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Benchmark Hospitality Adds Mary Watson-DeLauder
as Chief Wine Officer for the Global Company

20 Wine Spectator Awards, Appeared on NBC’s Today Show, 
Gold Cluster of Virginia Award

The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, May 2009 … Benchmark Hospitality International has announced the addition of Mary Watson-DeLauder as chief wine officer for the leading hospitality management company.  Ms. Watson-DeLauder, an award-winning sommelier who started her own wine consulting business in 2008 and expects to continue with this, will oversee Benchmark’s company-wide wine program and advise on new initiatives internationally.  Robert Zappatelli, Benchmark’s vice president food & beverage, made the announcement.   

“It is with extreme pleasure that I welcome Mary to her new role within the Benchmark organization,” said Mr. Zappatelli.  “We’re so pleased she is adding our company to her client roster.  Mary’s relationship with Benchmark Hospitality spans 16 years and she has performed superbly in developing the wine programs at properties across our portfolio.  She is a highly accomplished sommelier.”

Currently the Virginia Tourism spokesperson for Virginia Wine, Mary Watson-DeLauder was previously employed by the Benchmark Hospitality organization for 15 years as sommelier at the signature Lansdowne Resort of Leesburg, Virginia, which is the company’s east coast flagship property.  During her tenure at Lansdowne Resort, Ms. Watson-DeLauder was instrumental in strengthening the resort’s and Benchmark’s relationships with signature wineries in Virginia, as well as nationally and globally.  Ms. Watson-DeLauder developed an acclaimed curriculum of food & wine and Culinary University classes, which provided an in-depth look at a variety of American and International cuisine paired with fine wine.  

Ms. Watson-DeLauder has also developed the wine programs for Benchmark Hospitality’s newest properties, including Costa d’Esta Beach Resort, Gloria and Emilio Estefan’s recently-opened property in Vero Beach, Florida, that is operated by Benchmark; the elegant and luxurious Hotel Contessa on the Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas; and is developing a Chilean wine program for the company’s portfolio.   She is Benchmark’s lead sommelier at the company’s annual James Beard Dinner in New York City.  

Mary Watson-DeLauder has also served as touring sommelier for Opus One, the joint venture between Robert Mondavi and Baroness Philippine de Rothschild.  

Recipient of Numerous Awards and National Honors

Mary Watson-DeLauder’s expertise has been recognized nationally. She has been the recipient of the Wine Spectator Award for the past 20 years, and has been featured nationally on NBC’s Today Show and in countless regional and national consumer and food & wine publications.  She is an active member of the Women Chef Restaurateurs, Knights of the Vine, Society of Wine Educators and the Virginia Viniferea Wine Growers Association.

As well, Ms. Watson-DeLauder has received the Gold Cluster of Virginia Award and served as a judge for the Virginia Wine Growers Association Wine Competition, the American Wine Competition and the International Wine Competition.   She resides in Potomac Falls, Virginia.

About Benchmark Hospitality International
Benchmark Hospitality International is a leader in the management and marketing of resorts, conference centers, hotels, and Personal Luxury Hotels™.  The privately held company, launched in 1980, is a founding member of the International Association of Conference Centers.  Benchmark Hospitality is a worldwide organization operating properties in major metropolitan and resort destinations.  Benchmark's international headquarters is located in The Woodlands, Texas, near Houston, with regional offices in New Jersey and Connecticut.  International offices are located in Tokyo, Japan, and Santiago, Chile. For the location of Benchmark’s properties and additional information, visit  


Ken Ellens
Ken Ellens Communications 
201-758-2864 / 201-758-2865-Fax


Also See: Benchmark Hospitality Chefs to be Featured at Acclaimed James Beard House, New York; Fourth Consecutive Year Chefs Invited to Cook the Benchmark Holiday Dinner / November 2008



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