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.
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.”
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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?
“Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance.” Benjamin Franklin. Ben Franklin’s words certainly ring true for society today! For Tony Gallo, his love of wine began back in the early 80’s when most of his buddies were still swiping beer from their parents. Tony took a wine class with Howie Rubin from Bauer Wines in Boston and was instantly intrigued by the different flavor notes, countries of origin, and characteristics of each bottle. Since that time, Tony has continually surrounded himself with wine, mainly through his work and travel experiences. Although a musician and singer by trade, Tony has worked for a large, regional wine retailer and a boutique wine shop and has visited wine regions in France, Italy, Austria, Portugal, Madeira, California, Texas and the Finger Lakes of NY. Tony recently started his own business, TG the Wine Guy, which brings personalized wine tasting and education to your home or office. Pairing wine with food is a centuries-old tradition that Tony believes in – sharing the experience with family, loved ones and new friends around the table only makes it better. Tony is looking forward to meeting you on a City Wine tour soon!
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.
An oenophile from the very first sip, Elizabeth has been working formally in the wine scene since 2011. Responding to a random bartending job off of Craigslist at a newly-opened home-based winery in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, Elizabeth was thrown into the world of wine and able to learn the business from the dirt to the bottle, literally. After that eye-opening summer, Elizabeth began taking wine courses through the WSET in Providence, Boston, and Washington D.C and went on to earn the Level Three Advanced Certificate from the WSET in 2014. Elizabeth teaches wine tasting classes and hosts private winery experiences throughout Massachusetts. She always is up for another glass of Champagne or a visit to a new winery off the beaten path with her husband Lee and their dog Bella.
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.
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.
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.