North Carolina Wine Academy was founded as a whole immersive wine education experience aimed at professional and wine aficionados. We believe in wine education being accessible to everyone while offering visibility to women in wine and minorities in the industry.


Yellymary ‘Mary’ Montalvo is the co-founder of North Carolina Wine Academy. She has excelled in her education, which qualifies her as a WSET Certified Educator. She currently holds the title of WSET Level 3 in Wines Certified Specialist and is currently a Diploma of Wine student. Additionally, she has recently earned both a Spanish Scholar Wine Guild Diploma with Honors and a Certified Beer Server with the Cicerone Program.


Formerly, Mary owned Luisa’s Cellar for 10 years in Sanford, Florida where she proudly curated the extensive wine selection. She also owned and operated Vineyards of the World in Clermont, Florida, which was in business for 5 years until the location moved to Sanford.


She started visiting Asheville more than 10 years ago and fell in love with the people, wineries in the area, and the beautiful scenery. Once she got settled in, NCWA was born. Created from her passion to educate, Mary takes great pride in running the education programs along with creating fun and interactive course for her students. She facilitates the WSET Level 1/ Level 2, and the Spanish Wine Scholar Guild courses. 


"Life is too short not to enjoy wine, or to make it all snobbery and pomp," Mary says. Making wine easy, fun, and educational for everyone certainly sparks joy for her. Hosting private parties with you and your friends is icing on the cake. She loves making *you* the star of the party. 


She is a proud geek, a Doctor Who fan, and loves superheroes. She is proficient in Spanish, English and German.



WSET Level 3 in Wines /

Diploma Student

WSET Certified Educator

Spanish Wine Scholar Guild Certified

Court of Master Sommeliers

Certified Beer Server