DSC02080

Michael Bryan, Managing Partner

Michael Bryan is the Managing Partner of the wine emporium concept, Vino Venue. Opened in 2012, Vino Venue expanded on his existing wine enterprise, Atlanta Wine School, which opened in 2004. Today, this multiple choice wine-centric business allows guests to taste, learn or buy–all under one roof.

Michael speaks on wine-related subject matter to consumer and trade groups routinely, and holds wine qualifications from the following expert credentialing organizations: The Society of Wine Educators, The Court of Master Sommeliers, The Wine & Spirit Education Trust of London, The Spanish Wine Academy, and the L’Ecole du Vin Bordeaux.
As wine country travel and tours has been a vital part of the Atlanta Wine School offering since 2009, Michael has toured all but three of the major wine regions globally.
Michael believes that wine is meant to be shared, and Vino Venue/Atlanta Wine School embodies that idea by providing an environment with a solid “vibe” and excellent wine, beer and cuisine options.

Credentials:
Certified Specialist of Wine
Certified Sommelier
Advanced Certificate (with Merit) from The Wine & Spirit Education Trust
Spanish Wine Educator
International Bordeaux Wine Educator

Rob Van Leer

Rob Van Leer, Manager & Partner

Rob joins Vino Venue with over 20 years of restaurant experience including 17 years with Towne Lake Hills Golf Club.  His role as Manager and Partner of Vino Venue includes overseeing the day to day workings of the Vino Venue resturant and wine bar.  Rob is a member of The Guild of Sommeliers and the U.S. Bartenders Guild.

Rob and his wife Carol reside in Midtown.

Credentials:
Certified Sommelier
Certified Specialist of Wine
Wine & Spirits Education Trust Level III, With Distinction
BarSmarts Advanced Certificate

Lelia

Lelia Bryan, Director of Event Management

Lelia manages the more than 300 private events that Vino Venue produces annually.  Prior to opening Vino Venue with her husband, Lelia was the Administrator for Atlanta Wine School.  Previous to that she was the owner of a small jewelry boutique.  Lelia started her career in Atlanta working in advertising and marketing.

She worked for such brands as The Ritz-Carlton, The Travel Channel, The Weather Channel and United Healthcare.  She holds a certification from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust of London.  She is a graduate of Vanderbilt University.

Lizette Leanza

Lizette Leanza, Director of Education

Lizette Leanza is the Director of Education at Vino Venue/Atlanta Wine School. Born and raised in New Orleans by Argentine/Italian and Cuban/Spanish parents, Lizette’s passion for wine and food is a direct result of her multi-cultural upbringing. Traveling internationally at an early age with her family and later exploring wine regions around the globe, throughout Europe and as far as Australia, further cultivated her interests.

Following a successful career as a certified public accountant and campus recruiter, Lizette assumed the role of full time wife and mother of two young girls. During this time, Lizette continued to refine her skills through volunteer work at a local cooking school and enrollment in the Society of Wine Educator’s Certified Specialist of Wine program. She later launched a food and wine blog, Gourmet Uncorked, which eventually led her to Vino Venue. She first joined our team as Social Media Manager and blogger and later assumed a full time role as Director of the school. Lizette brings her business skills, background and enthusiasm for wine and the culinary arts to the unique program at Atlanta Wine school.

Credentials

Certified Specialist of Wine
Certified Specialist of Spirits
Wine and Spirits Educational Trust Level III (With Distinction)
Wine and Spirits Educational Trust Level II (With Distinction)

Chef Patric 2017 website

Patric Good, Executive Chef

Chef Patric Good has worked all levels of foodservice in his career, from fast food to Jewish delis to fine dining. He graduated with Highest Honors from The Art Institute Of Atlanta’s School Of Culinary Arts in 2002, and secured his first chef position five months later.
He has spent the last twelve years helping to establish the reputations of several of Atlanta’s most popular restaurants.

Some of these included the West Egg Café and The Barrelhouse. Chef Patric was also named “Best Local Chef” by GA Voice readers in 2015.

Chef Patric lives in Brookhaven with his husband, Darin, and their two dogs.

lydia

Lydia Kinkead, Administrator

Lydia comes from a culinary education background having taught Wine & Beverage, Cost Control and Front of the House classes in several Atlanta based culinary schools, most recently Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Atlanta, GA. In addition to Lydia’s culinary education experience and wine studies, she has also worked in several local retail shops, promoting food and wine tastings.

Credentials:

Certified Specialist of Wine
Intermediate and Advanced Certificates from The Wine & Spirit Education Trust
Certified Wine Steward, Federation of Dining Room Professionals

Lori

Lori Pocock, Assistant Manager

Lori, partner and assistant manager, likes to say she came to the Atlanta Wine School in 2011 for the 8 week Intro Class and hasn’t left yet.  Learning about why she liked different wines led her to start volunteering at AWS on Holcomb Bridge Road and later led to several wine certifications.

Lori loves the retail side of wine, especially assisting customers with selecting good options to take home or drink in the restaurant.  She also really enjoys teaching classes to share her knowledge and love of wine.

Lori is one of the founding partners of Vino Venue and started helping at the current location when we first opened “just a little” on the weekends as a Concierge and Class Assistant.  She gradually became knowledgeable in many areas of the business, both front of the house and back, and has worked every position except Executive Chef & Event Chef.  She is the Excel guru at Vino Venue, provides tech support as needed and loves to help improve processes and keep things organized in addition to working with customers in all facets of the business.

Credentials:
WSET II (With Distinction)
WSET III (With Distinction)
Certified Specialist of Wine
Certified Sommelier

Chef Will website

Will Hunt, Sous Chef

A native of Valdosta, Georgia, William Hunt  began his career at Wild Adventures theme park in his home town. After graduating from The Art Institute of Atlanta in 2015, he worked in several prominent restaurants around the city, including Bellina Alimentari, BLT Steak, and MAX’S Wine Dive.

He joined our team in 2016 and enjoys the challenge of executing the many events and wine dinners at Vino Venue.

Kathy Travel

Kathy Jahn, Travel Consultant

Kathy fell in love with the world of wine in 2009 after visiting Tuscany and attending wine education classes at Atlanta Wine School. Her enthusiasm for wine, combined with her more than 25 years of business experience, enticed her to become a partner of AWS in 2012.

Kathy’s passion for wine and the people who make it, have drawn her to many of the wine regions of the world including; Tuscany and Umbria in Italy; Burgundy, France, Germany, Greece, Argentina, Africa; and Napa, Sonoma, Santa Barbara, California and Willamette Valley, Oregon in the United States. Her thirst for additional wine knowledge led her to become a Certified Wine Specialist (CSW) in 2013 and to achieve Level 3 of the Wine & Spirit Education Trust of London(WSET) in the same year. Kathy concentrates on creating amazingly unique and customized wine country travel experiences to match her client’s desires.

Credentials:
Certified Specialist of Wine
WSET Level 3