Hire the right person. We'll make them Wine Professionals.

Web-based programs are delivered by a group of wine professionals whose careers are in wine sales and service. These include a Master Sommelier, Winemakers, Tasting Room Managers, and Certified Sommeliers.


Wayne Belding
Master Sommelier

Wayne Belding grew up in the mid-Hudson Valley of New York, now, ironically, a burgeoning wine-producing area. After earning a degree in geology, he moved to Colorado and found his way into the oil fields of the U.S. as a geologist. Along the way, he became fascinated with wine, and when the energy boom went bust, used that opportunity to transform his avocation into his vocation.

After earning an MBA from the University of Colorado, he was an award-winning Sommelier at the Heritage Hotel in Denver with its Wine Spectator Grand Award-winning wine cellar. In 1990, he became the 13th American to pass the demanding Master Sommelier examination. Since that time he has been active in teaching and examining at all levels of the Master Sommelier program. He has served as Education Director of the American Chapter of the Court of Master Sommeliers for 9 years and has served as Chairman of the American Chapter of the Court of Master Sommeliers for 3 years.

He has taught wine appreciation classes for over 25 years and written many articles on all aspects of wine. He is the author of the newly-published wine book for consumers – "Diving Into™Wine". He has been a frequent local, national, and international wine competition judge. He has also been a featured speaker at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, The Telluride Wine Festival, the Euphoria Food, Wine and Music Festival, The Taste of Vail and the Rocky Mountain Wine and Food Festival. He has taught professional wine service classes throughout North America. From 1986 - 2010, he was an owner of The Boulder Wine Merchant, a very successful retail store in Boulder, Colorado.

Paul Wagner

Paul Wagner

Paul Wagner studied sociology and education at U. C. Santa Cruz and classical guitar and public performance at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Seville, Spain. 
After several positions in Public Relations and Marketing in the wine industry in Napa Valley, Mr. Wagner formed Balzac Communications & Marketing on April 1, 1991.  Clients include a broad range of national and international companies and organizations, with primary focus in the food and beverage industries.  Current clients include Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines,   the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux, Don Sebastiani and Sons, Trinchero Family Estates, Simply Italian, Consorzio di Chianti Classico, Franciacorta DOCG, D.O. Navarra, Buena Vista Winery, and a host of other wine and food specialists. 

He has been an instructor for Napa Valley College's Viticulture and Enology department for the past seventeen years.  In addition he teaches at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, and is a guest lecturer at universities throughout the world on wine business, communications, public affairs, wine and wine marketing. 

With Liz Thach and Janeen Olsen, he authored a book:  Wine Marketing & Sales, Strategies for a Saturated Market by The Wine Appreciation Guild, which won the Gourmand International Award in 2008 for the best wine book of the year for professionals. A second edition of that work was published in 2011. He is a regular columnist for Vineyards & Winery Management Magazine, a member of the board of directors of the Society of Wine Educators and contributes to in the field of wine and food.

Paul Wagner has judged many national and international wine competitions, is a founding member of the Academy of Wine Communications, a member of the nominations committee of the Culinary Institute of America’s Vintner’s Hall of Fame, and was inducted into the Spadarini della Castellania di Soave in 2005.  In 2009 he was honored with a “Life Dedicated to Wine” award at the Feria Nacional del Vino (FENAVIN) in Spain.


Elizabeth Slater

Elizabeth Slater is a passionate and committed marketer, owner of In Short Direct Marketing and co-founder of the Wine Industry Network, a business-to-business internet marketplace, connecting wineries and growers with industry knowledge, services and suppliers.

Elizabeth (or E as she is known), specializes in all facets of creative strategic development, direct marketing, sales and customer service. E’s work in business has spanned a number of diverse industries and provided her with an extensive breadth of
knowledge and experience.

Internationally recognized within the wine and other retail industries as a seminar and workshop leader, speaker, and trainer, E presents her innovation jammed seminars with humor and enthusiasm, useful and easy to implement concepts and information for businesses of all sizes as well as state associations and private groups.

In addition to training, she teaches classes in wine marketing for Sonoma State University and Santa Rosa Junior College, and is the direct marketing columnist for Vineyard & Winery Management magazine. Her focus is primarily creating and managing overall customer experience, with a special emphasis on engagement and connection, and sales and marketing of products directly to consumers in emerging and mature markets.

