Fran became acquainted with wine in the early 1970’s, around the age of fifteen. I was first interested in German wines – I remember falling in love with the Steinberger Riesling Kabinett Staatsweingüter in the 1971, ’75 and ’76 vintages, but especially the 1975. My father, who was one of the top collectors in the U.S.A., initially introduced me to wine through his tasting groups, most notably Les Amis du Vin. My early education in wine centered around the classic growing regions of France, Germany, Italy and Spain. What I do today is an outgrowth of that early training.


From my initial interest in wine education and wine collection, I soon became drawn into the trade. In the early 1980’s, I was attending graduate school at Cleveland State University, majoring in Zoology. At that time, a position selling Fetzer wines became available at a local distributor. Being a student with little money, I took the job knowing I could use the extra income and thinking, erroneously, that I could work in the wine business “part time”. The wine business soon became all consuming, and I left graduate school all together. As of 2024, I have been in the wine business for 43 years. I have worked as a wholesale representative, wine steward, national sales director (for Kermit Lynch and Weygandt-Metzler), and, for the past 29 years, a wine importer. In 1989, I received the Master Sommelier award from the British Court of Master Sommeliers. In addition, in 1992, I passed 50% of the Master of Wine diploma (the tasting half – I still need to complete the essays).


My philosophy on wine is one based on quality: nothing else matters but the quality of the juice in the bottle. I look for wines that are true to type and classic in their flavors. I prefer wines that are fresh, bright and show good fruit/acid balance. I am not a new oak person, feeling that too much wood obscures true regional character. The wines I select are focused and on target. There is nothing more exciting than tasting a wine that hits the mark.


Where are you working currently and how has being a MS supported you in your current role?

I am the owner of Kysela Pere et Fils, Ltd., founded 30 years ago on March 27th, 1994. The MS diploma and the preparation for it provided me with focus and clarity. A valuable skill set for business. Plus, a good deal of creditability.


Where were you working when you passed?

I was working as the National Sales Director for Kermit Lynch Wine Merchants, Berkeley, CA. (April 1987 to April 1992, five years)


What made you want to become an MS?

To challenge myself as a sommelier when I was at Calhoun’s Restaurant in Westlake, Ohio. Plus, to achieve that next level of knowledge. Ron Weigand told me about the program years ago. I read about him, called him, and wanted to excel in the same manner.


What advice do you give those who are pursuing certification?

Focus, concentration, and never give up.


What is your desert island wine, or what wines/beverages are you currently excited about?

Too many great wines on that list. If I had to pick one it would be the 1985 Batard-Montrachet, Grand Cru, Paul Pernot – or a more current vintage.