top of page

2012 Speakers


Mary Ewing Mulligan MW

Welcome Address

Pure chance brought Mary-Ewing Mulligan into the wine business: upon graduation from the University of Pennsylvania, she went to work at the Italian government’s foreign trade office in New York, and one of the Italian products in her sector happened to be wine. When Italy established a wine promotion office for the entire U.S., she headed it, and devoted herself to educating American consumers about Italian wines. Subsequently, she worked in the private sector, first as an independent agent representing several Italian wineries, and then with PepsiCo’s international wine and spirits division. But her heart was in wine education, and an opportunity to run a new wine school in New York City lured her back into that field. She has been at that school, International Wine Center, ever since, and is now its president and owner. International Wine Center is now the U.S. headquarters of the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET®), and Mary is executive director of U.S. programs for WSET. When the Institute of Masters of Wine opened its exams to wine professionals outside the U.S., Mary was one of six Americans to qualify and travel to London to sit the exams in 1989. In 1993, she became the first woman Master of Wine in the U.S.

Annette 1.JPG

Annette Alvarez-Peters, Assistant General Merchandise Manager, Costco


Annette Alvarez-Peters is the Assistant General Merchandise Manager, responsible for overseeing the Costco Wholesale wine, spirits & beer program for the United States. Costco is the 2nd largest retailer in the US and the 7th largest in world. Costco is the dominant membership warehouse club operator. There are 605 warehouse stores in 40 states and Puerto Rico and in 7 countries. Estimated sales for fiscal year 2012 (ending September 2, 2012) are $97 billion (e). In the United States, Costco has 354 wine licenses (34 states), 382 beer licenses (38 states), and 262 spirit licenses (24 states).


Jackie Bergeron, Vice President Audience Insight for The Nielsen Company


Jackie Bergeron has been with the Nielsen company for over 17 years. She began her career in Dallas, Texas and moved to NY in 2003. While at Nielsen, she has worked in many different capacities on the media side. She has worked on projects across the Watch and Buy research practices and most recently authored an article on Women and Technology Usage. She has also spoken on numerous panels on such topics as Nielsen methodology and womens’ use of media.

Canterbury Writing Wine Notes.jpg

Christy Canterbury MW, Author, Speaker, Wine Judge and Educator


Christy Canterbury is one of seven female US national Masters of Wine and received the Villa Maria Award for Outstanding Viticulture Examination Paper. She has contributed articles to Wine Enthusiast, Food Arts, Sommelier Journal, Snooth, Beverage Media, TASTED and several blogs, including her own. Previously, Christy was the National Wine Director for Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group and the Global Beverage Director for Culinary Concepts by Jean-Georges.


Christy Frank, Frankly Wines, Owner


After attending business school, Christy spent 7 years working at Moët Hennessy USA, the wine and spirits division of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. Her last three years there were spent managing the US business for the company’s Australia/New Zealand portfolio. After visiting countless wine stores and bars across the country, in late December 2007, she opened her own shop: Frankly Wines. One of the smallest shops in New York City, Frankly Wines offers up a “greatest hits” from the world’s major (and minor) wine regions with the guiding principle: “Fine Wine. No Attitude.”

Stephanie Johnson headshot_sm.jpg

Stephanie Johnson, City Winery, Director


Stephanie has been City Winery’s Wine Director since 2008, and recently took on the role of Executive Wine Director for City Winery’s New York and Chicago locations. She built City Winery’s 400+ bottle list to include classic wines as well as many esoteric styles and emerging regions, receiving Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence in 2010 and Best of Award of Excellence in 2011 and 2012. She is currently a candidate in the London-based Institute of Masters of Wine program, giving her ample opportunity to utilize both books and tasting glasses.


Carla Rzeszewski, Wine Director, The Spotted Pig, The Breslin and The John Dory Oyster Bar


Carla Rzeszewski has been loving this industry for over a decade, from polishing silverware in Maui to serving tables in California to her current position of Wine Director of The Spotted Pig, The Breslin and The John Dory Oyster Bar in New York City.


