wine, and his wine career took off. Grant is now a Certified Sommelier and holder of a WSET Diploma in Wine & Spirits. Impressive wine creds aside, Grant is happiest sharing wines with those around him. “Whether you’re a guest, a loved one, or a friend," he says, “the person in front of me means the world to me, and I want everyone to feel just a bit more special when they leave than they did before our time together." When not diving into wine study, Grant spends his time cooking wine-inspired meals or drinking meal-inspired wines, and he starts every day with a morning run with his Formosan Mountain Dog, Luna.
Cecilia Bonet is a certified sommelier, half Argentinean and half Spanish, who has been living in Europe for five years, with the aim of continuing her training in the old world of wine. Her first stop was Italy, and then she moved to Ibiza to work with her todays mentor, Javier Perez Caballero, candidate for Master Sommelier, who has given her the confidence to start in the Court of Master Sommeliers program. Cecilia’s next step was participating as Head Sommelier in the opening of the fine dining restaurant VORO, two Michelin Stars, within the Park Hyatt Hotel Mallorca. And finally, after her time in Spain, she moved to end up working alongside the exceptional team of the iconic 67 Pall Mall Private Members Club in London, led by Ronan Sayburn MS.
Wine and spirits authority, writer, educator and raconteur Anthony Giglio has motivated countless imbibers to trust their own tastes and relax the rules. He has appeared as a guest on NBC’s Today Show, Food Network, CNBC, and FOX Business News and been invited to speak at food and wine festivals and events around the world. Currently serving as wine reporter for CBS News Radio, Anthony’s writing has been featured in publications like New York Magazine, Esquire, Every Day With Rachel Ray, Travel + Leisure, and more. He is the Wine Director for the American Express Centurion Global Lounge Networks, a longtime Contributing Editor to Food & Wine Magazine, and the author of 11 books on wine, cocktails and travel, including the annual Food & Wine Wine Guide. Known for his entertaining anecdotes as much as for his wine and spirits expertise, Anthony has twice been invited to speak at The Moth, the Peabody Award-winning not-for-profit organization dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling, and has used his gift of gab as a charity auctioneer for organizations like Cancer Care. From his New Jersey Italian roots, Anthony most loves wine for the way it allows people to come together and spend a moment sharing the good life.
Alissa Bica is a certified sommelier at the Los Angeles restaurant, 71 Above, as well as US tasting coordinator and contributing editor at Wine and Spirits magazine. Every day, she feels humbled that she was able to turn one of her greatest passions into a career. She lives for the “aha!” moments that her guests experience when they taste a Premiere Cru Chablis next to a Napa Chardonnay and appreciate the differences. Her musings on wine, culture, and memory have been published in Wine Enthusiast magazine, and she runs the popular blog, Off the Beaten Wine Path, where she explores rare grape varieties and what their perfect food pairs.