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Mr. Michael S. Ogurek

In 1988, Michael graduated from the University of Detroit with degrees in Liberal Arts & Business. Prior….He was taught by the Catholic Nuns in Grade School, the Christian Brothers at his High School, Brother Rice High School in Birmingham, Michigan & finally the Jesuits Priests at the University of Detroit…to say the least he experienced a lot of different views and opinions…

In 1991, Michael was accepted into the Ernest & Julio Gallo Winery – “Sales & Marketing Development Program” which at the time was the largest winery in the world. In 1992, Michael was accepted into the J. Lewis Cooper Wine & Spirits Co. in Detroit, Michigan. During the following several years, he enjoyed many positions within the distributor. To name a few: Sales Manager, Brand Manager, District Manager, Market Manager, Key Account Manager, Sales Rep, E & J Gallo Merchandiser, Assistant Sales Manager & then again as Key Account Manager in 1999. In early 2000, Michael accepted a position within the Kevin D. Chaney, Co. “Wine Brokers” Marketing Firm in Cincinnati as a Regional Sales Manager & Key Chain Account Mgr. In 2002, Michael was promoted to Vice President of Sales. Michael worked with the firm until early April 2019 when, Michael achieved the opportunity to purchase the 40 year old Wine Marketing Company in these Midwest United States.

Michael is proud of his 30 years in the wine industry developing his knowledge and is honored & humbled to have worked “for or with” the E & J Gallo Family, the Castello Banfi family, The Freixenet USA & Ferrer Family, The Schmitt Sohne Winery, The San Francisco Wine Exchange, Allied Domeq, Bacardi Imports, Brown Forman, to name a few international & National wine companies.

Michael’s true passion is visiting all areas of the world that love food & grow grapes, when not traveling for work, his passion is being at home, collecting Antiques, enjoying American & European History and most importantly spending time with his family, Ranay his best friend, Chloe his beautiful daughter & his infamous buddy “Bentley” the Silver lab!

As of April 8th, 2019 Michael is the New Owner & President of MO Cellar Selections, LLC – Wine Brokers

A Special Thank You!

“Even in today’s world, there are still those that understand the true meaning behind…”It’s a Wonderful Life”… Mike & Dawn you will always be the “New” Wine Brokers most trusted & true friends! Thank you so very much!”

Mr. Anthony D. Conz

After a very long search for the perfect, Vice President of Sales, Anthony accepted this “Key Position” within our Wine Marketing Firm.

Anthony began his Wine Industry career in the spring of 2003. Anthony worked for a leading Wholesale Distributing Company in the State of Michigan. In 2005, Anthony was promoted to the position of Key Account On-Premise Specialist in Southeastern, Michigan. Again, in the year 2010, Anthony was promoted to the “Director of the Fine Wine Division” for the entire State of Michigan. In 2013, Anthony was asked to assist and re-structure the entire Restaurant Division for the Wholesaler. His new title became On- Premise Director of Sales. Most recently, Anthony has managed to continue his role with the On-Premise Division, but he also played a key role in managing the Wine List & assisting the Buying Desk as a “Key Super Regional Chain Consultant” for Black Rock Steakhouse Corporation which is currently expanding throughout the United States.

Anthony has two beautiful children, son Jamison & his daughter Amelia. And is lucky to have his best friend, Shannon by his side. Anthony loves to coach sports for his kid’s teams. Anthony & Shannon fulfill their private moments rescuing animals, in particular dogs. Wine Brokers couldn’t be more excited to be working with this fine gentleman and worldly figure!

Mr. Paul Gardner VP of Sales –Atlantic Division

Paul Gardner, our Vice President of Sales – Director of Atlantic Division, has been directly involved in the beverage industry for over thirty years.

Throughout his varied career, he has continually demonstrated his strength in building customer relationships and his unique ability to problem-solve and think outside the box. Passing on his passion and knowledge of the business for smiles has always been very important to him.

Paul began his sales career working for a wine and spirt company in Connecticut, moving on to

larger markets assuming more direct managerial positions. He has twelve years’ experience in the restaurant and retail side of the business, ten years on the distribution side, and over fifteen years working with notable wineries such as Constellation Brands, Ravenswood, Merryvale Vineyards, and Flora Springs Winery.

