My story

People ask me all the time: ‘How did you get into the wine industry and how did you get where you are today?’ It is as if there is a mysterious passageway leading to such fun!

In fact, I did not even start thinking about wine or the wine industry until I moved from Pittsburgh PA to Carmel, CA in the ‘80’s. The Northern California wine country is one of the most captivating and stunningly beautiful; that is where I fell in love with wine, however, believe it or not, you do not gain wine knowledge through osmosis so living there did not teach me what I know today!

It would not be until a few years later, as a culinary school graduate, back on the east coast, working my way through hotel food and beverage and catering positions that I had a local wine distributor salesperson come to my hotel.

He was smart: he knew the large quantity of wine my events team and I could sell as we booked large weddings, business dinners, conventions, and corporate events at the hotel. For him, this translated directly into a nice boost in his monthly sales commission! So, he found our office, introduced himself, held tastings with us and educated us a long the way. Consequently, we sold more wine at that hotel than ever before and the distributor noticed! It was then, that I was hired away from the hotel and into distributor sales when I began my quest to be an expert in food and wine pairing and catering wine sales so I could give back to my industry and assist the hotel event sales managers to be more successful selling wine.

From that moment on I spent my entire career focusing my efforts on building meaningful relationships in the industry while developing innovative sales techniques and training combining my food, wine & spirits knowledge creating successful beverage programs for hotels, caterers, and fine dining restaurants.

Known for my passion and laidback teaching style I developed a unique food and wine pairing session called ‘The “Popcork” Experience: Exploring Food & Wine Pairing’. It is wildly popular and known in the industry as a fun, interactive way to educate through a comprehensive tasting of wines paired with flavored popcorn to show the effects of food and wine paired together!

More about me…

Based in the Napa Valley, I am an edutainer: educating while entertaining! Interactive, down-to-earth learning about wine, food, spirits and more!

I hold an accredited chef’s degree from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and WSET Wines and Spirits professional certification.

Highlights of qualifications & achievements:

  • Marriott International Global University added 'The ‘Popcork’ Experience™: Exploring Food & Wine Pairing' session to their national catering and event training curriculum.
  • Marriott International - awarded the ‘Beverage Partner, Innovation Excellence’ award.
  • Hilton Hotels and Resorts - video production of my beverage sales education for their catering education website.
  • National Association for Catering and Events (NACE)
    Speaker/Educator-National Conventions, Chapter President, Baltimore Chapter, Member San Francisco Chapter
  • Omni Hotels and Resorts: Presented ‘Trends in Beverage’ session at CIA Master’s Class.
  • Tito’s Handmade American Vodka Guest presenter for National Sales Conference
  • Phillips Distilling Guest Presenter for annual company sales meeting.
  • Greene Turtle Restaurant Group Awarded the ‘Distributor Partner of the Year’
  • Catering Magazine Feature article ‘Raising the Bar’ Sept-Oct 2017 issue.
    “Expert advice on cocktail trends and pairing ideas that can create buzz and boost profits”
  • Baltimore National Academy Foundation ‘Hospitality Professional of the Year’ Award
  • Member, Women of the Vine and Spirits
  • Member, Program Chair American Institute of Wine and Food, Baltimore, MD.
  • Member, Society of Wine Educators

I continue to educate hotel catering, events, and restaurant professionals from the Top 20 hotels and national account on-premise groups in the United States to include Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide, Four Seasons, Loews Hotels, Omni Hotels, Hyatt Hotels, Ruths Chris, Darden & Capital Grille.