Los Altos, California
Born and raised in California’s Central Valley, Master Bertao grew up on his family’s dairy ranch in the town of Los Banos. One of four sons, Bertao was expected to work for the family business after finishing school/ However, the constant explorer had other plans in mind and in 1974, Bertao set out for the city of Los Gatos to pursue a job at Mt. Charley’s restaurant where he was first exposed to the complexities of wine.
Adventurous and independent, Master Bertao takes after his grandparents who emigrated from a small island off the coast of Portugal to create their own path in California. Along with a few treasured items, they brought with them his grandmother’s homemade wine that she continued to make in her new home in California. A very early influence on Master Bertao and his first exposure to good wine, he stills has bottles of his grandmother’s final vintage from 1983.
In 1984, Master Bertao ventured to England where he and a friend launched restaurant 34 Surrey Street, which offered primarily American-style seafood and imported wine. After ten years of exploring London and meeting his wife there in 1988, Master Bertao returned to the United States and started working with the Los Gatos Brewing Company in 1994, AP Stumps in 2001, and Parcel 104 in 2004. He received the Wine Spectator Award at the Los Gatos Brewing Company, AP Stumps and Parcel 104.
Master Bertao heard about the Court of Master Sommeliers at the Los Gatos Brewing Company and decided to take the next step in his constant adventure with wine. Under the guidance of Master Fred Dame, he studied fervently for his exams with friend and current Master Sommelier Reggie Narito. Master Bertao passed the Master Sommelier exam in 2005 and has since worked as General Manager of the Los Altos Golf and Country Club, and is an active member of the Wine Society for the Club Managers of America Association. In this role, he leads tours of prominent California wineries and helps club managers broaden their pairing repertoires and their wine lists. Locally, as General Manager of the Los Altos Golf and Country Club, he hand selects all of the local wineries for the Annual Harvest Wine Festival in Los Altos. He currently lectures and proctors examinations for the Court of Master Sommeliers, and enjoys mentoring students as they advance through the program. He continued his educational path and attained his CCM in 2012.
New York, NY
Roger Dagorn of Tocqueville and 15 East Restaurant is a shining exception to this incontrovertible rule; he’s running the wine lists of two restaurants, and, at 63 years of age, he is one of the oldest working sommeliers in New York. Mr. Dagorn is a legend in New York wine service—not only for his remarkable longevity but for his generous nature and “dedication to the craft” as Daniel Johnnes, wine director of the Dinex Group of restaurants noted in an admiring email.
Mr. Dagorn joined Tocqueville and 15 East some six months ago because he “wanted to do more” (he was previously the wine director at Porterhouse). In addition to overseeing the two restaurant wine lists, he is planning the wine lists for the restaurants in a soon-to-be opened hotel.
Perhaps the fact that Mr. Dagorn was born into the restaurant business helps to explain his ongoing love for the role. Mr. Dagorn was 9 when his family moved from Brittany France (by way of Canada) to New York and his father opened Le Pont Neuf restaurant on East 53rd Street. Soon Mr. Dagorn was working as a dishwasher, then a busboy, and eventually he was elevated to waiter.
When Mr. Dagorn graduated from Queens College with a degree in environmental science he couldn’t find a job in his field, but, as he noted, “I was always able to find work in restaurants.” Mr. Dagorn went to work as a waiter and later as a sommelier, as he honed his wine knowledge. He officially became a sommelier in 1972 and went on to acquire a list of impressive jobs, including sommelier and beverage director at Maurice restaurant at the Parker Meridien, and sommelier and beverage director at Tse Yang. He spent almost two decades as sommelier and beverage director of the much-acclaimed Chanterelle. (Maurice, Tse Yang and Chanterelle have all since closed.)
Mr. Dagorn also accrued some impressive credentials: Master Sommelier (one of less than 200 world-wide); Best Sommelier in New York; and most recently he was made a Sake Samurai too. Mr. Dagorn is also an adjunct assistant professor in charge of wine service at New York City Technology College.
San Francisco, CA
Evan Goldstein, MS, is one of the nation’s most prolific food and wine industry veterans. In 2008 Goldstein joined Full Circle Wine Solutions, Inc., a global wine and spirits education company, as President and Chief Education Officer to create tailored experiences that help clients grow brand loyalty and business profits. In addition, Evan continues to train and examine candidates for the Court of Master Sommeliers as a Founding Board member.
Evan’s food and wine career started in the renowned kitchens of Paris and California. In 1984 he joined his mother, Chef and Author Joyce Goldstein, in opening the celebrated San Francisco restaurant Square One. In 1987 he became the eighth American and youngest ever at the time to pass the prestigious Master Sommelier examination. Since 1990 Evan has created wine education programs and service hospitality schools with Seagram Chateau & Estates Wines Company, Diageo, Allied Domecq, and most recently, as the Vice President of Global Wine & Brand Education at Beam Wine Estates.
