NOVEMBER 11th & 12th, 2022



Learn more about the esteemed wine experts, the Commonwealth’s premier winemakers, and guest chefs.



elizabeth smith tony smith afton mountain vineyards

Elizabeth & Tony Smith

Afton Mountain Vineyards | Owners

Elizabeth and Tony Smith purchased Afton Mountain Vineyards in 2009 to explore their passion for producing wine. Since taking over, the couple has worked to double their plantings to include 26 acres of vines and 11 unique varieties of vinifera grapes. Their leadership has led Afton Mountain Vineyards to great success. They earned a gold medals in the 2022 Governor’s Cup Awards for their 2017 Bacco and another for their 2017 Petit Verdot. Winemaker Damien Blanchon joined the team at Afton Mountain Vineyards in 2011. His degree in viticulture and oenology from his native country of France has helped him aid Afton Mountain Vineyards’ success.

Kirsty Harmon

Blenheim Vineyards | General Manager & Winemaker

Born in the Netherlands, Harmon has spent a majority of her life in Charlottesville. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in biology. She later apprenticed with winemaker Gabriele Rausse and developed an appreciation for wine. After making wine in Virginia for several years, she moved west to pursue formal training at the University of California at Davis. She graduated with an M.S. in Viticulture and Enology. She followed this with various prestigious international scholarships and internships. She joined the team at Blenheim Vineyards in 2008.

kirsty harmon blenheim vineyards
scott eiliff ducard vineyards red wine

Scott Eiliff

DuCard Vineyards | Owner & Founder

Scott Elliff is the owner, founder and winemaker at DuCard Vineyards. DuCard is in Madison County, Virginia, where he has been growing grapes and producing award-winning wines for over 20 years. Elliff ensures that DuCard values sustainability and environmental responsibility over all else. He uses solar panels to generate green power and limiting the use of chemical products. These efforts earned the vineyard the honor of the “Greenest Winery in Virginia” title in 2010 and in 2015. In the 2022 Governor’s Cup Awards, DuCard Vineyards won a gold medal for its 2019 Petit Verdot and six silver medals for various other wines.

Aileen Sevier

Early Mountain Vineyards | VP of Strategy & Marketing

Aileen Sevier is the Vice President of Strategy and Marketing for Early Mountain Vineyards. She works to oversee the marketing, sales and public relations of the vineyard in the growing agri-tourism industry. Sevier has revolutionized the communication process for vineyards. She has earned the vineyard national attention for its accomplishments. In 2018, Early Mountain Vineyards became the first East Coast winery outside of New York to be a finalist in the Wine Star awards. Sevier works alongside winemaker Maya Hood White, who joined the team in 2014 and in 2022 became head winemaker.

aileen sevier early mountain vineyards marketing manager
Shannon Horton

Shannon Horton

Horton Vineyards | Manager

Shannon Horton is the manager at Horton Vineyards, which her father Dennis Horton founded in 1989. Shannon herself has continued the family’s legacy as the first vineyard in Virginia to plant Viognier grapes. Viognier is now a popular white wine grape variety. Horton has worked to produce many varieties of sparkling Viogniers in memory of her father. In 2021 her wine Suil became the first sparkling Viognier to medal in the Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships. It was also only the second Virginia wine to win this award. The achievement was a family effort. Winemaker Caitlin Horton is Shannon’s daughter and represents the third generation of Horton women at the vineyard.

Michael Shaps

Michael Shaps Wineworks | Owner & Winemaker

Michael Shaps is the owner and winemaker at Michael Shaps Wineworks. He has become a frontrunner in the modern Virginia wine industry since he first joined the field in 1995 at Jefferson Vineyards. He then produced wine under his own “Michael Shaps” label, which debuted in 2000 in collaboration with King Family Vineyards. In 2007, he found a new home for his brand when he and a partner opened up Virginia Wineworks in 2007. This operation has since expanded to produce 30,000 cases of wine annually. The operation has won countless medals at the renowned Virginia Governor’s Cup competition. They continue to lead the way for winemakers across Virginia.

Michael shaps ms wineworks shenandoah vineyards
shepherd rouse rockbridge vineyard and brewery

Shepherd Rouse & Jane Millot-Rouse

Rockbridge Brewery & Vineyard | Owners & Founders

Shepherd and Jane-Millot Rouse are the owners and founders of Rockbridge Brewery & Vineyard. They purchased the property in 1988 and have since expanded the vineyard to 17 acres. They produce a wide variety of grapes, including Vinifera, hybrid and native grapes. Shepherd Rouse himself is also the head winemaker at Rockbridge. He has produced wines that have won the coveted Virginia Governor’s Cup and Best in Show in the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition. The Virginia Vineyards Association also honored Shepherd as Grower of the Year in 2022.

