Susan LaRossa is the owner of blr wine co. and has been involved in the wine business for 15 years. Born and raised in New York City, Susan cut her teeth in the wine business in the late 1990’s at the legendary Windows on the World, working her way up the wine program from the cellar to Sommelier of Wild Blue, the sister restaurant also on the 107th floor of the World Trade Center. Susan left Windows in 2001 to work for the Jean Georges Restaurant Group, as Wine Director of Vong and also as Sommelier at the flagship restaurant, Jean Georges. She left the restaurant business in 2003 to work at Polaner Selections, selling an impressive portfolio of boutique wines from around the world to restaurants in Manhattan.
In mid-2010, Susan moved to Northern California to become the Sales Director at Pax Mahle Wines, LLC, managing sales for the following brands: Wind Gap, Agharta and Lucques. Susan was responsible for all channels of sales for the wineries, direct-to-consumer, national and direct California wholesale sales, and increased sales by 142% in two and a half years. In January 2013, Terroir Selections (owned by Charles Banks) partnered with Wind Gap, Lucques and Agharta. In anticipation of the merger of businesses, in late 2012 Susan joined Terroir Selections as their Western Regional Director, managing all the brands (Mulderbosch, Cultivate, Sandhi, Maison L’Oree, Wind Gap, Leviathan, and Fable) in the Western states.
In May 2013, Susan left Terroir Selections to launch blr wine co. with her husband, Patrick Bickford. They represent small, family-owned, premium California wineries with total production under 4000 cases. Susan and Patrick advise their clients on all strategic issues involving national sales and distribution. They impact existing distribution, through managing depletions and distributor inventories, and providing support in the market (marketing materials/market visits with sales reps/trade tastings). They also have extensive distributor connections to open new markets throughout the country. They focus attention on planning and executing on each winery client’s strategic goals in sales/pricing, allocations and releases, and all other aspects of wholesale distribution and marketing.
Prior to entering the wine business, Susan was a practicing attorney in New York City for nearly a decade, specializing in the litigation of complex criminal and civil matters, primarily in the federal courts. Lawyer by day, Susan obsessed about food and wine in her spare time. After a long while, she was determined to make her hobby her profession and started her amazing journey on the wine road. She attended Northwestern University and received her J.D. from Cardozo School of Law. Susan attained the Diploma certification from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, has completed two years of course study with the Institute of Masters of Wine and is certified by the Sommelier Society of America.
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