Our experts are constantly swirling, sipping and savoring with your best interests at heart. They travel the globe to get the best wines, spirits, brews and cigars for our guests
--and when you have that much experience and knowledge, it's only fair to share it. Along with travel adventures, they bring every bit of information they have straight to you. We're happy to introduce you to our wine team.
Jim considers himself to be “a sucker for crushed rocks in a glass,” so he usually leans towards white wines when drinking for pleasure (as if there’s another kind of drinking). He also enjoys wines that “have a good sense of place; that taste like they can’t be made just anywhere.” But, if Jim isn’t drinking wine, then you’re likely to find him sipping San Pellegrino sparkling water in between courses and a Manhattan (made with Canadian whisky instead of bourbon) after dinner. A dream dinner would look like this to Jim: Robert Mondavi, Steve Jobs, Jancis Robinson and a lively conversation centered around—and including—excellent wine.
Bill’s last trip to an area of his expertise was to Australia – Barossa, Clare Valley and Adelaide. “We all know that Australia offers excellent value-for-money wine. But I’d like to remind wine-lovers that Australia also produces wine of amazing quality that can stand alongside the best wines from anywhere in the world.” In addition to Australia, Bill is also considered an expert of wines from New Zealand, South Africa, Chile and Argentina.
He imagines that a world without wine would be “a world without civilization.”
“On the grand scale, when I think about all the people in history who not only drank wine but had a true passion for it – poets, artists, philosophers, saints, political figures, military leaders – I begin to wonder where we would be (intellectually) without it.”
“There are reviews for geeks, and then there are reviews for the rest of the world,” said Paul Quaglini when asked if he believed in giving wines a numeric rating (the verdict: they’re a “necessary evil.”) Paul is ABC’s wine supervisor covering the regions of Italy, Spain and Portugal, who believes that people generally get too caught up in finding the perfect wine. “If you like it, it’s good wine. Your palate is the most important judge,” explained Paul. His palate’s favorite: Italian Sangiovese. If he had the option, Paul would love to host a dinner party at his house with special guests Piero Antinori, Abe Lincoln and Hillary Clinton, while serving Sangiovese, of course.
Shayne said that if he weren’t in the wine business, he’d probably be a fly fishing guide. Or kayaking leader. Or camping expert. “I grew up in the Adirondacks and all that outdoorsy stuff is part of the package.”
Shayne is the wine supervisor for Southwest Orlando. He likes wines that “speak of a place—they’re authentic.” He specifically enjoys French and Italian reds and French whites, especially those that can be traced back to a certain region based on taste. Unsurprisingly, the wines he doesn’t enjoy as much are those that are missing the uniqueness of place. Fine wine is all about place, that is, what distinguishes it from generic wines, and it is those nuances/differences that make the search so exciting and the find even better!
Meet ABC’s globetrotter, the Bulgarian bred, Atanas Nechkov.
Atanas is the wine supervisor for Central Florida and Central East coast Florida. His focus is on French wines, but don’t make the mistake of thinking he doesn’t know anything about wines from the rest of the world. Atanas is extremely knowledgeable in his field, a fact made fairly evident within the first few minutes of talking with him.
When prompted on his preferences he says, “I don’t like wines that bluff you—they’re in your face, yet there’s no finish.” Wines that make sense to Atanas include “clean, honest and intensely focused wines...that are shy at first.” But to him, the phrase “favorite wine” doesn’t exist. “Wine comes arm and arm with food. If you want to get buzzed, drink some vodka.” A favorite wine, he emphasizes, should be dictated by the food you are having with it, and even then, there is never a perfect answer.
Dan has been in the wine industry for 25 years, from restaurants to catering to fine wines and spirits retail. His last four and a half, however, have been with ABC as a wine consultant. During his time with ABC, Dan has been honored as a Wine Consultant of the Year. Most recently he was promoted to the position of wine and spirits supervisor for North Florida.
As a wine educator for 20 years, Dan has taught classes through adult education programs, hosted private tastings and written about wine for numerous outlets in print and on the web. His love of wine stems from his French mother who instilled in him a passion for wine and food pairings. He is well-traveled in global wine regions and enjoys sharing those insights and experiences.
With over a decade spent sipping and suggesting wine, Dave has visited vineyards from Germany to Napa and many appellations in between. Find him biking, running or uncorking wine from California—but don’t be surprised if his glass is filled with an Old-World beauty. His love of wine leads him to try any wine from anywhere.