Andrew & Patricia Hodson

Veritas Vineyard & Winery | Owners & Founders

Andrew and Patricia Hodson are the owners and founders of Veritas Vineyard & Winery in Charlottesville. They purchased the property in 1999 as a passion project. Since then, the business has expanded to include over 50 acres of vineyards and produces a portfolio of complex and elegant wines. This family-run business now includes all three of Andrew and Patricia’s children. Their daughter Emily Hodson has overseen 15 harvests at Veritas as lead winemaker. The family’s collaboration has led them to outstanding success as one of the top-rated vineyards in Virginia. They earned a gold medal for their 2015 Scintilla in the 2022 Virginia Governor’s Cup.

Patricia Andrew Hodson veritas

Patrick Duffeler

Williamsburg Winery | Founder

Patrick Duffeler was born in Belgium of a Germanic family and educated in the United States. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics & Finance from the University of Rochester, New York. Duffeler embarked on a professional career at Eastman Kodak before becoming involved in the wine industry in France. He forged relationships with those producers. Likewise, his interest in the hospitality industry burgeoned. Duffeler later became the International President of Fragrances Selective. In 1983, Patrick and his late wife Peggy purchased 300 acres of land in Williamsburg and founded The Williamsburg Winery in 1985.

Matthew Meyer

Williamsburg Winery | Executive Vice President & Winemaker

Matthew Meyer is the Executive Vice President and Winemaker at Williamsburg Winery. He joined the team in 2002 after earning a double degree in Oenology and Viticulture from the University of California at Davis. His goal was to cement Virginia’s position as a well-respected wine region in America. In 2014, the winery received one of the highest honors possible: Meyer’s signature blend Adagio won the Virginia’s Governor’s Cup Award. Meyer has since emerged as a leader in the Virginia wine industry. He continues to lead the winery towards brilliant success and many coveted accolades.


Todd Kliman epicurean

Todd Kliman

Author | The Wild Vine

Todd Kliman is an author, essayist, cultural critic and food writer. He has earned two James Beard Foundation Awards and has featured in many publications. These include The New Yorker, Harper’s and The Oxford American. He is also the author of “The Wild Vine”, a non-fiction piece tracing the origins of the Norton Grape back to the early 1820s in Richmond, Virginia. Kliman taught literature and writing for 10 years at American University and Howard University. He worked as the former editor of Food & Wine and as a restaurant critic for Washingtonian Magazine.

Frank Morgan

Wine Writer | Drink What YOU Like

Frank Morgan writes a wine column for The Virginian-Pilot newspaper. He is author of the wine blog, started thirteen years ago to chronicle his wine travel experiences. He shares stories of the wines, wineries, and winegrowers of Virginia. He is well known in the wine community and lives in Virginia with his wife and daughter. Among other wine related activities, Morgan is a judge for the Governor’s Cup Competition. He is also involved in the Monticello Cup Competition and the Shenandoah Cup Competition.

frank morgan headshot
Dr. Joy Ting research oenology enology exchange

Joy Ting

Virginia Winemaker’s Research Exchange | Research Oenologist

Dr. Joy Ting is the Research Enologist for the Virginia Winemaker’s Research Exchange (VWRE). She collaborates with Virginia winemakers to plan and conduct practical experiments in wineries. She then shares these results with the winemaking community. She also produces a small line of wines under her own name. Before working at the VWRE, Joy was the enologist and winemaker at Michael Shaps Wineworks in Charlottesville. She has a Ph.D. in Applied Biology from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Paul Ting

Certified Specialist of Wine

An accomplished anesthesiologist, Paul H. Ting first discovered his passion for wine over two decades ago. At the time he was in the Air Force and stationed near Napa Valley. Ting completed the Winemaking Certificate Program at the University of California at Davis. He is Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level 3 certified and is a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW). Paul is interested in Japanese beverages and is a Sake Professional, Sake Scholar and Shochu Advisor. Currently he works as a consultant for various wine, beer, spirits and sake companies. He also works as a freelance writer for publications such as C’ville Weekly and Knife and Fork magazine.

paul ting epicurean
jay youmans epicurean

Jay Youmans

Rock Creek Wine Merchants | Owner

Jay Youmans has been tasting wine professionally for 30 years and was D.C.’s first Master of Wine (MW). He is a French Wine Scholar (FWS), an Advanced Level Sommelier (AS), a Certified Wine Educator (CWE) and an Italian Wine Professional (IWP). He is also a Bordeaux Wine Educator, Burgundy Wine Educator and a Certified Specialist of Sherry. He is the Educational Director and Owner of the Capital Wine School and the Owner of Rock Creek Wine Merchants. Jay has also been the director of the esteemed Governor’s Cup Competition for over 10 years.

