CIA Alumni Lead the Way in Wine and Beverage

CCIA Alumni Lead the Way in Wine and Beverage

February 2022

Hudson Valley Magazine highlighted Reserva Wine Bar in Beacon, NY, owned by partners Tanner Townsend ’08 and Pedro Sousa ’19. The couple also owns HV Food Photography, and Townsend, owner of several Hudson Valley cafés, as well. Reserva features wines from underrepresented winemakers and winemaking regions, like Brazil, that are not typically found in the Hudson Valley. The wine bar hosts live music on the weekends, and the menu features local ingredients into traditional Brazilian cuisine.
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Darwin Acosta ’20 was the February Beard House Fellow. Through the fellowship, each incoming member will have a one-month residency at the Beard House gaining personalized training curated for them. Darwin is passionate about creating a community of diversity and inclusivity in the wine space and making their mark in the industry. The incoming March Fellow is current CIA student Steve Gutierrez.
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January 2022

Douglas Kim ’06, MS, director of wine in Las Vegas for MGM Resorts International, was profiled in the Las Vegas Sun. He discussed his role as a supervisor of over 50 sommeliers and 350,000 bottles of wine at MGM’s Las Vegas properties as well as the rigor required to become one of fewer than 200 elite Master Sommeliers in North and South America.
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November 2021

John Dal Canton ’07 has been named as the beverage director for La Stella Cucina Verace, a new Italian restaurant in Dallas, TX. Canton spent time in Italy studying viticulture and viniculture. Previously he worked as food and beverage manager for the Cowboys Club in Frisco, TX.
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October 2021

Drive Wines was included as one of five under-the-radar wineries that people should know about in Sonoma County, CA. Co-owner and founder John Musto ’15 began Drive Wines in his garage and has since expanded.
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August 2021

Megan Lamb ’19 has joined the team at Glorie Farm Winery in Marlboro, NY. She will be working alongside winemaker Kristop Brown as the property’s assistant winemaker.
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May 2021

Paula de Pano ’10 is featured in Wine Enthusiast’s article about Filipino-American sommeliers who are changing the narrative of wine in Filipino culture. She discusses how she sees her differences as an advantage in the beverage industry.
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In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, SevenFifty Daily released their list of the top 12 AAPI drink innovators in the beverage industry, including Paula De Pano ’10 for her work in creating a New York City-worthy beverage program at The Fearrington Village in Pittsboro, NC.
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Crystalla Huang ’13, brewmaster at RedDot Brew House in Singapore, has become Singapore’s first and only certified female brewmaster. This Channel News Asia article focuses on her career in beer, and how she is challenging industry stereotypes.
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March 2021

Timothy Riley ’05 has gone viral on TikTok, gaining almost 90,000 followers, for reviewing energy drinks using a fine wine tasting format. Riley has his Advanced Sommelier certificate and was inspired to create his TikTok account when his wife, who is very into fitness, was trying out different energy drinks and he got curious about the flavors of each.
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Soul Fixx Elixirs, a kombucha brewing company located in Healdsburg, CA and run by CEO Erik Fritz ’07 and CCO Ruben Moreno ’04, is featured in The Healdsburg Tribune for its less vinegar-forward, better tasting version of the popular, fermented beverage.
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January 2021

Nicholas Ducos ’12 opened an urban winery, Mural City Cellars, in Philadelphia, PA with business partner Francesca Galarus. Mural City Cellars offers Community-Supported Winery (CSW) memberships, where people can receive two bottles per month, access to virtual events, and discounts on wine. Fifteen percent of CSW membership proceeds will be donated to neighborhood initiatives and the Philadelphia Mural Arts Project.
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Jacob Griffin-Diaz ’08, along with his partner Alejandro Griffin-Diaz, opened a luxury coffee bar, Jacob Alejandro, in Troy, NY. Jacob has experience bartending, a baking and pastry degree from the CIA, and helped get many small coffee shops off the ground working for Irving Farm Coffee Roasters. Alejandro is a 2011 Latte Art Champion.
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Yvonne Chung ’07 is the newest member of GuildSomm’s Board of Directors. She will serve a three-year term in this role at the nonprofit international membership organization for wine professionals, and hopes to help expand the organization’s audience internationally and create a more diverse community.
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