For the past ten years, Paul has been the voice of Flora Springs as a Regional Sales Manager covering eighteen markets. He has developed strong working relationships with distributors, managers, sales representatives, and customers. His passion for the wine industry is evidenced by his enthusiasm and his success in the business as he passes on his love for quality wine to his customers. Paul has always kept focus on his goal of working together as a team and representing family-owned wineries to pass along family stories that identify excellent wines.

Paul is originally from Connecticut, currently residing in Manhattan, NY for the past eighteen years. He enjoys spending time with family, sports, fishing, and volunteering. Also spending time with his fourteen-year-old son, Noah, is priceless. Paul has been involved as a coach for Noah’s baseball and basketball teams. He now enjoys watching these games and cheering on his son’s high school freshman teams.

Mr. Greg Dobie

Greg is our Director of Sales Pacific Division. Based out of California, Greg is an industry
expert and has offered his help with our expansion to the West Coast.
(AL, AZ, CA, CO, HI, ID, MT, NM, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY)

Greg began his Wine Industry career at a top retail account in Aspen, Colorado before being
hired by McKesson Wine and Spirits to join the Distributor ranks covering Aspen and the
surrounding towns. After 5 years learning that aspect of the industry, Greg moved to
California to work for Somerset Wine Co. in SoCal then transferred to Northern California. When Somerset closed their doors, Greg began is career on the Supplier side of things. Hired by Jess Jackson as Western Division VP covering 22 states developing the Kendall Jackson Winery. Greg was recruited by Chateau Ste. Michelle as Vice President where he helped
develop Washington wines outside of Washington state.

After 10 years Greg returned to California to join Constellation Brands as Senior Sales
Director. From Constellation he moved on to the newly formed Accolade Wine Co. as West VP and was promoted to National Sales Manager for 10 years. Accolade closed its US operations in June 2020.

Greg and his lovely wife, a school teacher, have been blessed with 5 children and 3
grandchildren with whom they enjoy sharing their many outdoor activities at their beach and desert homes. Greg is an avid sports fan and enjoys trout fishing when the opportunity arises!
We are excited to have Greg join our Wine Brokers Team!

Mr. Aaron Cherny

Aaron M Cherny, our Vice President of Sales –Director of Pacific Division, has had a varied career and unique path that has led him from Mergers & Acquisitions to Automotive to Spirits and finally to Napa Valley and the wine business. Upon graduating from Indiana University, he joined the prestigious M&A advisory, Duff & Phelps, based in their Chicago office.After 6 years in professional services, he followed his passion for cars and racing joining the Corporate Development team at TRW Automotive, a Tier 1 auto supplier, based in Detroit.While at TRW he worked on many international transactions that reshaped the company and the overall industry.

After his time in Detroit, he pursued an opportunity with Beam Suntory as a manager for the company’s International Strategy.He worked on projects from China to Eastern Europe to Latin America managing global distribution strategy and new product introductions.

After a major corporate restructuring at Suntory, Aaron took his severance check and headed out West to try and break into the wine industry.He got in on the very ground floor as a seasonal harvest intern with the storied Sonoma Valley institution, Roche Family Winery. This led to many connections that Aaron used to launch his own consultancy advising on sales & distribution, wine production, estate/brand creation and vineyard/brand sales & acquisitions.His clients have included: Mayacamas Vineyards, Davis Estates, Bonny Doon Vineyard, HuneeusVintners (Quintessa, Faust, Flowers), Fortis Label Solutions, Restoration Hardware –Yountville and Quince/Verjus.

All this while launching his own wine label with his best friend Randal, Source & Sink Wines.Based in Sonoma Valley, S&S farms their own vineyards and pays tribute to the wine styles of Old pre-prohibition California.
Aaron resides in downtown Napa but you will usually find him at the winery, a client’s office or at one of the vineyards that Source & Sink farms in Sonoma Valley.

Mr. Carl Folkman

Carl is our Director of Regional Sales –Atlantic Division “Florida & Georgia”. Based out of Florida, Carl brings his expertise in Distributor sales and On & Off Premise sales in these important states.

Although Carl graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a degree in Political Science and Pre Law, He began working in the field of his passion at McKesson Wine & Spirits right out of college in Ft Lauderdale. It was here that Carl learned the basics of how distributors work and through the watchful eyes of the E & J Gallo Winery, was moved to work for Grantham Distributing based out of Orlando. Carl was quickly promoted to a district manager position while at Grantham after only a year and then was asked to be part of the E & J Gallo sales team for the vintage division. It was here that Carl mastered handling multiple distributors in Florida at one time and also be respondent to the everyday requests of such a large company as Gallo.

