Jonathan Schroeder

The Head Wine Geek

Business has been done over wine for thousands of years! Make it one of your selling tools!

In a setting fraught with pitfalls, turn wining and dining into your home field advantage!

You are confident while in the conference room with your clients and your skills are apparent.  But, move to a lunch or dinner meeting, your confidence fades when you are handed the wine list.  As with other aspects of sales, a lack of knowledge can impact how you are perceived.

Wine educator Jonathan Schroeder has over twenty years of experience in both corporate sales and wine instruction.  Jonathan will impart the secrets to successfully navigating a wine list without the stereotypical wine snobbery.  The Head Wine Geek, as Jonathan is known online, will infuse your event with enthusiasm, passion, and humor.

  • Beating The Bank: Entertaining Your Clients Without Destroying Your Sales Budget
  • How To WINE Friends & Influence People
  • Client Appreciation: The 21st Century World Of Wine
  • Client Appreciation: The Holidays, Great Wine, & Your Clients
  • Client Appreciation: Touring French Wine Country

Jonathan worked closely with me to ensure that our private event was exactly what we wanted and then delivered a presentation that was fun and educational. At the end of the night we had requests that he come back again next year.
Yvonne Saville, Director, Weiss & Saville PA

Travels From:  Pennsylvania
City: Philadelphia
$5,000 and Under


For more than twenty years, wine educator Jonathan Schroeder has worked with thousands of people, breaking through the illusion that wine is complicated, to be reserved for special occasions, and only for the elite!  During his college years in New Orleans, majoring in European History, but studying the philosophy of laissez les bon temps rouler, his passion for wine was born.  Inspired by his life in New Orleans, he found that wine makes life special and connects you to other people.

While in the corporate world, Jonathan observed that many colleagues, clients, prospects, and his competition were confident around the conference room table.  However, these same people’s confidence melted away when they moved to the dining table and were presented with a wine list.  Today, when in front of an audience, he employs the same joie de vivre he feels touring wine country or sharing an exciting new wine with friends.  This passion and excitement has turned even the most dour “I only drink beer” consumer into a lover of wines.  No matter if he is presenting to a corporate group, a charitable fund-raiser, or a private party, his message remains the same: wine is a part of life to be enjoyed to its fullest!

In addition to having taught a wide range of wine classes over the past twenty years, Jonathan has traveled to forty-eight wine regions spread across twelve countries on four continents.  His travels have taken him from elite producers on multi-million dollar estates and to bucolic farmers making wine on land owned by the same families for centuries.  Every wine experience has served to intensify his passion for wine: sitting at the tasting bar, working the harvest crushing grapes with his size thirteen feet, picnicking amidst the vineyards of France, or sitting in a German wine-maker’s living room, reveling in his eiswein.  Be they friends, colleagues, or clients, wine connects people.


These days, many of the best restaurants mark up their wines by as much as 400%.  It can be challenging to dine without the need to pick and choose which clients are worth “blowing the budget.”  Armed with the right knowledge, you can choose from a selection of delectable wines that will stretch your entertainment budget.  This program will teach you about:

  • Region: Like so many other consumables, the price of wine is dictated by supply and demand. Demand is often driven by product awareness.  A Cabernet Sauvignon from California’s Napa Valley will demand a much higher restaurant mark-up than a similar quality Priorat from Spain, simply because the Napa wine region is a well-known “brand” driving demand, while the Grenache-based Priorat is a relatively unknown wine in American markets and will have a price tag that is 50% less than the Cab with identical quality and wine pairing options.
  • Grape Varietals: Sometimes the varietal will dictate the price. For instance the Pinot Noir grape, can be quite temperamental, growing in fewer areas because it needs very specific conditions.  Knowing about quality lesser-known grapes can help your budget without disappointing your client’s palate.  A Carménère from Chile or a Pinotage from South Africa can be just as mouth-watering as a Zinfandel from Napa, yet be considerably kinder to the budget.
  • Types of wines: Before a wine even comes to market, imbedded costs can be high. Wines aged in oak barrels are more expensive than those aged in stainless steel.  There are many delicious wines that will stretch your budget.
  • Wine Importers: Seeing a consistently great wine importer’s label on your bottle of wine will almost guarantee that your venture into the unknown is a worthwhile gamble.
  • Using the Sommelier: A good sommelier will direct you to gems on the wine list. I will teach you how and when to use their services.

In the end, conveying confidence while doing something as plebian as ordering wine at dinner will reinforce your client’s overall opinion of you and your product.

NOTE – this topic can be made as a presentation (i.e. without wine) or an experiential event (with food and wine)

For millennia around the world, business has been conducted over a glass of wine. Sometimes, this was merely to provide refreshment, but wine creates a relaxed atmosphere that is more conducive to establishing business relationships. Thousands of years later, the business setting may have changed but the end game remains the same: create a memorable experience wherein the customer chooses to do business with you. Mixing wine and business can be challenging. In the end, though, wine can be an excellent tool when seeking to close the deal.

Join The Head Wine Geek in a customizable session where participants will learn what to do, what to avoid, and how to do so in a manner that shows you are knowledgeable but not pompous.

