Growing up in the Loire Valley and detouring from a master’s in philosophy and a career as a university teacher, Pascaline Lepeltier began her obsession with wine at the two star Michelin-rated L’Auberge Bretonne under celebrated Chef Jacques Thorel. Within a year, Pascaline was named both Best Loire Valley Young Sommelier and Best Brittany Sommelier.
While working as Beverage Director at Rouge Tomate in Brussels, she interned at the George V in Paris under the direction of Best European Sommelier and Best World Sommelier runner-up Eric Beaumard. Promoted to the position of Beverage Director for the Rouge Tomate flagship in New York, she moved to Manhattan in 2009. Within months, she was named one of the five best new US sommeliers of 2011 by Wine & Spirits, one of the “New Wine Prophets” by Time Out NY, one of the “40 under 40” beverage influencers by Wine Enthusiast and called the “Natural Wine Evangelist” by Ray Isle in Food & Wine. The NY Times awarded her Rouge Tomate wine list as one of the best in NYC in 2013, and The World of Fine Wine awarded it “Best Long Wine List in the World 2017” and “Wine List of the Year 2017.”
In March 2018, she joined Arnaud Tronche and David Lillie as managing partner in Racines NYC, one of the top wine destinations in the US, with acclaimed chef Diego Moya at the helm of the kitchen. She overlooks with Mr Tronche a 2500+ wine list focusing on “vins de vignerons”, mostly organic, biodynamic and natural.
In 2014, Pascaline passed the Master Sommelier Diploma, and in 2018, she won 2 more major titles in her homeland: she is now a laureate of “Un des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France - Sommellerie” and Best French Sommelier 2018. In January 2019, the famous French magazine La Revue du Vin de France awarded her “Personality of the Year 2019”, the first woman to be given this prestigious recognition.
Spending as much time possible in vineyards and working harvests, she created in 2016 with winemaker Nathan Kendall, chëpìka, a wine project to rediscover the potential of organically-grown natives grapes and sparkling wines in the Finger Lakes.
She has written for various prominent wine guides and books in France – including The World of Fine Wine, Art of Eating and Wine & Spirits. Since April 2019, she has a monthly column in La Revue du Vin de France.
She teaches with the Wine Scholar Guild and the Wine Education Council, and instructs with the Court of Master Sommeliers and at the International Culinary Center in Manhattan, NY. She had lectured in preeminent wine congresses in North America: IPNC in Oregon, TexSom in Texas, RAW Wine Fair in NY, Terroir Symposium in Toronto, Tasting Climate Change in Montreal.
Her first book collaboration with acclaimed author Alice Feiring, The Dirty Guide to Wine, was released in June 2017 by Countryman Press. Since then, she published with photographer Hélène de Fontainieu a photography book dedicated to the work of Tessa Laroche in Savennières, Domaine aux Moines, A Year in the Heart of the Loire Valley Vineyard (Editions de l’Entre-Coeur.). She is preparing her first solo book, to be published in 2021.