Experts & Enthusiasts

Learn from the Best

When you come up for the Vail Wine Classic, you’ll learn from the best of the best in the wine industry. See how passion for wine, food and the great outdoors blend together to create the most memorable experience. You won’t just sip, sniff, and swirl with our experts, you’ll ride down a mountain or hike up a trail with them! Go on your leaf peeping mountain adventure and pair it with a wine weekend getaway. Engage with winemakers, vineyard owners, and Master Sommeliers in their element for so much more than a lecture.

View our Experts & Enthusiasts that we will be wining and dining with at the 2022 Vail Wine Classic. 

Sean Razee Headshot

Wine & Spirits Education Trust Diploma

Sean Razee, MS is one of a very select group of wine professionals in the world to have achieved the title of Master Sommelier. Emerging from a love of food, wine and travel, Sean began a career in the wine business in 2002. His wine travels have taken him to many locations around the globe and have given him experiences that continue to fuel his passion. 

After building world-class wine programs for The Ritz-Carlton and Wolfgang Puck, Sean served as Corporate Beverage Director for Vail Resorts, overseeing wine and cocktail programs across the country. 

Capitalizing on his unique insights and knowledge, Sean was recruited to build and manage a premium wine distribution branch for Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of Colorado, where he served as general manager. Sean currently holds the position of Director of Wine Education at the company, working with a domestic and international portfolio of world-class producers. 

When not lecturing, conducting staff trainings, or mentoring aspiring sommeliers, Sean works hard to become a “highly-acclaimed” home chef.

Spring Headshots

Certified Sommelier

Mr. Tufford has been in the wine and spirits industry for 30 years. Throughout his career, he’s represented hundreds of fine wine brands from around the globe as a supplier, General Sales Manager, and Regional Fine Wine Manager. Jeff is currently the Luxury Portfolio Consultant for Lux Wines representing  several highly rated, world class, family owned wineries. Jess has multiple certifications from the Court of Master Sommeliers, Society of Wine Educators and International Wine Guild. He has traveled and studied extensively in wine regions around the world. “My passion is to educate, create memorable experiences, and demystify the world of wine.”

Executive Chef of Culinary Operations

Executive Chef of Culinary Operations for the Sonnenalp hotel, Joshua Marshall is a graduate of the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Program at Scottsdale Culinary Institute, Josh has over 15 years of experience working internationally at top luxury hotels. Josh Marshall lead’s the hotel’s three dining establishments, Ludwig’s, Bully Ranch and Swiss Chalet, as well as overseeing Banquets, Room Service, & Treff. 

A well-traveled foodie, Joshua has sharpened his knives at many luxury properties including the Waldorf Astoria in Naples, Florida, St Regis Resort, Dana Point, CA, W Hotel in Taipei, Taiwan, Sofitel in Guangzhou, China and numerous Four Seasons Hotels such as Chicago and Jackson Hole. He was also part of the Pre-Opening team of Four Seasons Denver. The new menu at Ludwig’s will feature locally sourced ingredients and regionally inspired items with little twists of tastes from the American Southwest and Asia. 

Sommelier & Beverage Manager, Sonnenalp Hotel

Zack is currently the Sommelier and Beverage Manager at the Sonnenalp Hotel in Vail, CO.  He started his wine career at a wine bar in SW Florida before moving to Colorado in 2015.  Zack spent 5 years gaining knowledge of the wine and beverage world in Vail before joining the North Coast Wine Company’s winery team in Sonoma County to help make the 2020 vintage.  As soon as the last bit of wine was pumped into the barrels for aging, Zack joined the opening team at the Montage Hotel in Healdsburg, CA.  The mountains were calling and brought Zack, his Fiancé, and two dogs back to Vail. When he is not out skiing or biking up Vail Pass, he can be found throughout the hotel overseeing the beverage program at the Sonnenalp. 

Vail Golf Club Headshot - John Zavoral

John Zavoral is the Executive Chef at the Vail Golf Club and has been in the Vail valley for 16 years. He loves the pressure and fast paced nature of the kitchen and loves to work with just about any kind of cuisine!

Shields brings significant experience within the hospitality and culinary fields. Most recently, he served as Executive Sous Chef at Hyatt Regency Denver Convention Center following culinary appointments at Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe, Warwick Hotel, Tom’s Urban 24, and Hyatt Regency Phoenix. Shields also serves as a board member for both the American Culinary Federation and Auguste Escoffier Culinary School.

Beyond the kitchen, he enjoys hiking, backpacking and traveling with his wife, Sarah, and their three dogs.