Leslie Sbrocco, author, speaker, wine consultant, and television host


Leslie Sbrocco is known for her educational and entertaining approach to wine. Recently voted as one of the Top 100 most influential people in the American wine business, Sbrocco’s engaging personality and in-depth knowledge is her trademark whether appearing on screen or in person. Sbrocco’s first book, Wine for Women: A Guide to Buying, Pairing and Sharing Wine won the Georges Duboeuf Best Wine Book of the Year award. Her second book, The Simple & Savvy Wine Guide, was released to wide acclaim and she is currently at work on her third book, Adventures of a Thirsty Girl.


Marilisa Allegrini, Allegrini, Owner

Guided Wine Tasting

Marilisa was introduced at a very young age to the wine business by her father Giovanni. In 1980 her older brother, Walter, took over the vineyards, her younger brother, Franco, took over the winemaking, and Marilisa was put in charge of sales, immersing herself completely in the development of a marketing division for the company. Marilisa learned to identify the problems and opportunities of the market, to create solid objectives, to delineate strategies, and to make Allegrini’s presence known in the marketplace almost immediately.


Laura Catena, Bodega Catena Zapata, Managing Director

Guided Wine Tasting

In many ways, Laura Catena has become the face of wine and culture in Argentina. Whether applying her discerning vision to craft Catena wines, or saving lives in the Emergency Room, Laura Catena puts her heart, soul, and finesse into everything she does. Dr. Laura Catena is also a practicing emergency physician; a medical professor at UCSF Medical Center; wife of Daniel McDermott—another ER doctor; mother of three; and a worldwide ambassador for Argentine wine.


Xandra Falco, Marqués de Griñón Estates, General Manager

Guided Wine Tasting

Xandra Falco was born in Madrid in 1967. In 2004, she  was named Commercial Manager of Marqués de Griñón Estates and has reorganized the company’s international and Spanish distribution networks. In 2011, she rose to the position of General Manager. Today, Marqués de Griñón Estates exports around 75% of their production to over 35 countries worldwide. In 2007, Xandra received the “Business Woman of the Year” award from the Business Women Association in Castilla la Mancha.


Heidi Scheid, Senior Vice President of Scheid Vineyards Inc.

Guided Wine Tasting

Scheid Vineyards owns and farms approximately 4,500 acres of premium wine grape vineyards, primarily in Monterey County, California. Scheid also owns and operates a 30,000-ton processing facility which offers custom and bulk wines, custom crush, storage, private label brand production, and grower joint ventures to a wide range of clients. Heidi joined Scheid Vineyards in 1992 as Director of Planning and served as the company’s Vice PresidentFinance and Chief Financial Officer from 1997 to 2001.


Tamra Washington, Peter Yealands, Winemaker

Tamra grew up in Marlborough during the region’s viticulture explosion. Her first position was in the laboratory at Marlborough’s Seresin Estate. She then headed to California to join Francisan Estate in the Napa Valley. This was followed by stints in Australia’s Hunter Valley and Margaret River.  Next came an offer to take the role of Winemaker for Casa Vinicola Calatrasi’s 2002 vintage in Sicily, Italy. Tamra stayed for four years as Head Winemaker for the Calatrasi Group, overseeing wineries in Sicily, Puglia and Tunisia. After a period as a ‘flying winemaker’ overseeing production from Italy’s northern Veneto region for the Sainsbury supermarket group, Tamra was lured home by Peter Yealands.


Nadia Zenato, Zenato, Owner

Nadia Zenato grew up in the world of wines and has always been very involved in her family’s winery, which was founded in 1960by her parents, Sergio and Carla. After earning a degree in law with a concentration in wine business law, Nadia returned to the winery to work alongside her family. Nadia enjoys being spokesperson for Zenato and communicating the winery’s core values of quality, passion and tradition. In addition to her work at the winery, Nadia also represents the Veneto region in “Donne del Vino,” a national association of women in the wine business.

bottom of page