Evan is the author of Five Star Service: Your Guide to Hospitality Excellence (On Premise Communications Inc. publishers) and the critically acclaimed books, Perfect Pairings: A Master Sommelier’s Practical Advice for Partnering Wine with Food and its sequel, Daring Pairings: A Master Sommelier Matches Distinctive Wines with Recipes from His Favorite Chefs, both published by the University of California Press. In addition, Goldstein co-authored numerous books with his mother Joyce Goldstein, including Wine and Food Pairing in the Williams Sonoma Lifestyles Series. His latest literary undertaking, Essential Guide to the Wines of South America (UC Press), was published in September 2014.
Evan is a regular editorial contributor to America’s Sommelier Journal, a contributing editor for Wine & Dine and Indulgence magazines in Singapore, is the American wine correspondent for Wine Review, South Korea’s leading wine and food magazine, and is a recurring guest wine expert on NBC’s syndicated television show “In Wine Country.”
He also makes regular guest appearances on the top-rated “Ronn Owens’ Show” on KGO Radio, and on Saturday morning television’s KPIX “Eyewitness News”, both in San Francisco, and on the nationally syndicated Martha Stewart Radio, hosted by Sirius.
Born and raised in Napa Valley Keith is one of the world’s youngest Master Sommeliers He is the proud recipient of the illustrious Krug Cup trophy, passing all three parts of the exam (theory, tasting and practical), on the first attempt. Keith has more than 25 years of experience ranging from bussing & waiting tables, to writing award-winning wine lists, consulting, training and lecturing for prestigious and renowned restaurants, hotels, cruise lines & wineries including; Domaine Chandon, Masa’s, Spago, Picasso, Aureole, Charlie Palmer Steak, Crystal Cruises and Diageo Chateau and Estates.
Previously Keith has worked with celebrity Chef Bryan Voltaggio at Volt, Range and Aggio. Drawing on his globe-trotting experience to create wine programs that showcase the classics, the trend-setters as well as the rock-stars of the wine world. Speaking of music, Keith has arranged the Range wine list by style with musicians as the categories (Skinny Elvis or Fat Elvis for example) all to make wine more approachable and accessible to the consumer. It is this irrelevant approach to wine that had Wine Spectator calling Keith “a wizard at matching food with interesting wines.” Currently, Keith works for Rosewood Hotel in Washington, DC.
San Francisco, California
In 1991 Peter Granoff was the 13th American to earn the coveted title Master Sommelier, and is one of the 18 Americans to date that have earned the Krug Champagne Cup by passing all three parts of the exam on the first attempt. He is active today as an examiner and lecturer for the Court of Master Sommeliers Introductory, Advanced and Masters level programs. In 1991 Peter also received the James Beard Foundation Sommelier of the year Award.
In January of 1995, Peter and his brother-in-law Robert Olson, a software engineer, launched Virtual Vineyards, an ecommerce pioneer and the first US entity to sell wine on the Internet. According to Wells Fargo Bank, Virtual Vineyards was the first business ever to process a secure credit card transaction over the Internet. It was also the subject of a Harvard Business School Case Study, and was cited in numerous business and e-commerce marketing journals & texts as a pioneer during that heady (headless?) era. The company had a good six-year run and grew to $28 million in annual sales before what Peter calls “the dot.com era of ludicrous expectations” caught up with it.
Prior to Virtual Vineyards Peter spent 25 years in the hospitality industry as a food & beverage director, wine buyer, sommelier, bartender and waiter, including two years in the Burgundy region of France, and a year with a Relaix & Chateaux hotel in Switzerland. He even “faked it as a chef” on several occasions. He is active as a speaker, panelist, judge, and educator in numerous wine consumer and wine industry settings, and has presented at professional wine and e-commerce conferences at American universities such as Harvard, Wharton, Rhodes, and UC Berkeley, and as far away as Switzerland, France, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. In 2002 Peter joined the Adjunct Faculty at the Culinary Institute of America’s new Professional Wine Studies Program, and was an active instructor until the demands of his latest business ventures forced him to take a hiatus.
Since 2003 Peter has been co-proprietor of Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant & Wine Bar in San Francisco’s acclaimed Ferry Building Marketplace. In January of 2008 Peter and his current business partners opened Oxbow Cheese & Wine Merchant in the now landmark Oxbow Public Market in downtown Napa, California. These businesses benefit from Peter’s accumulated business experience, down to earth perspective on wine, great sense of humor and thoroughly gray hair.
