Founder & CEO
Alyssa J. Rapp is the Founder & CEO of Bottlenotes, Inc., the leading interactive media company in the U.S. wine and craft beer industries. Bottlenotes is dedicated to educating and entertaining consumers via four primary channels: (1) email newsletters (The Daily Sip®, received daily by over 300,000 wine enthusiasts by email and 250,000+ on Facebook, and the Weekly Pint, with over 50,000 subscribers both on email and via Facebook), (2) large-scale interactive events (Around the World in 80 Sips, Taste Around Town, and iBev, the leading social and digital media conference for the beverage industry), (3) social media platforms, and as of 2014, video content.
Alyssa was named in Inc. Magazine's ”30 Under 30” coolest entrepreneurs in America, one of Playboy.com’s “10 Sexiest CEOs in America,” and one of the wine industry’s 100 most influential people by Intowine.com in both 2012 and 2013. Most recently, Alyssa accepted two awards on the company’s behalf at the Empact 100, featuring the top 100 companies with a founder under 35: both the People’s Choice Award and the Top Advertising and Marketing Company award. (Coverage of the award ceremony at the United Nations is available via a Fox Business Network segment available via this link.)
Alyssa is the author of Bottlenotes Guide to Wine: Around the World in 80 Sips® (Adam's Media, October 2008) and frequently appears on national television (The TODAY Show, Fox Business Network, ABC, CBS, NBC, The Rachael Ray Show, and more- see www.bottlenotes.com/press for complete list of appearances) 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 (GSB) in 2005; she is proud to join the GSB as an appointed lecturer on the Global Dynamics of the Wine Industry as of Spring 2014.
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 national non-profit that provides transformative apprenticeships for at-risk middle school students.
When not immersed in entrepreneurial life, Alyssa loves to run track, do yoga, ski fast, and try as hard as possible to decipher a slider from a curve ball with her husband, former MLB World Series champion and current Director of Professional Scouting for the Los Angeles Angels, Hal Morris. Alyssa and Hal are also proud parents of Audrey Margaret (born: September 12, 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.
Senior Operations Manager
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.
Chief of Staff to the CEO
Spencer joined Bottlenotes as an intern in January 2014. In this role, he worked 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. Spencer started as Chief of Staff to the CEO in June 2014. Prior to joining Bottlenotes, he played professional golf for a year and half. Spencer is excited to bring the same passion and attention to detail from golf to his work at Bottlenotes. He graduated from Duke University in May 2012 with a B.A. in Political Science and the Markets & Management certificate.