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Sharron McCarthy, VP of Wine Education at Banfi Vintners and Past President of the U.S. Society of Wine Educators, is a wine industry legend. Affectionately known as “America’s First Lady of Wine Ed,” Sharron has played an instrumental role in introducing Americans from all walks of life to an appreciation for the fruit of the vine.
Over the past three decades, this lively, engaging, articulate woman has traveled the world, sharing with others her boundless knowledge and enthusiasm for the joy of wine. From wine clubs and consumer groups, to law firms and Fortune 500 companies, to hospitality and grad students at some of America’s most prestigious centers of learning, to floor staff at wine stores and restaurants, and to frequent appearances on radio and TV, Sharron is in constant demand as one of the wine industry’s most popular and effective guest speakers.
At the heart of her success is a refreshingly unpretentious, progressive approach, firmly aimed at demystifying wine.
Born and raised in Long Island, NY, Sharron McCarthy’s wine business career began in 1978 when she joined the Consumer Affairs Department at Banfi Vintners, one of America’s premier names in imported fine wines. Her ability to master the intricacies of wine and communicate that knowledge to others swiftly became apparent.
In 1986, Sharron went on to form her own consulting agency. A partnership with the Italian Trade Commission in New York is widely credited with playing a pivotal part in advancing Italy to its current status as America’s leading source of imported wines. Sharron subsequently returned to Banfi Vintners in the mid-1990s, where she took on the role of Executive Director for Riunite wines, helping to create an array of innovative sales and marketing strategies for Riunite, America’s most popular wine. Sharron went on to pursue a new and—for the industry at the time – pioneering role focused exclusively on developing wine education.
Sharron served a three-year term as president of the Society of Wine Educators (SWE) from 2007-2010. With over 2,000 members, the Society is North America’s foremost source of wine education, offering workshops and seminars for industry professionals and consumers alike. SWE also confers two levels of professional credentials, the Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) and Certified Wine Educator (CWE). Both programs entail a rigorous course of study. Sharron was elected Director Emeritus of SWE in 2012.
In February 2015, Sharron was recognized by the Italian Trade Commission and the Italian Consul General of Italy for her efforts, service, and visionary approach toward Italian wines and her decades long efforts to promote Italian wines in the United States. Sharron was inducted into the Wines of Italy Hall of Fame to honor her as a goodwill ambassador for Italian wines and for her dedication to the country of Italy and to the Italian way of life.
Other of Sharron’s many accolades include that she is a Sommelier, certified by the Sommelier Society of America (where she served on their board for a number of years) and has been honored by the American Wine Society with its prestigious Award of Merit. Sharron is a member of a number of organizations including New York Women’s Culinary Alliance, Women of the Vine and Spirits and Chaine de Rotisseurs.
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