Robert has been interested in food and wine since he began managing restaurants at the age of 21. However, the desire to own and operate a restaurant eventually gave-way to a career in the wine business. While Robert was managing the wine programs for The Wine Sellar & Brasserie (Wine Spectator Grand Award) and Laurel Restaurant & Bar in San Diego, he came to know Fran Kysela, MS. After traveling and tasting extensively with Fran, Robert joined Fran’s company Kysela Pere et Fils as a sales representative in southern California. After a year, Robert moved to the San Francisco Bay area to open that market for Kysela. Two years later Robert was recruited by a small Importation/distribution company to work as Vice President Sales and Marketing. Eight years later, coming full-circle, Robert seized the opportunity to open his own firm based on the import portfolio of Fran Kysela, inclusive of high quality domestic wine producers as well. Robert has travelled the world tasting and evaluating wine in the countries and regions he now represents: France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Oregon, Washington and of course, California.
Natalie Morrison, wife and co-owner of AWS got her first start in the wine business in Southern California while working towards her graduate degree in Speech and Language Disorders. While attending classes in the mornings and working in fine dining in the evenings, she was offered the opportunity to begin working with Grapevine Wine Company which included the import portfolio of Martine Saunier. It was during this busy time that her love of wines and her future husband, Robert Morrison, began to grow. Grapevine Wine Company led way to a full time supplier job with Honig Winery and she too relocated to the Bay Area where she managed the Peninsula, half of San Francisco and the East Bay territories for fifteen years. With the success of their young company and a growing family Natalie is now very proud to be working with Authentic Wine Selections maintaining her long relationships with her East Bay accounts and is excited by what the future holds.
Malcolm 'Mac' Williamson (AKA Grandpa Hondo)
Orders / Media Manager / Corporate PilotOrders@authenticws.com
Mac is an energetic and highly motivated professional, with excellent group, communication, and organizational skills and a proven record of career accomplishments in market research, not-for-profit, marketing, and digital and interactive web design. Combining attention to detail and forward thinking with current networking capabilities, integrated marketing and state of the art design technology. Mac offers a clear advantage when marketing products, services and ideas through public relations, trade shows and networking. In short, Mac is a Business Development guru who loves wine, making people laugh and is a pretty good pilot too.
Melissa has been in the food, wine, and event industry for over 20 years. Her passion for delicious recipes paired with various wines began when she became a Bar Manager at an upscale Italian restaurant. She then started traveling to Napa, SoCal, and parts of Europe to expand her palate. Known to some as DJ Miss Music, Melissa continues her love for wine by visiting various vineyards and dancing while sipping her favorite Pinot noir to the rhythm of the vine.
Logistics / Delivery / Office SupportAdmin@AuthenticWS.com
Northern California Reps
East Bay/San FranciscoChuck@authenticws.com
Chuck began his career in wine almost 15 years ago working part time in the wine department at Whole Foods Market. After a few years of attending tastings he found he had the skills to depict wines based on value and complexity and became wine buyer at Whole Foods. His next move would further his global wine education working as a sales associate for Beltramo’s Wines and Spirits. After a couple of years Chuck moved to the distributor side and worked for two of California’s top wine wholesalers. Prior to entering the wine world Chuck was road racing motorcycles professionally where he won the National Title 3 times in the AMA 250GP class. Chuck still races on a local level in the Superbike class for Team Skylark Bar Racing in his spare time.
Hailing from the Central Valley of California, Michael came out further West initially to beat the heat & to further his formal education in the San Francisco Bay Area. In the ensuing pursuit of a food & beverage hospitality management career, Michael cultivated a multitude of experiences and perspectives over the years working in the capacity of wine & beverage director at the Park Hyatt Hotel, the Restaurant at Campton Place Hotel, Hornblower Cruises & Events as well as at The Big Four Restaurant at the Huntington Hotel in San Francisco. During his intermittent hospitality forays & with a newly acquired thirst for domestic & international wine culture, Michael crossed over to the sales & service side of the dynamic world of wine a number of times; initially as an account executive with Young’s Market/Estates Group, a hotel specialist for Regal Wine Co. & later as the California Sales Manager at varying times for Seghesio Family Vineyards & Longboard Vineyards. It is here that Michael found his way back into the fold with Authentic Wine Selections, feeling on familiar and convivial ground again.
