Laura has directed Italian and German wine imports and sales across the 50 US states and worked as Chef Sommelier of Jean-Georges which held Michelin Three-Star, New York Times Four-Star status during her tenure. She was also Beverage Director of Mandarin Oriental – NYC, a Forbes Five Star resort property and was contracted to open Aman Resort, NYC as a consulting Beverage Director for all venues (Nama Japanese Restaurant, Arva Italian Restaurant, 3 bars, in-room dining and the 350 private club membership).


Where are you working currently and how has being a MS supported you in your current role?

I am Director and Owner of Unlock Your Palate, Inc, a consulting business that aids appellations and producers in marketing, sales, key-account placements, product launch strategy and business analytics, as well as consumer and industry education.


Where were you working when you passed?

I was a floor manager at Larkspur Restaurant in Vail, CO, as there were only a couple of sommelier positions out of the 100+ restaurants throughout the Vail Valley, and all were filled with long-time hires.


What made you want to become an MS?

When I moved to Paris, France for my first two years of college, I became an au-pair for a diplomat family. I became intrigued watching them pull dust-covered bottles from the cellar, decant as if the bottle were the most coveted piece of art they owned, and then witness silence as the group hushed their political banter from being mesmerized by the wine. I had never seen anything like this, especially since I grew up in a dry county in Arkansas, so I vowed to learn more about this prestigious beverage that captured attention because I was awestruck by its power and felt it had to be special.


What advice do you give those who are pursuing certification?

Set a calendar in motion with all anticipated study plugged in (blind tasting, theory, service AND review) in as organized and realistic a manner as possible reflecting your targeted timeline for achieving success. Then adhere to your roadmap with the same seriousness (or more) as you would when approaching your job. This process allows helps to uncover the truth regarding the full dedication required to achieve your goal while also holding you to your determined timeline.


What is your desert island wine, or what wines/beverages are you currently excited about?

Any Vauversin Champagne from Oger