Chief Wine Ambassador
Wes got his start in the wine business as a telemarketer, nagging folks like you to buy a case of cheap French wine for $50 and promising you a FREE WINE RACK! (actually a flimsy wooden crate with slats) with each purchase. He later honed his knowledge as General Manager of The Wine Gallery—a chain of local wine shops—for six years, winning Boston Magazine’s “Best Wine Shop” accolades in 2007 and 2008. Afterward, he crisscrossed the state as a wine consultant for Café Europa Wines and Monsieur Touton Selections—selling wines to bottegas, packies, spas, trattorias, kitchens, and brasseries. Wes’s specialty is helping you navigate real-world wine situations, including: how to find a good, inexpensive wine that tastes like a far more expensive bottle; how to get a discount at any liquor store; how to remember which wines you love and which you hate; and (most importantly) how to deal with a wine snob.
Roz’s passion for wine began when she took her first wine classes soon after graduating college. But she only began to study wine intensively after leaving her high-tech sales career. Roz has completed the OIV Wine Marketing Program at UC Davis and the Elizabeth Bishop Wine Studies Program at Boston University, and spent a summer harvesting grapes and making wine at a Tuscan vineyard. She is a member of the Society of Wine Educators and the French Wine Society, whose French Wine Scholars and Bordeaux Masters programs she recently completed. Roz has conducted many wine tastings and educational events throughout the Boston area, and loves sharing her enthusiasm for great wine and great food.
Melanie grew up in an Italian family where wine (albeit cheap wine) was always a staple of family gatherings. However, It it was not until she worked for a dot-com, getting paid to write snarky reviews of e-commerce websites, that her love of wine really kicked in. As a result of writing one of the first articles about the online wine-buying experience, four cases of not-so-cheap wine appeared—thus, her fixation was born. Melanie has passed the WSET Advanced Exam with merit and the first level of the Court of Master Sommeliers, and is a member of the Boston Sommelier Society and the Red White Boston Tasting Crew. In her spare time, she blogs about wine and makes a pest of herself in wine stores far and wide.
Adam comes to City Wine Tours with a degree in viticulture from the Elizabeth Bishop Wine Studies program where he studied under two Masters of Wine. He belongs to the Society of Wine Educators & American Cheese Society and is currently a Master’s degree candidate in Gastronomy at Boston University, with a focus on wine studies. For the past 4 years, he has served as Manager at Formaggio Kitchen and currently teaches private wine and cheese classes at Boston Center for Adult Education. Adam loves to eat, drink, and talk about it!
Jennifer became hooked on the idea of a career in the wine trade shortly after graduating from college with a degree in Education and Psychology. After taking a wine class through the Elizabeth Bishop Wine Studies Program, it dawned on her: people make a living out of tasting and talking about wine! Since then, she has continued educating herself through coursework and travel. She has spread her enthusiasm for wine through a career in the restaurant industry, as a Consultant for The Traveling Vineyard, and as a Wine Educator and member of the Society of Wine Educators. She is a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) and a WSET Diploma Candidate, having passed the WSET Advanced Exam with Distinction. Jennifer loves to answer any and all kinds of questions about wine and thinks the most difficult to answer is “What’s your favorite?” because she finds it impossible to pick only one!
John’s passion for wine began when his competitive running career was winding down. His introduction to wines started by volunteering to get the wines for a holiday dinner one year where he met a fabulous retailer who got him hooked. A chemist by training, and after taking numerous wine courses geared for the consumer, he entered the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) certification program. John holds the WSET Diploma (with Merit) and is a Certified WSET Educator. He is also a Certified Wine Educator (CWE) with the Society of Wine Educators and a French Wine Scholar (FWS) through the French Wine Society. John has been teaching wine courses in the Boston area since 2006 and thoroughly enjoys the education aspect of wine.
