The Presenters

Special Guest Presenter – Toby Cecchini

Toby Cecchini is a writer and bartender based in New York City. He has written on food, wine, spirits and cocktails for GQ and Saveur and has been a columnist on same for The New York Times since 2004. He invented the classic Cosmopolitan cocktail at the Odeon in TriBeCa in 1988 and, now in his 29th year as a bartender, presides over The Long Island Bar, his restored Art Deco longshoreman bar, now cocktail nook, in Brooklyn, NY which he re-opened in 2013. Cecchini previously owned the Manhattan bar Passerby and is the author of Cosmopolitan: A Bartender’s Life.


Lead Instructor – Amanda Garnham

Amanda Garnham has been working as the Press Attaché for the B.N.I.A. (Bureau National Interprofessionnel de l’Armagnac) for the last 13 years, and is heavily involved in raising the profile of Armagnac generically. She regularly presents educational tastings in the UK, which is her primary market. Since it’s launch, Amanda has been the lead instructor for the Armagnac Academies and has presented successful classes in China, London and New York, bringing much appreciated, in-depth knowledge about Armagnac to hungry industry professionals internationally. She has been living in the heart of the Armagnac region for the last 18 years.

Presenter – May Matta-Aliah

May Matta-Aliah has been working with the B.N.I.A. as their Ambassador since 2009 and she has led countless presentations on Armagnac to industry professionals. She has presented Armagnac seminars at Tales of the Cocktails, San Antonio Cocktail Classic and the Society of Wine Educators annual conferences. May has led 8 trips to the region and visited over 25 producers in her travels. May is an instructor at the prestigious International Wine Center and an adjunct lecturer at City Tech’s Hospitality Management Program. She is the president of In the Grape and lives in New York City.

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