The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Sean Collins

insNew to the IWM team in November 2015 as an operations and analytic analyst, Sean Collins graduated from Fordham University in 2014, where he earned a degree in Finance and served as captain of the track and field team. Prior to IWM, Sean worked in television advertising; however, he decided to forgo the cubicle life for a more enjoyable atmosphere. Sean’s interest in food and wine stems from his father and grandfather, who owned a local restaurant in the quiet eastern Queens neighborhood where he grew up. Sean finds joy in the simple things in life. In his spare time he enjoys reading, exercising, and playing with his dog.

Will Di Nunzio

Will_B_8.6.14_72dpiWill Di Nunzio’s love for wine began many years ago in Italy when his father opened a 20-year-old bottle of Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino to celebrate Will’s twentieth birthday. In this perception-changing wine,Will discovered a newfound respect for Italian wines from that moment and grew eager to be more involved. Born in the US, but raised in Rome, Italy, Will worked in the restaurant industry in Rome for the eight years preceding his move to the US in 2007–oddly, he has no Italian accent. Will’s father, a renowned personal coach and motivational speaker in Italy, was sure to not only train him in sales, but also to provide a proper Italian upbringing with big meals and, above all, good wine. Italian Wine Merchants was the logical choice, and Will has cemented his experience and love for wine at the company, and is now IWM’s president of sales.

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Crystal Edgar

Crystal 2014After graduation from the Culinary Institute of America, Crystal began her career in the industry with Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts in Palm Beach managing their fine dining and beverage operations. In 2008 she packed her bags and moved to Asia to work with luxury group, Aman Resorts, creating wine & spirit programs for boutique properties in China and Southeast Asia. After eight years working in hotels and restaurants, she stepped out of hotel operations taking on roles in sales and marketing for wine importing companies in China and Hong Kong. Her latest posting as Brand Manager for Greater China with Kerry Wines, headquartered in Shanghai. Before her return to IWM New York, Crystal spent two years at IWM Hong Kong working closely with private clients and wine trade professionals to spread the gospel of Italian Wine, placing many of the great bottles of our cellars in the hands of collectors and enthusiasts all over Asia. She has now returned to our New York team bringing her experience, expertise and enthusiasm from her adventures and travels in Asia, sharing her love for food & wine and hospitality.

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Francesco Vigorito

Francesco 2014Having grown up in an Italian family in New Jersey, Francesco Vigorito has understood that food and wine are an integral part of his life since childhood.  Francesco became really interested in wine when he tasted one of Italy’s most iconic wines, a 1998 Ornellaia, at the family celebration for his high school graduation, and he was amazed at how one bottle of wine can have such an effect on a life. From that point on, Francesco has devoted much of his time to the science and enjoyment of wine. After graduating from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Science, Francesco enrolled in the Wine Expertise program at Apicius Hospitality School in Florence Italy.  There, he primarily studied Italian wine and viticulture, while soaking up every bit of Italian culture.  In Italy, Francesco wrote for “Mutineer Magazine,” a fine beverage magazine, and he also wrote two chapters in a Tuscan wine book as a joint student/teacher project for his school. After a year of study, Francesco obtained his Sommelier Certification in the U.K and is now very happily employed with IWM.

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Garrett Kowalsky

Garrett_8.6.14_72dpiA long time lover of wine, Garrett Kowalsky’s wine journey began at nine years old when his parents purchased a wine store in Dutchess County, NY. His subsequent after-school hours and weekends were spent adoring the gorgeous vintage bottles in the shop’s showroom and cellar. Garrett has studied Marketing and Economics, and in a previous life, he sold materials to the companies that make hard-drives, before settling into his much more enjoyable role of Senior Portfolio Manager here at Italian Wine Merchants. A lover of many wine growing regions across the globe, Garrett finds that Burgundy and Barolo hold a special place in his heart, and he firmly believes that nothing beats a wine out of magnum. He is also an avid outdoorsman and can be found fall mornings and weekends out in the woods… somewhere.

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John Camacho Vidal

Camacho_B_8.6.14_72dpiJohn Camacho Vidal was born in Colombia, but his parents immigrated to New York when he was two years old, so he considers himself a New Yorker. John was first exposed to wine through his mother, whose career was in the wine industry. Prior to being involved in wine, John worked in financial services as a private banker. Working for IWM as a portfolio manager helped John learn a lot about wine, something that helped him develop true passion for wine. Now with more than six years at IWM, John manages the New York showroom and organizes tastings, and he is currently working towards a CSW credential so that he can better guide and share that passion with others. John lives on the Upper East Side with his girlfriend who loves fine wine as much as he does.

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David Bertot

David Bertot_8.6.14_72dpiDavid, the Director of Operations, has been at IWM since 2010. He joined our team with over five years of logistics experience with Johnson & Johnson and a massive passion for wine and food. A Florida native, he obtained an Industrial and Systems Engineering degree from Florida International University in Miami. Currently residing in downtown Manhattan, David and his wife have no difficulty finding amazing food and wine in their backyards, though they have also traveled to Bordeaux, Basque country, and Northern California in search of new experiences. David enjoys fishing, cycling, sailing, cooking, and both the visual and performing arts.