Bruce Zoecklein

Virginia Polytechnic | Professor Emeritus

Bruce Zoecklein is an Oenology Professor Emeritus at Virginia Polytechnic Insititute and State University. Bruce joined Virginia Tech in 1985. Zoecklein earned a bachelor’s degree in microbiology and biochemistry from The University of California at San Diego (UCSD). He followed this with a master’s degree in horticulture from UCSD and a Ph.D. in food science from Virginia Tech. He presented educational programs and researched wine chemistry to help develop the Virginia wine industry. He has won many accolades for his work, including the Napa Valley Wine Council Research Award, the Vinifera Winegrowers Achievement Award and the Virginia Wine Person of the Year Award.

bruce zoecklein epicurean homestead


todd owen omni homestead resort chef

Todd Owen

The Omni Homestead Resort | Executive Chef

Chef Owen joined The Omni Homestead family in 2019 as executive sous chef. A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, Owen’s culinary career spans more than 20 years. Owen began his professional career at The Cloister at Sea Island. He spent five years working with renowned chocolatiers. He then went to L’Auberge Provencal in Virginia before becoming the assistant pastry chef at The Greenbrier in West Virginia. Owen later accepted the position of executive pastry chef for the Old Edwards Inn and Spa and then at The Omni Grove Park Inn, both in North Carolina. During his tenure at Belterra Park Gaming in Cincinnati, Ohio, he expanded his culinary skills and became the executive sous chef. From there, he went to Canyon Ranch in Lenox, Massachusetts as executive chef.

Tim Moore

Early Mountain Vineyards | Executive Chef

Chef Moore oversees Early Mountain’s culinary program. This includes the Tasting Room, catering and festival events. He brings the Virginia Table to life by reaping the benefits of living near local farmers and purveyors. He applies his classical technique to develop a modern and accessible menu. After gaining kitchen experience in Richmond, Moore knew his true calling was to become a professional chef. In 2012 Moore began working at The Inn at Little Washington. He acquired skills that fueled his passion and progressed through the kitchen hierarchy. Moore drew inspiration from Chef O’Connell’s expertise and his focus on exceptional hospitality. He was proud to be part of the team that gained two Michelin stars in 2016 and 2017 as well as gaining the ultimate honor of a third star in the 2019 guide. Raised in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains, Moore loves fishing and spending time outdoors with his family.

chef tim moore early mountain vineyards
chef andy moore veritas vineyards

Andy Shipman

Veritas Vineyards & Winery | Executive Chef

Chef Shipman was born in Virginia and raised in the Shenandoah Valley, where he lives with his wife and three sons. He studied at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg. During this time he worked for Top Chef contestant Joy Crump at her restaurant FOODE. In 2010, he first joined Veritas as Sous Chef. Three years later, he went down the road and took up the mantle of Sous Chef at the Farmhouse at Veritas. He served as the Chef at the Farmhouse from 2014-2020. When he isn’t busy in the kitchen, he enjoys spending time with his family, books, and open-wheel racing.

Ian Rynecki

Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards | Executive Chef

Entertaining and gastronomy are in the heart and soul of Executive Chef Ian Rynecki, and sustainable, local sourcing is his passion. Inspired by the bounty of Pippin Hill’s carefully cultivated kitchen gardens, Ian creates a parade of plates deliciously aligned with our vineyard-to-table concept. A native of Simsbury, Connecticut, Ian worked under a Sushi Master and at a top resort in Big Sky, Montana before maturing into the chef de cuisine post at Farm Restaurant in Avon, Connecticut. Ian’s subsequent work in catering serves him well in his role at Pippin Hill, an environment created for distinctive events as well as agritourism. His refined wine sensibility assures that every bite is in tune with the viticulture of Pippin Hill.

chef ian rynecki at pippin hill farm and vineyards