Born and raised in Bulgaria’s Thrace winegrowing region. Mariya never imagined she was destined to become a wine professional until she moved to the United States.


During her career, she has acquired an intimate understanding of the restaurant industry through diverse roles in top US establishments as Nantucket’s The Pearl, Rebecca’s and L’Escale in Greenwich, CT to Chef Daniel Boulud’s Head Sommelier in Palm Beach, FL.


Her expertise in the beverage and hospitality world is based upon on-hand experience as well as years of education and training leading her to acquire the WSET Diploma in Wine and Spirits, CMS’s Master Sommelier Diploma and currently studying at the Institute of Masters of Wine.


In addition to her Wine and Spirits Expertise, Mariya has accomplished the Master of Business Administration degree from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. While in the program, she was awarded the Shaping Leaders Fellowship as well as the Leadership Initiative Designation.


In her current role as the North America Wine Education Manager for Pernod Ricard, she applies her educational and business experiences to shape the organization’s wine and brand educational approach while gaining a deep understanding of the spirits business sector.


Mariya resides with her husband, Pavel, son, Boris and two border terriers, Ramses and Ziggy in West Palm Beach, FL.


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

I have been working at Pernod Ricard in different capacities for the last eight years.


Where were you working when you passed?

I passed the Master Sommelier exam in 2019 and shortly after I entered a new role in the company as the North America Wine Education Manager. In this position, I contribute to the development and application of the company wine and brand education strategy in USA and Canada. My role also encompasses the development of key positioning strategies and implementation of regional activations for our wine portfolio.  In my first years in US, I worked in restaurants to support my family while preparing for Graduate School. My first hospitality job was at the family restaurant of Master Sommelier Virginia Philip. That is where I received my first formal wine lessons. Virginia ignited my curiosity for the world of wine. With every other hospitality role, my passion for wine grew and soon enough I landed my first Sommelier job at Café Boulud Palm Beach assisting the Head Sommelier, Jenny Benzie with the restaurant beverage program. My quest for learning as much as possible about the beverage industry logically prompted my aim to become an MS.


What made you want to become an MS?

Becoming an MS has given me an intimate knowledge for the beverage and hospitality world one I need to communicate and educate authoritatively about the subject across the value chain. Furthermore, has allowed me to gain deeper understanding of the complex structure of the US three tier system and build incredible network of beverage professionals to work with in our sector.
For all that are pursing the MS diploma,


What advice do you give those who are pursuing certification?

I would like them to remember that is about the journey, to draw their path and to enjoy it. We are all very diverse and have different circumstances in our lives. Therefore, make the best out of it and if you really want the certification stay on target.


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

We are in an industry that is constantly changing, together with the classics I am always on the look out for emerging styles as examples, Argentine Semillon and Cabernet Franc, Tasmanian Sparkling wines, and Hawkes Bay Syrah. Because, behind every tradition is an innovation that has underlined its foundation.