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Women of the Vine & Spirits Scholarship Recipients for 2019

44 Scholarships Awarded, Totaling $134,200 in 2019!

The Foundation Received 376 Applications from Applicants in 42 Countries, Including:
Armenia, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Czechia, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Germany,
Greece,Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania,
Serbia, South Africa, Spain, St. Kitts & Nevis, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, 
United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, and Zimbabwe.

Women of the Vine & Spirits Scholarship Recipients Supported by our Generous Donors


Professional & Leadership Development

Deanna D'Alfonso
Jersey City, NJ


Educational Scholarship - Student

Taylor Amerman
Louisville, KY

Educational Scholarship - Student

Tori Russotti
San Luis Obispo, CA 

Educational Scholarship - Continuing Education

Kirstin Harper
Phoenix, AZ

Educational Scholarship - Continuing Education

Sabrina Lueck
Walla Walla, WA

WSET Level 1 Award in Spirits

Christie Verschoor
Rye, NY

WSET Level 1 Award in Wine

Tara Kelly
Sebastopol, CA


WSET Level 2 Award in Spirits

Ana Hinz
Seattle, WA


WSET Level 2 Award in Wines

Nicole Wells
Rohnert Park, CA

WSET Level 3 Award in Wines

Gbemisola Johnson
Ikoyi Lagos, Nigeria

WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines and Spirits

Elizabeth Moss
Kennewick, WA



Patron Scholarships: E. & J. Gallo Winery “Women Behind the Wine” Educational Fund

Masters of Wine Scholarship


Sarah Bray
Brooklyn, NY

Master Sommelier Scholarship


Mariya Kovacheva
West Palm Beach, FL 

Elizabeth Smyth Student Scholarship

Yordanos Gebru
Cumming, GA

Fuel Your Dreams Award

Julia Ammons
Chino Valley, AZ

Fuel Your Dreams Award

Michelle Beathard
Wellington, FL


Fuel Your Dreams Award


Cristin Castro
Austin, TX


Fuel Your Dreams Award

Bryanna Cooper
Washington DC

Fuel Your Dreams Award

Chasity Cooper
Chicago, IL

Fuel Your Dreams Award

Tracy Cryder
Little Rock, AR

Fuel Your Dreams Award

Crystal Angela Dawana
Hercules, CA

Fuel Your Dreams Award

Rachel Ford
Atlanta, GA

Fuel Your Dreams Award

Brenda Kowen
Millersview, TX


Fuel Your Dreams Award

Madison Malott
New York City, NY


Fuel Your Dreams Award

Omolola Olateju
Brooklyn, NY


Fuel Your Dreams Award

Jennifer Pyle
Helena, MT

Fuel Your Dreams Award

Keely Rosenthal
Charlotte, NC

Fuel Your Dreams Award

Kelli Silva
Napa, CA

Fuel Your Dreams Award

Cedar Stoltenow
Chicago, IL


Fuel Your Dreams Award

Meghan Vergara
Carlsbad, CA



Fuel Your Dreams Award

Nicole Walsh
Watsonville, CA


Fuel Your Dreams Award

Kathleen Young
Acworth, GA





Benefactor Scholarships: McBride Sisters Collection SHE CAN Professional Development Fund


Certificate Program in Business of Wine

Billie Harris
Atlanta, GA

Certificate Program in Business of Wine

Shanika Hillocks
New York, NY

Degree in Wine Business Management

Jessica Diaz
Fayetteville, AR

MBA or Executive MBA in Wine Business

Hannah DeYoung
Santa Rosa, CA

MBA or Executive MBA in Wine Business

Alicia Kidd
Hercules, CA


MBA or Executive MBA in Wine Business

Caitlyn Krug
New Orleans, LA


MBA or Executive MBA in Wine Business

Ann-Marie Mattis
San Francisco, CA

MBA or Executive MBA in Wine Business

Martha Vicedomini
Washington DC


Kyle Burke
Randallstown, MD


Cassandra Schaeg
Escondido, CA


Sarah Timbrook-Nugent
Seattle, WA


Racquel Valbrun
Cumming, GA



2018 Women of the Vine & Spirits Scholarship Recipients


Our scholarship opportunities included The Professional & Leadership Development Scholarship, which awards two recipients with attendance at the Women of the Vine & Spirits Global Symposium on March 11-13, 2019, our Student Scholarship for applicants already enrolled in an accredited food, wine, hospitality, viticulture, or other alcohol beverage industry related postsecondary program, our Continuing Education Scholarship for applicants towards the cost of professional advancement courses regarding the food, wine, hospitality, and/or viticulture industries, and this year’s newest addition, The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Awards. This past May, we were thrilled to announce our strategic alliance with WSET to create more educational opportunities for women in the alcohol beverage industry on a global scale. WSET is an awarding body and registered charity dedicated to the development and delivery of qualifications and courses in wines and spirits, aiming to empower the world’s wine and spirits professionals and enthusiasts. Through our alliance with WSET, we were able to add eight additional scholarship awards to those who were pursuing their WSET Level qualifications.