Tom Payette

Tom Payette
Consulting Winemaker
Columnist, Vineyard and Winery Management Magazine

Tom Payette studied under famed Bordeaux enologist Jacques Boissenot, and has been working in the wine industry since 1985.  This includes 7 years experience in ultra-premium Bordeaux varietal wine production in Napa, California, and crafting still and sparkling wines in Virginia.  In 1999 he was named “Winemaker of the Year” by Vineyard and Winery Management Magazine—a title he still holds today.

Currently, he works as a premier hands-on and analytical winemaking consultant serving clients throughout the United States.  His company focuses on winery and vineyard start-ups and expansions, still and sparkling wine production, and general winery issues.  In addition to winemaking, Mr. Payette is a noted national speaker and recognized International wine judge.

Mr. Payette is a member of the American Society of Enology and Viticulture, ASEV-Eastern Section, The American Wine Society, The American Vineyard Foundation Review Board, and serves on the advisory board to Wineries Unlimited, the East Coast's premier and largest wine industry trade show and seminar event.  He is a past member of the Governor's appointed Virginia Winegrowers Advisory Board where he served as technical committee chair. 

Visit Tom Payette's website at:

Paul Gospodarczyk

Paul Gospodarczyk
Winemaker. Teacher. Sommelier.

Gospodarczyk's love of agriculture was established at his best friend's apple orchard while growing up. An appreciation of growing, processing, and small business lead him to earn a B.S. in Fruit Science and Enology. He proceeded to work at wineries in New Zealand, Oregon, Colorado, Oklahoma and has been the consulting winemaker for nine startup operations. An affinity for service and memorizing lists enabled him to become a Certified Sommelier.

Gospodarczyk believed winemaking was the best job until discovering that teaching about winemaking was a viable option. He earned a M.S. in Agricultural Education focused in Food Science. In addition, he established and taught the Enology and Wine Service programs with the Iowa Culinary Institute at Des Moines Area Community College and was an adjunct instructor for the VESTA program. Highlights from teaching included his students' international winemaking internships, the establishment of many new wineries, and learners' passing both the Introductory and Certified exams with the Court of Master Sommeliers.

Many years after the apple orchard days Paul was the best man at his friend's wedding. That night he met the bride's college roommate; to whom he is now married.


Jeff Yanecek
Certified Sommelier

Jeff has worked in all aspects of wine sales including restaurant service, retail sales, and distribution. He began his career in a contemporary American restaurant under the guise of a James Beard Nominee for Best Chef. This lead to a position as a cheese-monger in a specialty foods store where he routinely cracked whole wheels aged Parmeggiano Reggiano and made fresh mozzarella. His passion for wine led him to the retail business where he oversaw a specialty wine shop. Eventually, Jeff transitioned into distribution and works as a fine wine and beer sales representative for Dimitri Wine and Spirits. The portfolio is especially strong in Italian and Greek wines complimented by Beers of the British Isles, Belgium, and Germany. He is studying to become a Certified Cicerone (beer service expert).

Josie Boyle
Sparkling Winemaker

Josie has Bachelor of Arts degrees in Anthropology and French and in 2009 earned a Certificate of Specialization in Enology. This was followed by working at Vidal Estates (founded 1905) in the Hawke’s Bay region of New Zealand. She currently works at L. Mawby Vineyards—Larry Mawby is touted as “one of the best, and one of the least known sparkling wine producers in the United States.” Josie duties include working as the lead in the méthode champenoise cellar; assisting in wine production; and finishing in the cuve close cellar.

Laura Swan

Laura Swan
Certified Sommelier

Certified Sommelier Laura Swan's wine career was sparked over a bottle of Touraine in Lyon, France. After consequently attaining a culinary degree from the Iowa Culinary Institute and receiving the Certified accreditation from the Court of Master Sommeliers, Laura worked as sommelier at James-Beard-nominated French restaurant, Bistro Montage. Laura worked the 2011 harvest at Morton Estate in the Hawke's Bay region of New Zealand. She further spends her time offering wine and food education and consultation, as well as studying for her Advanced Sommelier exam.
To learn more about ‘what’s cooking’ in Laura’s kitchen visit:

John Pezak

John Peszak, M.D.

Charles Lauritson

Charles Lauritsen
History Professor