Today we’d like to introduce you to Alessandra Esteves.

Alessandra, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I began my professional career as an attorney and practiced law until I decided to take a wine course. In 2012, I quit my job as a corporate lawyer and started writing and blogging about wine. My partner and I decided to found Florida Wine Academy in 2016, after I completed my WSET Diploma in Wines & Spirits (Level 4), a very high qualification that only a few people have it in the world. I also saw the market opportunity for wine & spirits education in Florida, especially as we teach in three languages: English, Spanish and Portuguese.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It wasn’t a smooth road. I was new in Miami, new in the US and a new face in the wine industry. The wine business is still very male dominant, so it was hard at first to convince men in the industry that I knew a thing or two about wine.

It took a lot of work, many weekends and nights in the classroom, uncountable hours on the computer and the phone. I remember getting a call at 8.30pm on a Sunday, and I answer it. It was a student trying to register for a class, so I learned never to miss a call.

Florida Wine Academy – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Florida Wine Academy is today the leading company in wine, spirits and sake education in Florida. We offer courses and classes to professionals and to wine lovers. We are also the organizers of events like the Miami Champagne Week, many Masterclasses, certifications and tastings. We also organize educational wine tours; we had our first tour to Germany this April and we are planning a course and tour on board the new Mariner of the Seas.
We also teach in 3 languages, making it easier for visitors to take our courses too.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Opening the Florida Wine Academy made me very proud, especially having classes’ full and fully booked months in advance. One of my proudest moments was to launch the Miami Champagne Week, an entire week dedicated to celebrate champagne. We had 5 events in 5 different spots and every event was sold out. It was such a great experience, so now we are announcing the 2nd year of the Miami Champagne Week. It is going to be from October 15th-20th, 2018.

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