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 / 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.
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 SubordinateSupport@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.
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.
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.
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.
CA Sales Manager | Runquist | HoopesCarlo@authenticws.com
Carlo first went wine tasting in Santa Barbara while in college and visited a handful of amazing wineries back in 1987. There weren’t nearly as many wineries then as there are today. Carlo enjoyed the tasting experience and the whole lifestyle. Carlo furthered his interest in the wine industry while working in restaurants while in college and after graduation. Carlo also worked in the barrel room at a winery in Santa Barbara. Carlo got his start at Young’s in the chain division back in the late 1990’s and knew he needed to get into the broad market. Carlo moved to American Wines and then Regal Wine Co. as a Sales Rep. Carlo then moved onto Acumen Wines in Napa, Atlas Peak project where he worked as Western Regional Manager. Carlo recently began a new position with Hoopes Family Vineyard as the West Coast Regional Manager, Jeff Runquist Winery as well as Authentic Wine Selections.
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.
Mathia Lee was born a Virginian but her roots have transplanted happily to Los Angeles’ South
Bay. Working in fine dining restaurants while studying Biology at University of South Carolina she discovered her passion for all things wine. She became a member of The Court of Master Sommeliers about a decade ago while working every front of the house position restaurants have. IUpon moving to Redondo Beach, her focus turned to wine sales and she has never looked back. In addition to being a Sales Guru she is a mother, personal chef to her daughter and a huge fan of everything horses.
~ ”In victory we deserve champagne, in defeat we need it” Napoleon Bonaparte.
Los Angeles/East- Glendale/PasadenaTim@WineByTim.com
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)email@example.com
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
Inland Empire/Central Valleybethohr1@gmail.com
Bio Coming Soon. Coming soon.
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.
Joel Porter has in the music business for most of his life until just shy of his 50th birthday. Joel is an accomplished trumpet player. Joel has performed at many concerts and has always been into the love of wine. Joel started selling wine professionally with Chambers and Chambers for 4 ½ years. He then moved on to work with Jarvis winery for 2 ½ years. Then he went to work for Epic Wines with owner Rob Progh. When Bill Foley purchased the company Joel continued with Epic for almost 20 years. Yes, Joel has a little experience selling wine!