Ironically, Heath Porter grew
up in a dry county in North Alabama, under a roof where alcohol was
not allowed. He started his food and beverage career at the ripe
age of 15, washing dishes at a truck stop. After high school he
moved to Hawaii at age 18, and in the next few years worked in
every position in a restaurant setting; from cook, busser, server,
all the way up the ladder. Eventually he began reading about wine
and attending tastings to develop his palate, all as a means to
gain better shifts as a waiter and bartender. He quickly fell in
love with the concept of food and wine and was the winner of the
Best Young Sommelier competition, Pacific region, and finalist in
the 2004 National Chaine des Rotisseurs Young Sommelier
Competition. He worked as a wine steward in Honolulu then rose to
General Manager and Wine Director at W Hotel's Diamond Head
In 2006 Porter built Sea Island's wine collection as the
lone sommelier for the Cloister. He selected the inventory, trained
a food and beverage team of 150 and restructured the resort's
overall wine training. He also oversaw the entire Wine &
Spirits program for over 4 years which resulted in the only resort
in the world to obtain 20 Mobil/Forbes stars in the same year,
Heath has achieved many accolades in his profession and
last year in 2009 passed the third level of testing administered by
the Court of Master sommeliers. This accreditation leaves Porter as
an advanced level sommelier with one test remaining to the master's
level. In the last 5 years Heath has personally trained over 30
people to the first level sommelier certificate and 3 others to the
certified sommelier level. When he's not assisting guests or
facilitating special wine events, Porter contributes to various
publications, orchestrates wine events for charities, or can be
found personally scouring the world's great wine regions for new
offerings, from Sonoma to Burgundy to Piedmont or Austria. Porter
has twice served as guest sommelier for the annual World of Pinot
Noir and the largest charity wine event in the nation, the Naples
Winter wine festival and Auction.
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James Monroe visited White Sulphur Springs with his wife in August 1815 while he was Secretary of State. His physician ordered him to “take the waters” to regain his health.
Ulysses S. Grant visited White Sulphur Springs in 1874. It was a brief visit early in the season as he was traveling west by railroad.
Woodrow Wilson spent his Easter vacation in April 1914 at The Greenbrier. He played golf on the Old White Course. He also divided his December 1915 honeymoon with Edith Bolling Galt between The Greenbrier and The Homestead.
William Howard Taft vacationed at White Sulphur Springs during his 1908 campaign for the presidency. He was feted at a grand ball in the ballroom of the Old White Hotel.
Dwight D. Eisenhower hosted the North American Summit Conference at The Greenbrier March 26-28, 1956. He was also at the resort three times in World War II when The Greenbrier was used as an Army hospital. Once he was admitted as a patient and the other times he was here with Mrs. Eisenhower for rest and relaxation.