Though Pascaline Lepeltier grew up around wine in Angers, France, she was a latecomer to the
industry. She'd already completed a Masters in philosophy when she decided restaurants were
more her thing. She went back to school for a Masters in hospitality management and ended up
working an event at Château d'Yquem. When the 1937 was poured, she knew that she would make
wine her career.
Her apprenticeship at L'Auberge Bretonne in the Pays Nantais made her certain of it, working
with a 30,000-bottle wine cellar and a chef whose friends and clientele included Leflaives
and Roumiers. And there was her wine theory teacher, Patrick Rigourd. "I was in a class with
all guys who were 18 and I was 24," recalls Lepeltier, "and because I was the oldest in my
class, [Rigourd] often took me on trips to visit producers. He really taught me that wine
was made in the vineyard."
So when Rouge Tomate was looking for someone with a background in organic wine to help out
with their beverage program, Lepeltier was ready. She began working for the company in Brussels
in 2007 and then moved to New York in April 2009 to work at the branch on East 60th Street.
By November, she'd been named the wine director, in charge of all buying decisions, and had
made a name for herself as a maven of natural and organic wines. "I'm lucky because I work
in a place that's very in line with my personal philosophy," she says. "Less additives,
freshest is best for you. Wine with personality that says something about the winemaker and