Meet our Educators
We want to make sure you're learning from the very best! All of our educators have industry experience, as well as leading wine and spirit certifications. This ensures you will not only master the course material, but be able to apply it to practical industry settings.
Gina Marano - Founder and Managing Director
Gina began her food and beverage career working for a West Coast family restaurant chain, working her way through every front of house position. She received a Bachelor's degree in Hotel Administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, after which she held several positions on the Las Vegas Strip, managing both casual and fine dining restaurants, working for House of Blues, Foundation Room, and Four Seasons.
In 2018, Gina founded Wine Academy of Las Vegas, the only WSET Approved Program Provider in Nevada. Having to fly out of town for wine courses and exams led her to bring the WSET programs to Las Vegas.
Gina is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, specializing in research in consumer behavior in the wine industry. She has presented her research at both national and international conferences. Gina also teaches undergraduate courses at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, in food & beverage and hospitality. In addition to her academic endeavors, Gina is the co-inventor of an innovative wine technology (patent pending), designed to better consumer enjoyment of wine while providing a state of the art educational experience. The technology is being co-developed with a major US research university.Alongside her PhD program, Gina is currently a WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines & Spirits student.
Born and raised in Milan, Maurizio has several years of experience in the wine industry. Since 2009 he has worked as wine educator, wine consultant, and wine ambassador for various Italian consorzio and associations. In 2011, he left Italy and moved to China where he worked as wine ambassador for a Hong Kong wine distributor. In 2014, he moved to the USA and joined the Wine Scholar Guild (WSG) as Education Director for Italy. He developed and currently manages the WSG Italian Wine Scholar program. Besides teaching the WSG programs, Maurizio also teaches the WSET Diploma.
Maurizio is also a wine judge at the Decanter World Wine Awards organized every year in London by Decanter wine magazine. Maurizio holds a WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wine and Spirits (with Merit) and was awarded the Napa Valley Vintners Scholarship as North America's highest-achieving Diploma graduate. He obtained the WSET Level 3 (with Distinction) in 2013 and was awarded the Decanter Scholarship as the top Level 3 candidate in Asia. Other wine certifications include: French Wine Scholar (Wine Scholar Guild), Certified Specialist of Wine (Society of Wine Educators) and Certified Sommelier (Court of Master Sommeliers). Maurizio is currently studying winemaking at UC Davis.
Brian Browning, DipWSET, began his wine career working as an assistant and wine waiter at The Grill on the Alley in Beverly Hills, CA. He later matriculated to positions as Beverage Director and Operations Manager. His passion for wine lead him to a position as Sommelier at Elvino Wines in Venice, CA while obtaining his Diploma from the International Sommelier Guild. Brian has held senior buying positions with Whole Foods Market and Market of Choice before moving into Winemaking and Education positions with Coopers Hall and Argyle Winery in Oregon. He currently works with Breakthru Beverage Nevada as a Fine Wine Sales Consultant focusing on Italian and Luxury California in the resort setting. Brian is currently a Stage 2 Candidate for the Master of Wine and an avid Texas Hold 'em player.
Michael Snodgrass was born in Anaheim, California, and has lived in Las Vegas for the past 20 years. He has over 15 years of experience working in notable restaurants on the Las Vegas Strip including Spago and Bouchon, and ran the wine department at OTTO. He worked his way up from busser to sommelier and is currently a manager at Manzo, the steakhouse inside Eataly at Park MGM. Last year, he passed WSET level 1, 2, and 3 earning distinction on both levels 2 and level 3. He holds additional certifications through the Court of Master Sommeliers, Cicerone, and attended the Vinitaly International Academy in Verona, Italy earlier this year. He attended the College of Southern Nevada for Small Business Management and is currently a senior at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where he is completing his Bachelor’s degree in communications.