In the early 1990’s the winery decided to combine multiple state divisions and Carl decided to try a new direction which was as On Premise Manager for Premier Beverage Company in Jacksonville, Florida . This competed his experience to be able to master both an On and Off Premise salesforce and coordinate distribution channels. Two years later, Carl was offered a position as state manager for Wine & Spirits Associates which was a major brokerage company based out of Atlanta. This brokerage house represented some large brands like Absolut, Ketel One, Wilson Daniels, and Cabo Wabo-just to name a few. Within two years of accepting this poison, Carl bought the owner out in 1998 and took possession of the suppliers and their respective brands to what is now known as Florida Wine & Spirits today which now represents some of the top and exciting wine and spirit brands available in the Southeastern markets.

Carl lives in Crystal Beach, Florida with his wife Ellen and his two sons Ethan and Alex. They share their house located across the Gulf of Mexico with four cats.

Mr. Ernest Almeranti

Strategic Advisor and Direct Consult to the Owner-President of Wine Brokers

Executive Vice President at Great Lakes Wine and Spirits

Responsible for all sales companies of Great Lakes Wine and Spirits including Little Guy Wine and Spirits. Total sales near 8 million cases annual servicing the State of Michigan.

Results oriented sales leader with consistent abilities to lead organizations and achieve profit and growth targets. Proven performer with strong record of advancement in a wide range of organizations, geographies and positions. A balanced leadership style emphasizing achievement and development of staff with strong emphasis on recruiting, change management, strategic planning, brand development, key account management, and new business initiatives. Experienced with developing acquisition strategies and integrations.

 

Experience

  • Executive Vice President Great Lakes Wine & Spirits 1999 –Present
  • Division Manager E&J Gallo Winery 1991 -1998
  • Sales Manager Julius Schepps, Co. 1988 -1991
  • North Texas State Manager E&J Gallo Winery 1987 -1988
  • Field Marketing Manager E&J Gallo Winery 1985 -1986
  • Education
  • Colorado State University
  • S., Management ‘86
  • Central Michigan University
  • S., Business Administration ‘81

Mr. Walter Seligman Wine Professional National, Divisional, Regional Industry Executive & Consultant

Walter Seligman, Industry Expert and Direct “Consult” to the Wine Brokers Executive Team as it relates to the Eastern Seaboard from Maine to Florida.

Walter is a Wine Professional with more than 35 years experience in all tiers of the three-tier system. Having worked extensively in the restaurant industry early in his career, then in retail wine sales in Washington, D.C. and distributor management with Forman Bros. His first supplier position was helping to build Louis Martini and Wente wines, from there he helped build brands across the country such as Beaulieu Vineyards, Clos du Bois, William Hill, G.H. Mumm, Perrier Jouet, Atlas Peak, Campo Viejo, Rosenblum Cellars and most recently Hammeken Cellars, Spain.

Walter lives in a rural part of Virginia with his wife Dawn. In his free time he enjoys hiking, fishing, swimming, and most of all spending time with his two grown children, and two young grandkids.

Mrs. Shannon Bruehl Market Manager – Atlantic Division

Shannon is an important member of our Atlantic DivisionBased out of our North Carolina office, Shannon heads up the southern Eastern seaboard states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

With over 20 years of Sales and Sales Management experience, Shannon brings her passion for building and maintaining customer relationships to our wine sales team.

Shannon’s “Customer First” mentality leads to outstanding success in building and maintaining genuine relationships with key corporate decision makers. She has an excellent level of customer retention and loyalty and enjoys bringing others together and forming strategic alliances to serve our customer needs.

Shannon is no stranger to the wine and hospitality industry having grown up with family business connections in local Michigan restaurants. She has worked in several aspects of the wine industry over the years and is excited to continue with Wine Brokers; networking, building and strengthening relationships as well as New Business Development

Shannon is originally from Michigan, currently residing in Charlotte, NC for the past 7 years. Shannon loves the outdoors; enjoying her close proximity to the ocean and mountains which allows wonderful family time with her husband Ken, 14 year old son Devon and their famed English Bulldog “Stafford”!

