Vegan Wines is excited to welcome our new wine director and educator, Ellisa Cooper! We’re positive that she’ll help us make our wine club, shop, and selection even better for our club members and customers!
Ellisa is a dynamic personality among New York’s wine consultants. She has an impressive resume and growing reputation among retailers, restaurants, importers, wineries, and most importantly for our wine club, consumers!
Ellisa studied at the American Sommelier Association and with The Court of Master Sommeliers. Her knowledge of wine is nearly encyclopedic – perfect for giving you the wine background and tasting notes you’ve come to know and love from Vegan Wines!
She is a US brand ambassador for Babylonstoren, a historic farm and winery in the Western Cape of South Africa recently honored by Conde Nast Traveler with a Best in the World award. She is also a wine educator for Bottlerocket, a wine store in the Flatiron District where she leads private and corporate wine events and teaches on-site consumer wine classes.
Previously, Ellisa was the Director of Education and Events at The Barterhouse, an importer and distributor specializing in wines from Europe and the US as well as rare and collectible wine. In this role, she helped choose new wines for import and distribution, organized portfolio tastings, and educated the sales staff and clients.
Fascinated by the diversity of wine and the impact it has on culture and community, Ellisa has led hundreds of classes and tastings for all kinds of students – from curious consumers to Fortune 500 companies to wine professionals. She makes learning about wine fun for everyone, rather than pretentious or unattainable. After all, according to Ellisa, “The only two things that really matter about any wine are, do you like it and can you afford it?”
She is active in both retail and wholesale distribution as she continues to change the way wine is marketed in New York City and across the country. In recent years, Ellisa has been instrumental in helping to create multiple retail stores in NYC. She consulted on the opening of Picada y Vino, a boutique wine shop in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and helped Hunter’s Point Wines & Spirits develop a wine portfolio of over 400 selections.
Ellisa is also the founder of Discovery Wines, a cutting-edge wine shop in the East Village where she created a dynamic new way for consumers to shop for wine. With her direction, they developed a comprehensive wine information bank that customers can access through in-store kiosks and the website for guidance. Ellisa also wrote tasting notes for each wine so customers could familiarize themselves with wine vocabulary.
To more fully educate and engage with her customers, she teaches weekly in-store classes and organizes tasting events. As she explains it, “Wine is one of the most information-intensive purchases we make, but many people don’t want to ask questions because they’re afraid of looking foolish. Some people don’t even know what questions to ask.”
Ellisa’s mantra is simple:
“The only way to learn wine is to drink wine. The goal for the consumer should be to taste as many different wines as possible. It’s the only way to learn what you like. The best part about wine is that there is no right or wrong – Palates are like fingerprints, everyone’s is unique.”
We agree with that sentiment, so we hope you’ll continue to try many more new wines through Vegan Wines with Ellisa on board to help guide you!
Ellisa has been mentioned or quoted in many publications, including Ins & Outs Magazine, Budget Living, Wines & Vines, The Villager, and The New York Sun. Ellisa was also a regular guest on Martha Stewart Living Radio’s weekly feature, Winesday. You can find her at Decanted Diva.