Jose has been masterfully creating beautifully prepared dishes at the Chophouse from the restaurant’s inception. Beginning at the age of 14, he has proven himself time and time again working up from a dishwasher to being named Executive Chef. Chef Espindola is always on top of the newest happenings in the culinary world. With his intricate knowledge of the product coupled with his artistic design, Jose creates some of the most exciting dishes and creative pairings in the valley. Highly practiced in Classic American Cuisine, he brings a joyful and warm atmosphere to the team. Born a Texan, he has found new love and inspiration in everything Colorado has to offer, including his beautiful wife and daughters. Chef took residence in the Vail Valley looking forward to the many spectacular seasons to come at the Vail Chophouse from surf and turf to live entertainment. The Chophouse truly has it all!

Winemaker Specialist in the Calchaqui Valley

Agronomist and Winemaker from Cuyo National University in Mendoza, Argentina. Alejandro leads Piatelli Vineyards winemaking in Salta. He has vast experience in vineyard management, winemaking, and winery operations. His pragmatic, innovative, and intellectual approach to cultivation and production sets him apart in Argentina and beyond. 

Alejandro is an expert in taking advantage of the region’s unique climate to produce some of the best and most awarded high-altitude wines in Argentina. With his knowledge and expertise, we are confident that we will continue to surprise our customers with unique and expressive wines.

Jeremy Campbell Headshot - Root & Flower

Jeremy Campbell has worked in the hospitality industry for 26 years and has over decade of experience as a Sommelier and wine director. Jeremy is an advanced sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers and passed the theory portion of the master exam in 2016. He is currently pursuing the last two sections of the rigorous master exam with hopes of completing it in 2017. Jeremy is the owner and beverage director of Mbar in Portland Oregon and co-owner and beverage director of Root & Flower in Vail Colorado. Wine and spirits are his passion which shows through his personal continuous education, and as his role as a teacher and mentor to others.

Dave Phillips Headshot (Michael David Winery)

Co-owner and President

Early adopter of farmer’s markets, underage winemaker, long distance runner, UC Davis alum, champion of Lodi Wines, cork dork, brother, husband, father, outdoor enthusiast. 

Working the family farm and vineyards from a young age, Dave returned to Lodi in 1989 after graduation, a job in the wine cork industry, and backpacking the world. Since then, he’s combined his love of our wines with his love of travelling by overseeing distribution from just one state to all 50, then onto 32 countries!

Chris Rowe Headshot

Importer and Division Manager

Christopher J. Rowe – Old Bridge Cellars – Importer, Division Manager

Chris began his career in the hospitality industry while attending Boston University for his Hotel and Restaurant Management Degree.  He moved to Chicago in 1990 where he worked for Lettuce Entertain You Restaurant Group.  While in Chicago his interest turned to wine where he began his studies at the Chicago Wine School.  

Upon moving to Denver, he worked for the California Café and established a wine school for public wine education and later expanded to The Seasoned Chef and a wine educator for City Wine while starting his own company, Barique.  Barique, focused on all aspects of restaurant and wine education, consulting; as well private and commercial wine storage design and collecting.  

After thirteen years in the restaurant business, extensive travel, and a dedication to the court of Master Sommelier Program (of which he has reached the advanced level) he dedicated his interests full time to Wine and Spirits education and sales. His career on the wholesale side of the wine world began in 2001 as the Director of Education and continued for 4 & 1/2 years at Southern Wine & Spirits of Colorado as both the Director of Education and Vice President of the Signature division.   It was with Southern that Chris became acquainted with the wines of Old Bridge Cellars, its winemakers, and families.  He is now charged with the full-time sales, promotion, and education of that portfolio with a team of four that covers half the country. 

After a 20 year absence, he’s elated to be returning to the Seasoned Chef to help bring the world of wine to their ever growing base of loyal followers.

In this age of ‘big company’ buyouts, increasing consolidation and mass production, Old Bridge Cellars brings to you a group of fiercely independent winemakers who retain their belief in artisan winemaking. Coming to know their land through the generations before them, they have an intuitive understanding, quiet confidence and desire to produce only the best they can from each vintage. In standing resolute behind their own style, they’ve established themselves as regional pioneers, benchmarks and leaders alike, universally acclaimed by wine critics across the globe.

Representing these highly sought after, compelling wines since 1990, Old Bridge Cellars has become the US importer of choice for iconic Australian wines. In fact, our allegiance to fine wine and regional expression has been recognized in such publications as The Wine Advocate, Wine Spectator, Wine & Spirits, International Wine Cellar and Wine Enthusiast. Robert Parker of The Wine Advocate has gone so far as to say, “thanks in large part to the work of such talented importers as Old Bridge Cellars et all, American consumers have never had such an enormous selection of Australia’s finest as well as rarest wines.”

