FY20 GAJA Brand Ambassadors

Michele Zuckerman Michele Zuckerman – Fedway Associates, New Jersey  Michele Zuckerman is a wine industry professional for the past 18 years.  She has been studying wine for 26 years and has earned a CSW (Certified Specialist of Wine) from the Society of Wine Educators. She is the Managing Director of The LUX Group of Fedway Associates focusing on the  luxury and esoteric portfolios as well as and boutique wineries.  Michele is a luxury brand specialist and has the honor of being the Gaja Ambassador for New Jersey over the last five years. Having traveled extensively to many vineyards around the world, her areas of expertise include France, Italy and California.  Embedded in her discussions are the history of the great wine families she represents, with an imaginary walk through the vineyards and time.   file-1 Franco Balzano – Signature Luxury Wine & Spirits Florida – Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits Italian Born and race developed a professional carrier in Hospitality and Wine industry in the US. Graduated in Italy with a Bachelor’s Degree in Restaurant & Hotel Management. Franco Today is at Signature Luxury Wine & Spirits of Florida as Import Strategic Sales Manager. With more than 20 years of hospitality, beverage and alcohol industry experience Franco has passion for wine and food and Honored to be pointed as the Florida Gaja Ambassador for two years.   DSC_2515-1955375318-O.JPG Stuart Roy, Director of High Image Accounts – Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits Nevada Stuart has made his home in Las Vegas for the past 20 years, and has been part of the Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits family for over 12 them.  Besides Stuart’s many roles at Southern Glazer’s, he has an extensive restaurant & hospitality background including: Wine and Spirits Director of Caesars Palace (winning a Wine Spectator Grand Award for Restaurant Guy Savoy); Wine Director/Director of Operations of Smith & Wollensky Corporate; and Captain at The Four Seasons restaurant in NYC.  Stuart’s passion in wine is heavily skewed to the Piedmont region of Italy, especially Nebbiolo.   Nusan Brounstein, Import Wine Specialist – Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits Northern California Nusan BrounsteinI was born and raised in Santa Barbara, California. Graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science. Then quickly learned that a desk job was not for me and began to pursue a career in the food and beverage industry. While managing restaurants in San Francisco, I became more and more intrigued by the vast and ever changing wine industry. In pursuit of finding my place in the wine world, I went to every tasting and took every wine course I could… Wine making at Santa Rosa Jr. College, International Sommelier Guild Diploma, Italian Wine Professional, Court of Master Sommeliers Intro, WSET-2, Australian Wine Immersion Program and now working on my French Wine Scholar. After 15 years in the restaurant industry I decided it was time to leave my Corporate Beverage Director role and move to the distributor side, or “the dark side” as some may call it. I couldn’t be happier in my current role as Import Wine Specialist for Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits. In addition to working with one of the best wine portfolios, I am now blessed with weekends and holidays off with my darling 6 month old boy Caleb and my beautiful wife Ashley.   Rafael ZurbanoRafael Zurbano, Import/Italian Wine Specialist – Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits Southern California Working for Southern Glazer’s almost 10 years. Passionate about all things Wine, Food and Soccer (Huge Real Madrid Fan). There is no better pairing than Jamón Ibérico and Gaja & Rey. Spanish & Ecuadorian decent. Certifications: CSW, WSET III Advanced , CWS, MS LEVEL 1     Joe Mazza, On-Premise Key Account Manager – Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits Southern Illinois A 30 year veteran in the on premise wine world in Chicago. Fluent in the Italian language and a lover of everything Italian. Proud to be the Gaja Ambassador for 2019.   Shawn McCabe, Business Manager – Breakthru Beverage Group Colorado