Jon S. Melone
I have enjoyed wine for many years, and I have had the pleasure of visiting over 25 countries worldwide, and while on my travels I have had the opportunity to taste many wines. Because of my love for wine, I reflected on the notion that I could be the proprietor of a wine bar and retail wine store, which found fruition in the form of Vinifera Wines which was based in the historic district of downtown Twin Falls, Idaho. Vinifera Wines offered a selection of nearly 150 varieties of wine. The chosen inventory of wine was appropriated from all of the major wine producing countries in the world, with many unique varieties that I was able to introduce to the small town community. Vinifera Wines was an overnight success, both with the public and the media. However, due to personal family reasons, I felt compelled to sell Vinifera Wines. Because of the popularity of the establishment, I was able to find a buyer for the business just two days after I contacted a broker.
After the sale of Vinifera Wines, my wife and I were able to take some time off to travel, and we visited several countries in Central and South America. Once back in the States, I was offered and accepted the position as the Wine Steward at a new up-scale restaurant, Canyon Crest Dining, in Twin Falls. I was able to put together a fabulous wine menu, and hosted several Sommelier Dinners at the restaurant. Today I am working as a consultant, advising with restaurants, and wine bars, regarding their wine menus, server training, etc. I also continue to teach a wine appreciation course through the local college in the town in which I live.
My official training to become a Sommelier took place through the prestigious English organization, The Court of Master Sommeliers. During this course I had the privilege of sitting under the tutelage of three Master Sommeliers, one of them being Master Sommelier Fred Dame. The extensive training was three-part in nature: classroom time with the Masters, blind tastings of many different varieties of wine, and a final examination of the material covered. I passed this grueling, yet rewarding training and earned the status of Sommelier. I am also a current member of the organization The Guild of Sommeliers, a networking organization that connects wine experts together, and offers educational material.
I have also had the pleasure of teaching wine appreciation courses through the College of Southern Idaho. I have been able to teach over 100 students the fundamental principles of wine appreciation, and a more in-depth wine class for those that successfully fulfilled the first course and wished to know more about wine.