Sommelier Society of America
The First Wine Teaching Institute

Instructors

Industry Professionals.


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Rüdiger Eilers

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

Rüdiger Eilers 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, and has been in the wine business since 2001, representing a number of fine wine importers who focus on Austrian, German, and Italian wines, currently John Given Wines.

Rüdi earned a 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.


John Bandman

champagne, burgundy, rhône & southern france

John Bandman, 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.

John earned the WSET® Diploma in Wines & Spirits in 2009 and holds sommelier certifications from the Court of Master Sommeliers and the Sommelier Society of America. He is a member of the Society of Wine Educators and is a Certified Specialist of Wine.

He is pictured here during an interview for professional wine commentary. Recently, John appeared in Lino Pujia and Charles Arturaola’s film The Duel of Wine, which anticipates a 2015 release. John is also an English Language and Social Sciences teacher, where he continues to enjoy incorporating culture and everyday life.


Anthony Benítez

SPAIN

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

Anthony is the son of Juan Benítez, former president of the Sommelier Society of America from 1986 – 1989. Juan’s passion for wine developed while employed as Sommelier at New York City’s fabled “21 Club” – his anecdotes and memories are a treat: He holds many oenophilic secrets of celebrity regulars like former U.S. president Richard Nixon, Elizabeth Taylor and Muhammed Ali. Juan has been involved with wines since his arrival to the United States in 1972.

In 1984 he incorporated Vintage Wines, an import and distribution wine company in New York City. Joining the firm over ten 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.

 


Tali Dalhaba

burgundy, bordeaux, components of wine

Tali Dalhaba’s career in the hospitality industry began at age 15 in Tel Aviv, Israel, where she gained decades of experience working for internationally renowned clubs, restaurants and hotels rising to management in nearly every professional setting she encountered. In 2011 Tali moved to New York City, and became an Advanced Sommelier through CMS (Court of Master Sommeliers).

In 2016, Tali joined the fine dining establishment of Jean Georges as a Sommelier. Previously she worked as the Wine Director at City Winery, a fully functioning winery paired with fine dining that operates both as a venue and events space. There her responsibilities included curating the venue’s award winning wine list of over 700+hand-picked bottles, driving the wine program, and training over 50 staff. Currently, Tali is the Brand Ambassador for Vins de Graves in the U.S., and the General Manager for Buy Rite Wines.

Spending time working a venue floor, delivering the best products and service to her clients is what she loves most about her work.

Outside of work Tali likes exploring new foreign cities by foot and watching live music.


Stephanie Frederick

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

Stephanie Frederick has been involved in the international wine industry for over 15 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 is a Distinguished Alumnus of the Sommelier Society Certificate course and instructs Portugal & Eastern Mediterranean and Pacific Northwest & New York State classes. Costas manages Warehouse Wines, located in NoHo New York City.


Jordan Ross

Viniculture, Viticulture & Cooperage, bordeaux

Jordan Ross 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.

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

During Ross’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 Ross at his website, www.enologyinternational.com.


Dylan York

california, bordeaux

Dylan York has over 20 years experience in the food and wine industry. 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. He is a certified sommelier through the Court of Masters and is WSET certified. Dylan currently resides in Brooklyn as the National Sales Director for Revana Family Vineyards.