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Experts & Enthusiasts

Thank you to our 2022 experts!

When you come up for the Breckenridge 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.

Court of the Master Sommelier Member

1996 – Present, the 28th member of the court of master sommelier

1997-2002, Rudd Winery and Vineyards – part of a team that created a new Oakville Estate with new vineyards, and winery led by David Ramey. He is also responsible for national sales and marketing.

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.

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!

Executive Chef, Modis Restaurant

Chef Tim Rentz first got a taste of the culinary life back in Vermont at Mountain Top Inn and Resort when he was too young to legally do a wine tasting, and hasn’t looked back since. Tim and his band of culinary rock stars pull influences from all over the world and infuse them with Southwestern ingredients to create Colorado Craft Cuisine. With modis in the City, Chef Tim and the whole modis crew brought the Breckenridge mindset down from the Mountains to share our style of relaxed elegance with Denver. However, he still makes the time to come back up to the hills for inspiration and the fresh air. On his off time he thoroughly enjoys camping, skateboarding, snowboarding, and making music.

Chef/Owner, Rootstalk and Radicato Restaurants

A Colorado native, Matt was raised in Summit County. Matt began his culinary career at the age of fourteen, cooking at a local diner. Intrigued by the pace and heat of the kitchen, Vawter knew instinctively that this was his path.  At fifteen, Matt began his culinary apprenticeship at Colorado Mountain Culinary Institute working and learning in Keystone Resort’s kitchens.

After a five-year tenure with Vail Resorts, Matt joined the opening team at The Cellar, a small plates wine bar in Breckenrige.  Matt moved through the ranks of the kitchen and quickly found himself as the Sous Chef.

In 2007, Matt relocated to Denver and began working at Fruition Restaurant, under the mentorship of Chef Alex Seidel. Matt, once again quickly rose through the ranks to become Fruition’s Chef de Cuisine. In June 2014 Matt received the Zagat Award “30 under 30 culinary game changers”.

In 2014, Matt and Alex, joined forces to open a new market and restaurant concept, in Denver’s Union Station.  During his tenure at Mercantile, Matt received Star Chefs ‘Rising Star’ award and was a semi-finalist for Eater’s ‘Young Guns’. In 2018 Alex Seidel received a James Beard Award for Best Chef Southwest; Vawter was the Chef d’ Cuisine and partner alongside Seidel.

In the Summer of 2020 Matt left Mercantile to pursue opening his own restaurant in his home town of Breckenridge, CO.  Rootstalk is set in an 1880’s Victorian home in the heart of town serving new American cuisine.  Rootstalk focuses on seasonal and approachable food, thoughtfully curated wine and beverage lists, and creative and fun libations.

Wine Director, Rootstalk and Radicato Restaurants

Madison Church was born and raised in Naples, FL. She began working in restaurants as a teenager and soon found a passion for great food and beverage. It wasn’t long before she fell in love with wine.  ‘It’s the cross section of my favorite things; art, history, science and travel in liquid form’ 

After moving to Denver, CO in 2018 she began working with Chef Matt Vawter at Mercantile Dining and Provision. With the help of many incredible Denver wine professionals she fully committed to a life of swirling, sniffing and sipping wine and became a Certified Sommelier (CMS-A) in the fall of 2019. 

She has travelled to Tuscany, Piedmont, Napa and more striving to connect with the people and sites that produce the some of the worlds greatest wines.

Now the Wine Director at Rootstalk and Radicato she can be found pouring delicious, thoughtfully made wines with a sense of place for our guests.

Owner, Giampietro’s Pasta & Pizzeria Restaurant

Todd Nelson started working in the restaurant industry in 1982 at 16 years of age as a prep cook and dishwasher with TGI Fridays in Dallas Texas. Restaurants and food became a passion for Todd and after several years working through the ranks of the industry and holding most every position in a restaurant Todd moved his focus to a more formal education and graduated from Culinary Institute of America in 1994. 

 

Immediately after graduation Todd moved to Zurich Switzerland working at the Michelin Starred, Restaurant Sihlhalde. After 2 years of working in Europe Todd returned to Dallas in 1996 and headed the kitchen of Mi Piaci, a fine dining Italian concept. 

