Authentic Wine Selections’ Team
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 WineSellar & 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 Guru / Media Manager / Corporate Pilot
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.
Rachel hails from San Diego with a background in communication, writing, and web design. She has a keen eye for the little things, and utilizes her organizational skills to keep the gears turning in the Authentic Wine Selections machine. As captain of her squash team during her time at Cornell, she understands and values the unity and power of a team. Rachel enjoys learning about the intricacies of wine and the business, and is eager to contribute to the growth of AWS.
Chief Executive Subordinate
Northern California Reps
East Bay/San Francisco
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.
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.
A native of the South Bay Area, Joel grew up within close proximity of the Santa Cruz Mountain and Santa Clara Valley wine regions and became intrigued by food and wine at an early age. Working various stints in restaurants and hotels during the earlier part of college further fueled that interest, so he decided to change his major from finance to wine and viticulture his third year of college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to pursue a career in the wine business. For the past decade plus, Joel has been passionate about building wine brands, working San Francisco’s dynamic on premise market while perfecting his palate along the way. Aside from wine, Joel is an avid rocket yoga practitioner. In fact, he had the opportunity to complete a vigorous 200 hour ashtanga yoga teacher training program in Bali for three weeks last summer, one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences in his life. He also loves being at the beach and snow whenever possible, riding his bike to Dolores Park, running obstacle course races, trying new restaurants, attending music festivals (Desert Hearts, Lightning in a Bottle, and Burning Man are his top three) and intends to explore the rest of the world.
Marlena Creasy has been working in the wine industry just shy of 15 years starting at a local Sacramento Winery. In 2001, she started working on the distributor side as a Corporate Retail Rep and shortly after promoted to Manager for Northern California. Marlena’s experience continued to grow working the state of California for an East Coast French Wine importer providing the exposure to some great wines and the opportunity to travel to France. From there Marlena decided to settled down and concentrate on the Sacramento/Central Valley area closer to home where she continues to grow her wine expertise.
Charles E. Coppersmith was awarded his Certified Sommelier Pin, from the Court of Master Sommeliers in early 2010. Prior to that he passed the Certified Wine Professional program from the Culinary Institute of America, in St. Helena, CA. Charles was motivated to not just learn about wine, but to also live in its rhythmical world. You must get your hands dirty if you want to really experience what making wine is all about. So Charles, (Charlie to most who know him), worked every harvest in Napa from 2008 to 2011. He attended college in Tallahassee, Florida, the home of Florida State University, and focused on hospitality. Coppersmith jumped into his first harvest experience at Cakebread Cellars, in Napa, CA, where he got his first true taste of the wine world he was about to indulge in. Getting his feet wet continued to inspire him to learn all he could about wine. Charles found himself during off seasons searching to learn more and become a better wine and food pairing expert. What better way than to work at a fine dining establishment that offered new menu selections daily, with an extensive wine list. He became a server at Jole restaurant in Calistoga, CA. When the grapes were back on the vine, Charles was back in the fields pruning, testing brix and learning to master all the steps necessary to produce a fine bottle of wine. Working his way up to cellar master, Charles was ready for the next chapter. Charles was ready to share his passion with others.Charles Coppersmith came on board as General Manager and Wine Director at Parcel 104 in the middle of 2011. Charles immediately looked for what he wanted to do to project his sense of style in the wine cellar. “There are so many wine producers out there now and everyone is doing something a little different from their neighbors”. With so many choices he wanted to know more about the development of these interesting wines. He researched the history behind the label. “When you find a spectacular wine with a great story behind it, you find yourself enjoying it even more”. Charles’ vision is to continually bring his customers an array of fabulous wines from all over the world.After Charles won Wine Spectators 2012 and 2013 award for one of the most Outstanding Wine Lists in the world, he decided to take his talents to the oldest wine country region in Northern California, Livermore. Charles took on a new challenge that would help him learn how to build a successful winery from the ground up. Charles was responsible for developing a new 15,000 square foot banquet and restaurant facility. He worked very closely with the owners, design team, and the construction company to develop a new and exciting experience for people to come and enjoy the Livermore wine country. With the project complete Charles was ready to find himself back in the place it all began for him. In April 2015, Charles decided to move back to Napa and join a Noble House Hotel to continue his passion for wine, food and excellent customer service. His mission was to ensure a memorable experience was delivered to every guest that walked into the River Terrace Inn. Coppersmith decided to learn a new side of the wine industry and used his accumulated skills to work in sales. In 2016, Charles joined a North Bay distributor team and hasn’t looked back. Charles recently joined Authentic Wine Selections and is very enthusiastic about building strong customer relations and growing his territory into a top territory in California.
Santa Clara County
Steve Carrico got his start in the restaurant business. He worked as an Executive chef for 15 years, and began his love affair with wine and food through the service industry. Steve worked for various country clubs and restaurants as chef. His last restaurant job was running the F & B operation at Stanford University golf course. Steve and his father made wine back in the 1980’s and is a proud member of the Grandfather club. Steve counts himself as Fortunate to learn from the likes of Paul Draper to Randall Graham, and lucky to have so many great wine mentors over the years. He is an avid fisherman and abalone diver.
Grapes and wine have always been a part of David’s life. His grandparents (on both sides) grew raisin grapes in Fresno County and also kept a few rows of wine grapes for personal consumption at the family table. After pursuing a degree in Enology at UC Davis and working in 2 crushes, he found his passion not in wine production but in wine sales. After spending 14 years in Southern California, first selling wine for SWS in LA and then representing J. Lohr wines, David migrated north and sold wine throughout the Northwest and Nationally for Guenoc Vineyards. Since then he has been a sales and marketing consultant for wineries throughout California, specializing in the Central Coast AVA. Traveling to wine destinations has always been a passion, most recently to the Wachau and Kamptal regions of Austria. Other trips include Burgundy, Alsace, Champagne and Chile. His curiosity leads him to discover new and interesting wines from around the world.