Mendel was preparing for the last year of Chiropractic school in 1977 when due to national pressure to conform, Cleveland Chiropractic School closed the night school. Working at a clinic during the day, Mendel would need to now work nights while going to school during the day. One of the patients suggested getting a restaurant job, and recommended some of the better restaurants in Kansas City, MO.Mendel got hired to be a waiter at Harry Starker’s on the Country Club Plaza. It was soon clear that he had no background in food and wine, service, etc. He decided to take a semester off to focus on learning a new craft. Two weeks later, an invitation to a waiter’s house after work, a bottle of 1974 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley, and game over.
In 1978 Mendel was asked to revamp the wine list. In 1981 he was offered a job with a national wholesaler. In 1984 he made the move to California, where he continued in wholesale. He took a timeout from wholesale to run the west coast division of an internet wine startup. Following that he was hired to open a wine bar. Eventually the call of wholesale rang true again.
Scott, like many wine professionals, came to wine indirectly. He was a student of Art History in college living in Italy and ‘wasting time in museums and churches’. He later went to New York to work in the art business with auction houses including Sotheby’s and Christie’s as a specialist in paintings and vintage guitars. While living in San Francisco working for Butterfield’s Scott began to explore wine country and was drawn to studying wine by many of the same aspects that made art interesting (history, culture, place). Scott, like many wine professionals, came to wine indirectly. He was a student of Art History in college living in Italy and ‘wasting time in museums and churches’. He later went to New York to work in the art business with auction houses including Sotheby’s and Christie’s as a specialist in paintings and vintage guitars. While living in San Francisco working for Butterfield’s Scott began to explore wine country and was drawn to studying wine by many of the same aspects that made art interesting (history, culture, place). Later, upon moving back to his native Texas he started working in retail shops before making the move complete by taking a position as wine director at Stephan Pyles Restaurant in Dallas. Scott’s enthusiasm for wine grew and included stints at The French Laundry in Napa Valley, The Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas and various other restaurants working with Chef John Tesar. He won the Texsom Texas Best Sommelier competition in 2008 and was named Dallas Best Sommelier by D Magazine the same year. Scott left Texas to move to Napa to take over the Wine Education program for Meadowood Napa Valley. Scott began his path with the Court of Master Sommeliers in 2006 with Intro and then Certified in 2007. He passed the Advanced exam on his first attempt in 2009 in Chicago and first sat the Master exam in Dallas in 2011. Scott passed Theory and Service before re-setting on Tasting in 2013. After a hiatus he returned in 2017 to pass Theory again and passed the Service and Tasting parts in 2018 to earn his red pin. He was part of the infamous Master Sommelier class of 2018 and no longer officially maintains the title of MS despite being cleared of any wrong-doing by the Court. He currently has no plans to re-sit the exam.
Alexandra started the wine journey via work in the restaurant industry. General management soon noticed her wine interest and wine buyer/management positions followed: Learning wine at Seafood Mama’s, Tequila at Palapas and Sake at Mobo Sushi. The wine rep offer kept coming up, until she decided it was time to leave food & wine and focus solely on wine. It’s been 2 decades on this fabulous path, meeting passionate wine people, tasting thought provoking wine and constantly learning more in the world of wine.
Ruben Rodriguez brings over 25 years of wine & spirits sales and marketing experience. He specializes in increasing retail and restaurant revenues through innovative approaches. He has conducted numerous trainings with restaurant staff to develop various incentive programs and contests designed to support achievement of sales goals. He is a certified Entry Level Sommelier (2008). Through his tenure with Regal Wine Company he achieved many accomplishments including the companies’ highest award; President’s Circle of Success (2) and consistent Sales Representative of the Month. Ruben strives to continue his growth in wine knowledge and looks to provide outstanding customer service.
Jeff started cooking in restaurants at age 15. In 1990, he worked for chef Reed Hearon (who opened LuLu, Rose Pistola, and Rose’s Café restaurants in San Francisco) at Corona Bar & Grill in San Francisco, and that’s where Jeff was first exposed to food and wine pairings. After graduating from UC Berkeley in 1991, Jeff’s first forays into the corporate world included a 7-year stint in commercial insurance at AIG, and 5 years as a financial consultant at Salomon Smith Barney. The wine bug finally caught up with Jeff in 2004, when he joined the Commanderie de Bordeaux chapter in Las Vegas, and also started selling wine for Southern Wine & Spirits in Las Vegas. Over the past 14 years, Jeff has worked on the DTC side, the Wholesaler side, and the Supplier side of the wine business. In addition to California and National sales, Jeff helped launch a wine distribution company in Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand. Jeff holds his Diploma from the WSET, and has been fortunate in his career to work closely with many Master Sommeliers. Jeff resides in Healdsburg, California with his wife, Karissa and their boston terrier, Bentley.
