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 & Advisor
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 has shared her passion for wine on television and radio and with readers of magazines such as Fortune, Wine Enthusiast, and American Airlines’ Latitudes.
She has also run the purchasing departments for such prestigious retailers as Morrell & Company in New York and JJ Buckley in California. In 2010, After 7 years of study, Jean became just the 5th American woman to become a Master of Wine.
Currently, Jean divides 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 can be found jumping out of airplanes.
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.
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 found 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 teaching or studying for his next Diploma exam, Connor is sure to be found strolling through downtown Orlando with his wife, Danit, and his Australian Shepard, Cava.
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.
Greg the Proprietor of Hummingbird Wine Bar in Tallahassee, FL. He is a Professor of Psychology and Biomedical Sciences at Florida State University, where he studies the brain in relation to anxiety and depression. He has completed his WSET Level 3 Award in Wines and is currently working on his WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines.