Wayne Belding grew up in the mid-Hudson Valley of New York, now, ironically, a burgeoning wine-producing area. After earning a degree in geology, he moved to Colorado and found his way into the oil fields of the U.S. as a geologist. Along the way, he became fascinated with wine, and when the energy boom went bust, used that opportunity to transform his avocation into his vocation.
After earning an MBA from the University of Colorado, he was an award-winning Sommelier at the Heritage Hotel in Denver with its Wine Spectator Grand Award-winning wine cellar. In 1990, he became the 13th American to pass the demanding Master Sommelier examination. Since that time he has been active in teaching and examining at all levels of the Master Sommelier program throughout the United States and beyond. He served as Education Director of the American Chapter of the Court of Master Sommeliers for 9 years and as Chairman of the American Chapter of the Court of Master Sommeliers for 3 years.
He has taught wine appreciation classes for over 25 years and written many articles on all aspects of wine. He has been a frequent local, national, and international wine competition judge. He has also been a featured speaker at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, The Telluride Wine Festival, The Taste of Vail and the Rocky Mountain Wine and Food Festival. He has taught professional wine service classes throughout North America. From 1986 – 2010, he was an owner of The Boulder Wine Merchant, a very successful retail store in Boulder, Colorado.