Because he communicates about wine with passion and clarity.
And because "Any wine book you buy, by default, is out of date the day after publication," as David points out. He recommends books (particularly Wine for Dummies) for learning basic vocabulary and general principles. But wine, like sports or politics, is in a constant state of flux, and deserves to be the topic of ongoing conversation. "Everything changes about every six months," David explains. "A new vintage comes out, a region is upgraded, a region is downgraded, a new vineyard pops up."
David's unpretentious teaching style is informed by this idea of wine as a dynamic, lively, and continually changing domain. "Every class starts from the basis that there are no stupid questions. Wine has this mystique about it, and unfortunately that intimidates some people. I want to create a relaxed atmosphere and remove the intimidation factor."
David knows all about creating atmosphere. He has directed wine service at the Federalist Restaurant and Mantra in Boston, the Five Diamond Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans, and the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in Manhattan. The New York Press named him "Best Sommelier of Manhattan," calling him "Peacock Alley's secret weapon, a wine guy with some frisky moves and a remarkable nose."
He discovered the joy of teaching when he developed wine-education programs for staff at the Waldorf-Astoria, and later at Mantra: "Not only tasting great wines, but getting to see the light go on in someone's head when they realize why it's a great wine."
His delight in sharing the experience of wine led David to make the transition from sommelier and wine director to full-time educator. "You don't get to go into depth about the wine on the restaurant floor. In a class the point is to converse, to ask questions."
His own education began while waiting tables in Toronto, as he became increasingly intrigued by the wine he served. "One question led to five, five led to ten. Eventually I realized that wine could be a career, and then it dawned on me during university that I wasn't doing what I loved, and that I should." David enrolled in the Sommelier Program at George Brown College, a hospitality school. He passed the Canadian Guild of Sommeliers examination in the top 10 percent of his class, and passed the Advanced Sommelier course given by Court of Master Sommeliers in Boston in 2002. In 2007 he achieved the Society of Wine Educators highest certification, by becoming a Certified Wine Educator.
David has been an invited guest sommelier on the "Italian Cooking and Living" television series and has given seminars for such groups as the "Wine 101" classes at the Harvard Business School Wine and Cuisine Society, the Rotary Club of Ontario, and diverse charity events. He has served as a Presiding Judge for the New Orleans Food and Wine Festival, and is a regular writer for the Massachusetts' Beverage Business as well as being published with columns in Italian Cooking and Living, Santé and the Harvard Business School Harbus.
"Wine challenges people," David points out. "Not only their minds, but senses they don't use every day. It's a new way of experiencing the world around you."
Libation Education will teach you how to get more pleasure out of the wine you enjoy. David offers classes for corporations, private groups and restaurant staff. In addition David offers restaurant consulting services for proprietors seeking to optimize their wine program.