Professional & Leadership Development Scholarship

LaShan Arceneaux

LaShan Arceneaux is the Founder and Queen Sugar at Three Lumps of Sugar. Three Lumps of Sugar is a manufacturer of artisan sugars, salts, botanicals, and flavored honey for cocktails. After spending over two decades working in HR and marketing for Fortune 500 brands and startups, her goal is to apply that knowledge to her own startup. Having worked professionally as a chef, LaShan is able to craft unique flavor profiles designed to heighten the customer experience through cocktails. 

“I am honored to receive this scholarship from Women of the Vine & Spirits. As a start up, this will allow me to garner more industry related skills that I can pass along to others and an invaluable networking opportunity.” – LaShan Arceneaux

Julia Coney

Julia Coney is a Washington, D.C.-based wine and travel writer, educator, and consultant. Her wine writing includes stories on wine and winemakers, personal essays and the intersection of race and wine. She holds a WSET Level Two Certification in Wine and Spirits and is currently pursuing her Master Level Champagne Certification with the Wine Scholar Guild. Her work has been featured in The Tasting Panel and Wine Enthusiast. She has been featured in, Glamour, Essence, The Washington Post and numerous print and digital publications.

“I am honored and humbled to receive the Women of the Vine & Spirits scholarship. I know being in the room with dynamic women in my field will not only benefit my professional life in wine but will benefit me as a human.” – Julia Coney

Educational Scholarship - Student Scholarship

Isadora Frias de Locio e Silva

Isadora Frias de Locio e Silva started her journey in the wine world in 2013 while she was still pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Food Engineering and was granted an opportunity to travel to the Barossa Valley, in South Australia, for her first harvest experience. Since then, she has worked seven harvests and currently pursuing her MSc. in Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis. Her research focuses on analyzing the characters produced in wines made by grapes grown in different regions of the United States in hopes of understanding the concept of terroir and why certain wines are preferred and age better than others.

“I am immensely honored to have been selected as a recipient of the 2018-2019 Women of the Vine & Spirits Foundation Educational Scholarship. Through this generous support, I will be able to continue my research to better understand the differences among vineyards and why certain wines age better than others. Ultimately it is my hope that small producers will benefit from the outcomes of my studies to enhance the quality of their wines. Being awarded with this scholarship means less anguish and more security. More time and energy that I will be able to dedicate to my research project as well as learning new things every day. Adversities in my life made me very appreciative of every type of support that comes my                                                                    way and are the reason why I am so grateful for being awarded with this scholarship.” – Isadora Frias de Locio e Silva

Educational Scholarship - Continuing Education Scholarship

Liz Chernousova

Liz Chernousova started in the restaurant industry in 2010 where she started as a support team member and a server. Liz quickly discovered that the restaurant and hospitality industry was becoming something more than just a part-time job to her. It stirred another love in her and then, a new career path. Through hard work and dedication, she earned her place as a restaurant manager at the historic four diamond awarded Edgewater hotel in the heart of downtown Madison, Wisconsin. Liz’s accomplishments there were recognized, and in 2016 she was honored with the manager of the year award, and she was promoted to Assistant General Manager of the Edgewater’s flagship restaurant. Liz completed the Court of Master Sommeliers’ Introductory Course and Examination this past spring and she is preparing to take her Certified Sommelier Examination.

“I am extremely humbled and honored to receive a continuing education scholarship from the Women of the Vine & Spirits Foundation. Wine to me is not just to be enjoyed, but also shared. It has a history behind it, and I, as a history major, always found it fascinating that generations of winemakers through their hard work and passion created something that has a vivid story and a sense of belonging to a place that can be thousands of miles away from the table at which you are enjoying their wine.” – Liz Chernousova

WSET Level 1 Award in Sake

Émilie Steckenborn

As Head of Education for Asia and MEIA at Treasury Wine Estates, Emilie Steckenborn seeks to share her passion for wine with enthusiasts and professionals around the world. She believes in creating fun and engaging programs that have impacted tens of thousands of individuals across Asia. Always curious about peoples passions and journey in F&B, she founded “Bottled in China” podcast to share insight into Chinas ever evolving gastronomy scene. Emilie has also co-founded Women Working in Wine, which hosts leadership and skills workshops to help develop women in the Shanghai wine industry.