 

When it was time for Todd to become an Owner/Operator in 2001 Todd felt the Town of Breckenridge, Colorado a place he and his family enjoyed vacationing would be an ideal venue for his skills. Eventually Todd along with his two business partners opened multiple independent restaurant concepts in Breckenridge, Colorado; Giampietro Pizza and Pasta in 2002, Empire Burger in 2006, Briar Rose Chop House and Saloon in 2008, Park & Main Quality Foods in 2012 (now closed) and Sancho Tacos & Tequila in 2018.

Sommelier, Giampietro’s Pasta & Pizzeria

Amy is a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers and works as the Beverage Director for a restaurant group in Breckenridge, Colorado as well as the Sommelier at Briar Rose Chophouse.  Amy found her passion for food, wine, culture and hospitality through culinary labs in college and working in the service industry for the past 18 years.  The love of wine was sparked early on in her career and one of her favorite parts of her job is to teach, excite and inspire others about wine.  Not long after moving to Breckenridge Amy became the Wine Director for Briar Rose Chophouse, later becoming the Sommelier at Briar Rose as well as Beverage Director for the restaurant group, 3 positions that she built from the ground up.  Amy’s passion extends far beyond wine and she has created successful beverage programs for several restaurants, including developing bar menus from scratch for two newly opened bars.  When she is not educating staff and guests about a beautiful bottle of Barolo, she spends her time outdoors hiking, paddle boarding and stopping to smell the wild roses.

Managing Partner, Canard Vineyard

Adam Fox is the Managing Partner at Canard Vineyard in Napa, Valley, CA. Originally from Denver, Colorado, his family moved to Los Angeles in the early 70s. From a young age, Adam was passionate about creating art. Over the years the desire to create would take many forms. First, it was the culinary arts. Adam, a self-professed “foodie”, preferred cookbooks to textbooks and would read them cover to cover after school. This lead to jobs as a chef in some of LA’s finest restaurants. It was in those kitchens that we developed an appreciation for wine and started down the path that would eventually lead him to Canard Vineyard.

With a keen eye for the visual and strong production
knowledge, Adam turned his talents to construction and
architecture, establishing Altered Estates Inc, an interior design and renovation company. Each
project was another blank canvas and opportunity to use his imagination to create something
extraordinary. Years later, after having a family, he left Manhattan and moved both family and
business to the bucolic Oregon countryside.On buying trips to San Francisco, Adam always left
a little extra time to visit Napa Valley and indulge his lifelong appreciation of wine and food. It
was on one of those trips that he realized winemaking was the ultimate culmination of his
interests and talents.Within a few years, he would move the Bay Area and immerse himself in
learning everything he could about what made a truly incredible bottle of wine. In 2010, Adam
met Rich Czapleski, one of the last true gentleman farmers in Napa Valley. The two shared a
common desire to create wines rooted in integrity that focused on quality over quantity and
artistry over commercialization. Over the last ten years, Adam has infused Canard Vineyard with
that artistry, creating elegant, terroir driven wines that can only be achieved in
small quantities as they have been created without compromise. It could be said that under
Adam’s direction, Canard Vineyard now produces art in the form of wine.

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 handful.

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.

Importer and 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!

View our Experts & Enthusiasts that will be wining and dining with us at the 2021 Breckenridge Wine Classic.  

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Joseph W. (Bill) Norris

Texas SommeY’all

John Bieloh

The Maggie

Kent Savitt

Don Sebastiaini & Sons

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Courtney Leedahl

The Cheese Shop of Breckenridge

Scott Hybbeneth

Carboy Winery

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Todd Nelson

Giampetro’s

Sean Razee

Master Sommelier

Damon Ornowski

Master Sommelier

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Billie Keithley

Breckenridge Distillery

Biography
William Davis

Wilson Daniels

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Mari Beth Baumberger

Crystal of America

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Michael Halpin

Hearthstone

Alex Wright

Hahn Family Wines

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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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Brooke Smith

Winesellers Ltd.

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Alex Baeten

Briar Rose

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Aaron Boyd

9600 Kitchen

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