Wine and Beverages

You can turn a passion for wines and beverages into a specialized, highly diverse career. As a wine and beverage management professional, you can explore positions in casual or fine dining, find your niche in wholesale or retail, work at wine companies or wineries, or even serve as an independent wine consultant. From sommelier and food and beverage manager to sales specialist and tasting room associate, the breadth of choices in this field is impressive. Wine and beverage professionals combine a comprehensive knowledge of wines, beers, and spirits with business savvy in such areas as marketing, sales, inventory control, buying, food pairing, and much more.

Courtney Humiston, Sommelier, Petit Crenn

Certificate: Accelerated Wine and Beverage program (AWBP) Campus: St. Helena, CA Courtney Humiston’s many years as a freelance writer and editor in New York City included a year-long stint covering the city’s dining scene for NBC. One of the perks of her job was the chance to sample culinary creations from some of the world’s top chefs and exposure to the wonderful and complex world of wine. … [Read more...]

Santosh Varghese ’13, Wine Specialist and Marketing & Public Relations Manager at Zachys Wine Auctions

Degree: Wine and Beverage Program Major: Culinary Arts Campus: Hyde Park, NY Santosh Varghese ’13, Wine Specialist and Marketing & Public Relations Manager at Zachys Wine Auctions, had a successful career in international banking with Deutsche Bank in London and New York, yet something didn’t feel quite right. "My job wasn’t fulfilling," says Santosh. "I kept going back to my love of food, … [Read more...]

Carlton McCoy ’06, Master Sommelier, The Little Nell

Degree: BPS Major: Culinary Arts Hometown: Washington, DC The Value of Mentorship He’s a master sommelier and respected wine professional who made Forbes magazine’s prestigious “30 Under 30” list in the Food category and was named Best New Sommelier in 2013 by Wine & Spirits magazine. Clearly, Carlton McCoy has found success in the food and beverage world, and credits his many mentors … [Read more...]

Gretchen Thomas ’05

Degree: Bachelor of Professional Studies Major: Culinary Arts Management Campus: Hyde Park, NY Hometown: Owensburg, KY Speaking the Language of Wine If there’s one thing Gretchen Thomas has learned in her career as a wine professional, it’s that when it comes to wine, people around the world speak the same language. Her job as wine and spirits director for Barcelona Wine Bar has taken … [Read more...]

Lulu McAllister ’12, Wine Director, Restaurant Nopa

Certificate: Accelerated Wine and Beverage Campus: St. Helena, CA Hometown: San Francisco, CA All Roads Lead Back to San Francisco Lulu McAllister’s journey to becoming wine director for the critically acclaimed San Francisco restaurant Nopa took her from northern California to Texas Hill Country and back again. Lulu grew up in a family where food was very important. “My mom went to the … [Read more...]

Diane McMartin ’11, Wine Consultant, Chain Bridge Cellars

When it comes to talking wine, Chain Bridge Cellars Wine Consultant Diane McMartin ’11 has the floor. A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America’s Accelerated Wine and Beverage Certificate Program (AWBP), Diane loves to use what she learned to recommend the perfect wine. “My favorite kind of customer,” says Diane, “is the one saying ‘I’m making this recipe and need to find a complementary … [Read more...]

Amy Racine ’11, Sommelier, Sons & Daughters, Sweet Woodruff, and The Square

Amy Racine ’11 always knew she would return to the San Francisco Bay area. The vibrant culinary and enological culture of the city is a constant source of inspiration for the culinarian turned sommelier. Amy’s time spent at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in the Accelerated Wine and Beverage Program (AWBP) was the beginning of a career that’s all about professional growth. Now … [Read more...]

James Tidwell ’98, Master Sommelier at Four Seasons Resort and Club

Imagine having to describe and identify six wines, including grape type, country, region of origin, vintage, and quality level, within 25 minutes. This is only one part of the challenge facing those who wish to sit for the Master Sommelier diploma examination. The practical and theory portions are equally difficult. In the service practical, seasoned Master Sommeliers role-play guests in a … [Read more...]

Bijou Robertson ’02, Co-owner of Zhoo Zhoo Wines

When Stephen Robertson ’72, owner of Hells Canyon Winery in Idaho, told his daughter Bijou "making wine is all about being able to taste, and to really taste you have to learn to cook," she took his words to heart. She arrived at the CIA armed with a desire to learn all she could about food and wine. She attended Michael Weiss's and Steven Kolpan's wine classes simultaneously so as to not miss any … [Read more...]

Dave Peacock ’00 Brewmaster at Rock Bottom Restaurants and Brewery

Dave Peacock had a secret the whole time he was studying baking and pastry at the CIA; working at Todd English's Olives in Washington, DC; and leading the baking and pastry start-up at the Sofitel, also in DC. He was, in truth, a "basement brewer." He would make chocolate in class with Chef Peter Greweling and learn the fine art of bread baking from Chef Richard Coppedge. He would spend long … [Read more...]