Byanca Godwin, Certified Specialist of Wine
Byanca Godwin is a wine educator based in Los Angeles, California. She is a French Wine Scholar (FWS) certified by the Wine Scholar Guild. She is a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) through the Society of Wine Educators. She is also certified by the Wine and Spirits Educational Trust (WSET) in levels 1, 2, and 3 and is currently in the final stage of earning her WSET Diploma accreditation.
Byanca’s global travel experience and wine education has led her to become a competitive blind taster. In years 2018 and 2021 she was a member of Team USA at La Revue du Vin de France’s annual World Blind Wine Tasting Competition.
She is a proud alumna of Loyola Marymount University where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater Arts. When not teaching Ms. Godwin enjoys traveling the world where she further explores her absolute passion for expressive wines, culinary traditions and the performing arts.
Eric Hemer, Master of Wine, Master Sommelier
Eric Hemer is the Senior Vice President and Corporate Director of Wine Education for Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits of America and today oversees wine educational endeavors in 46 markets across the US and Canada.
Eric is actively involved in wine education with numerous affiliated organizations as well, including teaching at The Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Florida International University in Miami, and is deeply involved in courses, lectures and examinations around the country with the Court of Master Sommeliers, the Institute of Masters of Wine, the Society of Wine Educators, and the Wine and Spirits Education Trust.
He resides in Lake Worth, Florida with wife Marianne and daughter Julia.
Josh Raynolds, Wine Journalist, Vinous Media
Josh is Editor at Vinous Media, one of the most respected wine publications in the world. He covers the regions of Oregon, Spain, Australia, the Rhône Valley, Beaujolais, Paso Robles, the Santa Lucia Highlands and Chile as well as pink wines from around the globe.
Josh’s interest in wine began in the early 1980s when he was a student at Boston University. He began in the wine trade with retail sales in Washington, D.C., then spent the better part of 1989 and 1990 visiting and working in the vineyards and cellars in France and Germany. In 1993, Josh moved to New York to work as national sales manager for wine importer, Neal Rosenthal, which is best known for French and Italian selections. While working in New York for Rosenthal, Josh met Steven Tanzer and in 2005, Josh became Assistant Editor of Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar.
Over the past decade, Josh has been a regular participant, speaker, and wine judge at wine conferences around the country and has contributed articles to Wine & Spirits magazine.
Peg San Felippo, Wine Journalist
Peg San Felippo has had the pleasure of working in the wine industry as a journalist, judge, buyer, importer/distributor, consultant, and cellar manager spanning over the last 19 years. As the wine columnist for The Palm Beach Post, she wrote over a 100 articles and has written extensively for several other publications including Wine Business Monthly, Wine Business Insider, The Sonoma Sun, The Palm Beach Daily News, and Milwaukee Home. Currently, Peg is the wine and spirits writer for City & Shore Magazine in Fort Lauderdale, and has judged in a variety of wine competitions on both the west and east coasts of the United States. A certified sommelier, Peg also oversees the wine program and food & beverage operation at the Milwaukee Public Market, listed as one of the best public markets in America by Frommer’s and USA Today.
Norm Roby, Wine Journalist
Norm taught English at UC Davis and was an exchange professor at the University of Bordeaux which sparked his interest in wine.
Norm’s career as a wine journalist/critic began in 1975 when his article about California Petite Sirah was published. His focus remained on California wine as he edited a monthly wine magazine and then moved on to The Wine Spectator in 1982. During his decade with The Wine Spectator, Norm was on its weekly tasting panel and taught wine classes at a culinary school and at San Francisco State.
After The Wine Spectator, Norm became the U.S. Contributor to Decanter Magazine in 1982, writing mostly about California, but also expanding into Washington State and Oregon. In 2000, Norm bought a summer home in France and traveled throughout France eventually publishing articles in Decanter about St. Emilion, Castillon, Bergerac, Minervois, Roussillon, Luberon, Provence, and Alsace. Also around 2000, Norm’s wife was employed by Cousino-Macul in Chile, which allowed them to explore many of the wine regions of Chile and Argentina.
Norm co-authored the book, The Connoisseurs’ Handbook of California Wine, which sold over a half million copies and he was Director of Winesong, a Charity Wine Auction benefitting Mendocino Coast Hospital.
Today Norm contributes weekly reviews and articles to winereviewonline.com and to Vinosity, the UK website and wine book publisher founded by Steven Spurrier.
Susan Lin, Master of Wine
Susan is the Head of Wine Expertise for online fine wine retailer Belmont Wine Exchange in the San Francisco Bay Area, serving customers worldwide. In her independent consulting, she specializes in musical branding, pairings, and events for wine and spirits. Susan was named Master of Wine in February 2021 upon the passing of her research paper ‘Influences of classical music on the perception of a Brut non-vintage Champagne’.
A lifelong devotee of music, Susan is a classical pianist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in Classical Piano Performance and Musicology. She has performed internationally as a Chinese classical and folk dancer. Susan also works with performing arts organizations to grow their audiences through innovative programming and events, integrating wine whenever possible. Her joy is to create memorable experiences through wine and the performing arts.
Virginia Philip, Master Sommelier
Virginia Philip is the owner of the Virginia Philip Wine Spirits & Academy and wine director at the iconic Breakers Palm Beach resort, where she leads the award-winning beverage program for 10 restaurants and bars. A strong female force in a predominantly male industry, Philip became the eleventh woman in the world to earn the extraordinary accreditation of Master Sommelier, the highest certification of international proficiency held by just 29 women out of 236 professionals worldwide, in 2002. Philip continued to earn notable achievements throughout her career including the title of “Best Sommelier of the United States” from the American Sommelier Association from 2002 to 2006, James Beard Foundation nomination for Outstanding Wine & Spirits Professional in 2012 and “Honorary Doctorate Degree of Oenology” from Johnson & Wales (where she graduated in 1989) in 2015. In 2017, Philip achieved a lifelong dream with the debut of the Virginia Philip Wine Spirits & Academy in Palm Beach, where she offers 1000+ personally-selected wine offerings and an extensive spirits collection along with weekly wine education programs and guest appearances from national and international winemakers.
Philip has earned her reputation as a devoted expert in the industry. In 2020, she was named by WINWSA (Women in Wine & Spirits Association) as 1 of 50 of the most influential women in wine & spirits, and has been featured on “The TODAY Show,” the Food Network, Food & Wine, Town & Country, Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, Wine Country Living and Decanter, among others. She continues to follow her passion for wine education and share her insight on the world’s most impressive wines.
As a savvy businesswoman and entrepreneur, Philip is highly regarded for her dedication to mentoring future sommeliers and those in pursuit of Master Sommelier certification or furthering education.