Interested in learning more about wine? We will have several different seminar sessions held during the weekend, featuring high-profile wine experts and in-house presentations. Keep in mind, they fill up fast, so plan your Saturday schedule accordingly! 






Michael A. Venezia, MA, CSW, CSS

“Sail Into Port”
4:00pm - Grand Hall 4 *$10/person
  • Corporate Director of Education, United Distributors Inc..
  • Adjunct Professor of Hospitality Administration, Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University
  • Member of L'Ordre Mondial des Gourmets Degustateurs de la Confrerie de la Chaine des Rotisseurs
  • Former co-chair of the Board of Directors of the American Institute of Wine and Food (AIWF) Atlanta Chapter
Jaamy Zarnegar

"Food and Wine Pairing" 
2:45pm - Grand Hall 5 *$10/person 
  • Educated on the Isle of Man, United Kingdom
  • Came to the United States in 1978 & graduated UNC - Greensboro in 1985
  • Worked for ARA Services at the Chancellors house at UNC - Greensboro
  • Learned the world of wine at Southern Lights in Greensboro while working under Anne Steketee, the GM wine buyer
  • Has been at Last Resort Grill since 1993
Simone Bergese
"Fine Winemaking in Georgia"

1:30pm - Grand Hall 4
2:45pm - Grand Hall 4

  • Executive Winemaker, Château Élan 
  • Orig­i­nally from Alba, Italy and holds a degree in Oenol­ogy and Viti­cul­ture from the Turin Uni­ver­sity in North­ern Italy.
  • After com­plet­ing his degree, Simone worked as Assis­tant Wine­maker for sev­eral winer­ies in Italy’s Barolo and Bar­baresco regions, as well as winer­ies in Aus­tralia.
  • He was hired in 2003 as Chief Wine­maker at Patria Win­ery in Sicily, and then he pro­gressed in 2006 as the Chief Wine­maker for the pres­ti­gious Fir­rato Win­ery, one of the best known winer­ies in Italy.
  • Dur­ing his time with these two winer­ies, Simone pro­duced more than 18 mil­lion bot­tles of wine and was awarded sev­eral inter­na­tional awards.
  • In 2008, Bergese moved to the United States to join Potomac Point Win­ery in Stafford, Vir­ginia.
  • As the Wine­maker at Potomac Point, he achieved over 60 awards for his wines in local, national and inter­na­tional wine com­pe­ti­tions, includ­ing the pres­ti­gious Inter­na­tional Wine Chal­lenge and Decanter World Wine Awards where the wines were listed in the top 12 wines in Vir­ginia.
Carolyn & Randall Abney

“Oregon Wines”
4:00pm - Grand Hall 1
  • When the Abneys moved to London, they were able to explore the wines of the commonwealth, such as New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa
  • When the Abneys moved to Florence, Italy in 1999 they were able to visit wineries, go to tastings, go to Vin Italy and the Salon del Gusto and generally spend ALL their free time learning about, tasting, and acquiring wine
  • Over an eight year period, Randall built a cellar of over 3,000 bottles of Italian wine.
  • At the same time, Carolyn was writing about wine for The Florentine, Tuscany's only English newspaper; and seriously studying wine.
  • She earned the Slow Food International Master of Wine certificate by taking classes taught ONLY at night and ONLY in Italian
 Nancy Palmer
“Wine 101” and "Advance Wine"  
2:45pm - Grand Hall 2
4:00pm - Grand Hall 2
  • Currently serving as the Vice President of Development for the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild
  • Member of the nationally known group the Four Coursemen, which was featured in Food & Wine Magazine, Garden and Gun Magazine, Southern Living Magazine,, and Georgia Traveler on PBS. They also filmed and aired 2 one-hour specials for the Cooking Channel, the first of which received a James Beard nomination.
  • Previously wrote food and beverage columns for Military Spouse Magazine and  
  • Recently launched Cork and Key, a beverage consultation service  
  • Currently manages the wine programs for numerous Athens restaurants
Frank Sinkwich III
Certified Cicerone, CWE, CSW, CS

“Venture into the Veneto, discover the wines of the Veneto region in Northeast Italy”
2:45pm - Grand Hall 1
  • President of Northeast Sales Distributing in Georgia and Skyland Distributing in North Carolina
  • Certified Wine Educator and Certified Specialist of Wine through the Society of Wine Educators
  • Certified Sommelier through Court of Master Sommeliers
  • Candidate in the Masters of Wine program
Stephen Humphreys
“South American Wines”
1:30pm - Grand Hall 1
  • Owner of Athens Imports
  • Attorney turned wine importer
  • Originally founded AmerAsia Wines
  • Humphreys specializes in finding smaller, lesser-known wineries to import into the U.S.
  • Only wine importer in Athens, Ga.
  • Started exporting wine from Argentina long before anyone else
Lawrence E. Lykins, Jr.
“A Taste of Cartecay Vineyards”
1:30pm - Grand Hall 2
  • Owner and operator of Cartecay Vineyards in Ellijay, Ga., since 2007
  • Received two bronze awards at the 2012 U.S. National Competition
  • Received two silver and one bronze award at the 2014 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
Sharon Fenchak

“Discover Biltmore Bubbly”
4:00pm - Grand Hall 5
  • Sharon's passion for winemaking brought her to Biltmore Estates in 1999, and she attained winemaker status in 2003
  • Also involved in research and development for new grape-growing technology and production methods at Biltmore
  • Before Biltmore, Sharon crafted wines for two different Georgia wineries
Travis Burch

“Rhone Blends from 3 Continents”
1:30pm - Grand Hall 5
  • Co-Owner of Heirloom Café and Fresh Market in the Boulevard Historic District
  • Curator of the wine and beer program at Heirloom Café and Fresh Market
  • Long-time lover of Rhone Style Wines