Hotel Online
News for the Hospitality Executive


Benchmark Hospitality International's Steve Kander Receives Prestigious
Certified Specialist of Wine Certification from The Society of Wine Educators

Mentored by Benchmark's Chief Sommelier, Mary Watson-DeLauder

The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, November 2010Benchmark Hospitality International has announced that Steve Kander, club food & beverage manager for Cheyenne Mountain Resort and the Country Club of Colorado in Colorado Springs, has achieved the Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) designation from the Society of Wine Educators.  Mr. Kander is Benchmark’s second CSW recipient.  His mentor, Mary Watson-DeLauder, Benchmark Hospitality’s chief sommelier, was the company’s first team member to earn the prestigious certification. 

“I’m so proud of Steve’s achievement,” said Laura Neumann, vice president and general manager for Cheyenne Mountain Resort.  “He worked diligently preparing for the exam and we’re fortunate to be the recipient of his significant wine expertise here at our resort.”
“Steve is the perfect student,” said Mary Watson-DeLauder.  “This is not an easy certification to achieve, but Steve gave it his all and performed brilliantly on the exam.  It was an honor to be his mentor.”
Ms. Watson-DeLauder is mentoring several more Benchmark Hospitality’s wine specialists throughout the company who are preparing for the Certified Specialist of Wine examination.  The CSW certification recognizes a recipient’s high standard of academic wine knowledge and the mastery of key elements within the worlds of wine and vine, as determined by a team of wine industry educators.  The Certified Specialist of Wine certification is presented by the Society of Wine Educators, the prestigious oenology organization based in Washington, DC.
“Studying for the CSW exam was very demanding, but the knowledge I gained was incredible and Mary’s assistance was invaluable,” said Steve Kander.  “I’m very excited to put that knowledge to use in developing the wine culture and training the team here at Cheyenne Mountain Resort.”

About the Society of Wine Educators 
The Society of Wine Educators, founded in 1974, is a non-profit educational organization (501c3) whose mission is to advance wine education through professional development and certification. These credentials are a valuable and widely respected mark of a wine professional’s commitment to personal career development and ultimately to the wine industry as a whole. Individuals that receive professional certification raise the standard of proficiency in the wine arena and assist the industry by elevating the knowledge base of everyone with whom they come in contact. Professional certification encourages an industry to build upon itself by fostering an environment where individuals can pursue excellence and achieve subject mastery. The Society’s goal is to foster and promote the professional education and development of the individual in particular, and the professional education and development of the wine industry as a whole.

About Mary Watson-DeLauder
Mary Watson-DeLauder is chief sommelier for Benchmark Hospitality International, the first professional to serve in this position.  Ms. Watson was previously the award-winning sommelier for Lansdowne Resort and its popular On the Potomac restaurant in Leesburg, Virginia, Benchmark Hospitality’s east coast flagship property.  She held this role for 16 years, garnering several awards along the way.  Throughout her tenure with Benchmark Hospitality, Mary Watson has been instrumental in strengthening the company’s relationships with signature wineries in Virginia, nationally and internationally.  She developed an acclaimed curriculum of food & wine and Culinary University classes, which provide an in-depth look at a variety of American and International cuisine and wine.  Ms. Watson' is the recipient of the Wine Spectator award for the past 18 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.  Ms. Watson 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 has served as sommelier for numerous dinners at the legendary James Beard House in New York City.

About Cheyenne Mountain Resort
Nestled in the shadows of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains lies Cheyenne Mountain Resort, Colorado Springs’ premier family and golf resort. 316 finely appointed guest rooms and suites are arranged in eight residential lodges across Cheyenne Mountain Resort, with amenities including an 18-hole championship Pete Dye-designed golf course; five swimming pools; tennis and racquetball courts; a health and fitness center; aquatics center and a 35-acre recreation lake. Known for its breathtaking mountain views, exceptional accommodations, fine dining, myriad of activities and comprehensive conference facilities, the AAA Four Diamond Cheyenne Mountain Resort offers the ultimate in Colorado vacationing. For more information, call (800) 428-8886 or visit
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 independent 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.  The company’s northeast regional office is in New Jersey, with international offices 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 International Named A 2010 “Top Work Place” by The Houston Chronicle; Places in the Top 50 / November 2010

Benchmark Hospitality International’s Hawaii Resorts Achieve Travel + Leisure’s “2010 World’s Best Awards” List as “Top 25 Resorts in Hawaii” / August 2010

Benchmark's Turtle Bay Resort A Top 25 Hotel in Hawaii for 2008 According to Travel + Leisure Magazine / July 2008

To search Hotel Online data base of News and Trends Go to Hotel.OnlineSearch
Home | Welcome| Hospitality News | Classifieds| One-on-One |
Viewpoint Forum | Industry Resources | Press Releases
Please contact Hotel.Onlinewith your comments and suggestions.