Our Staff

Meet Our Staff

For many years I was living in Japan and teaching English, and when I finally came back to America I began my search for a “real job”. In the meantime, I started working at a restaurant just to pay the bills. I didn’t know a thing about wine at the time, but when the manager who was responsible for the wine program left, I was somehow nominated to take on the role.

I started learning (and drinking) more so that I could do my job well, and I found myself falling in love with this magical beverage – an art form that reflects place and time so remarkably, that elevates the enjoyment of food to a new level, and that brings people together in pure joy. I was hooked.

After a while I decided that I wanted a job where I could focus all of my attention on wine, and I just happened to come across Jason’s post for a position at a brand new shop in Mosaic. We met up in the empty shell of a storefront that would ultimately become Swirl & Sip, and we discovered that we really gelled in terms of our philosophies and goals. The rest is history!

I tend to like Reds that have strong earthy components –

particularly leathery, smoky, and spicy flavors. I generally gravitate towards regions that have warm-ish climates, where these savory notes are balanced nicely by darker fruits, softer acid, and riper tannins. My go-tos are anything from the Rhone Valley, southern Italy, Spain, or Chile.

I love crisp Provence-style Roses and salty, mineral-driven white wines. But my real guilty pleasure is bubbly – if I could drink a nice glass of Champagne every day for the rest of my life, I would die happy!

On my days off you’ll find me chasing after my two young children – an incredibly smart (and unabashedly opinionated) 3-year-old, and a fearless 6-month-old who already loves a good adventure. I spent years traveling around the world and hope to share more of it with them when they’re older. For now, I’m happy sneaking out to a winery to share a good bottle of wine and some beautiful scenery with my husband when I have the chance!

WSET Level 2 (Intermediate), Passed with Distinction

WSET Level 3 (Advanced), Passed with Distinction

WSET Educator for Level 2 Course

I didn’t find wine – rather, wine found me.

As a recent college grad, I spent many afternoons at local wineries bombarding tasting attendants with all the questions of a novice wine drinker. Virginia wines sparked my curiosity and I needed to learn more.

I started at Barboursville Vineyards as a part-time employee thinking it was just a ‘fun gig’ while I figured out my next step into adulthood. But I was soon enraptured by every aspect of wine: the cultivation of grapes in the vineyard, the science behind the winemaking, the pure skill required to transform simple grapes into something magical.

So when I saw that Swirl & Sip was looking for an Assistant Manager, I knew this was the perfect opportunity to expand my knowledge and nurture my newfound passion for the industry and the people in it.

I have since learned that wine is so much more than just alcohol: it’s an ever-evolving industry filled with innovative ideas yet deeply rooted in tradition. It’s the daily interaction with customers, distributors, and winemakers from all walks of life and around the globe; it’s a beautiful marriage between art and science; it’s the excitement when you find that wine that speaks to your soul.

A good bottle of Vino is my happy place!

It starts with that definite ‘pop’ when you pull out the cork (or unscrew the cap!) and the bouquet that consequently follows. I live for floral, fragrant, attack-your-nasal-faculties types of white and red wines. Floral whites like Gewürztraminer, Torrontés, and Viognier have a special place in my heart.

For reds, I prefer the lighter-bodied styles – those that have little to no oak aging, lower alcohol, brighter flavors, and the purest expression of the grape. I can never turn down a Pinot Noir, or anything with a floral and earth undertone like a Gamay.

At the very heart of it, I love all wine and it never ceases to amaze me how a grape can transform in so many ways.

Probably drinking more wine! Kidding. In my spare time, you will find me reading on the front porch. I also spend a lot of time in the kitchen baking, cooking, and experimenting with new recipes. I love adding to my ‘Cookbook Collection’, so please feel free to share any recipes and ideas!

WSET Level 2 (Intermediate), Passed with Distinction

Like many a Virginia Tech grad, I took the famed Geography of Wine class my senior year of university. It was a fantastic introduction to the world of wine. My breakthrough, though, came at the end of the school year at a “Bacchanalia” party when I tried red wine for the first time and loved it! While I don’t recommend pairing fried chicken with Malbec, that and the glass of Barbaresco I also enjoyed made for a revelatory experience.

It took me a few months after graduation to figure out what I wanted to do next, but I did know I loved wine and how there’s always something new to learn about it. Thanks to a chance encounter and suggestion at a pairing dinner, I decided to make a career of it! Before long, I found myself working at a local winery part-time and learning the basics of this wild and wonderful industry. My job there had me working at the tasting bar, where I grew to love the feeling of educating and exciting other people about wine. A little over a year later, I joined the team at Swirl & Sip full-time, where I’ve been honing my skills and palate for more than two years now.

Unusual, off-the-beaten-path grape varieties or regions are a major plus for me – if I can get my hands on some rare Portuguese grape from an almost extinct wine region or something from Eastern Europe, I will. I mostly drink reds, in which case I love wines that are medium-to-full-bodied, earthy, and spicy, with a sense of place and terroir. I want to taste the dirt the grapes grew in! When I drink white wines, I look for minerality, bright acidity, and aromatics. My greatest weakness is for vintage dessert wines like aged Banyuls, Port, and Tokaji that perfectly balance sweetness and acidity. For everyday drinking, I especially love South American reds like Chilean Carménère.

When I’m not drinking wine, I enjoy video games, chatting with friends, books, cinema, and cross-stitching. I love music and put a lot of time into curating my ever-growing vinyl collection, which includes everything from Glenn Miller to Echo & the Bunnymen. My favorite albums include the Beatles’ Abbey Road, Cream’s Disraeli Gears, U2’s War, and Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black.

WSET Level 2 (Intermediate), Passed with Distinction

CSW, In Progress

I fell in love with The Wine Life shortly after graduating college.  I would travel with my girlfriend (now wife) to the wineries around Virginia learning about the winemaking process and tasting everything I could.  It was amazing to discover this whole world of beautiful flavor profiles accompanied with food that creates unforgettable memories – the moments that enrich your life.

I’ve always wanted to start a business and one night after a bottle or two my wife suggested, why not wine? So the dream was born to marry passion and work, and I’ve never looked back. Nothing can replace the excitement in finding a bottle that over-delivers for the price or tasting something that blows your mind and changes the wine game for you.

It’s an honor to share the stories of small family farmers from around the world with our wonderful customers, the people who make it all possible for us.  I’m especially privileged to work with such a passionate and talented team that is committed to delivering the best values, taking care of our customers, and supporting each other.

In reds I generally gravitate towards full-bodied, concentrated dark fruit flavors alongside complementary earthy or oaky notes. My favorite flavor profiles are blackberry, black cherry, cedar, dirty, and funky. I love wines from Napa (and most of California), the Rhone Valley, and many regions of Spain.

I’m all over the board in the chilled wine category: I enjoy oaky whites, Gewurtraminer, Dry Rieslings, Bandol Roses, and Sauvignon Blancs. I don’t believe I’ve ever had a Champagne I didn’t love – too much Champagne is never enough!

We are busily raising our daughter and spending as much family time as possible. Our life is ruled by sleeping and feeding schedules, and I’ve particularly honed my diaper changing skills recently.  I also enjoy practicing yoga and meditation, cooking/grilling, and reading.

WSET Level 2 (Intermediate), Passed with Distinction

Court of Master Sommeliers (Introductory Course), Passed