our team

Byron P. Catéchis

Director & Dean

Byron teaches in: French, German, English and Italian* languages

WSET® Educator for the following Wine and Spirit Education Trust Qualifications:

Level 1 Award in Wine

Level 2 Award in Wine

Level 3 Award in Wine

Level 1 Award in Spirits

Level 2 Award in Spirits

Member of the following judging panels:

  • Concours suisse des produits du terroir
  • Forum Romand des eaux-de-vie, Switzerland
  • International Wine Challenge
  • Séléction des vins de Neuchâtel
  • Schweizer Schnapsforum
  • Distissuisse 2017

Professional Experience:

Over 20 years of experience in the 4 to 5 Star Deluxe hotel and Michelin Star segment. To date involved in 5 hotel and 1 restaurant opening which included the Dorchester in London, the Lous C. Jacob in Hamburg, a Hotel in East Africa (part of an international hotel chain) among others. 

  Wine knowledge courses – our lecturers

Johanna Dayer

Johanna teaches in the French and English language

Johanna has been interested in wine since passing her Swiss Matura diploma and continued in this path on her way to gaining her Bachelor degree with the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne. She has completed the various levels of the Wine and Spirit Education Trust qualifications, including the WSET® Level 4 Diploma.

Now having completed her exams on the Masters of Wine programme, she now has to complete her thesis. Johanna has managed to keep herself busy by also studying for a Masters in Digital Marketing and Communication in Geneva. Johanna is currently also involved in the production and marketing of Clos Tsampehro in Valais. Johanna also consults for a wine producer in Provence, France.

Johanna teaches on the Level 2 and the Level 3 WSET® Award in Wine course as well as runs our courses in Valais. She is also our “Internal Assessor” for the Level 3 WSET® Award in Wines. 

Alann Gauci

Alann teaches in the French and English language

Alann is currently the Sales Manager at Maison Mathieu Vins where he began nine years ago after spending fifteen years working in luxury hotels as Wine Director or Director of Food and Beverage. From New York to Geneva, by way of Antigua in the Caribbean, his passion for wine led him to receive the Wine Spectator Grand Award in 2002 at the St.Regis Hotel in New York. In 2006, the same magazine gave the Award of Excellence for his work on the wine list of the fine dining restaurant at the President Wilson Hotel in Geneva. A certified Sommelier by the Sommelier Society of America and recipient of the WSET® Level 4 Diploma in Wine & Spirits, Alann enjoys wines from across the world which are faithful to their terroir- from Burgundy to Piedmont, South Africa or California.

Alann teaches on the Level 2 and the Level 3 Award in Wines courses.

Katharina Jans

Katharina teaches in the German language

Katharina originally completed her apprenticeship as a restaurant professional. Since her studies as a food technologist, she has gained practical experience in wineries in Neuchâtel, Italy and New Zealand. She is currently working on various research projects in viticulture and oenology as a trainee at the Wädenswil Wine Centre. Her next goal is to complete the WSET® Level 4 Diploma in Wines.

Katharina teached the Level 2 WSET® Award in Wines.

  Spirits & Bar knowledge (mixology – our lecturers

Victor Topart

Victor teaches in the French and English language

With more than 15 years of experience in the bar and cocktail industry, Victor has worked in Palace bars in France, Scotland and Switzerland as well as in various cocktail bars in Lausanne. He was also Bar Academy Trainer for Diageo before becoming the manager of the Crapule Club cocktail bar in Fribourg. Passionate about Mixology and spirits, he likes to share his knowledge with enthusiasm and energy.

Victor teaches the Level 2 WSET® Award in Spirits as well the “mixology” practical aspect related to this course. 

Arthur Nägele

Arthur teaches in the German and English language

From absinthe to Zubrovka. And in between, past whisk(e)y and Williams, rum and raki, gin and grappa. Arthur Nägele is a recognised expert and sought-after trainer and lecturer for the spirits and liqueurs of this world. His expertise and services range from production to enjoyment.

Arthur Nägele’s sensory judgement is reliable. The organisers of national and international wine and spirits awards are also convinced of this. In addition to many other competitions, Arthur is also in charge of the Vorarlberg State Distillate Awards and, as one of the youngest ‘Chair Judges’, he is in charge of the ‘Fine Spirits’, ‘Liqueurs’ and ‘Flavoured Vodka’ tasting groups at what is probably the most renowned spirits competition in the world, the International Wine- and Spirits Challenge in London.

Arthur teaches our Level 2 and Level 3 WSET® Award in Spirits courses and is also our “Internal Assessor” for the Level 3 – WSET® Award in Spirits. 

  Beer & Brewing courses – our lecturers
Our Resident Craft Brewer:  

Thomas EldridgeThomas Eldridge

Thomas teaches in the French and English language

Thomas is currently head brewer of Brasserie Docteur Gab’s, where he is responsible for the day-to-day production of their varied range of beers, as well as the organisation of the production team. An award-wining brewer, he has a proven track record at both microbreweries and larger, regional breweries.

As well as being an experienced teacher, he also serves regularly as a jury member of international beer competitions.

Thomas in in charge of our practical beer production courses. Watch our course dates page for details of the next courses and master classes!

Nathan Maire

Nathan teaches in the French language

Nathan changed profession a number of years ago and has, since 2015 been working for a Craft Brewery in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. His various positions of responsibility within the brewery have provided an opportunity for him to gain a professionally sound level of knowledge of the beer production process. He has also taken and passed several levels of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling (IBD) qualifications to support his practical knowledge.

Nathan is now embarking on a new challenge where he wishes to pass on his knowledge to other brewers.

Nathan teaches our Introduction to Brewing in Practice course.

Our team for distilling: will be finalised and announced in the coming months
  Sake courses – our lecturers

Natsuki Romano-Kikuya

Natsuki teaches in the English and Japanese language

Born into a family that has been running a Sake brewery in Akita, and a Buddhist temple in Toyama prefecture, both on the north-west side or Japan where it is influenced by both mountain and ocean and the winter can be severely cold. Having returned to Japan from her studies in the United States, she worked in business and HR consulting. Her sake journey, to trace the path of her family roots began in 2009. 

Natsuki worked as a “Sake sommelier’ at Zuma & Roka restaurant in London, UK and in 2013 she launched the “Museum of Sake” the Sake PR and Education agency to introduce and promote sake to European markets. Natsuki helped set up and still teaches the WSET® Level 1 & Level 3 Award in Sake which launched in 2014. 

Natsuki is our Internal Assessor for the Level 3 – WSET® Award in Sake 

Honami MatsumotoHonami Matsumoto

Honami teaches in the English and Japanese language

Honami has been working with sake for nearly 15 years and is a Kikisakeshi-qualified sake sommelier, WSET certified educator for Sake Level 3, Level  1 and an International Wine Challenge (IWC) Panel Judge in the sake category. Honami is a qualified wine sommelier and has worked in some of London’s renown palces including luxury wine and spirits merchant Hedonism Wines. Honami has planned and hosted numerous number of exciting sake events at Hedonism wines and beyond, many of which had sake and food matching with various renowned restaurants and chefs in London.

Honami created the House of Sake to provide carefully selected accessories, events, promotion and sake education to the UK and beyond.

Our canine teaching assistants

you will probably meet either Merlin and Arthur in one of our classes. They are trained to reduce your stress levels.

Merlin & Arthur

Since the 21st of September 2018 Merlin became an important member of our team while still a puppy (10 weeks old). Arthur joined the team on the 9th of March 2020 and is learning from his elder “brother” how to improve the class’ wellbeing.