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.
Southern California Reps
San Diego /Corporate Sales
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.
Born and raised in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, Rory McMahon has been in the restaurant trade since he was a teenager, working from casual bistro to very fine dining establishments. Since 2005, he has worked as the San Diego representative for a wine importer/wholesaler based out of the Bay Area, where he distinguished himself annually as that company’s top salesman. An obsessive reader and researcher, Rory has educated himself deeply in the world of wine. From his travels to wine regions in Europe and throughout the United States he has gained insight into the needs and special concerns of people at all points of the wine distribution process, from the winemakers themselves to restaurant managers and sommeliers to their clients. Rory provides an exemplary level of service and is a model of integrity. He is eager to provide a unique and carefully selected portfolio of hand-crafted wines to his retail and restaurant customers.
Sean 'Puffy' Fisher
San Diego (North County)
Bio Coming Soon. Coming soon.
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.
Kris got his start in the Wine industry over ten years ago when he was hired by the great sensai, Robert Morrison, to represent an international portfolio in Orange County. Eventually his territory grew to cover Los Angeles, as well, where he developed relationships with some of the most important and revered accounts in the territory. In 2008, he went to the supplier side and worked in sales for prominent producers in Napa, Santa Barbara, and Paso Robles. Along the way he learned winemaking and viticulture, passed his Court of Masters and WSET exams, met his wife (a certified somm and all around Wine guru), and had a son that could tell you the major appellations of Burgundy by age two.
Los Angeles/East- Glendale/Pasadena
Tim’s interest in wine started in France while on a two year assignment, as an international marketing specialist, at his employer’s European office in Paris. One responsibility was to organize dinners for the company’s distributor network in different European cities. Looking forward to these events, he started his wine education by visiting wineries throughout Europe accompanied by his wife, Patricia and a copy of Alexis Lichine’s Wine Encyclopedia. Upon returning to the US, Tim continued working in international marketing, enjoying the travel and access to great food and wine. A conversation with a friend who sold wine in the Boston area led to a career change and he entered the wine business in 1999. Tim has experience as a sales representative and also as a regional manager. He holds level one certificate of the Court of Master Sommeliers and the Advanced Certificate from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust.
Palm Springs/Desert (Club Specialist)
“I was born to be in the wine business.” Ricco grew up working with his family’s restaurant where he not only learned the ins and outs of running a business but also developed a passion for fine cuisine, unique flavors, and the art of pleasing the customer.He spent many of his professional years working in some of Palm Springs’ finest and well known restaurants. This allowed him the opportunity to train and work under world class chefs as a Sous chef and fine dining server. After many years working in such a capacity, he developed a palate and extensive knowledge of wine having tasted, shared and studied thousands of fine wines over the years. One of his favorite things to do is help a restaurant plan the wine list, as he has a talent for pairing today’s sophisticated and “infused” menus with fine wines from all over the world and is frequently sought after to do just that. He first entered the wholesale wine business with Free Run Juice where he worked for several years as a sales representative, and now has brought his knowledge and experience to the team at Authentic Wine Selections where he continues to share his knowledge and love of wine with the Coachella Valley and beyond!
Palm Springs/Desert/ Inland Empire/Central Valley
Bio Coming Soon. Coming soon.
Nuri Monahan was born in Santa Cruz California in the 1970’s to of a couple of Academics with an appreciation of food, beer, and of course, wine. At age 15 Nuri’s first real job was as a busboy at the Hollins House Restaurant in Santa Cruz, which by 1991 Santa Cruz standards a fairly extensive Wine List. He quickly observed that the servers who knew more about wine tended to be more successful, which led Nuri begin asking questions and sparked an early interest in wine.Upon graduating from high school, water polo led Nuri to UC Santa Barbara for University . From there, Nuri bounced around a bit, from Santa Barbara to Maui, and then Costa Rica, finally returning to Santa Cruz late in 1998, all the while supporting his travels through restaurant work. It was then, that Nuri really began to nurture his passion for wine, taking his first wine director/management position in a restaurant. Nuri returned to Santa Barbara to work at bouchon Santa Barbara, where he was introduced to many of the up and coming Santa Barbara wine makers, Greg Brewer and Steve Clifton, Michael Bonaccorssi, Paul Lato, and Matt Dees to name a few. From there he left to take wine director positions at a Restaurants Elements and a Ruth’s Chris where he continued to build relationships in the local wine community. In 2009 Nuri and partners started brokering a handful of soulful, boutique wineries including Kathryn Kennedy, Jonata and Sanguis. Nuri has continued as salesman, representing exceptional wines from California and Europe. In 2014, Nuri partnered in founding a brand called Point & Line wines. 2018 will be the 5th vintage for Point & Line, and Nuri’s 10th year as a wine Salesman.
Nuri continues to enjoy living in Santa Barbara where he and his girlfriend Sabrina own a home.
Born and raised in Chicago, Jerry began his wine career early while working his way up from dishwasher to busboy to cook to head cook to waiter to bartender at the original Arnie’s (of Morton’s Steakhouse fame) back to waiter to head waiter to Matre D and manager at the infamous Monkey Bar in Beverly Hills.It was after he retired from training the service staff about wine that a friend suggested to Jerry that he transition over to selling wine and thus his career in distribution and being a supplier was born. A veteran of the wine wars in California since the Mid-90s, Jerry has been through and tasted it all and is a better person for it.