San Francisco | OaklandMartin@authenticws.com
My interest in wine started in 1980 with a Turkey sandwich and the need for something to wash it down with. A friend and I went to the nearby Weibel winery since they had a picnic area. Since we knew nothing about wine, we were suggested a bottle of “Pinot Noir Blanc”, as I recall it was a dry rose’ (this was pre White Zin. craze). We enjoyed the wine and soon, my friend and I were locked in a competition in who could know more about wine.
As two living and breathing examples of “a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing”…we would take road trips far and wide to Liquor stores in search of treasure….this was the early 1980’s so there were many wines from the 70’s available at super cheap prices. I then pursued a “career” in wine…..I was able to land a job as a “Wine Specialist” with Safeway. Better known as “using Safeways money to further my wine education” but also developing a small Safeway in Walnut Creek into a legit wine shop! I decided to venture out into the wholesale trade and was given the opportunity by Lion Imports. This was right about the time they were selling a lot of Bordeaux and the 1982’s had just arrived….We were selling 1st Growths for $399, 2nd’s for $199 and things like Chasse-Spleen and Sociando-Mallet for $99!!!!…..Oh, if I could back in time. After Lion I joined The Henry Group. I spent 25 successful years there selling big and small brands. I am very excited about being with AWS and our portfolio of small grower-producer wines…..just like the wines that gave me the wine bug in the first place.
Sacramento, CA Brand Manager | Jeff Runquist WinesJonathan@AuthenticWS.com
Jonathan started his career in the wine industry 21 years ago with R.H. Phillips winery. While at R.H. Phillips he helped launch Toasted Head and Kim Crawford while holding the titles of PR Cordinator, Hospitality Manager, Investor Relations Director, N.CA Chain Sales Manager and Southwest Division Manager.
During that time he was awarded “Salesman of The Year” two times and always maintained the #1 territory. Next he helped R.H. Phillips’ former owners start Matchbook, Chasing Venus and Mossback establishing their initial distribution network. In 2006 he went to work with the high end Pinot Noir producer Vine Hill Winery as their National Sales Manager and setup their national distribution network. Three years later Jonathan wanted to get back to working for a supplier that produced wines for every segment of the wine industry and went to work for Middleton Family Wines (Clayhouse, Cadaretta) as their Southern US Sales Manager and eventually National Sales Manager. When Middleton Family Wines decided to sell their operations he went to work with Marietta Cellars as their Western US Sales Manager. Today Jonathan owns his own wine brand and consulting business while representing wines locally and nationally from around the world. Jonathan resides in Rocklin California with his wife Kimberly and daughters Ana and Emma.
Southern California Reps
San Diego /Corporate SalesBrian@AuthenticWS.com
Brian’s wine career began while working for “Laurel” restaurant, a premier restaurant in San Diego, CA. . His good friend Robert Morrison hired him away from Piatti in La jolla, Ca and asked Brian if he’d join the team assembled at Laurel. After 8 great years at Laurel Brian’s interest, passion and enthusiasm for wine grew while he was cultivating his professional career path as a server in San Diego. In 2003, Robert Morrison offered Brian a new opportunity to apply for a position to sell wine for the esteemed Importer, Master Sommelier, Fran Kysela at Kysela Pere et Fils, Ltd. Robert was working for Kysela Imports at the time and was leaving San Diego to work for Kysela Imports in Bay Area. Robert asked if Brian would be interested in selling wine? Brian seized the opportunity; interviewed for the position and started working for Fran Kysela in 2003. Brian covered all of Southern CA for Kysela Imports growing the business from 350,000 to a million+ in sales annually. Brian worked for Kysela Pere et Fils, Ltd. from 2003 to 2005 and then again as a National Sales Representative from 2010 to 2013. Brian has also worked for large and small distribution companies, Importers/distributors and brokers, He worked for Wine Warehouse as a sales representative for the San Diego North team headed up by Bill Benjiman from 2005 to 2007, Angeles Wine Agency for Jeff Welburn from 2007 to 2010 and entered the National arena for KPF from 2010 to 2013. 2013 Brian joined Torrey Wines, Inc as the Business Development Manager and helped Mitch Hill the owner of Torrey Wines develop new brands, add structure and organization as well as cultivate positive working relations with the suppliers as well as the sales team. In addition to the administrative duties, Brian also was tasked with developing business in corporate retail accounts in which he accomplished in Costco, Ralph’s, Vons/Albertsons, Bristol Farms, Barons and established a few specialty restaurant group accounts in San Diego. Brian is delighted to be a part of the team at Authentic Wine Selections. Working again with Robert Morrison who helped Brian learn the wine industry is indeed a joy. The experience and success that Brian has enjoyed in the past 15 years has been with many of these same fine wines, wineries, winemakers, importers and partners with in Authentic Wines Selections superb portfolio.
