Last month, at our annual conference, SWE welcomed its new Executive Committee and Board of Directors. While many of our board members have served for quite a few years, there are also some new faces in the group as well. Today we’d like to introduce you to one of our new board members, Valerie Santoro…and thank her for her service to the Society!
Valerie Santoro, CSW, CSS is a newly elected member of the Board of Directors for the Society of Wine Educators. Valerie is the Director of Training at Great Lakes Wine & Spirits (GLWAS), Michigan’s largest distributor of alcoholic beverages, supplying over 6,500 wine, 1,500 spirit, and 1,000 beer items, and servicing all 83 Michigan counties. Valerie is also a Certified Specialist of Wine and a Certified Specialist of Spirits, with a B.S. in Viticulture and Enology from Michigan State University.
Valerie has always been interested in wine, from her earliest memories of red wine served with the family dinner meal, night after night. Here interest grew when she first attended Michigan State University, with the intention of studying Botany. However, one day while walking through the Plant & Soil Building, she passed a plaque on the wall that read “Viticulture Lab” and was intrigued! She applied for a got a job in the Viti Lab analyzing fruit and berry samples for the local and the school’s research plots. This led to helping out in the research winery and not much longer, Valerie was in love with wine and switched majors to Viticulture and Enology.
Prior to working for GLWAS, Valerie worked in wholesale wine sales, and while she enjoyed the work (and the travel opportunities it afforded), she found that here favorite part of the job was the “ah-ha moments” her customers would experience during staff and customer trainings. In her current job, Valerie is in charge of staff training in wine, spirits, and business, and handles on-boarding as well.
In her “spare” time, Valerie is an avid hiker, cyclist, gardener, wife, and mother to two active children. Her daughter and son are both soccer players, and members of youth orchestra – that is, when they aren’t trying to talk their mother into playing a round of Minecraft.