Guild Grad Paves Road for Texas Wine Industry

Daniel Kelada, International Wine & Spirits Guild’s Texas Director, first became interested in pursuing a wine education when working at a Texas wine bar in 2008.

“One of my co-workers was a Guild graduate and he was always outselling me and earning much more in tips due to his wine knowledge,” Daniel said.

“I realized I needed to know more about wine and improve my ability to talk about wine with customers to excel in my job.”

Daniel called the International Wine & Spirits Guild and asked how many students he needed to get signed up for the Guild to offer their classes in Texas. From there, a relationship was born.

Daniel helped the Guild bring it’s wine education to Texas starting in 2010, shortly after he launched GUSTO Tastings - offering wine tours, event planning, and hospitality consulting.

Now a certified Senior Wine Instructor, Master Candidate, Executive Wine Sommelier, and Texas Wine Ambassador, Daniel oversees the Guild’s wine classes in Houston, Austin, Johnson City, and Fort Worth.

“Through the Guild’s classes, I’ve created lifetime friendships and seen students form relationships that were vital to their wine or hospitality career success,” Daniel said.

“Many Texas Guild graduates have gone on to do incredible things. Our students routinely create opportunities for each other through starting their own enterprises. And others have become sommelier and beverage managers or managing partners for nationally acclaimed restaurants.”

A key player in advancing the Texas wine industry, Daniel is a regular contributor to the Texas Wine Journal and helped launch Vinovium Partners, a Texas wine négociant.

The tradition of négociant (French for “merchant” or “dealer”) arose out of 11th century France, where wine industry service providers also acted as partners and ambassadors to bring the region’s wines to market.

Following the négociant tradition, Vinovium Parnters supports Texas wine industry players in navigating the wine road.

“We help Texas wine growers and producers add value to their industry and bring their wines to market by providing merchant services and expertise,” said Daniel, VP of Sales for Vinovium Partners.

Daniel lists high collaboration and exponential growth as the Texas wine industry’s current hallmarks - and wine access and misconceptions as its main challenges.

“The Texas wine industry is at times misunderstood,” Daniel said. “Some assume it’s too hot to make wines here. In reality, the Texas wine industry generates $2B in economic stimulus for the state each year.”

Vinovium Partners is dedicated to guiding the Texas wine industry to maturation and evolving its services to meet the industry’s new needs along its evolution.

The Guild is expanding Texas class offerings and will be providing Level II and Level III wine classes this summer.

“What separates the Guild from other wine schools is the caliber of people who take our classes,” Daniel said.

“The Guild’s unparalleled networking - whether you are taking the class for a career or hobby - is a recipe for cool things to happen.”

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