About Us

Lee A Pancake, DipWSET

Principal & Director of Education

Lee got his start in the wine industry in 2011 as a stock clerk at his uncle’s locally-owned wine market in Orlando​. At the time, he was still attending UCF for business management and entrepreneurship while trying to figure out what he wanted to do after university. As time passed, Lee was bitten hard by the “wine bug” and developed an insatiable thirst for wine knowledge. Through books provided to him by his uncle, Lee developed an impressive base of knowledge on the subject.

In 2017 Lee began his journey through the WSET after meeting local Master of Wine, Jean Reilly. He quickly rose through the ranks under her guidance and later that year began teaching under Jean, fulfilling his dream of educating others on the subject he had become so passionate about. After honing his skills in front of a classroom, Lee became the Director of Education and Owner of Slate Wine & Spirits Academy four years later.

Lee divides his time between working with his uncle in their family-owned wine market and teaching WSET courses through Slate Wine & Spirits Academy. When he’s not teaching, Lee produces music and spends time hiking the globe with his beautiful wife, Madison.

Jean K Reilly MW

Founder & Mentor

Jean K Reilly MW started her career in wine as the sommelier for a small French restaurant in Manhattan in 2001. She moved on to work as a wine journalist, eventually visiting over 1000 wineries in 60 wine regions and working the harvest in 3 different countries. Jean shared her passion for wine on television and radio and with readers of magazines such as Fortune, Wine Enthusiast, and American Airlines’ Latitudes.

She also ran the purchasing departments for such prestigious retailers as Morrell & Company in New York and JJ Buckley in California and in 2010, after 7 years of study, became just the 5th American woman to become a Master of Wine.

Jean divided her time between educating wine professionals and consumers through Slate Wine & Spirits Academy and hosting wine, beer, and spirit events for business groups through her company Masterful Wine Events. When not in front of a crowd talking about wine, Jean could be found jumping out of airplanes.

On February 2, 2024 we said farewell to our cherished friend and the founder of Slate Wine & Spirits Academy. Jean’s remarkable mentorship touched the lives of many, leaving an indelible mark on the Central Florida wine community. Jean’s commitment to the education of wine professionals and enthusiasts will serve as a lasting source of inspiration as we continue to foster our academy and grow a thriving community in her memory.


Connor Doran

Orlando Classroom | Lead Instructor

Connor is originally from Southern Maryland, just outside the Washington, D.C. area. After graduating from the University of Maryland, he moved down to the beautiful Sunshine State. Perhaps sparked by his late father’s award-winning home winemaking, Connor soon discovered his passion for wine.

As a former student of Slate, Connor quickly progressed through the WSET Levels 1, 2, and 3 Award in Wines and is now working on completing his Level 4 Diploma in Wines. With an absolute thirst for wine knowledge, Connor loves everything French wine. When he’s not in the classroom, Connor is sure to be traveling and exploring new wine regions or just staying home playing guitar. Most recently, Connor has taken on a new project, filming and narrating wine education documentaries with Winedos.com, an online wine retailer.

Dina Given, DipWSET

Orlando Classroom | Course Educator

Dina Given is a native resident of New York (“Lon-Gisland”) and New Jersey, with a part-time residence in Celebration, FL. She was a wine lover and collector long before she began her formal wine education journey. She was even spotlighted in the July 2017 issue of Wine Spectator magazine for her home wine cellar. After a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry, she decided to step away to pursue her passion for wine. She started on the WSET path in 2018, eventually earning her WSET Level 4 Diploma in 2022.

After gaining some industry experience in wine retail, winery tasting rooms, and even working in the vineyard during harvest, Dina launched her own (aptly named) wine business called The Wine Diva. As The Wine Diva, Dina hosts private wine tasting events for personal and corporate clients, and also consults with New Jersey’s only Master of Wine, managing events at his wine bar and restaurant. Dina really enjoys the creative process of developing unique and engaging wine events, such as her Wine Murder Mystery and Wine Escape Room events that combine both education and entertainment.

When she’s not teaching or hosting events, Dina enjoys cooking, eating great food, travel, running, her Peloton bike and tread, golf, hiking, volunteering for a dog rescue, and spending time with her family – her husband, 15-year-old daughter, 17-year-old son, and adorable mini Australian Shepard.

J.P. Donnelly-Davis, SWS

Orlando Classroom | Course Educator & Exams Officer

J.P. grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, and Washington, DC, eventually falling in love with wine while living with his parents in Naples, Italy. He has successfully attained the WSET Level 3 Award in Wines qualification and is a Spanish Wine Scholar and Certified Sherry Wine Specialist. J.P. is deeply passionate about natural and biodynamic wines and loves introducing students to these traditional viticulture methods. When he’s not studying or teaching wine, he enjoys exploring historic sites, punk rock, and the works of Ernest Hemingway.

Kristina Sazama, DipWSET

Orlando Classroom | Course Educator

Kristina first discovered her passion for wine while entertaining clients during a decade on Wall Street. Since leaving the world of finance behind, Kristina has pursued her interest in wine while working at Momofuku Ssäm Bar in New York City, Michael Skurnik Wines, and the champagne houses of Billecart-Salmon and Lanson. She is now doing what she loves best, sharing her passion for wine as the Wine Educator for Santa Margherita USA, a leading importer of Italian wines. Kristina holds the Diploma of Wine & Spirits from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust in London and is a Certified Sommelier from the Court of Master Sommeliers. She holds the Italian Wine Scholar (IWS) and Italian Wine Professional (IWP) certifications. When not indulging her passions for eating and drinking, Kristina can be found in vineyards worldwide preparing for the Master of Wine examinations.

Kara Joseph, DipWSET

Orlando Classroom | Course Educator

Kara Joseph is a certified sommelier, has attained her Level 4 Diploma in Wines, and is an author with an incurable case of wine wanderlust. She has traveled to famous vineyards around the globe, tasting with copious winemakers. Her young career has already included teaching a myriad of wine classes, which bring her immense joy. She believes wine is the ultimate connector and is determined to spend her days listening to and sharing what it has to say. Her first book is called, “If Wine Could Talk”, and she aims to pass on to you a bit of the magic that wine has given her.

Max Mozo

St. Johns Classroom | Course Educator

Max is also a Jacksonville native, and has lived in St. Johns County for nearly 2 decades. He graduated with his BS in Civil Engineering from Florida State University in 1994. He has a passion for wine as well as wine education and loves offering the community a place to explore and learn about wines from all over the world. He has completed his WSET Level 3 Award in Wines qualification and is looking forward to educating others. In addition to working evenings and weekends at Tim’s Wine Market, he works as a professional structural engineer in the Ports and Maritime Industry. If you want to talk wine, cruise ships and submarines, Max is your guy!

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