Topics include:
• Who orders the meal’s wine?
• Know how and why to make the Sommelier your new best friend
• How to beat the bank – knowing great wines without great price tags
• Wine grapes that are unique, interesting, and delicious with dinner
• Location, location, location (unbelievable and unknown wine regions)
• How to treat your dinner meeting as a first date to impress your companions into wanting a “second date”
• How to be a proper oenophile (i.e. what do you do once the wine arrives?)
In the end, you and your colleagues will have one more set of skills that will distinguish you from your competition.
NOTE – this topic can be made as a presentation (i.e. without wine) or an experiential event (with food and wine)

It’s a changing world!  Business models that were successful decades ago are now as obsolete as the horse and buggy.  Consumer options were frequently limited to two or three choices.  How many styles of phone were available in the 1970s and 1980s?  Very often, “the good stuff” was unavailable to the vast majority of consumers.  Similar to how you strive to show your clients new, innovative products, the wine world has dramatically changed over the past few decades.

When the famed Judgement Of Paris occurred in 1976, it catapulted the reputation of the wines of California to those of France.  The average American consumer in the 1970s had a very limited wine experience.  French wines were perceived to be elitist.  Italian wines were associated with a flask of bad Chianti that served as a candle holder after the wine was drunk.  German wines were either sickly sweet (remember the wine that was named for a female member of the Church who was dressed in blue?) or contained words like Trockenbeernauselese and were written in an ancient Gothic script that was incomprehensible.   Then there were the American wines, most commonly known for being the wine that won’t be sold before its time.

Four decades later, the world truly is open.  Spend an evening with your clients exploring the wine regions that were inconceivable in 1976.  You and your clients will experience

  • Flavors not found in European wines
  • Grape varieties that were cast aside centuries ago but now flourish in the New World
  • Hybrid grapes that didn’t exist prior to the 20th century and now rival the great wines of the world.
  • Winemakers who are free from strict laws and guidelines that specify what can and cannot go into a wine and are able to create something new

Not only will you give your clients a chance to learn just how much they mean to you, you will open up a world of enjoyment to them that may have previously been unknown.




Closely associated with the holidays, November and December are for time with friends and family and exchanging gifts.  It has also become a time to thank your clients for their business over the past year.  You’ll want to express your appreciation with something more than a generic bottle of wine with your company’s name on the label to stand out from the crowd.  This evening with the Head Wine Geek explores:

  • Wine pairings for classic holiday dishes like roast turkey to goose, Yorkshire pudding and potato latkes. Regardless of the culture, holiday dishes tend to be heavier and richer as winter approaches.  They also tend to be richer due to the festive nature of the season!  You need to ensure that your wine selections will stand up to these festive dishes.
  • Cultural celebrations dictate what foods are served: Yuletide dishes of Germany and Scandinavia, the maritime fare of Italy’s Feast of The Seven Fishes, or the latkes served at Hannukah tables. If this is what is on the table, you need to know what wines to pair with them.
  • If you are hosting a party, you need to know which wines are ideal for large gatherings. You want to be able to offer your guests great wines that won’t destroy your budget.  For events that are more intimate, learn about more upscale wines that still keep your budget on track
  • And by the end of an evening with the Head Wine Geek, you will be able to choose a memorable wine gift that your clients can enjoy now or put away for the future.

Successful business people know that it is crucial that clients feel that they are more than a number.  While you may want to take clients to an exotic locale to thank them for their patronage, that isn’t always feasible.  However, it is possible to bring their palates on a memorable trip to convey your appreciation!

The nation of France is synonymous with wine.  France is slightly smaller than Texas, yet produces practically every wine style.  This is a culture where wine is an integral part of daily meals, all family members enjoy it at the table, and it effortlessly crosses economic and social circles.  There are wine producers whose family has owned the same few acres of vineyards for centuries.  There are the famous chateaux of France where a mere bottle of wine demands more than some cars!  France has a wine history that stretches back millennia but is also completely modern.

Completely customizable, this tour of France can take your clients’ palates to:

  • The limestone caves of Champagne
  • The melting pot of Alsace, on the border of Germany where the people, the food, and the wine reflect German, French, and Swiss influences
  • The famed chateau country of the Loire Valley, described as France’s Garden due to its idyllic growing conditions
  • Bordeaux and its magnificent reds that established and continues to dictate what Cabernet Sauvignon should be
  • Burgundy, the acknowledged king of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, with a wine-making pedigree that stretches back a millennium
  • The Rhône Valley, a relative unknown to many Americans. Centuries of political and economic shenanigans by the Dukes of Burgundy to the north prevented wines of the Rhône Valley from reaching the markets of Paris and London.  Five centuries later, the Rhône Valley produces wine quality that are the equal of Burgundy and Bordeaux.
  • The Mediterranean regions of Languedoc-Roussillon and Provence, where they have been making wines since the days of ancient Rome and today produce some of the best quality-to-price wines in the market.


Areas of expertise

  • Client Acquisition
  • Client appreciation
  • Sales & business skills
  • Strengthening & Managing Relationships
  • Entertaining
  • Wine
  • Food & Wine Pairing
  • Hosting unforgettable events
  • Building lasting relationships

Related Speaking Topics

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