Current courses

The World of Wine
Wine Lovers Courses
Wine Certification Course
French Wine Scholar
Italian Wine Professional

Who We Are

Ned TowleNed Towle, Director, WWS

Ned Towle is the Founder and Director of the Westchester Wine School which celebrated its 10th year in 2014.  With Ned, learning wine is as enjoyable as drinking it.  His broad and deep knowledge and wit make him a "teacher" extraordinaire.  Ned has worked in wineries in France and visited wineries throughout Europe and the United States. He is certified as a Wine Educator by the Society of Wine Educators, Wine Judge by the American Wine Society, and Sommelier by the Court of Master Sommeliers.

JoAnn DeGagliaJoAnn DeGaglia, Instructor

JoAnn DeGaglia is a Certified Specialist of Wine, Certified Sommelier, and Certified Wine Judge. Working at The Tarry Lodge led her to seeking and receiving a Certified Specialist of Italian Wine credential from the North American Sommelier Association. You can find her most Fridays working at Brotherhood Winery, Americas Oldest Winery. It’s JoAnn’s love of wine and enthusiasm that touches the Wine Lover in you. You can read her Blog on Facebook “The Wine Lovers Journey through the World of Wine”.

Renée B. Allen, is the Founder and Director of Wine Institute of New England, and an award-winning wine educator known for her passionate, engaging and often humorous style. She is a Certified Specialist of Wine and member in good standing of the Society of Wine Educators, the internationally recognized accrediting organization. Renée is also a French Wine Scholar, having received her certification with highest honors. Her written work has appeared in such publications as Connecticut Magazine,theNew England Wine Gazette and The CT Beverage Journal. Renée also serves as a wine judge in both Connecticut and New York, as well as a wine competition organizer and director. Most recently, Renée accepted a position as adjunct professor of wine and spirits in the College of Business, Department of Hospitality & Tourism at the University of New Haven.

An avid wine collector for many years, Renée’s passion for wine is the perfect complement to her love of cooking and fine dining. Renée decided to parlay this passion into a career. Her mission? To provide others with the language and confidence necessary to feel comfortable in the world of wine. Whether it is a better understanding of basic grape varietals, a more extensive knowledge of a particular region, or the pursuit of certification in the specialty of wine, Renée seeks to guide others along their journey to epicurean enlightenment.


Westchester wine School Class Picture
In addition to Ned and JoAnn, many students/friends/wine lovers contribute to the classes of the Westchester Wine School through talking about their wine experiences and knowledge, helping out, or sharing a special wine

Ned and Linda Towle having fun and working hard serving wine at the "Westchester Wine Experience" sponsored by the Pleasantville Rotary Club
Proud Chavalier of the Ordre de la Dive Bouteille, Gaillac, Fr.


More About Ned

Ned’s first exposure to wine came at the age of 19 when he picked grapes in southern France for a wine grower whose only means of transporting grapes…and grape pickers…was a wooden cart drawn by a donkey. More recently, he worked in many aspects of wine growing and wine making at Chateau de Mayragues in southwestern France. Ned has led wine tastings in Paris and Versailles, where the presence of his daughter and grandson, and his love of wine and French, all come together. 

Ned and Robert ParkerGeorge DeBouf and Ned Towle
Ned gets to meet many of the world’s wine leaders; above with Robert Parker and George Duboeuf.

Peter Herrero and Ned
With Peter Herrero, restauranteur extraordinaire,
and owner of Sam’s of Gedney Way where
many of our classes are held.

In his former career, Ned held various positions at the MTA New York City Transit Authority, including Chief Financial Officer, Vice President of Finance and Planning, and Assistant General Manager of Bus Operations.  A degree in divinity from Union Theological Seminary in 2003 nurtured his natural calling to the world of wine.

Check out these short videos:
See Ned become a French Chevalier

Ned interviewed by Westfair Media's Caryn McBride
Read a 2009 profile in Westchester Magazine
Read the 2014 profile in the Wall Street Journal