Amy Ullman has been working in wine for over a decade. She began her career waxing rhapsodic over the virtues of Vinho Verde and the vices of White Zinfandel on the patio of Shays Pub and Wine Bar in Harvard Square. Since that time she has worked in every facet of the industry: serving and bartending at award-winning restaurants in Boston and Aspen; selling wine for a boutique wholesaler; interning in the Christie’s wine department; educating future chefs at Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School; even pruning and weeding at an organic vineyard in Beaujolais. She is an Advanced Candidate through Court of Master Sommeliers, a Certified Specialist of Wine through the Society of Wine Educators, and is currently working on her Diploma of Wine and Spirits via the Wine and Spirits Education Trust.
Angela was introduced to wine at an early age helping her Italian grandfather make homemade wine in his cellar each fall. After graduating with a chemical engineering degree, she worked in the financial industry and was exposed to a variety of wine through tastings and wine travel around the world. Eager to learn more, she completed Level I and II of the Elizabeth Bishop Wine Studies Program at Boston University. She holds the WSET Advanced Certification with Merit, a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) and is a member of the Boston Sommelier Society. Angela loves to share her enthusiasm and wine tips for all levels of wine drinkers on her tour!
Judy Lebel has 20+ years in the wine industry. She founded Best Year Ever, Wine Agency in 2010. The agency represents small production, sustainable, family run wineries from around the world to restaurants and wine shops in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Judy began her wine career in San Diego, presenting boutique wines to restaurants and hotels. Her education was unique, working with and learning from California winery founders. A move to Ohio gave her the exposure to fall in love with European wines and to launch new wine label. She is proud to have earned “Certified Specialist of Wine” by the Society of Wine Educators.
Geoffrey’s introduction to wine was on a tour in Temecula, CA when he learned that the “flavors” in wine weren’t added, but rather from the grapes themselves. After that epiphany, he began trying different wines and learning his favorite tastes. During a gap in careers, Geoffrey had the opportunity to work in retail wine sales for one of the largest liquor store chains in Massachusetts, Yankee Spirits. This allowed him to learn alongside experienced professionals, and taste hundreds of wines. He has now worked as a wine consultant for nearly a decade, and he still loves helping people enjoy wine, believing that the best wine for you is one that you like at a price that you feel good about. Most of all, Geoffrey likes tasting new wines and enjoying them with good food and great company.
Joanne unlocked her taste buds in 2004 when she tasted the Louis Latour, Grand Ardeche Chardonnay for the first time and discovered a palette of buttered toast and hazelnuts! She went on to learn how to appreciate and distinguish wine through its appearance, nose and palette. Thus began a fascination with wine, terroir, and climate, culminating in her Merit in WSET Advance Certificate in 2005. In 2006, Joanne gained her WSET Introduction to the Wines of Jerez and was presented with the WSET Diploma in the Guild Hall, London in 2009. She vividly remembers her first introduction to wine and suddenly understanding what the fuss was about. Joanne loves to watch new tasters react when they intently taste and explore a wine. She conducted wine tours for the Edinburgh Wine School, and worked as manager of Makro Wholesale Wines, Beers, and Spirits. A native of Scotland, Joanne is living proof you can mother 2 young children and still find time to drink great wine. Or, does she drink wine BECAUSE of her 2 small kids?
Lynn brings advanced wine expertise, certification in Culinary Tourism, and stellar presentation skills to our tours. Lynn is currently enrolled in the WSET Diploma Program and has completed other wine certifications, including WSET Level 3 (with Merit and Distinction), Certified Specialist in Wine, Wine Level 2 at Boston University’s Elizabeth Bishop wine program, Sommelier Exam (Level 1), Burgundy Wine Scholar, and French Wine Scholar. She also recently completed a training course with the World Food Travel Association and is a Certified Culinary Travel Professional. Finally, she attended a Boston University master’s level cheese course, where learning objectives included understanding how each cheese was made, the cultural significance and history behind them, and wine pairings for over 100 cheeses from around the world.