Chris’ wine journey only began a number of years ago, but he’s traveled far and oh so fast. It began while working at cucina enoteca, a restaurant and retail wine store. Wine was hardly on his radar at the time, and although he didn’t know much, his sales side was in full force. Listening to the buzz words and wine descriptors of the veterans around him, he quickly became established as a top producer of wine on the table and to-go wine out the door. Through that first year in tasting a wide variety of wine he developed an intrigue until he was met with his “ah ha!” wine. This was the one that turned on the passion. It made him dig in and really want to get to know what’s going on with this stuff. His first achievement was co-founding a monthly wine education class where he’d explore the ins and outs of all the bottles on his list. His education grew and came to understand that wine was his place in the world; it was time to get certified. His next notable achievements were passing levels 2 and 3 through the Wine and Spirits Education Trust back to back. He’s currently studying for the diploma level and will be enrolling next year. “When you love what you do it’s not work” which is the positive outlook he brings with him wherever he goes.
Palm Springs/Desert (Club Specialist)firstname.lastname@example.org
A veteran wine sales representative with over 25 years of wine industry experience with the ability to exceed goals with a wide-spectrum of customers who require a hands-on approach to sales. I often exceed client expectations while providing wine sales training and distinct direction assistance in customer’s brand development. With an extensive knowledge of import and domestic wines and spirits I am an extremely qualified account manager of fine wine who has earned numerous top sales awards, earning the CSW title and invited to participate in supplier sponsored educational seminars, California regional winery trade visits, international trips abroad. I have been to French wine regions, attended world class trade tastings such as the annual Vin Italy and was recently invited to meet vintners properties in Tuscany. Originally born and raised in Northern California, at an early age, I developed a passion for wine and the viticulture of the Napa, Sonoma, Russian River Valley and SCM/Monterey regions. A graduate of CU Boulder with a BA Communications, I began realizing my passion for the industry after relocating to Southern California. A resident of the Coachella Valley for the past 28 years, my relationships with Fine Wine Retailers, Restaurants, Country Clubs, Hotels and Resorts is unparalled in the industry. My involvement in the community runs deep with a vast array of non-profit organization support and involvement including serving several terms on the board currently as President, Les Dames d’Escoffier International, Palm Springs Chapter, which provides scholarships to women who would like to pursue a career in the food, hospitality and wine industries. As a successful industry veteran who has been a team leader with significant skills at encouraging others, I work diligently at developing long-term strategic partnership with wine brands and their customers. After 25 years of tenure with Young’s Market – The Estates Group, I’m very excited going into my 4th year pursuing an elevated career being an Independent wine broker. I am now in a position to consult my clients closely, bringing them smaller, more boutique wine producers and wineries
Bio coming soon. Coming soon.
Jean Philippe Molinari
Jean Philippe was born in San Francisco California from a French father and an American mother. The family soon moved to Paris so that his father could open a restaurant. Having grown around food and wine all of his childhood, Jean Philippe chose the same career path and attended and graduated from the Hotel and Management School of Paris. He worked as a chef for a number of years but decided that his personality was a better fit for the front of the room.
He soon became a restaurant manager and wine buyer so eventually decided to move into the wine business full time in 2010. Since then he never looked back, wine and its history and romance was a natural fit. In 2016 he became a certified Sommelier and is now enjoying a thriving career in the wine business.
Working with family owned wineries for fifteen plus years, relationships building, and growing sales by relating a family story to the customer I know intimately. Strategically focusing on goal achievement, “sales growth” and “new accounts opened”; I was awarded “Salesman of the Year” on more than one occasion. My enthusiasm for organization and an interest in software development lead me to create a database; tracking tastings, inventory, purchases, unpublished pricing, follow up dates, import and export to excel, all of this information helped me provide customers with timely answers and gave great value to my customers.