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Matt Di Nunzio

Matthew_Di_Nunzio-03.03.15Matthew Di Nunzio returned to New York in 2012 after a 25-year residence in Italy. Growing up in Italy, Matthew’s passion for gastronomy prompted him to learn how to cook authentic Italian dishes and, as a proper Italian would, which wine to pair with them. However, it was not until IWM that he truly began to appreciate the delightful intricacies and beauty of Italian wine and the culture that surrounds them. With over a decade of international creative, marketing and advertising experience in multiple industries, Matt joined Italian Wine Merchants in early 2014 as the new Marketing Director. Recently married, he and his wife love living in America, but Rome will always be his home.

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Alex Passarello

Alex_8.6.14_72dpiAfter graduating from Fordham University in 2012, where he studied Finance and Economics and played on the Ice Hockey team, Alex joined the IWM team as its Logistics and Acquisitions Analyst.  Originally hailing from Connecticut, Alex has lived in the city for about five years, first in the Bronx near Fordham, and currently he resides in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Alex enjoys traveling, beer, Seinfeld, hip-hop, hockey and the Rolling Stones.

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Julia A Punj

After graduate school, Julia developed an international business focused on the construction industry, traveling extensively in Europe and Asia. After ten years, Julia realized that she needed to dedicate herself to her passion for food and wine, receiving her degrees in Culinary Arts and Baking & Pastry from The Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts in Vancouver, BC. Julia now holds an Advanced Certification thought WSET and is currently working to be a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers. Julia joined IWM Aspen in the fall of 2014 in order expand her knowledge and is very happy to be a part of the IWM Aspen team.

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About Emery Long

Emery Long 2.5.15For Emery, food is life. A Culinary Institute of America alumnus who has worked as a chef both in the Bahamas and in Brooklyn, Emery joins the IWM team in the showroom and events departments. Driven by a passion for all things Epicurean, Emery enjoys combining his culinary experience with his wine knowledge to search for new flavors and pairings. Born with a broad palate, Emery finds every bite and each sip are opportunities to expand his culinary and wine knowledge.

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Michael Adler

Michael Adler 5.29.15Michael Adler’s journey into wine began in 2008 when he managed to convince a company that he knew enough about wines to land a wine retail job in Washington, DC. He quickly (and predictably) found himself hopelessly in love, and he hasn’t looked back since. Though he grew up in Northern California, Michael’s palate is oriented more towards Old World wines with a distinct sense of place; he says he would “rather drink someone’s livelihood than their investment.” Since  2008, Michael has worked with wines on both retail and wholesale levels in Oakland, California and New York City before joining the IWM team in early 2015. Though he’s primarily self-taught, he holds certifications from both the North American Sommelier Association and the Court of Master Sommeliers.

About Stephane

Stephane 7.14.15A native Frenchman, Stephane Menard’s wine journey began in his early childhood growing up close to his grandfather, a former restaurant owner and avid wine collector who had up to 10,000 bottles stored in his cellar. Starting as a young man, Stephane explored wine with his grandfather; going to the cellar was a prized family tradition before each meal leading to fervent discussions about which wine to pick. In addition to living in Rome for three years, Stephane studied Economics in Paris, and worked in the finance industry before embarking on a new career and becoming a portfolio manager at IWM. He is certified by WSET and enjoys traveling, biking, hiking and fishing.

Janice Cable

CAQQcdJWAAE_cwsJanice Cable has been writing for Italian Wine Merchants and Sergio Esposito since January 2008; she is currently the editor of the IWM blog. A magazine writer, blogger, copywriter, academic and gadabout, Janice has had her work appear in The Guardian, Medium Matter, GQ, Penthouse,  Psychology Today, and New Woman magazines, as well as in several anthologies. She spent about six months living in Italy, where she drank a lot of wine and didn’t learn enough Italian.

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Sergio Esposito

Sergio Esposito Sergio Esposito, IWM Founder & CEO. With more than 20 years of experience in the world of Italian wine,Sergio is recognized by industry insiders as the premier Italian wine consultant in the United States. In 1999, Sergio founded Italian Wine Merchants in New York City and continues to lead the store in raising the profile of Italian wine in this country and influencing both colleagues and collectors with cutting-edge selections and services. Journalists, writers and wine enthusiasts regularly consult with him, and he is frequently featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Wine Spectator, Food & Wine, and SmartMoney. Sergio spends three months of the year in Italy, where he meets with producers, tastes new vintages, and brokers the sale of wines. He travels around the United States monthly, giving lectures and presenting tastings. Sergio is also the author of Passion on the Vine: A Memoir of Food, Wine and Family in the Heart of Italy.

Passion on the Vine is Sergio’s evocative memoir of his journey from Italy to America and his frequent trips back to his homeland, some with his growing family in tow. He takes you to the cold hills of Friuli, the world-famous cellars of Piedmont, the sweeping estates of Tuscany, the windy beaches of Le Marche, and the lush fields of Campania. Along the way he introduces a cast of remarkable characters, not the least of which are his own mother and father-at times exasperating but always endearing. You’ll also meet the man who introduced Italy’s wine and gastronomic heritage to the world; a ballroom-dancing winemaker who bases his farming on the rhythm of the moon; and an obsessive prince who destroys his vineyards before his death so that his grapes will never be used incorrectly. A very personal celebration of food, wine, and family that no one will be able to resist, Passion on the Vine is quite simply the most beautiful love letter to Italy you will ever have the pleasure of reading.

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