Sean O’Connor (Contact) ~ Sean’s wine awakening came during a renaissance year in Florence, Italy, while studying business and art in the Gonzaga in Florence program. He returned from Italy with teeth stained chianti purple and an appreciation for the zest with which Italians enjoy food and wine. Since, he has sought out the unique stories that go into the making of every bottle, and enjoyed creating his own stories over each bottle of wine he shares with his family and friends. In 2008, Sean partnered with two Sam’s in their first crush to create S3 ‘First Born’ 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon. 2009 brought an abandoned vineyard in the Lake Chelan AVA and free pinot noir and pinot gris fruit. Sean is the site designer and editor of Tavola Rosso.
Elizabeth O’Connor ~ A native of Washington, Elizabeth discovered her passion for cooking (and eating) at a very young age. Diary entries as early as the third grade, seemed to consistently center on food and the experiences associated with memorable meals. Upon studying at Cornell University and from Arizona State University, she returned to her roots and moved back to the Northwest in 2002. After spending 5 years perfecting communications strategies for Microsoft, T-Mobile, HTC, and Amazon she is preparing for a break to enjoy motherhood and resume enjoying wine with her husband. Elizabeth is the food specialist for Tavola Rosso and possesses the finest palette in her household.
Mark Stoltz (Contact) ~ First became interested in the art of wine at the age of 17 while living in Aix-en-Provence, France. A few years later, his interest deepened during a college summer abroad spent in Florence, Italy. Two recent events expanded his American wine exposure: a recent stint in the northwest, where both Washington and Oregon are producing top-quality wines and a honeymoon trip to the Napa and Sonoma Valleys. Mark’s passion in life can be summed up best by California wine pioneer and the namesake of his favorite winery, Joseph Swan: “There are few more civilized pleasures in life than good company, good food and good wine.”
Nick Benz ~ A long-time enthusiast of food and wine, Nick ran from the marketing world into the kitchens of the renowned French Culinary Institute. After graduation, Nick worked for New York City’s highly acclaimed chef, Jean Georges at Perry St. Nick has since relocated to San Francisco where he runs hospitality for Landmark Vineyards and manages their wine education programs. As a wine drinker, he loves supporting lesser-known varietals and growing regions. In 2009, Nick slowly ventured into the winemaking world, producing 55 cases of Grenache. Next harvest, Nick will partner with Sean O’Connor and launch their new label.
Emily Resling (aka THE OEANIST) ~ An unlikely wine connoisseur trapped in the body of a bright, young woman– Emily Resling’s wine curiousity piqued early. Unamused by passionate declarations of “leather, tobacco, and hazelnut,” a then-teenaged girl often countered “but you’re just talking about grapes, right?” Then a kind Sommelier gave her a taste of an old Barolo, and the light turned on. Blazing down the restaurant trail from her first job at age 14, until present day (early) thirtysomething, Emily quickly transitioned from wait staff, to wine staff, to sommelier. In her 20’s, she was instrumental in starting The Tasting Room Wine Cafe in Houston, TX. Her relocation to the great Northwest has taken her out of the wine biz, she couldn’t pass up the chance to use her archaic liberal arts degree, proving to her parents that college wasn’t just about bouncing quarters off her nose into a tumbler of Champagne.
Mb Tilford ~ Like so many in post-Bush America, MB Tilford has had to reconcile his economic reality with his consumer preferences. Having patterned his life largely after Richard Pryor in the hit 1980’s comedy Brewesters Millions, with the notable exception that his errant spending never held the promise of untold millions, Mr. Tilford has been forced to abandon his affection for bold and pricey Super Tuscans and now must wade through a sea of convenience store brands, critter labels and drinks that can only be described as Kool Aid mixed with grain alcohol, to find the best moderately priced wines. As is often the case, Mr. Tilford’s loss is your gain! Join him as he tastes every imaginable brand, vintage, varietal and cold medicine in a wine bottle in search of the elusive White Elephant of wines.