Expert Staff Picks

Jennifer BuckJennifer Buck – Certified Bourbon Steward

I started my wine journey during my study abroad year in Avignon, France. When I wasn’t in class, I taught English to a winemaker in Beaumes-de-Venise and his family. I was paid in wine and day trips out to the vineyards which was a plus. When I got back from France, I took a break to finish my MA in French language and culture and then started teaching part-time. I got back into wine by working part-time in a local vineyard’s tasting room. After that, I was offered a full-time teaching position but also started working at Westport Whiskey and Wine. I’ll be taking my CSW (Certified Specialist of Wine) exam in April of 2018 and I currently buy for the 90point wine rack at the store.

Altes Garnaxta Negra 2015: Just yummy. This Grenache really shows a softer side to the varietal but it still has very expressive tannins at the finish.
Felino Cabernet Sauvignon 2015/ any vintage: One of my all-time favorites in the store. It’s my go-to wine whenever I just want something delicious to drink that doesn’t hurt my bank account. It’s earthy, leathery and has hints of tobacco that beat many other Cabs at higher price points.
Scribe Chardonnay: So good! It shows light, bright fruits with has a nice buttery roundness to it due to the barrel aging.
1792 High Rye Bourbon: The bourbon that got me into bourbon. Orange marmalade and honey suckles but with a nice, light heat at the end.

Ryan FordRyan Ford – Assistant Manager/Beer Buyer

I was born and raised here in Louisville, KY. I have been in the spirits industry for over the past 3 years. I came to Westport after working as a Beer Specialist for one of their distributors. I enjoy spending time in the outdoors with my dog.

Bourbon: My go-to bourbon would have to be old forester signature. It’s a great pour for the price, and I can’t be too mad when a guest uses it for mixing. If it’s a special occasion I like to have a pour of Thomas Handy Rye.

Beer: I like all kinds of beer, everything from pilsners and lagers, to barrel-aged stouts and sours. If I had to pick a go-to beer it would probably be Rhinegeist Truth.

Wine: My wine depends on what time of year it is. Most of the year I will drink a Cabernet, but during the summer months I will go for a white wine like Matua Sauvignon Blanc.

Emily HoltEmily Holt – Certified Bourbon Steward

I am from Corbin, Kentucky. I moved to Louisville in August 2017 to attend law school after graduating from the University of Kentucky. I enjoy trying new food and beverages. When I find a unique flavor combination I usually have to buy it, my latest purchase being Spider Monkey, a serrano pepper and ginger agave spirit. I also particularly enjoy sour beers and white wine.

My favorite white wine right now is probably the Frisk Riesling because I enjoy the crispness and it isn’t too sweet. For red wine, I recently tried the Hey Mambo Sultry Red and liked how the berry notes fused with the smokier notes. My go-to beer lately has been Hi-Wire’s Gose because I like the sour-salty combination.

Emily Meadows – Manger/Spirits & Specialties Buyer/Executive Bourbon Steward

I have been working in the store off and on since we opened in 2008 and have been here full time for the past 4 years. My current role is to find new spirits to bring to the store. I want to see if I can find the not so common item and bring them to our customers. Red wine and whiskey are my drinks of choice now. Give me a good cab, or a grenache, or anything on the 90point rack and I will be happy. Mezcal is what I will be drinking for the summer, probably the Bozal Cuixe.

JJ ValentineJ.J. Valentine – Certified Bourbon Steward

I was born in Mayberry (Mt. Airy, NC) and I came to Kentucky via Nebraska and never knew much about bourbon. Since being in Kentucky I’ve learned the great history of America’s Whiskey. I love tech and gaming. Not many know that I actually met my wife on World of Warcraft! We’ve been married for eight years now.
Bourbons: Old Fitzgerald Bottle in Bond. This wheated bottle in bond bourbon is my popular drink. I’m a huge fan of wheated bourbons and bottled-in-bond due to the history of the Bottled-in-Bond Act.

If I’m feeling special I will drink one of my Old Weller Antique store picks. My favorite by far is my bottle of OWA Westport Whiskey & Wine that had a dump date of 6/23/2015, which was my 40th birthday. That’s MY birthday bourbon drink.
Beer: High West Barrel Aged Ballast Point Victory at Sea which is an Imperial porter with coffee and Vanilla aged in High West bourbon and rye barrels.
Wine: Tarima is a Monastrell from Jumilla, Murica, Spain that absolutely enjoy. Fresh raspberries, floral and full bodied. I highly recommend.

Daniel WeberDaniel Weber – Certified Bourbon Steward

I joined WW&W in 2014, after having shopped here for years. I figured if I was going to hang around the store regularly, I might as well be paid for it. I love whiskey, primarily bourbon and craft beer. I love helping folks in the Tasting Room discover new favorites they’ve never tried before. A CPA by day, I am enjoying Westport as my “fun job.” I am married to Deirdre, with two children, Patrick & Nora.

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