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Be unique. Be educational. Be passionate. Be reliable. Be purposeful. But above all else, be unexpected.
Started in 1980 by Bob Gonze and Shawn Beck the mission of Dreadnought Wines was to bring new and exciting specialty and gourmet wines to Pittsburgh, while providing an alternate method of purchasing through the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s system. Unlike the PLCB, Bob and Shawn wanted to offer the public wine tastings, knowledgeable advice and credit card acceptance, innovative ideas that were immediately challenged by the State. As a result, they named the company Dreadnought Imports LTD after a class of English ships which were originally designed to navigate turbulent waters.
In 1986 Mike Gonze, the current President, purchased the company, continued its mission and established a truly unique enterprise. In 1992 he moved the business to it‘s current location and partnered with Deb Mortillaro, owner of a retail store, The Butler’s Secret, to expand the non-wine component of the business by adding wine accessories and Riedel stemware. Responding to the demands of their clients, in 1995 Mike and Deb created Palate Partners to market their gift baskets and in that same year, launched a thriving monthly Wine Club. The PLCB has followed many of Dreadnought’s leads and now offers wine club memberships and accepts credit cards; however, they continue to fall short in the area of wine education.
Providing limited production wines to Pittsburgh’s premiere restaurants, catering companies and the general public, Dreadnought continues it’s mission of educating the public, realizing that an informed wine consumer is their best customer. By partnering with catering companies and creating innovative wine and food programs, they consistently reinforce the belief that informed wine selection is an integral factor in successful entertaining. Owner Gonze teaches classes, delivers seminars and performs tastings throughout the Pittsburgh area and beyond. Continually visiting new wineries, Dreadnought’s list includes French, Argentinian, Italian, Australian and American Wines that are appreciated by wine connoisseurs both locally and throughout the United States.