ABOUT DREADNOUGHT WINES
DREADNOUGHT WINES HISTORY
April 1st, 1980 (yes, we know) Dreadnought Wines was created by two wild and crazy guys from Alaska, who thought privatization of wine sales would happen at any moment. They brought in boutique wines not available in the PLCB stores. This gave Pittsburgh wine enthusiasts a way to buy new and interesting wines from an informed retailer in a funky space.
In 1986 Mike Gonze, the current President, purchased Dreadnought Wines, continued its mission of selling boutique interesting wines from around the world to the public. In 1992, he partnered with Deb Mortillaro, and launched The Butler’s Secret, a retail store, 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 to promote wine appreciation classes. In 2015 Dreadnought Wines moved to a larger facility in the Lawrenceville section of Pittsburgh to accommodate the growing number of students who were anxious to learn more about wine.
Several experts teach wine appreciation classes, deliver seminars and conduct corporate events throughout the Pittsburgh area and beyond.
As Mike and Deb travel and visit new wineries, Dreadnought Wine’s selection expands with wines from around the world, which are appreciated by wine connoisseurs both locally and throughout the United States.
In 2009, Mike and Deb started Soiree Partners delivery service so that Dreadnought Wine’s sought after wines could be legally transported to weddings, corporate events, and restaurants in Pittsburgh and in Philadelphia. Soiree’s personalized service ensures that corporate or personal event will be worry free. For Soiree’s commercial customers, we take away the time and risk associated with transportation of liquor.
To this day, Dreadnought Wines continues its mission of educating the public, and selling unique wines from around the world realizing that an informed wine consumer is our best customer.
Our Family of Companies:
President of Dreadnought Imports, LTD, the successful 35+ year old wine and spirit importing company representing boutique wines and spirits from around the world. Mike is co-owner of Palate Partners. Mike has studied wine in the US and abroad. WSET Level 3 in wine, WSET Level 1 in spirits, certified by French Wine Academy and the Wine Academy of Spain.
Deb moved into the wine business after 15 years as a private chef. Her professional drive within not only Dreadnought Wines but also in the other two companies (Palate Partners and Soiree Partners) housed on 3401 Liberty Avenue offers any customer the best experience. Graduated with honors from the Culinary Institute of America, WSET Level 3 in wine, WSET Level 1 in spirits. Completed WSET Educator Training Program.
PHILLY CONNECTION, SALES
After attending Davidson College and a career in advertising, John Toler chose to follow his dream of owning a restaurant and graduated from Philadelphia’s The Restaurant School (now Walnut Hill College). During that process, he realized his passion for wine and learned that he had a keen palate. He managed a few restaurants in Philadelphia before taking a position with Total Wine based in his home state of Delaware. At the time, Total Wine was an emerging retail operation with three large stores but, with Toler as the Senior Wine Manager, it expanded into five states with 13 stores within four years. He then moved to the distribution side of the industry and accepted a position with New York based Lauber Imports as the person to spearhead their entry into the Pennsylvania market. He has been a Wine Distributor in Pennsylvania and Delaware for seventeen years. When he’s not selling (or drinking) wine, he is an accomplished singer and pianist.
Lauren is the Gifting Guru that keeps on giving. Recently graduating with her BSBA in Marketing & Human Resources, she brings fresh insight as well as several years of exceptional customer service to the team.
She uses her personality and creativity to provide unique and boutique gifts for our corporate and private customers alike. Not only does Lauren hand-craft many of our amazing boxes and baskets herself, she also runs everyone’s favorite Wine of the Every Other Month Club!
SPECIAL SERVICES COORDINATOR
With over 17 years of hospitality experience, Carrie assists in several areas of coordination, oversees office management and special services for Dreadnought Wines. She is WSET Wine Level one and Spirits level one certified. She’s another helping hand and educated team member to our customers!
PITTSBURGH CONNECTION, SALES
Selling wine for 19 years, Jerry joined Dreadnought wines in 2019. Before selling wine, he worked in the restaurant industry for 14 years. Going from busing tables, to becoming a waiter to a corporate trainer with TGI Friday’s to various restaurant management positions, Jerry fell in love with wine through his experience in the field.
Broadening his career into wine sales, Jerry blossomed from a first time student to an expert after his 21st birthday attending a wine tasting class through CCAC.
Passing his love for wine onto my his daughter and fiancé; he enjoys my evenings of drinking wine with them over dinner. If he is not selling wine to the Pittsburgh market, he enjoys his other passion of being a photographer. Owner of a small photography business, Jerrys work has won awards and been published in several media platforms.
MASTER OF MARKETING
After bouncing between the Fashion and Beauty industries in New York and San Francisco, Ashley landed here with us in The ‘Burgh.
She brings almost a decade of Public Relations, Social Media and Marketing experience to the team. Her eye for design and fast-paced work-style keep us all on track and looking our best.
When our bi-coastal branding addict isn’t busy being our biggest cheerleader you can find her rummaging through her collections of vinyl records and vintage decor
SCHOOL OF WINE & SPIRITS
CLASSES, EVENTS, GIFTS
& ROOM RENTALS
WE BRING THE BAR
DISTRIBUTOR & DELIVERIES