We're a dynamic group of libations-loving professionals headquartered in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of beautiful Pittsburgh, PA. Our team of experts are committed to bringing you the latest and greatest in the wonderful world of wine and spirits. We provide an exceptional selection of educational courses and private events, as well as an amazing collection of unique and boutique gifts. .
At Palate Partners School of Wine & Spirits we enlighten, excite and educate palates through wine and spirits. Whether consumer or professional, neophyte or connoisseur, our team of highly experienced educators have the knowledge, experience and passion to unveil the wonderful world of wine & spirits.
In 1992 Mike Gonze and Deb Mortillaro created Palate Partners to fill a need in the wine accessory and table top market. Over the years the company has grown and evolved into so much more. Now a major wine and spirit school for both the general public as well as beverage industry professionals, Palate Partners is educating palates in Pittsburgh (and beyond).
In 2015 Mike and Deb completed a goal that they’d been working on for over five years when they bought an amazing building in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh to house their three companies. This purchase played a major role in allowing Palate Partners to become a greater force in the wine and spirits education field.
2015 also brought the ability for Palate Partners to offer internationally recognized WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust) qualification courses. This was another huge step in advancing the company’s role within the wine, spirit and sake education world.
In 2018 Palate Partners hired its first ever ‘Dean of Drinking’ dedicated to accelerating their mission to enlighten, excite and educate palates through wine and spirits. The Dean of Drinking focuses on education, training for the service industry, and making wine a more approachable beverage for the consumer.
Throughout the years, and all the exciting changes, Palate Partners has remained true to its roots offering unique wine accessories and exquisite gifts. Beloved by individuals and business alike, their gift programs have become more sophisticated, offering custom gift boxes handsomely wrapped filled with wine and elegant foods.
Palate Partners continued history will focus on new and dynamic ways to teach and spread the word about wine, spirits, and (of course) providing the best in wine accessories.
Meet The Team
Queen of Quaffing
After 15 years as one of Pittsburgh’s private chefs, Deb decided to dive into the wine business partnering with Mike Gonze of Dreadnought Wines. Her professional drive within not only Dreadnought, but also its two sister businesses Palate Partners and Soiree Partners, ensures customers an amazing experience.
Traveling the world as both a distributor and wine educator, Deb has a truly unique insight into the industry. Her hands-on approach shows through in her teaching, giving students and event-goers a real glimpse into the fun and fabulous world of wines.
Deb’s exceptional wine knowledge, coupled with her culinary prowess brings an expertise to Palate Partners that allows us to give our customers experiences they truly can’t get anywhere else. Want to really see our Queen of Quaffing in her element? Check out one of our Wine & Grilling events. (You can thank us later)
Graduated with honors from the Culinary Institute of America
WSET Level 3 in Wine
WSET Level 3 in Spirits
WSET Level 3 in Sake
Advanced Sake Sommelier
Completed WSET Educator Training Programme.
Connoisseur in Chief
Connoisseur and Chief... The Grand Poobah of Wine... Our fearless leader, Mike Gonze, is a man who wears many hats. As President of Dreadnought Imports, LTD, the successful 35+ year old wine and spirit importing company, he brings an amazing representation of boutique wines and spirits from all over the globe to establishments and consumers here in Pennsylvania.
In 1995 he created Pittsburgh’s premier wine school with his partner Deb Mortillaro helping to educate and expand palates. Mike’s key relationships with winerys and winemakers alike allows Palate Partners to showcase some of the most amazing wine and spirits collections Dreadnought has to offer.
Mike’s extensive knowledge of wine and spirits comes from years and years of studying and traveling to some of the most renowned vineyards and wineries in the world. For a truly fantastic experience, join Deb and Mike for one of their annual international wine trips.
Certified by the Wine Academy of Spain
Certified by French Wine Academy
WSET Level 3 in Wine
WSET Level 1 in Spirits