According to Master Sommelier Andrew McNamara, wine has become a vital component of the hospitality industry, and it is essential for those within the industry to be well educated about the product. That is why McNamara, who serves as the director of fine wine for Premier Beverage Company, recently visited the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida to lend his expertise to the industry’s future leaders.

McNamara, who is just one of 186 Master Sommeliers in the world, spoke to 49 UCF Rosen College students in Dr. Frank Juge’s Exploring Wines of the World course.

“Wine is an essential part of any hotel, restaurant, or resort operation, and it continues to weave its way in to all aspects of our culture, just as it has been in Europe for thousands of years,” said McNamara. “Wine has become much more mainstream, and for those of us in the hospitality industry, we need to continue to learn as much as we can about the wines of the world.”

McNamara, who was named one of the “Best New Sommeliers of 2008” by Wine and Spirits magazine, lectured to students about the culture and intricacies of French red wines.

“I hope that students took away the depth and breadth of Burgundy and the Rhone Valley,” said McNamara. “They are both areas that produce wines that require serious thought in order to really figure out what’s going on in the glass.”

According to Juge, UCF Rosen College students need a comprehensive understanding of wines and food pairings in order to become effective managers of fine dining establishments.

“Approximately one third of the profit from restaurants comes from wine sales; so if you plan on being successful in fine dining, it is essential to have an appreciation of the product,” said Juge. “Andy [McNamara] is one of the brightest guys in the business, and my students were thrilled to learn from him. We are very fortunate to have him and Premier Beverage Company as supporters of fine wine education at our college.

McNamara provides wine education and training for Premier Beverage Company throughout the State of Florida.

“Teaching is one of my favorite things to do; you never know when something you say might light a spark in a student and lead them down a fulfilling and interesting career path,” said McNamara.

UCF’s Rosen College and Premier Beverage Company partnered in 2011 to enhance the college’s fine wine curriculum through a variety of products and guest lecturers. Recently, Premier Beverage Company donated 1,860 bottles of product to allow the college to offer more fine wine courses to accommodate its increasing student body.

Premier Beverage is one of the largest distributors of wines, spirits and other beverages in Florida, representing some of the most valuable and well-known consumer brands in the world. The company’s mission is to be the distributor of choice for its suppliers, customers, associates, industry, and community.