Q & A with Michelle Pae, Vice President of National Accounts
Terlato Wines International
Terlato Wines International recently promoted Michelle Pae to Vice President of National Accounts, from her previous position as Senior Director of National Accounts. Michelle joined Terlato Wines International (TWI) in December 2007 and is responsible for leading Terlato’s efforts to assist national restaurants and hotel customers in building their luxury wine business. Pae came to TWI from Darden Restaurants, where she directed beverage strategies for Olive Garden Restaurants. During her eight years at Olive Garden, Pae was on the team that spearheaded the chain’s acclaimed “Dine with Wine” program, resulting in one of the most successful wine sales programs ever at a U.S. restaurant chain.
Additionally, Pae is a past president and active member of the Millennium Group, an association of major national on-premise chains. She was recognized by Wine Enthusiast magazine as its Wine Person of the Year and was featured on the magazine’s cover. Pae has also been recognized by Cheers magazine for developing the Best Wine Program of the Year and received the publication’s Best Specialty Drink award.
“I am proud to be a part of Terlato Wines International, as leader of National Accounts On-Premise,” said Pae. “Restaurants are expanding their wine-by-the-glass programs with high quality wines. I’m very excited that our focus at Terlato is on high quality wines, with more 90+ rated wines than any other wine company in the world. I am able capitalize on Terlato’s rich brand portfolio to develop a formidable national account team and on-premise strategy.”
in the Mix caught up with Michelle and asked a few questions.
ITM – TERLATO CERTAINLY HAS A GREAT PORTFOLIO; IN FACT, YOU CALL IT THE “WORLD’S GREATEST WINE LIST.” CARE TO EXPOUND ON THAT?
MP – When you look at the number of brands and varietals in our portfolio, it is very easy to find wines for every category on a wine list. A label says much about a wine, but our portfolio says even more – we have 334 wines, 104 appellations, 26 winemakers, 11 countries – making us one exceptional wine company.
ITM – I LOVE THE WAY YOUR WEBSITE SHOWS ALL YOUR PRODUCTS IN A WINE LIST LAYOUT. DO YOU HAVE ANY COMMENTS ON THAT?
MP – We have a very friendly website that is easy to navigate, find interesting fun facts about our wineries, wine makers, varietals, and wine ratings. The site includes a wine finder so you know where you can buy the wine in the zip code where you live (both in restaurants and retail stores), and it has a lot of rich history and background about what makes our wineries special. We have mini wine courses and a direct link to our executive chef to ask about food and wine pairing and obtain some great recipes for friends and family.
ITM – WHAT CATEGORY OF WINE DO YOU THINK IS MOST OVERLOOKED ON NATIONAL ACCOUNTS WINE LISTS?
MP – Sparkling/Champagne by the glass – many national accounts will sell one or two choices by the glass and they’re typically lower-end. With the growth of the prosecco category, I think we as an industry can help our National Account customers make “bubbles” more approachable, especially as French champagne rises in price. There are alternatives that are affordable, flavorful, and mixable in fun sparkling cocktails that can be enjoyed on a daily basis instead of just for celebrating.
ITM – WHAT ONE THING DO YOU THINK ACCOUNTS COULD DO TO SELL MORE WINE?
MP – Offer samples, to take the risk out of their customers’ selection process. Customers are more likely to explore with high-end wines by the glass if they are “sure” they will like it. I also believe you have to build a culture internally with your management and frontline team members, provide them with knowledge, innovation/news, and take the intimidation out of wine for our younger team members. And lastly – have fun!