An award-winning author, speaker, consultant, and television host, Leslie Sbrocco is known for her entertaining approach to wine and food, as well as inspiring others to live a life of passion. Voted as one of the Top 20 most influential people in the American wine business, Sbrocco’s engaging personality, humor, and ability to connect with the audience – whether on screen or on stage – are her trademarks.
Sbrocco’s first book, Wine for Women: A Guide to Buying, Pairing and Sharing Wine (William Morrow), has been excerpted by two national magazines, Redbook and Family Circle, and won the coveted Georges Duboeuf Best Wine Book of the Year award. Her second book, The Simple & Savvy Wine Guide (William Morrow), was released to wide acclaim. She is currently at work on a companion book for her new national television series.
As host of the KQED-TV PBS restaurant review series entitled, Check Please! Bay Area, Sbrocco has won a coveted James Beard award and three Emmy awards in 14 seasons on air. Her new PBS series, 100 DAYS, DRINKS, DISHES & DESTINATIONS, showcases Leslie’s adventures as she discovers global culinary treasures. It currently appears on nearly 200 stations nationwide. Leslie is a regular guest on NBC’s Today Show and appears frequently on national and local television and radio outlets including NPR, CNN, The Hallmark Channel, QVC, ABC and TBS.
Her work has been published in outlets such as People Style Watch magazine, Epicurious.com, Time, O the Oprah magazine, Coastal Living, Health, Good Housekeeping and Glamour among others. Prior to completing Wine for Women, Leslie was a columnist for The New York Times online and General Manager of WineToday.com, a site of The New York Times Company. She is also the founder of the multi-media company, Thirsty Girl LLC. Through her social media, print, online outlets and television appearances, Leslie reaches millions of consumers.
Sbrocco is one of the country’s most sought-after wine speakers and an emerging talent speaking to groups on how to turn their passions into their careers. She has showcased her energetic style at hundreds of events including O magazine’s Hi Gorgeous tour with Oprah Winfrey, and the Women of the Vine, and Women in Insurance Leadership Symposiums. Her portfolio of corporate clients lists Liberty Mutual Insurance, The Wall Street Journal, Mercer, Cisco Systems, myMatrixx, and AON to name a few. Within the culinary industry, Sbrocco has appeared on stage with a roster of celebrity chefs including Marcus Samuelsson, Carla Hall, and Jacques Pépin. She has been keynote speaker at high- profile events including Food and Wine Magazine’s Aspen Classic, the Boston Wine Expo, Pinot Noir New Zealand, Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival, the Boardwalk Wine Promenade, Tulalip Resort’s Taste of Tulalip, and SF Chefs. Sbrocco is also a charity auctioneer helping organizations maximize their fundraising efforts.
Leslie has built programs for and consulted with companies such as Target, Harry & David, and Kimpton Hotels. Her educational training clients include The Atlantic City Alliance, Wines from Spain, Trentino Wines, G7 Wines of Portugal and Traveling Vineyard. Sbrocco is member of the philanthropic society Les Dames d’Escoffier and a respected judge at global wine competitions including the Concours Mondial, The Argentina Wine Awards, Sunset Magazine’s International Wine Competition, Critics Challenge, and the San Francisco International Wine & Spirits Competition. www.LeslieSbrocco.com
Annette Alvarez-Peters is the founder of annette a.p. Wine and Spirits, a consultancy business focused on business development and merchandising strategies for the wine and spirits industry.
Annette is a Director on the Board for Crimson Wine Group, a portfolio which engages in the production and sale of luxury wines. She is also a Member of the Board of Advisors for MISA Imports, a global importer and distributor for wine and spirits. In addition, she sits on the advisory board and serves as a mentor for Wine Unify, a non-profit organization to promote and celebrate diversity in the wine industry.
Alvarez-Peters is also involved with the Batonnage Forum Mentor- ship program as the Head of Industry Area of Focus for Retail, an organization designed to stir up conversations about equality and forward progress for women in wine.
Annette previously held a 37 year career with Costco Wholesale – including 25 years in the beverage alcohol department, where she led the buying team for the USA. She led the development for wine and spirits for the successful private label brand, Kirkland Signature.
Annette was named Wine Business Monthly (WBM) Emeritus (2020) and Top Wine Industry Leader (2019 – 2017), Most Influential in the US Wine Industry from IntoWine.com in 2018 (No. 1), Retailer of the Year by Wine Enthusiast (2015), Washington State Wine Industry (2015) and MarketWatch (2011). She was also named to Decanter’s Power List in 2013 (No.4) and biennially since 2007 and in Fortune/Food and Wine Top 25 Innovative Women, Food & Drink (2014).
Ben and Gaye have been making wine since 1998. Ben started his career at Boeing where he spent 14 years as a mechanical engineer and where he found his technical background ideal training for winemaking. He began exploring his interest in winemaking when he joined the Boeing Wine Club, where he ended up submitting his first wine to their competition and winning.
Gaye and Ben connected in the early 1990s over a shared passion for wine that grew into a desire to produce exceptional wine focusing on the unique terroir of Washington state. In 1997 in a whirlwind year, they purchased 10 acres on Red Mountain, started Cadence Winery, and got married.
In addition to Gaye’s acute palate, she also brings a legal and business expertise to the winery, having practiced law since 1991.
The winery has been focusing on vineyard-designated, Bordeaux-style blends for the past 25 years, very much putting them at the forefront of showcasing terroir-specific expression in Washington state.
Miguel Rodriguez was born and raised in La Luz, Michoacan, Mexico. He came to the United States in the spring of 1979 at the age of 17. His older brother Servando Rodriguez was working for Sagemoor at the time and Miguel subsequently began working there as well.
From 1979-1986, Miguel was educated on all the various components it took to raise tree fruit and wine grapes, including pruning, irrigating, and driving equipment. Miguel credits Jim McLarnin (John Bookwalter’s uncle) with teaching him the skills he would need to manage a farm.
Miguel met Maria (who would later become his wife) in 1982 in Pasco at a community dance in the spring and were married later that June. In the fall of 1986, Miguel and Maria moved to Mattawa to finish grape harvest at Weinbau Vineyard. He remains as vineyard manager for that site 37 years later. Maria has worked alongside Miguel throughout the years, and she has been an instrumental component of the success at Weinbau.
The last 20 years has only further defined Miguel as one of Washington’s premier vineyard managers as he gained more experience and rapidly excelled in adapting methods to improve the process and quality of the grapes. He even developed his own a pruning method for white grapes that spreads out the clusters from the cordon. This results in smaller clusters, grapes are less likely to rot from disease, and can ripen more evenly. In 2005, he was recognized by the Washington Association of Grape Grower’s as Grower of the Year.
As of 2023, Miguel and his group of employees work with 67 different wineries at Weinbau raising 15 varieties across 450 acres.
His other activities of interest include gardening, being with family, being a member of his church, and reading.
Marven R. Shanken
Marchese Piero Antinori
Robert M. Parker, Jr.
W. Phillip Woodward
Ben Smith and Gaye McNutt
John R. Bookwalter
Chris and Kelly Sparkman
Hedges Family Estate
Chateau Ste. Michelle
Bob Betz, MW
Women in Wine
Mike & Gary Hogue
Dick and Wendy Shaw
Dr. Wade Wolfe
Bill Den Hoed
Mike & Gary Hogue
The Northwest Wine Benefit Foundation, DBA Auction of Washington Wines, is committed to supporting the growth and awareness of the Washington state wine industry through a series of celebrated events benefiting our community. We have raised over $63 million since our inception in 1988.
The Auction of Washington Wines is an equal opportunity employer and prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital or familial status.