Mike Ward is a Certified Sommelier, Certified Specialist of Spirits, Certified Wine Educator and has successfully completed the Wine and Spirits Education Trust Level 2 Intermediate exam. Mike completed certification at the Napa Valley Wine Educators Academy. His passion and expertise have led him to become a member of the Society of Wine Educators.

Mike began his career in the restaurant industry managing such establishments as Mike Duffy’s Pub and Grill, Remy’s Kitchen and Wine Bar and Cafe Eau and Eau Bistro in the St. Louis Chase Park Plaza. He also served as Director of Purchasing at The St. Louis Adam’s Mark Hotel and Food and Beverage Director at The River Port Doubletree Hotel.  From early on, Mike had a fascination with and a passion for all things wine. This fascination and passion led him to his position as Missouri State Wine Educator for Major Brands, Inc. a distributorship in St. Louis.  Ward on Wine was founded in 2014 when Mike made the decision to branch out on his own.

Mike’s philosophy is that wine is not only to be paired with food, it is to be paired with people.  There is a wine out there for everyone, no matter what their story may be.  Wine is to be celebrated, respected and enjoyed. There is a wine for every occasion, every journey, every place in time.  Ward on Wine is designed to help you discover those wines, learn about those wines and share those wines.



Ward on Wine Team

Mary Ward

Administrator, Social Media

I have been married to Mike Ward for over 24 years, and have seen him progress through the world of wine with determination, enthusiasm and hard work.  He enjoys sharing his knowledge and love for wine with everyone.  I have been in administration throughout my professional life, so it made perfect sense to jump on board with my husband as administrator for Ward on Wine.  I hope you enjoy Ward on Wine and be sure to check us out on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, too!

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Leslie McCarthy

Author, Blogger

Leslie Gibson McCarthy believes most of the world’s problems can be discussed over a cup of coffee, and solved over a glass of wine. Since no one’s asking her to write about coffee beans, she is more than happy to lend her voice to Ward on Wine.

McCarthy’s writing career spans over a quarter-century, from sportswriting to magazines to newspaper columns. She’s covered events from the White House to the World Series, and has interviewed everyone from Hall of Fame athletes to Hollywood actors to the neighbor next door. By day, she works in public relations for a world-class university; by night, she only hopes she’s aging as purposefully as wine.

Read more at her website, www.lesliegmccarthy.com. For Ward on Wine, she’ll write about the experience of wine, from sharing a bottle with your best friends of 40 years, to sitting around with the family on a holiday, to that night a glass of wine turned a bad day at work into a relaxing night.


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Nancy Winkelmann


Nancy is many things to many people – mother of six, wife, photographer, domestic goddess, problem solver, and whatever else happens to be required at any given time.
Pairing images and ideas with Mike Ward’s enthusiastic command of everything Wine, she is thrilled to provide a visual voice for Ward on Wine


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Ken DeNeal

Author, Blogger

Upon retiring in 2011 from thirty-three years of teaching in the St. Louis Public Schools, Ken DeNeal went back to school.
Much to his own surprise, the course of study was wine. Wineries and vineyards were the classrooms and wines—red, white, rose’, dry sparkling, sweet—were the textbooks.
Wine had held little if any interest for Ken in the past, but a series of part-time bartending jobs while he was still teaching provided a new perspective. Curiosity and the challenge of attempting something new led him to a decision to work at a winery on the Augusta wine trail. That was realized at Yellow Farmhouse Winery in Defiance, where Ken gained first-hand experience in the vineyard, the winery and the tasting room.
Ken then had the opportunity to do a number of tastings and demos for Major Brands, and with the support and encouragement of Mike Ward, studied for the Certified Specialist of Wine exam. It took two attempts, but Ken earned CSW certification in 2012.
Having now found a passion as well as a profession, Ken and his wife Joyce—his most influential wine mentor—have traveled extensively to wine regions in France, Italy, California, Washington, Oregon, and New York in just the last few years. Their most recent journey was to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary this past July with two weeks in the Southern Rhone and Languedoc wine regions of France.
Wine appreciation and studies have been constant, and in addition to the CSW certification, Ken has passed exams at the Introductory Sommelier level in the Court of Master Sommeliers and the Level 3 Specialist course for the Wine and Spirits Education Trust.
Current studies are focused on the French Wine Scholar certification program and Ken hopes to successfully complete that exam by the end of the year.
Ken is presently working at the Wine Barrel on South Lindbergh and is honored to be a part of the Ward on Wine team.
“We enjoy the wine in the glass, the finished product,” he notes, “But to me, the amazing part of it, the thing that every day pushes me to discover more, is that history, science, politics, the environment, and just about any discipline you can think of have combined to create this elixir that brings so many people together. It is a curriculum with no end!”
Most importantly, Ken is blessed with fabulous family. In addition to Joyce, two stepdaughters, a super son-in-law and two perfect and amazing grandchildren make for a full glass each day.
It has been a vintage life for Ken DeNeal the last few years and he is most thankful for it.

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Gena Feldmann

Author, Blogger

Gena Feldmann is a St. Louis-based Marketing Manager in the Wine & Spirits Industry and Freelance Copywriter. She is a Certified Specialist of Wine & holds a Level 2 Wine & Spirits Education Trust Certification. She is a wife, busy mother to an active toddler and the creator of Scribe225, a freelance copywriting and marketing service for small businesses. Read more of her work at https://scribe225.wordpress.com

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Reid Burnett

COO, Developer at

Giant Hat

Reid is the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Giant Hat (formerly Efeqdev). He lives in Maplewood with his beautiful and loving wife and spunky daughter. He is an avid coffee drinker and nerd and plays drums in the St. Louis rock-n-roll band Via Dove.


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Robin Schubert

Blogger, Author, Social Media, Reviewer

Robin is a former bar owner, a skilled “craft” bartender, and an all-around booze and food geek. She is an active member of St. Louis U.S. Bartenders Guild and Bar Smarts Advanced Certified. She spent 13+ years behind the bar at St. Louis’ famed Absolutli Goosed as an owner and bartender creating over 200 of her own signature cocktails, educating with “Mixology” classes, and creating memorable experiences. You may have also seen her in the past at Remy’s Kitchen & Wine Bar, Tani Sushi Bistro, the Fox Theater, and maybe even a private event or competition in St. Louis or New Orleans. You can currently find her at The Wine Barrel in Sunset Hills, MO.  Robin loves to travel and often combines her passions by visiting breweries, distilleries, and wineries in new locations. She also takes great pride in being a wife and mother.

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