The Talent: Special Guests 2017

Check out the talent! Updated daily.

Lesley Ponce 

The Wine Merchant Owner

  • WSET Advanced, Combined 67 years in the wine industry
  • Owner of The Wine Shop – Durango, Co.
  • WSET Level 3 Advanced
  • SWE (Society of Wine Educators)
  • IWA (International Wine Academy)
  • Lesley started her career in Napa Valley in 1988 working at Clos Du Val Wine Co. Inc. She studied  viticulture and enology at Napa Valley College and has worked in nearly every aspect of the wine industry.

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Jo Barrett

Broadbent Selections

Jo is a regional sales manager for Broadbent Selections and has been in the whole sale wine business for seven years. She was a chef in a former life. Jo believes the innovative and quality wines coming from South Africa are of the best value in the world.

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Christian Chambers

Mundo Vino Territory Manager

After two years of  working in the vineyards and learning how to make wine, he decided to move abroad to find his fortune and landed Santiago de Chile. He became an Export manager for Vina Santa Monica and then onto Viña MontGras. Then in 1999, felt the need to return to the US and got a job in NYC at Beringer Wine Estates as a Brand Manager for Viña Tarapaca.
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Kayla Dunda

State Manager for Palm Bay International

Kayla is a State Manager for Palm Bay International managing an extensive portfolio of both wine and spirits in the import and domestic categories. Kayla has been in the wine business for a little over 9 years working at both the wholesale and supplier levels with extensive experience in the on and off premise channels.


Stephen GondaStephen Gonda

Wine Specialist for Spire Collection

Stephen will be featured at the DWE kick-off Wine Dinner “Five Course Dinner Paired with French & Italian Wines” and Thursday’s Seminar “Merlot. Is it Me you’re looking for?” at 3pm.


Matt GuerrieroMatt Guerriero

VinMarket Selections

Matt recently celebrated his 19th year in the wine business including 13 years in New York City, a career that allows him to travel the wine world, work closely with some of the most famous names in the industry and absorb the incredible knowledge and passion from people he considers his true mentors.


Grant Jennings

Piattelli Vineyards

Grant received his first formal training through the University of Las Vegas food and beverage program and went on to study with the Court of Master Sommeliers. He worked in the wholesale wine world, operating a wine and spirits distribution company in Colorado. He now represents a family of amazing Argentinian wines throughout the US. As a sommelier and a Certified Specialist of Wine it is his goal to represent exceptional wines and share their stories.


Moose KoonsMoose Koons

Peach Street Distillery Sales Manager

When you really love a particular spirit, you tell your friends about it. When you’re Moose Koons, you get “Colorado Straight Bourbon” tattooed on your arm. Technically, Moose is the mouth of Peach Street. The sales guy. But, Moose doesn’t so much sell the booze as profess his love for it. And in case you’re wondering, Moose was a big baby.


Sur Lucero, M.S.

National Director of Wine Education

Lucero has spent over two decades in the hospitality industry, and developed his palate on the dining room floors of restaurants such as The French Laundry, The Little Nell, and Daniel Boulud (La Vegas). Lucero was named Best New Sommelier in the United States by Wine & Spirits in 2011, and was honored by Court of Master Sommeliers as a recipient of the Remi Krug Cup, a recognition reserved for the highest-scoring sommeliers who pass all three sections of the prestigious exam on the first attempt. He joined Jackson Family Wines in October 2013.


Charles Masters

Tortoise Creek and Tiamo

Charles Master owned and operated Brix Wine Bar in Cherry Creek. He also helped create the wines of Les Jamelles and spent 4 years in Margaux working at Château Prieuré-Lichine, following in his fathers’ footsteps. Now the family stays close through the love and passion they put into each bottle of Tortoise Creek and Tiamo


Susie Mayr CSW

District Manager for Kobrand Fine Wine & Spirits

She has been in the wine industry for 20+ years, starting her career in 1995 at Republic National Distributing Company.  She has spent the last 15 years working as a winery representative for Robert Mondavi, Folio Fine Wine Partners, and Via Wines, a Chilean company.  She is a CSW (Certified Specialist of Wine), a member of the Society of Wine Educators and has passed the Introductory Sommelier Course through the Court of Master Sommeliers.


Ashley Rowe
Has been studying wine her entire adult career and is currently the Field Sales Manager for Constellation. Throughout the last 27 years she has she has received a lengthy list of accolades and is currently enrolled in the WSET Diploma Program.

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Feeling sentimental? Wanna see the talent from previous years? 






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