Sommelier Society of America
The First Wine Teaching Institute


Industry Professionals.


Rüdiger Eilers

ITALY I, II & III, Germany, AUstria & central europe

Rüdiger Eilers earned his Certificate with Distinction from The Sommelier Society of America. He conducts tastings throughout the boroughs, organizes food & wine pairing dinners, frequents wine fairs throughout Austria, Germany, and Italy, and has a share in a vineyard in Piedmont, Italy, where they primarily grow the Barbera grape. Rüdi instructs several classes for the Sommelier Certificate Course including Germany, Austria & Central Europe, our three Italy classes, Southern Italy, Tuscany & Central Italy, and Piedmont & Northern Italy.

Rüdi was born in Freiburg, Germany (the home of the Gutedel grape), and grew up in Bad Godesberg, Germany (Rhine Riesling land). He moved to New York in 1991, has been in the wine business since 2001, and an instructor with the Sommelier Society of America since 2012. He has represented a number of fine wine importers who focus on Austrian, German, and Italian wines, currently John Given Wines.

John Bandman

champagne, burgundy, rhône & southern france

John Bandman earned the WSET® Level 4 Diploma in Wines & Spirits in 2009 and holds sommelier certifications from the Court of Master Sommeliers and the Sommelier Society of America. He also holds Master Level educator status in Vins de Provence from Wine Scholar Guild, is a member of the Society of Wine Educators and is a Certified Specialist of Wine.

John, a native New Yorker, is an instructor of wine and culinary management at French Wine Society and at The Art Institute of New York City, where he created a table service training program for the school’s restaurant. He has also taught in Singapore and Switzerland, and regularly freelances for such leading culinary establishments as Feast & Fetes, a catering company co-owned by noted chef Daniel Boulud.

John is an accomplished chef and former MaÎtre d’Hôtel, which deepens his understanding of the relationship between wine and food. He is often featured on a series of wine media events, and has been selected as one of the judges at the bi-annual Vinexpo in Bordeaux. Additionally, he is heavily involved with wine press and media trips to leading wine producing regions around the world. John has also provided private tutorials for those interested in furthering their wine education.

Recently, John appeared in Lino Pujia and Charles Arturaola’s film The Duel of Wine, released August 2015. John is also an English Language and Social Sciences teacher, where he continues to enjoy incorporating culture and everyday life.

Anthony Benítez


Anthony Benítez is the son of Juan Benítez, former president of the Sommelier Society of America from 1986 – 1989. In 1984 he incorporated Vintage Wines, an import and distribution wine company in New York City. Joining the family firm over 15 years ago, Anthony is always searching for the newest, competitive wines as well as traditional wines from Spain. He enjoys spending much time in Spain relaxing with family particularly in his father’s hometown of Estepona, Malaga on the Costa del Sol.

Anthony Benítez has been an instructor for the Wines of Spain class of the Certificate Course since 1998.


Yannick Benjamin

Business & Service, burgundy

Yannick Benjamin is a New York City based sommelier and one of the co-founders of Wheeling Forward. Yannick is currently an Advanced Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers and has worked at Le Du’s Wines for over seven years. He is the head Sommelier for the University Club in New York City. In 2003, a car accident left Yannick paralyzed but did not stop him from pursuing his dreams of going on to college and becoming a world class sommelier. He is also a para-athlete who has competed in several marathons and races including the New York, Boston, and Chicago marathons. Yannick’s deep connections in the wine world have helped Wheeling Forward to build a broad base of supporters and inspired many sommeliers and wine distributors to give back to the community.


Stephanie Frederick

deductive tasting, loire & alsace, rhône & southern france, champagne

Stephanie Frederick has been involved in the international wine industry for over 20 years, first as a passionate amateur and now as a professional.

In 1984, she was inducted into the Bons Entonneurs de Rabelaisiens in Chinon, France, the third woman to be accepted (after Elizabeth Taylor and France’s former first lady, Madame Anne Giscard d’Estaing).

She has held several positions in the wine industry in New York city, including at Vias Imports, where she makes Italian wines her primary area of concentration. She also worked for William Grant & Sons, where she gained an extensive knowledge of spirits, especially single malt Scotch whiskeys.

Ms Frederick received the diploma from the Wine And Spirits Education Trust in London. In the U.S. she has been accepted for the prestigious Master of Wine program.

Ms Frederick owns an international consulting firm, for which she lectures on wines as well as hosts multi-level dinners and creates wine lists for restaurants. She teaches with the Sommelier Society of America on wines of Italy, Germany, Austria, and Southern France. She also represents several international brands.

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Costas Mouzouras

eastern mediterranean, southern hemisphere, pacific NW & NY STate

Costas Mouzouras earned a Distinguished Sommelier Certificate from the Sommelier Society of America. He instructs Portugal & Eastern Mediterranean classes. Costas manages Warehouse Wines, located in NoHo New York City.

Jordan Ross

Viniculture, Viticulture & Cooperage, bordeaux

Jordan Ross left a career as a stockbroker to take a degree at the University of California at Davis School of Enology & Viticulture. After winemaking internships at Sonoma-Cutrer and Acacia Winery, in 1989 he began a career in wine sales and marketing.

Jordan teaches cooperage and viticulture for the Society. As a freelance writer and photojournalist, he has been published in Wine SpectatorWines & Vines, Global Vintage Quarterly and Practical Winery & Vineyard. He works for Pasternak Wine Imports.

During Jordan’s travels to Bordeaux, Burgundy, Alsace, the Loire, the Rhone, Argentina, Chile, Germany, Tuscany and Piedmont, he has interviewed numerous winemakers. He writes on topics such as oak barrels, fining and filtration, wild yeast, the relationship between vineyard yield and wine quality, cork, and others.

You can learn more about Jordan Ross at his website,

Dylan York

california, Pacific NW & New York STate, bordeaux

Dylan York has over 20 years experience in the food and wine industry. He is a certified sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, and is WSET® Level 1 and 2 certified. He cut his teeth in the restaurant business at an early age while pursuing a bachelor’s degree in science with plans of continuing on to medical school. But, a magical bottle of Bordeaux changed his course. Dylan has since worked in all aspects of the wine industry—production, sales and retail —but teaching is his passion. Dylan’s classes are highly interactive and seek to debunk the myths about wines and wine appreciation. Dylan currently resides in Brooklyn as the National Sales Director for Revana Family Vineyards.