Founder & CEO
Alyssa J. Rapp, is the founder and CEO of Bottlenotes, Inc. Bottlenotes is the leading new media company in the wine category dedicated to educating and entertaining wine enthusiasts via four primary channels: email newsletters (The Daily Sip®, received daily by over 300,000 wine enthusiasts by email and 180,000 on Facebook), and the Weekly Pint, interactive events such as the Around the World in 80 Sips® national event series, social media platforms, and iPhone applications.
Alyssa is the author of Bottlenotes Guide to Wine: Around the World in 80 Sips (Adam's Media, October 2008) and frequently contributes to digital publications including Forbes.com and The Huffington Post. She has been a guest on The TODAY Show, Fox Business Network, The Rachael Ray Show, ABC, and NBC as an expert on wine and entrepreneurship.
Alyssa earned a B.A. in Political Science and the History of Art from Yale University in 2000 and an M.B.A. from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business in 2005. Alyssa was named as one of Inc.'s "30 Under 30" coolest entrepreneurs in America, one of Playboy.com’s “10 Sexiest CEOs” in America, and one of the Top 100 most influential people in the US Wine Industry (#23). Alyssa serves on the Board of Trustees for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, the country’s preeminent contemporary dance company, and on the Executive Board of Spark Program, a non-profit that provides transformative apprenticeships for middle school students. Alyssa and her husband, Hal Morris, welcomed their first daughter Audrey to the world in September 2012.
Co-Founder and Managing Director
Kimberly Donaldson founded the Donaldson Design Group, a corporate branding, graphic design and marketing firm based in New York, in 1994. The firm's clients included companies from the financial, fashion, entertainment and wine industries. She has worked as a consultant to Kobrand Corporation, creating marketing programs for various wineries including Cakebread Cellars. Kimberly received a B.A. from Yale and a Master of Fine Arts from Boston University School for the Arts.
Chief Operating Officer
Andy joined Bottlenotes after completing his MBA at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University where he majored in Marketing and Management & Organizations. After working in management consulting for almost six years in Chicago, New York and San Francisco, Andy decided to follow his passion for wine. In between consulting jobs, Andy spent three months working at Villa Monteleone, a winery in Italy’s Valpolicella, and was exposed to many aspects of the wine production process. Andy also did his undergraduate studies at Northwestern, majoring in Economics and Mathematical Methods in the Social Sciences.
Anthony joined the Bottlenotes team in the fall of last year. He currently manages Bottlenotes’ Facebook Fan Acquisition and production for The Daily Sip and The Weekly Pint. Prior to joining Bottlenotes, Anthony worked for the International Trade Administration and the Seattle /Northwest chapter of the Keiretsu Forum, and as a "Bulldogs on the Bay" summer intern with Bottlenotes. Anthony graduated from Yale University in May 2012 with a B.A. in economics.
In knowledge, skill, style, and presentation, no one in America tops Karen MacNeil when it comes to wine. The preeminent wine educator, wine consultant and author of The Wine Bible, Karen has won every top wine award in the English language. With her extensive wine knowledge and uniquely creative viewpoint, she knows how to captivate audiences large and small, and how to present wine in an engaging, real-world, American manner. For Karen, wine is more than a beverage; it’s a communal passage into the culture of living well.
Content and Social Media Manager
Amy is passionate about making wine approachable for the everyday wine drinker. After consulting for several Bay Area wine companies, she found Bottlenotes to align with her career goals. With a focus on content strategy and social media, Amy is excited to grow with the company. She has a Master of Science degree from Medill School of Journalism of Northwestern University with a concentration in magazine publishing and business reporting. Before Medill, she worked in fine dining managing beverage programs for five years, and is a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommelier program. Amy has freelanced for Full-Service Restaurant (FSR) Magazine and other lifestyle publications. After working for Decanter Magazine in London January 2012, she moved from Chicago to San Francisco to be closer to wine country and pursue her career in wine.
Sophie Menin writes the "Life with Wine" column for The Daily Sip. Her work has appeared in Wine Spectator, The Daily Beast, Barrons, The New York Times, Departures, Saveur and Fine Cooking. She earned her BA in Fine Arts and MA in Cultural Reporting and Criticism from New York University, as well as a professional degree in Culinary Arts from the Institute of Culinary Education and an Advanced Certificate from the WSET. In 2011, Sophie was one of three journalists shortlisted for the Louis Roederer International Wine Writer Awards in the Emerging Wine Writer category.
National Events Manager
Michelle’s passion for event planning and love of food and wine made the decision to join the Bottlenotes team an extremely easy one. She has been planning events since childhood and more recently has been actively creating fundraising events for non-profit organizations like the Junior League of San Francisco and planning the perfect day for soon to be brides (including her own in Sonoma) as a wedding coordinator for Dream a Little Dream Events. Michelle received her MAS in Communication and Business from the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU).
Digital and Events Manager
Abby’s love of great food, wine and keen sense of adventure brought her to Bottlenotes. Travels throughout Europe and the United States piqued her curiosity in the food and beverage industry, landing her on the social media team at Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises. Abby is most excited to learn all she can about food and wine, and help the Bottlenotes audience do so, in her role as Social Media Manager at Bottlenotes. Abby received her BS in Arts Administration from Indiana University.
Senior Program Manager
Six years into a successful career in Public Relations in the video game industry, Devin found herself so drawn to the siren-like call of the vine that she moved to Italy to study culinary arts and wine at the Apicius International School of Hospitality. Since then, she has helped open a teaching restaurant in Florence; launched the first US location of the wildly successful Canadian retail chain, DavidsTea; co-founded Champagne and Hotdogs, a wine events and consulting business and blog; and served as the wine director and general manager of a boutique wine store in Manhattan. A move back to California from New York brought her to Bottlenotes, where she now oversees food and wine programs like the 3-city restaurant week for wine series, Taste Around Town. Devin earned her B.A. in Political Science and Economics at UC San Diego. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband and two bossy Shih Tzus, making it her personal mission to return Merlot to its former, pre-“Sideways” glory.
Editorial Director, Weekly Pint
Food, drink, and adventure travel writer Christian DeBenedetti is author of The Great American Ale Trail (Running Press 2011), a best-selling, New York Times-acclaimed guide to U.S. craft beer destinations. Named Beer Correspondent for Food & Wine in 2011, his writing has appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek, Bloomberg View, Departures, Esquire, National Geographic Adventure, Saveur, Outside, Slate, and others. In 1996 he earned a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship to undertake a year-long post-graduate independent study of ancient beer brewing techniques of fourteen European and West African countries. He has appeared on ABC’s Nightline, World News Tonight, NPR’s Splendid Table, and as a guest speaker for The Explorers Club and the Craft Brewers National Conference in 2010. A resident of New York City from '01 - '09, he is a co-founder of The Zythos Project, a design and engineering firm dedicated to innovation in craft beer, and has also worked in a series of wineries, breweries, and a cooperage in his native Oregon, where he now lives.
Spencer joined Bottlenotes as an intern in January 2014. He is currently working on production for The Daily Sip® and Weekly Pint, on providing event support for both the Around the World in 80 Sips® and Taste Around Town national event series, in addition to co-managing our TasteAgent brand ambassador program. Prior to joining Bottlenotes, Spencer played professional golf for a year and half. He is excited to bring the same passion and attention to detail from golf to his work at Bottlenotes. Spencer graduated from Duke University in May 2012 with a B.A. in Political Science and the Markets & Management certificate.