“I’m very grateful to receive the scholarship for WSET Sake Level 1. I’ve always been intrigued by the complexities and variations of sake, and excited to expand my knowledge on such a deep rooted beverage. Women of the Vine & Spirits organization is proof that building and supporting the community of women leaders drives impactful growth throughout our beverage community.” – Emilie Steckenborn

WSET Level 2 Award in Wines and Spirits

Julie Warnement 

Julie Warnement, mother of five and grandmother of one, has been in the service industry for the better part of a decade. She draws parallels between viticulture and mothering her kids, as it seems to touch the souls of winemakers like children to a mother. Through this she changed career paths completely to follow her love of wine. Looking for as much information as possible, and being a single mother for years, she began to strive to better herself professionally. The Women of the Vine & Spirits Foundation Scholarship was the perfect opportunity to allow Julie to further her accreditations. Julie is honored to receive the scholarship as she continues her journey with WSET and to further help other women pursue their goals as well.

“I feel so encouraged in being awarded this scholarship for WSET 2. It is a confirmation to me that I am on the right path. Financially, I would not have been able to take this course so soon without the help of Women of the Vine & Spirits. From my heart to yours, I am beyond grateful to you! It has boosted my confidence as a woman because I feel like there are other ladies rooting for me on my journey!” – Julie Warnement

WSET Level 3 Award in Wines

Shirley Muswema

Shirley Muswema began her career in hospitality immediately after high school by embarking upon a threeyear hospitality management course while also working part time. Once her course had finished she was asked to run a three-star guesthouse on the Kwa-Zulu Natal South Coast, which she ran for 12 years. Thereafter, Shirley again worked part-time in hospitality while also writing for a blog that featured luxury accommodation and restaurants. After two years at The Havana Grill, she moved to Cape Town and began working with Liam and Jan Tomlin at their award-winning Chefs Warehouse & Canteen where she was appointed manager. She recently decided to refocus on educating herself more formally in all aspects of wine by putting herself through the Wine & Spirit Education Trust course, while continuing to work at Chefs Warehouse & Canteen.

“Winning the Women of the Vine & Spirits scholarship means that I can focus on perfecting my service at my job, instead of worrying about making enough money to survive day to day, and I am very grateful.” – Shirley Muswema

WSET Level 3 Award in Sake

Lisa Nguyen

Lisa Nguyen, began working at the family business, a neighborhood Chinese restaurant, where she moved up the ranks from hostess to server to manager by the age of 16. Fast forward several years, Nguyen worked side by side with New Orleans cocktail bar entrepreneur Neal Bodenheimer at the Delachaise Wine Bar, where she honed her skills for three years. In 2011, Nguyen decided to move to Chicago where she found a family in the One-Off Restaurant Group, where she worked at Big Star. In 2013, she helped open Analogue Bar with a friend and Chef Alfredo Nogueira along with the Violet Hour veterans Haynes and Prendergast. Since returning to New Orleans, Nguyen worked as the beverage director of Seaworthy, as well as consulted on the bar program of Bar 1908 in the Pythian Market. In 2014, Lisa was named a Certified Sake Professional by the Sake Education Council.

“Being awarded this scholarship has been a wonderful testament to the commitment that organizations committed to diversity and equality around the world have made to ensuring that women and minorities are given opportunities to pursue career enhancing pursuits that are often seemingly out of reach.” – Lisa Nguyen

WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines and Spirits

Bethany Reed

Bethany Reed is a server and sommelier in Bandon, OR, providing outstanding service to her guests, enhancing their dining experience by offering pairing suggestions, wine education, and stellar wine service. She develops and maintains wine lists and offers assistance with large format, aged and difficult bottles. Bethany was bitten with the wine bug four years ago, while working at Alloro wine bar, and has since secured her WSET level 3 certification and CMS level 1 within two years, and continues to pursue certifications with both organizations. After over ten years experience in fine dining Bethany has received consistent positive comments on Trip Advisor and was recently featured in an article on Three Guys Golf Blog. She looks forward to continuing her journey and quest for wine knowledge, and hopes to travel to the world’s wine regions.

“Being awarded the Women of the Vine & Spirits WSET Level 4 Diploma scholarship has provided me a springboard to launch my wine education into high gear; and will be the path for greater abundance for my daughter and I.” – Bethany Reed