Fiona holds a Level 3 WSET Certification (with Merit). She was always fascinated by wine, and now uses her growing knowledge of the industry to share insider tips with her family and friends. Since enrolling in the WSET programs, Fiona introduces those around her to new wine types, explaining the hidden intricacies, and the reasons for these expressions. Like all our wine ambassadors, Fiona likes to talk! As a small child she played make believe Julia Child, hosting her own cooking series from behind her play kitchen set. She took this a step further in 2008, when she began A Boston Food Diary, her own blog, in which she has the opportunity to talk food and wine to the citizens of Boston and our visitors. Visit Fiona’s blog here: A Boston Food Diary
Lisa began her road to wine connoisseurship by participating in the Portland, Maine wine walks. Her wine walks led to one of Portland’s finest restaurants, The Farmer’s Table, where she made sure all the diners had a superior dining experience, especially with lots of fine wine and local cheese! She’s energetic and enthusiastic about all areas of the wine business…from vineyard to consumer! Lisa’s studies and certificates include: WSET level 3 certification; American Sommelier Association’s (ASA) Viticulture and Vinification levels 1 and 2; American Sommelier: VITI One; Court of Master Sommeliers: Introductory Course
Emme discovered wine while studying abroad in Florence, Italy as an undergraduate at Saint Michael’s College in Vermont. After graduating, she took a job at the Shelburne Vineyard, working in the tasting room, and hosting tours. Wine quickly evolved into a passion and she’s been toiling in the wine and spirits industry ever since. She has significant retail marketing experience at vinodivino and served as the Wine Manager at Busa Wine & Spirits, with an inventory of over 1,100 wines. She recently passed the WSET Advanced Level 3 with merit.
Bryan has been selling fine wines and port all over New England for the past 7 years. For the past 2 years he’s been with Premium Port Wines as their New England Regional Manager. He manages twenty-four distributors in six New England states. Working primarily with Port and Madeira (Graham’s, Dow’s and Cockburn’s for instance), he sells a category that is very unfamiliar to most people, requiring him to conduct seminars and tasting events that help make fortified wine (as well as Douro DOC’s) accessible to people. The educational aspect is Brian’s favorite part of the job; as he loves teaching people about wine and demystifying it for them. He previously worked for Frederick Wildman & Sons in New Jersey and a small boutique distributor in Connecticut that had a global portfolio but heavy holdings in Bordeaux. In short, Bryan can tell you how to find a great wine!
Monica has worked professionally in the wine biz for fourteen years, for some of the most recognizable names in the industry. She was a Sales Rep for Wine Broker Vic Zelinsky. She worked as a Brand Manager for Robert Mondavi for four years. Did a Tasting program for Oyster Bay Winery. Currently works for a small premium wine distributor in the Metro West area called Blue Coast Beverages. She’s had a lot of sales experience, but she most enjoys the Tastings, small Wine Dinners, and the opportunity to chat and engage with interested parties who may have tremendous wine knowledge, or just a basic yearning to know more about the wine world, or what they are tasting. Monica considers herself someone who is constantly learning. She cites her training with the Robert Mondavi Winery and Mr. Mondavi himself. The godfather of American fine wine, in his eighties at the time, advised, “We should all learn new things everyday.”
Alicia is a WSET geek! Here’s some of her certifications: Certified Specialist of Wine, Society of Wine Educators; WSET Level 3 (Advanced) Award in Wines and Spirits, Wine and Spirits Education Trust; WSET Level 2 Award in Wines and Spirits, Wine and Spirits Education Trust; Introductory Sommelier Certification, Court of Master Sommeliers. Alicia is passionate about expressing her love for food, drink and the camaraderie that it brings when shared with others. She conveys this enthusiasm to her colleagues and clients in a manner that cultivates excitement and a desire to step outside of the box. She’s worked as an Independent Consultant and as the Fine Wine Manager of Wines & More of RI. Reaching out to other industry leaders to build a positive working relationship to promote mutual interests, she was able to implement in-store food and wine pairing demonstrations with a team at Johnson & Wales University. Her training and certifications have given her a strong working knowledge of fine wine, craft beer, and liquor.