When I moved to California to get married in 1996, my very first weekend was spent with my now husband at an event in the Russian River Valley called "From Grapes to Glass." As consumers, we spent the morning in the vineyards with the grape growers and the afternoon in the winery with the wine makers. Over the years we attended the same event many times and met people like Joe Rochioli and Merry Edwards getting to ask them questions, learn from them and know them a little. I liked knowing who was making the wines I loved, and later sharing both the wines and their stories over dinners with friends. I also realized that I needed to figure out a way to change my career so that I could learn more about wine, visit more wineries and meet more amazing people. That first California weekend started a whole new life for me leading me to this wonderful world of wines.
I was out looking for a wedding venue after that first weekend and found not only a site for the celebration but a part-time job as well. I began working in a tasting room in Livermore selling wine directly to the visiting public while sharing wine experiences, recipes and food and wine pairings. Later, I was working in distribution sales for a winery in Napa where most of my interactions were with distributors, retailers and restaurants in the US and internationally. This was at a time when direct to consumer sales were made not only in the tasting room, but via the winery website and wine club. The growth of the internet has truly changed our industry. Consumers like you and me were able to buy and discover wine like never before, by having a direct relationship with the producer. To me, fundamentally, the wine industry is about relationships - connecting people, food and wine, conversation and laughter.
I started Mondiale Wines after over twenty years in the wine business as a way to connect the consumer and imported wine producers more directly. It’s easy enough for an American wine consumer to visit a winery, join a wine club or purchase wine on a winery website. But what about imported wines? To most people, there is no connection. But I’ve been lucky. I have met so many international winemakers, growers, sommeliers and others that are truly passionate about wine and this industry. I am fortunate to have made many friendships around the world. I wanted to share these stories and the wines of unique small, family-owned wineries as well as those experiences spent around a table. I wanted to bring people together in a unique and meaningful way with wine.
Mondiale Wines is an international wine import, wholesale and retail company based in the San Francisco Bay Area. I'm also the founder and President of Mondiale Wine Marketing, an international wine sales and marketing consultancy. I have taken on many advisory roles with my consultancy, including at a small winery in Burgundy, France. Given my background, it was a dream come true to live and work for a year in Burgundy.
Before starting my own business, I was Vice President of Marketing and Brand Management for the Wilson Daniels Terroir Collection and Private Client Group. My focus was the day-to-day marketing and business management of sales to private clients, wholesale partners, restaurants and retailers for the prestigious Burgundy portfolio, including Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and Domaine Leflavie. As part of the Terroir Collection, I was also responsible for the brand management of the rest of the import wines in the portfolio, including Domaine Laroche, Pierre Sparr, Château Simard, Clau de Nell, Chêne Bleu and Tardieu-Laurent from France, as well as Ceretto, Bibi Gretz, Tenuta di Biserno, Volpaia and Prelius from Italy. I loved working with producers from all over the world and consumers from all over the US.
Before joining Wilson Daniels, I was Vice President of Wine Sourcing and Sales at Vinfolio, an e-commerce wine auction and retail operation in San Francisco. Prior to joining Vinfolio, I was the General Manager at Broadbent Selections Inc., a boutique wine importing company in San Francisco. My previous positions in the wine industry include tenures as Export Manager for the United Kingdom and Ireland for Constellation Wines US, International Sales Manager for St. Supéry Vineyards & Winery, and District Sales Manager for Henry Wine Group. Before joining the wine industry, I was Director of International Trade Services for a law firm in Washington, DC and was the first non-lawyer to be elected partner in a firm of 300 attorneys. It was there that I met my husband, a client, and left my practice to move to California and get married.
I earned a Wine MBA from BEM – Bordeaux Management School, now the KEDGE Business School, where I have lectured many classes on the US wine market. In addition to teaching, I enjoy learning and had spent several years working on the challenge of becoming a Master of Wine while also participating in the US Court of Master Sommeliers study program at the Advanced level. I have a Master’s degree in International Transactions from George Mason University and a Bachelor’s degree in International Studies and Political Science from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
I first fell in love with wine while spending my junior year of college studying French in Strasbourg, France and visiting wineries in Alsace. I live in Danville, California with my husband, Bob and our two cats, Bella and Bruno, named after the winemaker Bruno Giacosa.
Wine has always been a world of discovery for me – food, travel, friends and conversation. I hope you’ll join me on this journey through our world of wines.