Catherine Bugué

As co-owner and VP of Education for the Napa Valley Wine Academy, Catherine oversees the largest department, overseeing WSET course delivery, instructors, and the creation of new courses. She is also responsible for hiring and training experts around the globe for the Academy’s eight locations and robust online education programs, as well as instructing advanced-level courses such as the WSET Level 3 and Diploma units. 

“When I teach, it's the lightbulb moments, when a student understands a difficult concept I just explained – best feeling in the world,” Catherine says. “On days when I do not teach (and those are more common now due to leadership responsibilities), it's knowing we can do better, we can always improve something, tweak something, and help our students reach their goals and dreams.”

The Napa Valley Wine Academy is the only wine school in the world to win the Wine & Spirit Education Trust and Riedel’s coveted Best Global Wine Educator of the Year award twice (2016 and 2019). Catherine earned the industry-respected WSET Diploma in 2010 and holds numerous other certifications, including the Napa Valley Wine Academy’s Napa Valley Wine Expert and the American Wine Expert. She also received title credit on an edition of Karen MacNeil’s Wine Lovers Calendar (MacNeil is author of bestseller “The Wine Bible”). 

Previously, Catherine handled international wine accounts for Balzac, where she promoted regions such as Navarra, Rueda, Collio, Franciacorta and Chianti Classico. In addition to her current work, Catherine sits on the Napa Valley Vintners and St Helena Star Tasting Panel and writes about wine for local Napa Valley newspapers. She lives in Napa Valley with her husband (a winemaker) and surf-loving daughter. 

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