Mr. Lee A. Hershey

In the 1960’s, Lee Hershey belonged to a number of Food & Wine Clubs. He loved wine & it was his hobby…Lee graduated from Michigan State University with a Business Degree. Lee has managed a number of small business & owned a few during the years. Those years led Lee to managing a series of Wine & High end Liquor establishments in Metro Detroit, Michigan. Throughout these many years Lee found employment within three very well-known wholesaler’s in Michigan. During the 70’s & 80’s Lee Hershey represented wineries from all over the world inside the Wholesaler Distribution system. In the early 90’s Lee’s reputation as premier wine educator locally led him to a “Wine Consulting business” he started where he assisted very high end On & Off Premise accounts.

Lee Hershey had the honor of being an “Ambassador” for the famous Beaulieu Vineyard Winery (a 100 year Old Napa Valley property). During his role, he managed 8 wine events each week for 4 years. Lee has been honored over the years as the “Sommelier” at the Bay Harbor Yacht Club. Perhaps his most infamous and rewarding adventure has been the last 3o years as “Wine Education Director” at Schoolcraft Culinary College in Oakland County, Michigan.

Further, Lee enjoys his occasional glass of Scotch Whiskey. Lee is a “LIFELONG FELLOW” of the Academy of Malt Scotch Whiskey Society…

Finally, if you ever ask Lee how he is doing he will likely state “I am above average today and couldn’t be doing better”…Lee is a walking “Wine Encyclopedia” and his knowledge of the 3 Tier System and the Wine Industry is without reproach…
Wine Brokers is honored to say he is part of our team!
May God Bless Him!

Mr. Glynn Gutzeit

Wine Brokers would like to welcome another industry expert, Mr. Glynn Gutzeit. In addition to his four decades as a General Motors engineer – leading a team of engineers at the GM Proving Grounds in Milford – he has spent the past 40 years as a Bartender and leading expert of Liquor Management.

For the past 20 years, Glynn has conducted numerous spirits tasting programs at Michigan State University. Glynn has also provided his expertise to many high-end on-premise events at such distinguished locations as Five Lakes Grill and Portofino’s.

 Glynn has consulted for many Liquor distributors in the southeastern Michigan area on the adoption and sales of new liquor products. He has consulted with bar and restaurant owners on the opening and management of upscale properties. Finally, one of his larger accolades, Glynn created an industry manual on the mixing and presentation of cocktails.

 Glynn has lived in the Highland area for more than 20 years. He has been happily married to his wife Leslie for 30 years; the couple has one son, Scott.

Mr. Jerry Harrod

Jerry  Harrod graduated from the University of Central Arkansas in 1978 with a B.S.E. degree in education.  After teaching and Coaching for two years Jerry began his career in the wine and spirits business in the spring of 1978 with  Strauss Distributors, a Little Rock Arkansas based distributor. Starting out as a territory salesman Jerry moved to General Sales manager in January 1983 then eventually VP of Sales in 1991. Strauss Distributors became the premier wine distributor in Arkansas. In May 2005 Strauss Distributors sold to Glazers and consolidated with the other Glazer companies. Jerry joined Moon Distributors as VP of Sales  in February 2008 and will be retiring December 31st, 2019.

After forty one plus years in the Wine and Spirits business Jerry still has the desire to spend time in the markets  assisting suppliers in developing brands.

Jerry has been married to his wife Karen for 43 years. They have two children and four grandchildren. He enjoys spending his time gardening, cooking, fishing, hunting and special moments with his grandchildren.

Executive Administration & Marketing Team

Mrs. Katherine “Katie” Garavaglia

Katie Garavaglia is a most welcomed addition to the New “Wine Brokers”…

Katie is our “Director of Marketing and Administration”…She is the Direct Report & Executive Attaché’ to the President  of the Brokerage Firm. Katie is tasked with maintaining an extremely productive and functional office. Katie and her soon to be announced team are responsible for… all Purchasing aspects Domestic or Ex-cellars, Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, Supplier Bill Backs, Supplier Commissions/Revenue and Wholesaler Administrative needs…

Katie isn’t the typical manager…Like the rest of the team…She is a “Wine Industry-only  Professional”, for over 20 years. She has performed & contributed in all aspects of Marketing and Administration at the Distributor level.

