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:

MEET THE TEAM

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MIKE GONZE

MIKE GONZE

PRESIDENT

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 MORTILLARO

DEB MORTILLARO

OWNER, PARTNER

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.

   

ROB McCAUGHEY

ROB McCAUGHEY

SPIRITED EDUCATOR, SALES

What can we say about our British interloper!  Rob grew up in London and was faced with a choice of a law degree or a life in the booze business.  Needless to say he chose the latter and has spent the last 20 years gallivanting the globe in the hospitality and beverage industries.  Rob has worked throughout Europe, Asia and the Middle East and brings an international perspective and a wealth of knowledge to our team.

Rob’s certifications include: WSET Level 3 Award in Wines and Spirits as well as Level 2 Award in Spirits (with distinction); Certified Specialist in Spirits with the Society of Wine Educators; Advanced Bartender graduate of the United States Bartender Guild’s Master Accreditation Program

   

JOHN TOLER

JOHN TOLER

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.

   

KATHY FORBES

KATHY FORBES

HAPPINESS COORDINATOR

Kathy makes people happy! Happiness comes in a basket or a meticulously wrapped box. Wine and cheese or wine and wine paraphernalia, all have the right qualities for letting someone know that you are thinking of them. Kathy makes you look good! She also does buying for the retail store, where you can find something for everyone. For example, one can purchase a rubber chicken wine bottle stopper or a Coravin for that special oenophile. She knows how to seek out the truly unique. Kathy also runs our Wine-of–the-Month program. Contact her for that perfect gift idea.

   

CARRIE ROBERTSON

CARRIE ROBERTSON

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!

   

CHRISTY KOHSER

CHRISTY KOHSER

SCHOOL COORDINATOR

Christy left a career in Advertising in Pittsburgh to follow her passion for food and wine in New York City to pursue her Masters degree in Food Studies from New York University. She brings close to 10 years food and wine events experience back to the Burgh and to Palate Partners, where she focuses on marketing, public relations and events coordination.

   

PALATE PARTNERS
SCHOOL OF WINE & SPIRITS

CLASSES, EVENTS, GIFTS
& ROOM RENTALS 

 

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SOIREE PARTNERS
WE BRING THE BAR

EVENT, LICENSEE,
DISTRIBUTOR & DELIVERIES

 

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“My wife and I LOVE your wines so much we have stopped buying from anyone else. Keep up the great work!”

– Maria & Neil, Pittsburgh, PA

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