Wine-der Woman!

Brianna passes prestigious wine and spirits exam!

After a multi-year journey of intensive study, travel to cities like New York and Boston to sit for exams, and lots (and lots) of tasting, Brianna (Needle) Burns has accomplished what only 10,0061 people have globally: she has earned her Diploma in Wine and Spirits (DWS). This qualification comes from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust, or WSET--an organization based in the United Kingdom that has been training and supporting alcoholic beverage professionals since 1969.

Since 2016, Brianna has completed six different exams covering topics from the global alcohol business, to viticulture and viniculture. There were also four distinct beverage units, which tested her on sparkling wines, fortified wines, spirits, and unfortified wines of the world. In addition to written components, each of these four exams included blind tastings where Brianna had to fully evaluate multiple samples for their type, origin, characteristics, and quality.

Currently the General Manager of The Wine Feed in Durham, Brianna has been with the company since 2014--steadily progressing from the role of Wine Adviser, to Raleigh Store Manager, to her current GM role. The Wine Feed’s owners have supported her studies every step of the way. “We highly value having employees who are not only passionate about wine, but also formally study through reputable organizations like the WSET,” writes Wine Feed co-owner Philip Rubin. The DWS qualification is the last stepping stone to be considered for the even more rigorous Master of Wine, or MW program.

In her role with The Wine Feed, Brianna is able to share her tremendous knowledge with others through frequent wine classes she leads at the Durham store. She also manages purchasing; ensuring the retail and wine bar selections are the most exciting, and highest quality in the Raleigh-Durham region.

So, how do her co-workers and staff feel about her achievement? “We are all so proud of her!” writes Rubin “We had no doubt she would pass with flying colors, and she did not prove us wrong. She’s definitely our Queen B!”

About The Wine Feed

The Wine Feed, a Raleigh-based wine retailer founded in 2011, operates innovative and intimate wine stores and wine bars designed to help customers develop their own taste preferences. The Wine Feed cultivates an appreciation of wine through educational events, personal customer service, international wine tours, and their wine club. Learn more at and connect on social media @TheWineFeed.

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