Katie began her career as Office manager at a small wine distributor and fostered its growth to a multimillion-dollar enterprise….How? By developing their marketing program that set an industry standard of the time. She then advanced to National Wine & Spirits Corporation, which today  is Republic National Distributing Company. Katie was a Marketing Manager within NWS. Located in the Michigan office, her organizational skills were utilized to create a successful, cohesive marketing team. RNDC is one of the largest Wine Wholesalers in the US today.

There is one thing that our Wine Brokerage Firm prides itself in…and that’s family. Katie is also a terrific mom to Max and best friend to Chuck her spouse…..

Please welcome Katie to the New Team! We certainly are glad to have her with us!

Mr. Paul Martinez Wine Broker’s Graphic Art Designer

Paul Martinez is an expert Graphic Designer with over 20 years of expertise. After graduating from Michigan State University, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree, he has worked in various capacities as a freelance graphic designer, and as an advertising/marketing designer for several well-known print advertising corporations.

His love of art and design does not stop at the workplace, as his hobbies include woodworking, an occasional scrimshaw project and getting lost in a meaningful book. An avid outdoorsman, he very much enjoys camping, kayaking and bike riding. Paul’s true passion is his wife Johannah and their two boys, Liam and Matéo.
Wine Broker’s enjoys working along side such a
talented designer and creative mind.

Miss Kaitlin Marks

In 2011, Kaitlin graduated from Pinckney High School with a dream to pursue nursing as a career.  She went to Western Michigan University from 2011 – 2015.  She never ended up pursuing her career in the medical field because one thing remained consistent, her love for the food and beverage industry. 

Kaitlin moved back home in 2015 to the Ann Arbor area where she was born and raised.  She began working at Toasted Oak Grill & Market in Novi, Michigan in 2016.  Her love for wine and the whole industry has since then sky rocketed.  Growing up in a family full of wine lovers and an Uncle that works for RNDC, it was only a matter of time she also followed suit.

We welcomed Kaitlin onto our team in September 2019.  She is our “Executive Marketing Assistant”.  Kaitlin has a very active lifestyle and a very charismatic and loving personality!  Kaitlin loves to dance, hang with friends and her boyfriend Jalen, watch sports (specifically Michigan Football and Basketball, and play with her puppy Zoey.  She also loves to travel and hopes one day to visit several wineries all over the world… Kaitlin looks forward to learning so much more about the industry and wine under Michael and Katie. 

We are so excited to have her part of the Wine Broker family!

Ms. Kacy Wolfram

Executive Marketing Assistant –Atlantic Division
Growing up in a kitchen with her father who is a renown pastry chef and a great influence in Kacy’s passion for the Restaurant and Adult Beverage business, Kacy joins the Wine Broker’s team with enthusiasm. Kacy’s hard work and dedication to food, culinary and wine is a tribute to her dad!

Kacy graduated from Oakland Community College with an Associates in Restaurant Management degree and has managed the banquet department and the restaurant at Toasted Oak –part of “the chic” Marriott Renaissance Hotel Collection “The Baronette”.
After living in Colorado for six years, Kacy returned to Michigan –bringing more knowledge of the industry as well as her exceptional administrative skills to Wine Brokers. Kacywill assist with the day to day operations of our growing business.

Family is everything to Kacy –including her puppy GordieHowe. (A tribute to our own Detroit Hockeytown!)

Wine Brokers is very excited to announce our newest team member and Executive Marketing Assistant to the Atlantic Division.

Mr. Steven Schwartz - Accounting

Heading up our accounting department is Steven Schwartz. Steven graduated from Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI with a BA in Business and shortly thereafter returned to Walsh College In Troy, MI and obtained an MS in Finance. Steven has also completed an Associates Degree in Accounting at Oakland Community College.

Steven began his business career working in several banks and credit unions doing credit, billing and collection work in 2015 he became a Certified Pro Advisor with Intuit QuickBooks. His expertise includes:

  • Bank Reconciliations
  • Financial Statement Analysis
  • Invoicing and Billing

Steven is known for being organized, extremely communicative and detail-oriented. He enjoys swimming daily and Classical music concerts. Steven became a Certified Pro Advisor through the QuickBooks Training process in both Desktop and Cloud Accounting Online.

Wine Brokers is fortunate to have such an organized and detail orientated individual to head up our accounting department!