With many years of industry experience, Peter has been increasingly engaged as a consultant on projects at the intersection of wine, technology and social media, including the recently launched Coravin, a wine access technology that was more than 14 years from idea to market.
Jack Mason, Master Sommelier at the Pappas Bros. Steakhouse Houston Downtown and Galleria locations, achieved MS status at the very young age of 27 and one of the youngest to do so. He is one of only nine esteemed Master Sommeliers currently in the state of Texas and one of 144 Master Sommeliers in the United States. Born in Biloxi, Mississippi, Mason developed a fondness for the food and beverage industry while working in local restaurants in his hometown of College Station, Texas.
Mason’s interest in wine was piqued while taking a wine education requirement class while pursuing a culinary degree from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York. Mason soon left to enroll in Hospitality Management at Cornell School of Hotel Administration. It was there he met his future mentor, Greg Harrington of Gramercy Cellars, and became a wine course Teaching Assistant. To further his education, he spent summers back in College Station working within wine shops and restaurants.
Mason returned to Texas following his graduation to begin his career in Houston as a Sommelier at the Grand Award-winning Pappas Bros. Steakhouse while simultaneously studying for and passing the Advanced Exam of the Court of Master Sommeliers. In 2013, Mason moved to New York City to work in various notable restaurants. He refined his knowledge and passion of Italian wine as Sommelier of several Michael White Italian restaurants, including Ai Fiori and Marea. The following year, Jack joined famed restaurateur Danny Meyer to open Marta as the wine director, where he focused on wines from southern Italy and furthered the team’s beverage education. In 2015, Jack was inducted into the Court of Master Sommeliers.
Mason decided it was time to return to his roots and moved back home to Texas in November 2016. He re-joined Pappas Bros. Steakhouse in Houston as master sommelier at both the Houston Galleria and Houston Downtown locations. He is responsible for an inventory of more than 60,000 bottles of wine and close to 3,000 selections from the restaurant’s extraordinary wine collection.
New York, NY
Laura Williamson began her formidable career in the service industry at the young age of 18, after growing up in a dry county in Arkansas (where her mother still resides) and discovering the virtues of wine after moving to Paris, France at 19 for college. By exploring wine through service positions at David Paul’s in Lahaina, Maui, Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, John’s Restaurant and Flagstaff House in Boulder, CO and Sweet Basil and La Tour in Vail, CO, she was convinced her talents with wine could lead to a more exciting career than her Economics and Financial Planning degrees.
She was encouraged to pursue the Master Sommelier Diploma by her mentors Wayne Belding and Sally Mohr of the Boulder Wine Merchant and achieved this coveted distinction of which only 78 Americans (including just 13 women) had attained prior to her success in 2005. She is currently an active member of the Court of Master Sommeliers, the grading body for aspiring candidates. She also holds the prestigious title of Certified Wine Educator and achieved this feat in 2002 when only approximately 100 others had previously.
Following her accreditation, she began consulting for Small Vineyards Imports, the fastest growing Italian Wine importer in the US for 2006 and 2007 and the only Italian importer focused exclusively on small-production, hand-harvested fruit with minimal environmental impact. She helped select the portfolio, expanding offerings to Spain and Portugal, and assisted in educating suppliers and distributors nationally on the superior virtues of small, hand-harvested, earth-friendly wine production.
From November 2006-June 2009, she managed and doubled as the sommelier while co-owning VinTabla Restaurant and Wine Shop in Tucson, AZ. Her award-winning, handcrafted wine list showcased 100+ wines from around the world where ‘taste’ and ‘glass’ pours were key to supporting tableside-custom wine flights that ignited consumer learning and appreciation of synergistic wine and food pairings.
From April 2010 through 2012, she managed sales nationally as Vice-President of Sales for Rudi Wiest Selections, a top German Importer to the US for over 30 years. She assisted Rudi in handling his prestigious portfolio of Germany’s second-to-none producers and crusaded simultaneously for the merits of dry wines from Germany.
From April 2013 to June 2014, she worked as Chef Sommelier to Jean-Georges at his namesake Michelin 3 Star New York Restaurant, prior to accepting the position as Corporate Beverage Director for Jean-Georges until May of 2015.
Currently, she oversees the beverage program as Wine Director for Mandarin Oriental, New York, managing 3000+ selections contained in the 45-page award-winning wine list, fully servicing all venues of this prestigious luxury hotel. Additionally, she sits on the advisory board of Kazzit.com “world’s most comprehensive winery guide”, assisting to expand content and operations via an interactive sommelier platform poised for global scale.
She speaks annually at national wine conferences and festivals and is a staunch advocate for artisan wine producers, especially for under-appreciated countries such as Germany, Greece, Portugal/Madeira and Slovenia.