“There’s always something new to learn about wine,” says Ron Edwards, MS. Ron is becoming well known as one of America’s most distinguished and approachable wine ambassadors. He is an established member of the exclusive Court of Master Sommeliers, the craft’s premier professional order, making Ron one of less than 200 experts worldwide who have achieved the prestigious Master Sommelier credential. Edwards has turned his ambassadorship into a full time pursuit through his company Ron Edwards, MS Consulting which serves all levels of the beverage and hospitality industry. Ron’s expertise is showcased through consumer education events, teaching courses to future Sommeliers, creating unique and profitable beverage programs, orchestrating wine focused special events, inspiring the nobility of service, and taking any wine program to the next level. Edwards’ philosophy is that the limits of his services are only bounded by the imagination of the client.
Edwards created world class wine programs and trained staff in the art of hospitality while working in the restaurant industry, as General Manager/Sommelier at Five Lakes Grill in Milford, and General Manager/Sommelier at Tapawingo in Ellsworth (both located in Michigan). His ability to craft excellent wine programs won Tapawingo’s list the Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence for the three years of his tenure, and the Award of Excellence for the program at Five Lakes Grill for six straight years. Edwards studied great cuisine and wine-pairing alongside the renowned Chef/Proprietor/Author, Brian Polcyn, Top 10 Best New Chef Stuart Brioza, and a long list of nationally known guest chefs. These opportunities were essential to him becoming a Master Sommelier. Equally crucial to Edwards’ accomplishments was the mentorship of Madeline Triffon, America’s first female Master Sommelier.
Since 2006 corporations have trusted Edwards to impress their clients. Ron designs exceptional wine experiences that grow business relationships. The Weather Channel Companies have come to him 14 different times to host events from California, to Chicago, to the Dominican Republic. They know that his attention to detail strengthens their position with media buyers and distribution networks. Stout, Risius, Ross added Ron’s skills to their list of tools for client recruitment as well. Since 2006 SRR has solidified business opportunities through his “edutainment” events on 10 occasions, and the collaboration continues.
Edwards’ ambassadorship for the complex world of wine led him to create numerous opportunities for consumers to learn about wine. The Grapevine School of Wine, developed by Edward’s and two other founders, was a multifaceted program that taught those interested everything from the basics of wine to developing a palette for all things wine and cuisine related. The program taught wine drinkers the fundamentals of wine tasting, wine and champagne varieties, geographical wine knowledge, and also offered custom on demand classes for anyone looking to have a specific wine experience. The Grapevine School of Wine hosted 150 classes and educated nearly 2,000 consumers the first 18 months.
Ron’s ability to verbally distill the complexity of wine brought his down to earth approach to the radio waves. In collaboration with political talk radio veteran David Gold and his brother Rick Gold, Wine Talk Radio was launched in Traverse City, Michigan in 2009. Live, fast paced, and entertaining, the 1 hour show offered insight to the entire world of wine without pretense or snobbery. Wine Talk Radio embraced and encouraged people to gain that next nugget of information that made them more confident, and savvy explorers. Wine Talk Radio is now slated to air live in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Dallas, Miami and Detroit in early 2012.
As radio became part of his genre wine festivals joined his list of creations. In 2008 Edwards joined forces with Bill Seklar, CEO Children’s Leukemia Foundation of Michigan to imagine and execute a world class wine and food festival focused on the synergy of wine and food. CRUSH Michigan Food and Wine Classic was the result, and it is now in its 4 year. Their combined efforts have grown the event from a two night event in Birmingham to 4 events in 3 different parts of Michigan in 2011. Unique in its focus on food and wine pairing, it has been acclaimed since the inception.
2009 brought the National Cherry Festival to Edwards for the creation of a unique wine celebration that would enrich the attendee experience. The Global Wine Pavilion is now in its 3rd vintage and has become a feather in the National Cherry Festival cap. Held under tents in a green space next to Lake Michigan, the selection of wines is reminiscent of a very hip metropolitan wine bar. Each year Ron features a diverse and intriguing selection of wines and grapes. Averaging 105 wine selections, the Global Wine Pavilion will highlight over 40 different grape varieties, and more than 40 worldwide appellations. Festival goers can stick with their favorite grape, or explore, knowing all the choices are pre-approved by a Master Sommelier.
Master Edwards is also a passionate proponent of others centered service. He is regularly engaged by restaurants and hotels to inspire frontline employees and managers. His enthusiasm regarding the nobility of service, and how to live it, is infectious. Ron makes a positive difference in the service culture of each business that he touches.
When not traversing the world for work, Ron comes to rest in Northern Michigan with his wife and 5 daughters.