2015 Speakers

Dana Cowin, Editor-In-Chief, Food & Wine

Keynote Address

Dana Cowin, Food & Wine’s editor-in-chief since 1995, is one of America's foremost authorities on food, wine, style and design. Cowin oversees the Food & Wine brand, including a monthly magazine with a circulation of 925,000; digital products including the website foodandwine.com as well as the digital-only FWx for millennials, mobile applications, tablet editions and a books division.

Lee Campbell, Andrew Tarlow Group, Wine Director

Panelist

Lee is the wine director at a dynamic Brooklyn group of restaurants, including Diner, Marlow & Sons, Roman’s, Achilles Heel and Reynard at Wythe Hotel. Here she is able to unabashedly promote this style of wine to an adventurous and progressive clientele. As a result, she has been a featured wine professional in various publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Essence, Elle, Town & Country, and Bon Appétit.

Jennifer Iannolo, The Concordia Project, Founder & CEO

Panelist

Jennifer Iannolo is the founder and CEO of The Concordia Project™, created to transform the conversation of women’s empowerment from a zero-sum game to one of inclusiveness. The project was unveiled in April 2015 during Jennifer’s closing keynote for Harvard’s Women in Business Week.

Anna Lee Iijima, Wine Enthusiast, Contributing Editor

Panelist

Anna Lee C. Iijima reviews wines from Germany and New York and provides regular coverage on wine, sake, food and travel for Wine Enthusiast.  She joined Wine Enthusiast in 2010 following a career in corporate law. She holds a Diploma in Wine and Spirits from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust and is a student in the Master of Wine program.

Gina Langone, BJ’s Wholesale Club, National Wine Buyer

Panelist

Gina Langone has been the exclusive wine buyer for BJ's Wholesale Club for the past seven years, having joined the Westborough, MA-based company in 1991. She is also the warehouse club's buyer for beer and spirits. Gina's three buying categories represent a total corporate annual sales budget of $285 million spread across 140 stores, featuring alcohol in 12 states stretching from Maine to Florida

Maeve Pesquera, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, Director of Wine

Panelist

As Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar’s national director of wine, Maeve Pesquera oversees Fleming’s award-winning wine program, highlighted by the Fleming’s 100®, a collection of 100 wines by the glass, all also available by the taste, flight or bottle. Nationally acclaimed as the steakhouse destination for lovers of fine wine, Fleming’s wine list is recognized annually by Wine Spectator magazine’s Award of Excellence.

Jeanine Prime, PhD, Catalyst, Senior Vice President, Research 

Panelist

Jeanine Prime, PhD, is co-lead of Catalyst’s research program, responsible for overseeing the development of breakthrough research and insights that empower leaders and organizations to create inclusive workplaces. Dr. Prime’s expertise includes topics such as gender in organizations, stereotyping, implicit bias, change management, and leadership effectiveness. She currently leads a cross-cultural research series on the nature, impact, and cultivation of inclusive leadership.

June Rodil, MS, McGuire Moorman Hospitality, Wine & Beverage Director

Panelist

June Rodil, MS, is the beverage director for McGuire Moorman Hospitality, an acclaimed Austin company that owns and operates six popular and lauded restaurants (Jeffrey’s, Josephine House, Perla’s Seafood & Oyster Bar, Clark’s Oyster Bar, Elizabeth Street Café, and Lambert’s Downtown Barbecue) as well as two high-end retail stores. She also consults for other operations in management, design, and event production.

Clarice Turner, Starbucks, Senior Vice President, Americas Business

Panelist

Clarice Turner is the senior vice president of U.S. Business at Starbucks. Clarice led a key part of the U.S. Starbucks store portfolio as senior vice president/general manager of the U.S. license business, and as senior vice president in the U.S. company business. She pioneered the “Starbucks Evenings” (wine, beer & small plates) concepts.

Laura Williamson, MS, The Mandarin Oriental New York, Wine Director

Panelist

Laura Williamson, MS, is currently the wine director for the Mandarin Oriental in NYC New York City.  Prior to accepting this position in April 2015, she was the Corporate Beverage Director at New York’s celebrated Jean-Georges restaurant as well as Chef Sommelier to Jean-Georges. She achieved the Master Sommelier Diploma in 2005. At that time, only 78 Americans had been awarded this coveted distinction, of which only 13 were women.

Dominga Cotarella, Owner, Falesco

Guided Wine Tasting

Dominga Cotarella is the second-generation owner of Falesco winery in Umbria, founded in 1979 by her father and renowned enologist, Riccardo Cotarella and his brother, Renzo Cotarella. Dominga joined the winery in 2007 as the marketing director and commercial manager for the Italian market.

Carole Meredith, Co-owner, Lagier Meredith and Professor Emerita, department of viticulture and enology, University of California, Davis

Guided Wine Tasting

Lagier Meredith Vineyard is a small, east-facing vineyard on the slopes of Mount Veeder planted with Syrah, Mondeuse, Zinfandel, and Malbec. Carole Meredith and her husband, Stephen Lagier, have lived here since they bought the property in 1986. Although it is home to a grove of centenarian olive trees, the land had never been planted to grapevines before. Carole and Steve planted their first vines here in 1994 and have been producing wine since 1998. They have no employees and do all the vineyard work and winemaking themselves.

Viviana Navarrete, Winemaker, Leyda

Guided Wine Tasting

Viviana Navarrete, who joined Leyda in 2007 as the chief winemaker, focuses on Pinot Noir and cold climate white wines that capture the identity and full potential of the Leyda Valley. Just eight miles from the Pacific Ocean, the area has a distinctly cool, maritime climate, which allows for very elegant, fresh, and fruit-forward wines. After graduating at the top of her class with a degree in oenology from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Viviana spent four years at Concha y Toro winery as an assistant to the renowned winemaker, Ignacio Rebarren.

Lissi Wieninger, Owner, Weingut Wieninger 

Guided Wine Tasting

Lissi Wieninger studied interior design in Vienna in 1988 and spent the next decade working as an architect. She and Fritz Wieninger became a couple in 1995 and her life in design changed five years later when the two married and Lissi started working at Weingut Wieninger. In addition to managing the financial side of the business, Lissi also organizes events, tastings, and travels all over the world promoting the wines.

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