KANSAS CITY, MO (June 23, 2021) – Best USA Sommelier Association (BUSA), a not-for-profit created by top industry professionals to support and promote the role of the sommelier in the United States, will host their first Preliminary Competition on August 9. The top performers from the August Preliminaries will compete in the U.S. Semi-Finals this Fall 2021. The top six sommelier qualifiers are eligible to compete in the U.S. Championships at the end of January 2022. The top two finishers will represent the U.S. team in the 2022 Americas Top Sommelier Competition in Santiago, Chile. Registration for qualified sommeliers who want to take the exam on August 9 is now open; click here to submit an application. All 2021 BUSA Competitions will be held online.
“We are thrilled to announce that registration is open to support our U.S. sommelier community in their national and global pursuit of excellence,” said Doug Frost, President of BUSA. “The top qualifiers from our August Preliminary round will have an opportunity to compete at a premier level of competition in Santiago, Chile for the Americas title, and from there to progress to the Best Sommelier in the World Finals in 2023.”
Frost also acknowledged the addition of new BUSA Board members: “To support our mission to promote the U.S sommelier community with the highest standards of excellence in education, training, and ethical conduct, we are also delighted to welcome new Board members Laura DePasquale, MS, Helen Gregory, Douglass Miller and Cheryl Stanley. Congratulations are due to our entire Board for helping to advance our goals and reaching this first competition milestone.”
BUSA is licensed as an independent not-for-profit, operating as a 501C6-approved LLC. The BUSA Board is comprised of leading sommeliers and trade professionals committed to the highest standards of excellence in education, training and ethical conduct. Board members include Sara d’Amato, Laura DePasquale, MS, Alejandro Ferris (Secretary), Doug Frost MS, MW (President), Evan Goldstein MS (Treasurer), Helen Gregory, Alexander LaPratt MS, Douglass Miller, Véronique Rivest (Vice-President) and Cheryl Stanley.
Please see below to meet the new Board members of BUSA. For more information about Best USA Sommelier Association (BUSA), and to schedule an interview with Doug Frost, President, reach out to Helen Gregory at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.BestUSASommelier.com, the official website for membership details and organization guidelines.
MEET OUR NEW BOARD MEMBERS
To view all members of the Board visit: BestUSASommelier.com/Board
Laura DePasquale, MS
Vice President/General Manager Art Fine Wine Florida,
A Division of Southern Glazers Wine & Spirits
Laura DePasquale, MS is the VP/General Manager for the Artisanal Fine Wine Division for Southern Glazers Wine & Spirits – Florida. ART is an innovative and new concept in wholesale for SGWS dedicated to small wineries, new trends and brand development combining a smaller lighter approach to the market with educational events and consultative selling. DePasquale joined SGWS-Florida in 2015. She is the first female VP/GM in the SGWS network. Prior to joining SGWS Florida, DePasquale led Stacole Fine Wines in Florida, Quality Wines in Georgia and The Country Vintner in South Carolina. Previously she was Vice President of Fine Wine Development for Palm Bay International. DePasquale was elected to the Board of Directors of the Court of Master Sommeliers in 2010 and served as the first female Vice-Chair for three years and a Board Member for 5 years. Currently she is the USA Board Member for the AgriWEB of Collisioni based in Piedmont headed by the renowned author and Italian wine expert, Dr. Ian D’Agata and a Certified Italian Wine Expert.
Founder/President Gregory + Vine
BUSA Board member Helen Gregory has worked in strategic branding and communications for the beverage and hospitality industry for over 20 years. She is the Founder/President of Gregory + Vine, a lifestyle and digital marketing agency representing a dynamic client list that includes CIVB/Vins de Bordeaux, D.O. Rías Baixas, Viña Don Melchor, Hammeken Cellars, MGP Brands and DAOU Family Estates. Helen was previously the communications manager for ICEX/Wines from Spain and a brand management team leader at Kobrand Corporation, overseeing Maison Louis Jadot. Her agency work has encompassed strategic campaigns for Moët Hennessy USA, Rémy Cointreau, STOLI and Constellation Brands, as well as multi-annual regional programs for D.O. Ribera del Duero, Prosecco Superiore and Vins de Sud de France. A graduate of Princeton University with a B.A. in Politics/Economics and a recipient of the prestigious Jean Monnet Fellowship in Business from the Ecole Polytéchnique in Paris, Helen speaks French, Spanish, and Italian. Helen actively supports equity and inclusion initiatives as a corporate member of Women of the Vine & Spirits and received a Woman of the Year Award for Excellence in Marketing from the National Association of Women. Gregory + Vine is certified with WBENC, the gold standard for women-owned businesses in the U.S.
Douglass Miller has over 30 years of industry experience in restaurants, hotels, resorts, and education. He has worked around the country, including Las Vegas, San Francisco, New York City, Hawaii, Santa Barbara, CA, Philadelphia, and Washington DC for Four Seasons Resorts and Hotels, Wyndham Hotels, Marriott, and several independent companies. He is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), SUNY Empire State College, and University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he holds a Master’s of Hospitality Administration. Currently, he is a food and beverage management lecturer at the SC Johnson College of Business, School of Hotel Administration (SHA). Before Cornell University, he was a professor of hospitality and service management at the CIA. Mr. Miller is a Certified Specialist of Spirits (CSS); Society of Wine Educators, Certified Beer Server; Cicerone, and has taken the Introductory Sommelier Course; The Court of Master Sommeliers. He has been interviewed by the Associated Press, The New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, Nation’s Restaurant News, and National Public Radio.
Cheryl Stanley is a lecturer in food and beverage management at The Hotel School, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business at Cornell University. Being involved with food since the age of 10 with her own chocolate business, “Cheryl’s Chocolates”, she loves the food and beverage industry. She received her Master of Science degree from Texas Tech’s College of Human Sciences in Hospitality and Retail Management and her Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration. Upon graduation, she continued this enthusiasm for beverages and food service in both hotel and restaurant operations in California where she worked for Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and independent restaurants, as well as a wine retail store. Continuing her entrepreneurial journey, Ms. Stanley started her own restaurant consulting company specializing in beverage menu development, service standards, and employee training. She is the faculty advisor for Cornell Cuvée, the blind wine-tasting competition team, which has won first place at multiple international wine competitions. In 2017, Ms. Stanley was selected as one of Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s 40 under 40 Tastemakers.