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DRINK

Mary Ross

Mary Ross is an internationally-recognized wine and food professional, educator and journalist. She is the first American woman to receive the Wine Spectator’s “Grand Award of Excellence” and the second American woman to receive the Court of Master Sommelier’s “Advanced Sommelier” degree.

Mary's lively and informative style makes her a popular speaker with the wine trade and consumers alike, with clients including Clicquot USA, the Commercial Office of Spain, Crystal Cruises and The Chopping Block. The consistent testimonial from her seminars such as “How to Bluff Your Way through Wine” and “The Italian Renaissance of Wine” is “I never thought learning about something so complicated could be so much fun!”

Ross is also an international journalist, with by-lines in the Chicago Tribune, Decanter and the “Good Wine” column for the Daily Herald.

Christophe Bakunas


Christophe Bakunas has worked two and half decades in all facets of the wine and spirits world from producing wines and spirits in three wineries and distilleries on the West Coast, to owning and running a wine bar, to national distribution of alcohol as well as the distribution of fine wines in Chicago.

Christophe has been a certified sommelier by the Master Court of Sommelier for over 20 years, has been involved in industry education in 18 states and has written dozens of beverage training manuals for restaurants and distributors in California, Illinois, Georgia and Massachusetts.

Christophe's passion for flavor and sharing knowledge is as strong today as it was 20 years ago.

"The greatest gift the wine industry can give is a human awakening to the pleasure of sharing and exploring."