W3 Master Class Pours: Meet the Talent

W3 Master Class Pours: Meet the Talent

Our “Master Class Pours” series invites you to sample the finest selections of wine, whiskey, and craft brews in an environment that’s interactive and educational. Masters in their fields, the talent at each of our four time slots will lead the class through refined tastings and answer any questions you may have about the selection or the process. Whether you’re new to tastings or a sommelier-in-the-making, these impressive experts will give you a fun, inside look into the world of wine, whiskey, and brew. Now that’s something to cheers for!

Michael McNeill


Leading Class One is Georgia’s very first Master Sommelier. In the past twenty years, McNeill has shared his wine expertise with many world-renowned, five-star chefs including Gray Kunz at Lespinasse, Craig Shelton at the Ryland Inn and Guenther Seeger and Bruno Menard at The Ritz-Carlton’s Dining Room in Buckhead. He’s gone on to become a two-time national champion of the “Best Sommelier in America,” and has represented the U.S. in two world finals (Sopexa Gran Priz du Sommelier 1994 and Concours Mondial du Sommelier 1995). Now, as Director of Training and Education for the Southeast region, McNeill brings a unique, specialized approach to the food and wine industry. Got your grape questions ready? McNeill will have your answers…but not until you’ve tasted some exceptional wine.


Kevin Ryan & Chef David Carrier


What’s better than beers and burgers? A class serving up both, led by Georgia’s best. Class Two’s fun lineup will feature Savannah’s own Kevin Ryan, from Service Brewing Co., and Chef David Carrier, from Certified Burgers & Beverage on St. Simons Island. Ryan and Carrier are experts in their fields because of the bold risks they take in their work—this dynamic duo will bring the best of their worlds to create a class unlike any other.

Kevin Ryan is a West Point graduate and former Army Commander that fell in love with the brewing world thanks to a Valentine’s gift from his wife (and now business) partner, Meredith. In 2014, together they opened Service Brewing Co. in Savannah, GA. He’s continuously developing, researching, and experimenting with the craft and recipes to make their Savannah tasting room an exceptionally unique experience. With the support from a craft-loving community, they have helped raise over $27,000 for local, regional, and national organizations that assist veterans and first responders.

David Carrier third from left at 2017 W3.

David Carrier is an NYC native who was born into the food world, thanks to growing up in his parent’s restaurant in Queens. Once he graduated from the French Culinary Institute, he moved to California to work with Thomas Keller at French Laundry, and then to Chicago to work under Grant Achatz at Trio. How did he make his way down south? A move with his wife kickstarted the Panhandle scene at Avenue Sea, their restaurant in Apalachicola, Florida. Then, in 2009, Callier brought his southern skills back to Chicago at Kith & Kin. Today, you can find him at Certified Burgers & Beverage, his casual dining concept on St. Simons Island.

Chef Skip Worden

In Class Three, Ste Michelle Wine Estates will pour a wide selection of their favorite varietals alongside Chef Skip Worden’s thoughtfully crafted dishes.

Skip Worden was born and raised in Wisconsin and started in the restaurant business at an early age as a steward. After working his way through the ranks, he eventually became Executive Chef of the Racine, Wisconsin Marriott Hotel. Throughout his 28-year career, he’s worked at four of their New York properties as well as Maine, Michigan, and currently here at the Westin on Jekyll Island. On these massive properties, there can be between 100-350 rooms with a la carte restaurants and catering facilities to feed up to 1000 guests. Think he’s up for the task? We know he is!


Brown Forman Family Whiskey

Close out the afternoon with Class Four, with tastings of the Brown-Forman Family, one of the largest U.S. owned spirits and wine companies, poured from of their most popular, and distinct, whiskey families: Woodford Reserve Bourbon Whiskey and BenRiach Scotch Whisky.

Woodford Reserve is a must-taste Kentucky bourbon that is triple-distilled. With notes of honey, spice, and a touch of smoke, this bourbon whiskey has a thick, full finish and a Brown Forman favorite.

BenRiach is a single-malt and great introduction to Scotch whisky, if you’ve never tried it. With a bright and sweet palate of strong notes of vanilla, pepper, and even mint, the result is a smooth sip with a clean and crisp finish.

The W3 “Master Class Pours” series will take place inside the Westin at Jekyll Island.

Tickets: $40 per person, per class

Winter Advance Ticket Sale (good through 1/31/18): $36 per person, per class

“Master Class Pours Pass”: $125 per person, good for each class



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