Wine Certificate Scholarship


The vinNEBRASKA Foundation, in partnership with the Omaha Restaurant Association, is offering scholarships for aspiring wine professionals from Nebraska for the Introductory and Certified Examinations through the Court of Master Sommeliers. These scholarships will be offered as reimbursement after successful completion of the exam. Successful applicants must be willing to be featured on the vinNEBRASKA Foundation website and social media as well as the Omaha Restaurant Association website and social media.


Local industry experience


Nebraska resident or proof of employment at Nebraska establishment


Pay for and successfully complete introductory exam


complete form below


willing to share name and likeness with vinnebraska and OMaha Restaurant Association

Wine Certificate Scholarship Recipients

2023 Recipients


Kiley is one of the level 1 Sommeliers at Casa Bovina Lincoln, NE. With an infectious passion for exploring the world of grapes and vines, Kiley has a knack for discovering hidden gems and savoring the finest of flavors. When not drinking wine, talking about wine or studying wine, Kiley enjoys watching horror movies, reading a variety of books, cross stitching and spending time with her fiancé, 3 dogs, and 2 lizards.

Sydney Kading-Spear

Sydney was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, and has been here her whole life with the exception of a 6 year stint in Chicago, where she fell in love with wine. In Chicago, she worked at a neighborhood wine shop and got her WSET 2. Currently, she manages Corkscrew Wine & Cheese in Blackstone, and can’t wait to continue her wine education.¬†

Tyler Schaeffer

Originally from Las Vegas, Tyler’s first introduction to wine and wine service was as a bartender during college in Grinnell, IA. After graduation, he decided to continue his career in the beverage industry by moving to Miami, FL to work in fine dining. Here he worked at Senora Martinez, focusing on Spanish cuisine and wine.

From Miami, Tyler moved to Los Angeles, CA to further his knowledge of craft cocktails and service. Spending time behind several bars, his most formative years were spent at the Roger Room under the mentorship of Damian Windsor. Forming a partnership with Windsor, Tyler moved to Omaha, NE in 2017 to open his own concept, a craft cocktail bar named Inkwell.

With Inkwell operating successfully, Tyler began building the beverage program for several other Omaha restaurants and morphed into the role of Beverage Director for Barstow Hospitality Partners (BHP) in 2020. It was at this juncture that his interested in wine began to ramp up and he successfully completed his Introductory Sommelier Course in 2023 and his Certified Exams in 2024 through the Court of Master Sommeliers.

Tyler currently continues to operate as the Beverage Director and Sommelier at both Inkwell and the BHP concepts expanding into Milwaukee, Cincinati, and Chicago.

Preston Prauner

2024 Recipients

Jillian Bailey

I have been in the service industry since I was 16. The past 9 years have been in fine dining, which is where my love for wine first began. I have been cultivating my knowledge and appreciation for the wine industry ever since. The past two years in my life have changed immensely–getting married and having my son. I have been so lucky to find an opportunity to work for a place like Corkscrew that encourages continuing education and developing lasting relationships with customers. Obtaining my Introductory Certificate will allow me to provide exceptional service to my guests for years to come.

Trace Chrisman

I started off my journey in the restaurant world at 16, scrubbing dishes and working my way up through kitchen and front-of-house roles throughout high school and early college. While studying Food Science and Technology at UNL, I found my niche in fermentation and mycology studies, and focused a lot of my attention towards those subjects. Post-college, I combined my passions of fermentation and restaurant service by becoming a craft beer server at The Happy Raven. I worked there for a little over a year before I decided I wanted to pursue a job involving wine. I was hired to help in the wine department of the newly opened Wine Beer and Spirits, and quickly figured out I had a lot to learn to be successfull with such a large selection. I spent two years there, trying wines from across the globe and spending a lot of my free time studying. At the beginning of 2023, determined to learn more about the industry outside of retail, I started working as a sales rep for Good Life Provisions, a local beverage distributor focused on small craft producers of beer and wine. My goal is to continue working back through the levels of this industry until I am either producing my own wine, or importing other people’s amazing bottles into the states!