Vela Wines: A Tasting of an Unexpected Journey
Join us for an exploration of New Zealand with by Beth Ann Dahan, Director of Vela Wines and lecturer at Boston University’s School of Hospitality and Metropolitan College. Discover for yourself why this Central Otago winery is gaining increasing recognition as one of the top five New World wine producing regions. Beth Ann takes you on her personal wine lover’s journey which led to purchasing her own vineyard and creating “Twelfth Night.” Enjoy fine wines while savoring the experience in each and every drop with the woman behind the wine.
Brahm Callahan, Master Sommelier
Brahm Callahan, 31, is a Master Sommelier, one of only 147 professionals in North America who hold the title Master Sommelier—the highest distinction available in the beverage service industry. Brahm serves as Wine Director of Grill 23 & Bar in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood.
After moving to Boston to attend graduate school at Boston College, Brahm embraced Boston’s wine community and began working as a sommelier while finishing his graduate work. Through his time at top Boston restaurants, including Excelsior and Rialto, Brahm developed an interest for small producers who make terroir-driven wines.
In 2009, Brahm joined Himmel Hospitality Group as part of the opening team of Post 390, an urban tavern in Boston featuring seasonally-inspired menus. There, Brahm created a beverage program that included an expansive list of approachable and accessible wines, 40+ selection craft beer and competitive cocktail program.
In 2010, Brahm joined the team at Grill 23 & Bar as Wine Director, where he developed an award-winning list of over 1,700 selections, focusing specifically on new cult producers as well as maintaining a balanced list that offers selections for both wine connoisseurs and novices alike.
Brahm lives in Beacon Hill with his wife, Sally.
Edith A. Widder
Deep-Sea Explorer and Conservationist CEO, President and Co-Founder,Ocean Research & Conservation Association, Ft. Pierce, Florida
Edith Widder is a deep-sea explorer and MacArthur Fellow who combines expertise in oceanographic research and technological innovation with a commitment to reversing the worldwide trend of marine ecosystem degradation. She received her undergraduate degree in Biology from Tufts University and her MS in Biochemistry and PhD in Neurobiology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research involving submersibles has been featured in BBC, PBS, Discovery Channel and National Geographic television productions.
A specialist in bioluminescence (the light chemically produced by many ocean organisms), she has been a leader in helping to design and invent new submersible instrumentation, and equipment to enable unobtrusive deep-sea observations. Her innovations have produced footage of rare sharks, jellyfish, and crustaceans, as well as led to the discovery of a new species of large squid and in 2012 made the first ever recordings of the giant squid, Architeuthis, in its natural habitat. In 2005, in order to help protect the ocean she loves, Widder co-founded the Ocean Research & Conservation Association, a not-for-profit dedicated to the study and protection of marine ecosystems and the species they sustain through development of innovative technologies and science-based conservation action.
Chef / Owner, Citrus Grillhouse
As in cooking, timing is everything, and after a twelve-year stint with a New Jersey based manufacturing/engineering firm, Scott came in contact with his childhood friend Chef Tom Valenti. At that time Chef Valenti was becoming known as one of New York City’s rising chefs and was preparing to launch a new restaurant in the hip neighborhood of Soho. Recognizing an opportunity to pursue what had up until then been a weekend hobby, Scott took an internship at Valenti’s restaurant, Cascabel.
Scott became assistant pastry chef at the storied New York French eatery, La Cote Basque. There he learned the invaluable skills under the tutelage of the famed Jean-Jacques Rachou, as well as chef Lincoln Carson who today is Pastry Chef for the Michael Mina restaurant group.
Shortly thereafter, Scott joined Valenti again at Butterfield 81, which at the time was his new restaurant on New York’s Upper East Side. With the triumphant arrival of haute cuisine in Las Vegas in the late 90’s, Scott ventured west to study under internationally acclaimed chef Julian Serrano at the Bellagio’s five star Picasso.
Returning to New York City, Scott took on the simultaneous role of Executive Sous Chef at two highly acclaimed restaurants – Ouest and ‘Cesca. Both restaurants are credited with establishing the Upper West Side as a leading destination for dining experiences.
‘Cesca was nominated by The James Beard Foundation for best new restaurant in America in 2005.
Citrus Grillhouse, opened in 2010 was named Best New Restaurant in Florida from Florida Trend Magazine.
The restaurant was also honored this past April from Palm Beach Illustrated naming it one of South Florida’s top 10 restaurants.