In 2007, three wine professionals sat down to discuss the possibility of creating an event in South Florida that would become one of the most influential wine events in the country. They concluded that a unique and first class competition would be the best choice. After all, South Florida is one of the three largest wine consumption markets in the country. Over a few glasses of American wine, the shape of what would become the American Fine Wine Competition, with its high quality small panel of non biased judges, was crafted and molded. The brainchild of Shari Gherman and Monty and Sara Preiser, the first event was held in 2007.
Shari Gherman, President, is a certified Sommelier and has been involved in the wine industry for over 25 years. Her experiences in virtually every aspect of the industry, including marketing, distribution, supply and advertising, have combined to form a unique background. Through the American Fine Wine Competition, Shari has established a vehicle to raise money for wthy causes, and has melded her love for wine with her drive to give something of value back to the community.
Monty and Sara Preiser reside full time in Palm Beach County, Florida, and spend their summers on the west coast where they have a home in Napa. They honed their wine skills as they traveled the country while Monty practiced law for 20 years, and for many years were wine columnists for The Boca Raton News and other publications. They are now the principal wine writers/editors for numerous lifestyle magazines including Coastal Isles on the Atlantic Coast and Living on the Suncoast on the Florida west coast. They own Creative Professional Programs, a company devoted to continuing education for professionals in conjunction with fine wine & food instruction. The Preisers have served as judges for a number of wine competitions from east to west coast, are frequent guest commentators on wine radio shows, and now publish the most comprehensive guide to Napa Valley wineries and restaurants titled, appropriately, The Preiser Key to Napa Valley and its sister Publication, the Preiser Key to Sonoma.
The Preiser’s are this year’s Honorary Chairs for the prestigious Wine Song charity auction in Mendocino, California. This is the first time this honor has been bestowed.
John D. Brant – Executive Vice President, Administration (Human Resources, Communications, Community Relations & Facilities)
Mr. Brant joined Patriot National Insurance Group in late 2006. John has over 20 years of human resources experience with a variety of Fortune 100 companies including IBM (International Business Machines), Georgia-Pacific Corp., PeopleSoft, and, most recently, Johnson & Johnson Corporation. As a trained economist, Mr. Brant began his career as a Federal bank examiner with the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.) John is a magna cum laude graduate of Marshall University, Huntington, WV. John holds or has held numerous civic board positions across South Florida, including The American Heart Association, Miami-Dade Schools, SOBAP (South Beach AIDS Project), Miami-Dade Community Arts Grants Council, The Donor's Forum, and is a member of the Florida Philanthropic Network.
Steven is the Chief Executive Officer of SIKON Construction Company headquartered in Deerfield Beach. SIKON also has an office in Orlando and currently operates in 25 States throughout the southern and eastern US. Steven is a construction and real estate professional with over 30 years of expertise in commercial building and mixed use development projects, and he has represented global contracting and property development firms nationwide. He sits on several industry and advisory boards, and he holds a number of professional licenses. Steven and his wife, Lynette have served on various food and wine committees, including the wine committee at the prestigious Plaza Club in Honolulu. Aloha!
Kenneth Esrig was born in New York in 1955 and relocated to Birmingham, Alabama with his family shortly after. Esrig holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Healthcare Management from the University of Alabama and Master’s Degree in Hospital and Health Administration from the University of Alabama in Birmingham. He has been in hospital and health administration for over thirty years.
As a hospital CEO, Esrig engineered hospital expansions and instituted programs which continue to provide quality care. In 1985, he relocated to Florida to join the National Medical Enterprises hospital chain. In 1990, Esrig formed MIST Health Care Services to provide consulting services to physicians and health care facilities. Mr. Esrig has owned and operated medical practices, rehabilitation centers and diagnostic centers. MIST and its allied companies successfully continue today, and all remain under the corporate umbrella housing the network of companies.
Mr. William Rankin, an American international business man, is the Founder and Chairman of the Millionaire Lifestyle Publishing Limited, and Publisher of the London based Millionaire Lifestyle™ (ML) Magazine; a unique international luxury lifestyle publication exclusively targeting the distinctive lifestyle opportunities of the new global affluent and High Net-Worth Consumer. ML Magazine was originally launched in 2006 in South Africa, one of the fastest growing US dollar millionaire countries in the world, and the magazine is distributed internationally in multiple cities.
Mr. Rankin was born in Cincinnati, Ohio (USA), and holds Bachelors of Science Degree in Business Administration with a major in Economics from St. Xavier University in Cincinnati. Mr. Rankin is a military veteran having a distinguished military career as a Special Agent for the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation (CID) Command, where he specialized in economic and government contract fraud, and white-collar felony crimes, and received various awards and medals for meritorious service.
Mr. Rankin is an avid life enthusiast who enjoys leisure sport and activities that include golf, squash, tennis, hiking and climbing, polo and horseback riding, diving and sailing, international travel, wine tasting and cooking.
Andrew J. Scott, III
Mr. Scott retired from 30 + years of law enforcement in 2006, the last seven years as Chief of Police of the Boca Raton (FL) Police Department. Mr. Scott has created a very successful consulting company providing expert witness consultation to police departments and law firms on high liability police practices and procedures. Mr. Scott has been qualified as an expert in police practices and procedures in both federal and state courts throughout the country. Mr. Scott is a principal-partner of Scott-Roberts and Associates, LLC which provides employment screening and background check services. Mr. Scott is also a principle-partner in MyMatchChecker which provides background check services on prospective dates for online and traditional daters. Mr. Scott is an Adjunct Instructor for Florida Atlantic University (Boca Raton), Lynn University (Boca Raton), and Capella University; teaching criminal justice and human resource management courses.
Melanie Dickinson is president and publisher of the South Florida Business Journal. She returned to South Florida, where she grew up, in June of 2008 to lead the award-winning newspaper to further achievement for American City Business Journals. Prior to the appointment, she served as publisher of the company’s Birmingham Business Journal, where she had been advertising director. Melanie also has worked with the Philadelphia Business Journal, and for TV Guide. Currently, she is active in numerous South Florida organizations, including serving on the board of directors for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance where she is currently Chair of the Governors Council, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, American Heart Association, Broward Workshop, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and the Boca Raton Chamber. She is a member of the Board of Advisors for the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County, and a heart circle member for the American Heart Association. As an avid tennis player, Melanie enjoys a good match with her husband, Toby. If she's not playing tennis in her leisure time, she's spending it with her 8 year-old boy and girl twins.
Alejandro Ferrari has extensive experience in business development, lead generation, marketing, client relations, account management, and sales. Mr. Ferrari has more than 20 years of experience in business development practices and value creation practices. In 2005 he founded Strategic Importers, Inc. Strategic Importers is a wine importer and distribution company based in Boca Raton. Mr. Ferrari is the owner/president and his company focuses in providing hand-crafted wines from organic and bio dynamic producers to its on-premise and off-premise customers. Strategic’s portfolio offers wines from USA, France, Spain, Italy, Chile, Argentina, New Zeland, South Africa, Portugal, and Uruguay. Mr. Ferrari graduated in international commerce and business from the Colombian Institute of Management (INCOLDA). He studied English as a second language at Stanford University. He attended the Continuing Education Program on global issues and Marketing Strategies at Stanford University Continuing Education Program, Palo Alto, CA.