Laura DePasquale, MS began her career in hospitality for a fast food chain but quickly moved into fine dining. Her first serious introduction to wine was in NYC and Miami Beach where she worked as a bartender, waiter, Beverage Director and eventually a sommelier. She was recruited by Palm Bay International in 2001 as an Italian Wine Specialist in Florida while pursuing the Master Sommelier Diploma.


Quickly she moved up the ranks through Palm Bay to Director of Business Development and National Fine Wine Sales Director. In 2004, she achieved the Master Sommelier Diploma. Committing to “breaking the glass ceiling” and becoming a role model for women in the wine industry, she was promoted in 2008 to Vice President Fine Wine and earned her first seat at an executive table.


Laura was recruited by The Country Vintner in 2011 to take over and lead the turn around of Stacole Fine Wines, the company’s fine wine distributor in Florida. She quickly became SVP Southeast adding SC and GA to her responsibilities.


Presently, Laura is the Senior Vice President Artisanal Wines for Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of America. Laura joined SGWS in 2015 and began a pilot division in Florida specifically focused on the importation and distribution of boutique and artisanal wines. Proof of concept lead to the expansion of the Domaine & Estates Divisions nationally and her promotion in 2021 to senior leadership over the entire SGWS network.


Laura is an active examiner, lecturer and member of CMS-Americas serving as former Vice Chair and a former Board Member. Currently she serves as a mentor to many emerging leaders in both hospitality and distribution. She is a Board Member for ASI USA and Vice Chair of the Women’s Leadership Council for WSWA.
Laura lives in Miami, FL and Savannah, GA with her husband and rescue dogs.


What made you want to become an MS?

When I took my Introductory Level Class for CMS, I knew immediately that I would pursue the Master Sommelier Diploma. So many lightbulbs exploded in my head and connections of subjects I loved collided into a glass of wine. I also understood that no matter how much I knew, I could and would never know everything. It is a life of being a constant student.


What advice do you give those who are pursuing certification?

For those pursuing certification, understand that there will be bumps along the road. Also understand that certification in wine is only one part of a professional journey. Business skills, giving back, graciousness, hospitality and paving the way for others are of paramount importance to a successful career. While the majority of my career and certainly success have been on the business side of wine, personal touch and quick thinking all learned while I was in hospitality have been part of my brand and core values for every position I’ve earned and for those people I lead.