Our instructors are highly-qualified, well known and respected wine industry veterans who bring a wealth of expertise and experience to the classroom, ensuring that students are well-prepared to enter the job market after graduation or progress in their current careers.
Wine Production Instructor, Winemaker
Bill Snyder was born outside Saratoga, New York and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience. Bill fell in love with wine while working in the restaurant industry in Philadelphia and Tucson. After working at wineries in California and Australia, Bill worked most recently as Technical Director for Testarossa Winery in Los Gatos, California overseeing analysis, quality assurance, bottling, and winemaking operations. Bill also served as a consultant for First Growth Vineyard Management, specializing in establishing small vineyards intended for premium wine grape production in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Bill has experience making wine from both cool- and warm-climate growing regions, and under conventional and organic/biodynamic viticulture systems. He has taken advanced coursework in enology, viticulture, wine microbiology, food safety, quality assurance, and biodynamic agriculture. He loves education and training, and is passionate about sharing the wine industry with others.
Tanya Morning Star Darling
Tanya has been working in the wine industry; in restaurants, retail and education for nearly two decades. Tanya was first exposed to fine food and wine as a young woman during her studies in France, & New York City; where she became fascinated by the interplay between wine, food, history, and cultural identity. A stalwart traveller, Tanya has visited many of the great wine regions of Western and Eastern Europe as well as those of the United States; she holds a Bachelor or Fine Arts from New York University, and studied wine formally at the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET), completing the Diploma level. Tanya is also a Certified Wine Educator, French Wine Scholar, Italian Wine Scholar, and Spanish Wine Scholar, holds Master-Level Diplomas for both the wines of Bourgogne and Provence. She is one of 60 Official Ambassadors of Bourgogne Wines in the world (Diploma awarded by the Bourgogne Wine Board/BIVB), and was named French Wine Scholar Instructor of the Year in 2018.
Jennifer Hurley grew up in Alaska and moved to Seattle in 2012 after stops in Chicago and Cincinnati. Jen has a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Cincinnati. After moving to the Pacific Northwest, Jen began exploring the wine industry by taking classes at the Northwest Wine Academy, and completed her Certificate in Wine Making in 2015. Jen has worked harvests at both NWWA and Chateau Ste. Michelle. In her free time, Jen loves to travel with her husband and always checks out regional wineries; her favorite trips include New Zealand, South Africa and Spain.
Food & Wine Instructor
A restaurateur, wine steward, consultant and educator with almost 30 years of industry experience, Leonard Redé has a unique blend of culinary and wine expertise. He is currently the European Wine Specialist at Esquin Wine Merchants. Prior to that, he was Operations Manager at Wine World working alongside David LeClaire helping to create the largest wine store in Washington State. He has worked as a Wine Steward for Metropolitan Market and is a well regarded in the wine industry for his knowledge of wine history and gastronomy. As instructor in the Wine Technology Program at South Seattle College, he wrote the curriculum for the Associate of Arts Degree in Food and Wine Pairing, the first college level program of its kind. He is a an award winning chef and he was nominated for educator of the year while Chef Instructor at the world renowned Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.
Stephanie Schrankel has been a Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers since 2012. She is also a Certified Specialist of Wine through the Society of Wine Educators, and holds the Level 2 certification from the Wine & Spirits Educational Trust. For the past three years, Stephanie has been the lead sommelier and assistant cellar mistress at the Wine Spectator-awarded Seastar Restaurant in downtown Bellevue, Washington. Previously, she held the corporate national wine sourcing manager position at Vino Volo, the nation’s premium airport wine bar concept.
Rick Rubbo was born and raised in eastern Ohio and moved to Seattle after earning his Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Youngstown State University. Rick has spent the past forty years (and counting) as an engineer and engineering manager focused on process development and improvement, project management and program management, development of control systems and the integration and resolution of technical issues. Along the way he has earned MBA and MS in Finance degrees from Seattle University.
Rick is new to the wine industry. He recently completed his Wine Production Certificate here at Northwest Wine Academy. As cellar master, Rick will bring his systems engineering and program management experience to assist the wine maker to develop and implement (and in most cases perform) standardized procedures for all cellar operations (e.g. crush, barrel management, winery sanitation, etc.). Spare time activities involve doing everything and anything associated with live music, the arts, food & wine; nurturing his “creative” side by continuously seeking out and taking classes and learning experiences (e.g. drumming, photography, watercolor painting, cooking and whatever else catches his eye); and managing his stress level by biking, hiking, and snowshoeing whenever possible.
Jim Del Ciello
Wine Business Instructor
Jim Del Ciello has over 15 years of experience as a agricultural and wine marketing professional. He has advised agricultural businesses nationwide, with USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service. He was one of only four wine stewards for Costco: the largest purveyor of wines in the world. He has worked the adult beverage trade for a variety of national and local distributors, as brand and territory manager. Mr. Del Ciello was also an Adjunct Professor at Central Washington University’s Global Wine Studies program. He is also an expert on the regional wines of Italy. He regularly consults with wine producers, wine brand portfolios and wine futures investors. He holds an advanced degree from the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy, where he specialized in the study of trade, transportation and logistics. He also enhanced his wine career with studies at the Northwest Wine Academy. He is currently an adult beverage buyer at Whole Foods Market. He spends his free time reading non-fiction, going to museums, cooking fresh meals for friends, family, and especially his son. Mr. Del Ciello has been an engaged member of the West Seattle community for the last 14 years.
Interested in teaching in our Wine Program?
Please send your resume and a cover letter that explains your qualifications and goals to firstname.lastname@example.org.