Our Instructors Truly Love Wine
Each of our instructors has embraced their love of wine in different ways. Some were born into a culture of wine appreciation, while others reshaped their career and lifestyle driven by their passion for wine. Whatever their background, they all have a common goal of sharing their experience and knowledge with the Sommelier Certificate course students.
Rüdiger Eilers was born in the wine country in Freiburg, Germany, which is home of the Gutedel grape and his childhood expanded into Bad Godesgerg, the Rhine Riesling land. He earned his Certificate with Distinction from The Sommelier Society of America and conducts tastings throughout the boroughs. His food and wine pairing dinners are exceptional, and he owns a share of a vineyard in Piedmont, Italy. He represents John Given Wines, a fine wine importer. 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’s love of wine and SSA is truly exceptional. He attends every class, introduces the instructors, and is always available to answer questions after class. He takes the time to get to know each and every student, often sharing his cell number and email to stay connected with students.
John Bandman brought his love of cooking and wine together in a way only an accomplished chef can. His passion for wine extends into judging the bi-annual Vinexpo in Bordeaux and wine education through private tutorials, wine press, and media trips. John is a member of the Society of Wine Educators and is a Certified Specialist of Wine. He 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. His love of education and wine has spanned the globe from The Art Institute of New York City to schools in Singapore and Switzerland.
Anthony Benítez was born into the world of wines. His father, Juan Benítez, was the former head sommelier of the renowned "21 Club" and served as the president of the Sommelier Society of American from 1986 to 1989. Anthony is always searching for the newest, competitive wines and loves to share the traditional wines from Spain.
Stephanie Frederick’s early amateur passion has bloomed into a talented profession that spans the globe. 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). Her love of wine has expanded into other realms as well. Working for William Grant & Sons gave her an extensive knowledge of spirits, especially single malt Scotch whiskeys, granting a unique perspective for different flavor palettes.
Costas Mouzouras manages Warehouse Wines located in NoHo New York City and is a Distinguished Alumnus of the Sommelier Society Certificate course. He instructs Portugal & Eastern Mediterranean classes.
Jordan Ross combined his love of writing, photography, and viticulture to become a distinguished freelancer for Wine Spectator, Wines & Vines, Global Vintage Quarterly, and more. He writes on topics such as oak barrels, fining and filtration, wild yeast, the relationship between vineyard yield and wine quality, cork, and others. He travels the world to interview winemakers and share their passions with his audience. Jordan has degree from University of California at Davis School of Enology and Viticulture.
Dylan York’s 20 years experience in the food and wine industry gives him a unique perspective that he loves to bring to his classes. He is a certified sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers and is WSET® Level 1 and 2 certified. Dylan’s highly-interactive and informative courses are highly sought after because of his passion for teaching. One of his favorite topics is debunking the myths about wines and wine appreciation.
Our newest addition to SSA is Yannick Benjamin, an SSA Alumni. He is a New York City-based sommelier and one of the co-founders of Wheeling Forward. Yannick has worked at Le Du’s Wines for over seven years and is the head Sommelier for the University Club in New York City. A car accident in 2003 left him paralyzed, but his passion to become a world-class sommelier couldn’t be stopped. He is currently an Advanced Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers and he can’t wait to share his love of wine with our students
Our instructors come from all walks of life. Their backgrounds are varied, but the one thing that connects them is their love for wine and the way it enhances food, culture, and the dining experience. To learn more about our SSA instructors and their passion for wine visit https://sommeliersocietyofamerica.org/instructors.