Cara De Lavallade
An Advanced Sommelier with over a decade of experience in the wine industry, Cara is a true wine professional. Formally educated and with years of experience on restaurant floors , she crafts and promotes unique, sophisticated beverage programs that drive sales and complement food. She has the expertise and perspective to create wine and beverage programs for a variety of restaurant styles as well as the skills to organize events for a range of clientele. Education is her passion and integral to her success as she specializes in engaging team members and inspiring curiosity, driving guest engagement and increasing profits along the way.
Cara has wine service and restaurant management experience in a range of settings- from small, independent restaurants to large, luxury resorts with multiple restaurant outlets. She is fortunate to have created Wine Spectator award-winning wine programs, hosted winemaker dinners with some. of the top wineries in Washington and Oregon, and brought wine-paired menus to the James Beard House on two occasions. Always eager to support her community, she has worked as a sommelier for benefits and events such as Taste of Washington, Salud Charity Auction, the International Pinot Noir Celebration and the Evergreen Hospital Annual Gala. She is also grateful to have had opportunities to travel to wine regions with programs like Oregon Pinot Camp, Master Napa Valley, Washington State Wine Road Trip and the Full Circle Wine Solutions Wines of Portugal enrichment trip. As well, she has had the incredible privilege of participating in the Domaine Serene Sommelier Select program as well as Antica Terra Beauty School. Recently, Cara is thankful to have been the recipient of a 2020 Wilson Daniels Master of Wine & Master Sommelier Exam Scholarship.
This year, she has gone through the experience of pivoting restaurants and teams through the needed adjustments to provide safe, conscientious service during the pandemic.
Cara believes that:
WINE EDUCATION SHOULD BE ACCESSIBLE FOR ANYONE
THE WINE INDUSTRY CAN BE A POSITIVE FORCE IN THE WORLD
Cara is happiest traveling the world, roaming through vineyards and chugging Champagne whenever possible.
Currently studying for the Master Sommelier Theory exam, Cara also holds the following certifications:
Level 3 Award in Wines from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust
French Wine Scholar Certificate
Certified Sherry Wine Specialist
Cara is the perfect somm for these everchanging times within the hospitality community. Her resume, knowledge, leadership and work ethic are unquestionably impressive, but her ability to educate beginners as well as advanced professionals with humility and expertise is exceptional. I have never met another somm of Cara's caliber who is so approachable and engaging with her knowledge.
YURIKO SAY / OWNER / PENINSULA / NASHVILLE
Cara is a superb wine educator. During the time that we worked together she not only expanded my personal skills but also that of our entire staff. I watched her meet each person where there were, expanding all our knowledge little by little. Cara is excellent at providing key guide posts for service and theory, while encouraging you do the rest.
JESSICA WILLIAMS / CERTIFIED SOMMELIER / WILOWS LODGE / WOODINVILLE