Our portfolio is anchored in Australia, yet also reaches internationally through long standing relationships with vintners in many of the world’s most applauded winemaking regions. Our parameters remain, simply, that the wineries we represent are true to their regions and true to themselves. They necessarily share a deep commitment to good land stewardship, preserving their independence, and respecting their regional heritage, all the while embracing the international wine world as their quality yardstick.

We see as our mission the championing of these winemakers who give everything in their pursuit of truly distinctive, regionally defined styles that sit comfortably with the world’s best. And who believe they can do it even better the next vintage!

For the last 22 years, Brooke Smith has been building his career in the wine industry from coast to coast. Currently, Brooke lives in Colorado and has been a Regional Manager for Winesellers LTD for the last ten years. He loves representing Winesellers because they are a family-owned importer of some of the world’s most interesting family-owned wineries.

 

Brooke’s passion for food and wine started during college while working at a fine dining restaurant in San Diego, California. While there, he learned the basics of food and wine pairing, which sparked his passion to pursue a career in the wine industry. After moving to Charlotte, North Carolina, Brooke co-owned a Spanish restaurant where he focused on creating a wine list that would complement the food program. Additionally, he trained staff members to understand the importance of pairing food and wine. When properly paired, Brooke knows that food and wine can really come to life.

 

As a lifelong skier and kayaker, Brooke’s passion for outdoor sports brought him to Colorado when Winesellers LTD hired him as a regional sales manager. Here, he can pursue all of his passions whether it be adventuring in the mountains or exploring flavor profiles. He looks forward to sharing his passion of food and wine while also experiencing all things Colorado.

Trey Johnson (AVV) - Photo (In Place of Headshot)

Trey Johnson has been a Regional Sales Director for Alexander Valley Vineyards for nine years. During that time he has been responsible for two different territories, covering 21 states total. Before coming on board at AVV, Trey was a wine manager for Binny’s Beverage Depot in Illinois. Outside of the Alexander Valley, favorite wine regions include Rioja, the Rheingau, and Champagne.

In a previous life Trey was a professional French horn player, conductor, and music educator, and finds time to make music every once in a while. When not on the road, he enjoys gardening, fishing, and the occasional round of golf. A native Texan, he and his family currently live in Illinois.

Shelley Sale, Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits of Colorado, Trade Development Business Manager, SR.

Shelley Sale is a Colorado native who is celebrating 26 years with Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of Colorado. Her credentials include: Riedel Ambassador for the State of Colorado, 1 st level Sommelier with MS program, Certified Specialist of Wine, Certified Sake Professional, and Certified Spirits Specialist. 

On the beverage scene, her passions are for Rye Whiskey, Sake, Bubbles and Roses. She loves to travel around the world to visit the land and dirt that grows the grapes. Go Biodynamics!!

During COVID she re-found her passion in volunteering at the Park Hill Foodbank (which feeds 200 families every week). Taking Yale courses and expanding her growth in Inclusion and Diversity within her community. 

Her passion is to learn, share and grow the opportunities that are advancing women in the wine and spirits industry, as it is changing everywhere in the work environment around the world. In the last year she adopted a dog from Iraq, this Akbash Shepherd is a handful.

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Brooke Smith

Winesellers Ltd.

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Todd Nelson

Giampetro’s

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Sean Razee

Master Sommelier

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Michael Halpin

Hearthstone

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Jeremy Campbell

Sommelier

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Chef Rick Bell

Bol 

Thoger
Thoger Petry

Sommelier

Rachael
Rachael Ligget Draper

Sommelier

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Shelley Sale

Sommelier

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Billie Keithley

Breckenridge Distillery

Biography
William Davis

Wilson Daniels

John Bieloh

Master Sommelier

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Courtney Leedahl

The Cheese Shop of Breckenridge

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Mari Beth Baumberger

Crystal of America

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Jim Pittenger

Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs

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Steve Steese

The Storm Cellar

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Jayme Henderson

The Storm Cellar

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Jen Mattioni

Q House

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Josh Niernberg

Bin 707 Foodbar

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Bryan Jay Redniss

The Rose

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Duane Walker

JAX Fish House / Lola Coastal 

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Kevin Grossi

The Regional

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Hank Wetzel

Alexander Valley Vineyards

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Linda Wetzel

Alexander Valley Vineyards

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Aaron Boyd

9600 Kitchen

Alex Wright
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Alex Baeten

Briar Rose

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Joseph W. (Bill) Norris
Kent Savitt
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