|Michael McNeill, MS
1:30pm - Grand Hall 2
2:45pm - Grand Hall 2
- First Master Sommelier in the State of Georgia
- Two-time national champion of the "Best Sommelier in America"
- Director of Wine Education at Quality Wine and Spirits
- Represented the U.S. in two world finals; at the Sopexa Gran Prix du Sommelier in Paris in 1994 which entitled McNeill to serve as President of the Jury for the U.S. competition that followed in 1997 and the Concours Mondial du Sommelier in Tokyo in 1995
2:45pm - Grand Hall 4
4:00pm - Grand Hall 4
- President of both Northeast Sales Distributing & Skyland Distributing in North Carolina
- Certified Wine Specialist of Wine and Certified Wine Educator through the Society of Wine Educators since 2005
- Certified Sommelier through Court of Master Sommeliers since 2005
- Candidate in the arduous Masters of Wine program headquartered in London, England
Michael A. Venezia, MA, CSW, CSS
“Our Friends, the Blends”
4:00pm - Grand Hall 1
- 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
"Food and Wine Pairing"
1:30pm - Grand Hall 1 *$10/person
2:45pm - Grand Hall 1 *$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
"Who Is Kermit Lynch? - A Journey of Wines
from the Old World"
1:30pm - Grand Hall 5 *$10/person
4:00pm - Grand Hall 2 *$10/person
- 20--year veteran of the wine business in the San Francisco Bay Area. Starting out in Napa Valley, CA,
- Worked for St. Supéry Vineyards and Winery in Rutherford before deciding to focus on the abundance of outstanding wine retailers located in San Francisco.
- After cutting his teeth selling high end Bordeaux, Burgundy, and California wine for several years, hired by the pioneering French and Italian wine importer, Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, based in Berkeley, CA.
- Steve has been with Kermit for 13 years and manages the retail store.
- Frequent contributor to the KLWM newsletter and blog.
- Traveled extensively throughout wine regions all over the world, especially in Europe, and has taught several wine appreciation classes and tasting seminars based on his experiences.
- Steve relishes the moment to sit down with his family for a great meal and delicious bottle of wine.
Carolyn & Randall Abney
“Wines of the Italian Islands”
1:30pm - Grand Hall 4
- 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
“Creating a Wine Cellar for Your Home”
2:45pm - Grand Hall 5
4:00pm - Grand Hall 5
- 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, Delish.com, 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 Vault.com
- Recently launched Cork and Key, a beverage consultation service
- Currently manages the wine programs for numerous Athens restaurants