We're here to walk you through everything you need to ensure a seamless and successful event experience.
Our wine educators focus on making your tasting experience as fun, interactive, and educational as possible. We are not traditional Somms, we bring our life experience and passionate love of wine to everything we do.
Kat Dean, serving as the Director of Progressive Pours by Urban Grape, is a seasoned professional with a rich background in the beverage industry. Having overseen programs for esteemed Michelin-rated restaurants in the District of Columbia and managed operations for events companies, Kat brings a wealth of expertise to her role.
With over a decade of experience, Kat has artfully integrated her training and career in creative arts, sculpture, and painting into the intricate realm of operations. Her unparalleled attention to detail is evident in every aspect of her work. Kat is dedicated to crafting the finest corporate gifting experiences for clients, ensuring a bespoke and memorable touch.
Possessing an innate eye for design, a relentless commitment to detail, and a profound passion for creativity, Kat has earned high accolades in her industry. Her impressive array of rare and unique certifications speaks to her dedication to excellence. Kat's commitment is unwavering – she leaves no detail overlooked, striving to create the perfect bespoke experience for each client.
TJ Douglas is the Founder and CEO of the Drink Progressively Group, The Urban Grape, Urban Cellar, and Progressive Wine Company. His wine career has spanned 25 years, and as a mostly self-taught wine professional, he knows how to make wine approachable for everyone - even the most novice of drinkers.
In addition to being a dynamic wine tasting educator, TJ is a sought-after panelist and keynote speaker. TJ is also known for his dynamic “My Life Through the Lens of a Wine Glass” tasting experience - a DEI-focused, interactive tasting experience for organizations and their teams ($2500 fee).
Logan Perez-Braxton started his wine journey as a server in a small Italian restaurant in Scottsdale, where he was befuddled as to how a Pinot Noir from California and Oregon could taste so differently. From that moment on, he was hooked. Logan is a Level 1 Sommelier and Level 2 WSET graduate with distinction.
He has a passion for breaking down the barriers to inclusion in the wine industry. People view wine as overly complicated but wine should always be about inclusiveness and enjoyment. Logan is the General Manager of The Urban Grape.
Logan is also available for DEI-focused tasting talks ($500 fee).
Nicole Valva is a seasoned event coordinator and hospitality professional with a strong passion for delivering exceptional experiences. With a background rooted in restaurants in Boston and New York, Nicole found her calling in the world of wine, events, and creating unique experiences at The Urban Grape.
With 15 years of experience, including 7 years in management and operations, Nicole is a dynamic and results-driven professional. Her certifications include WSET Level III and WSET Level II. Notably, as the General Manager at Waypoint, she excelled in creating staff educational resources, managing front-of-house goods, and organizing personalized events for up to 130 guests. Nicole's genuine approach in building guest relationships resulted in repeat business, both in the restaurant and private dining sectors. With her expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to excellence, Nicole Valva is an outstanding event coordinator who will ensure your next event is an unforgettable success.
Alongside her work, she enjoys the company of her three fur babies and indulges in a glass of the 2021 Union Sacré Orange Riesling from California.
Growing up in the restaurant industry, Emilie was born & raised in the hospitality world. She has worked in restaurants in Upstate NY, Boston and NYC. It was at an Italian Restaurant in the South End where she worked as Beverage Manager, where she learned and developed a love & passion for all things wine, and she is so happy to bring that love to The Urban Grape! Now based in NYC, when Emilie isn’t leading virtual tastings, she works at a Sake & Champagne bar!