Frances Gonzalez, Owner & Founder
Frances has acquired nuanced expertise and made many connections in the wine industry through her work building these two companies. Her background, however, delves deeper than entrepreneurship. She is also an active member of Women of the Vine & Spirits, an organization that fosters a supportive environment for females in the alcoholic beverage industry. Frances also has extensive experience in the vegan and plant-based market. She has sponsored conferences like the Plant-Based World Expo and founded VegFest Puerto Rico, a nonprofit established in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.
Deanna Monet, Compliance & Business Advisor
Deanna’s experience in the wine industry started in 2005 on the retail level working in wine stores and wine bars from San Diego to New York. She then “graduated” to sales in wine & spirits and learned the ins and outs of the challenging and fulfilling job. After taking advanced wine classes at the International Wine Center, she discovered a love for the operations side of the business.
She has worked with Vegan Wines/Despacito Distributors as the Compliance and Business Advisor since 2018 and loves being a part of this amazing movement in the industry.
Rebecca Carucci, Chef & Food Consultant
Rebecca Carucci is a plant-based chef and food consultant. She is the owner of Powered by Plants Consulting and works with clients who come to her for services like cooking lessons, recipe development, and meal planning. She is certified in Plant-Based Nutrition and gives presentations about the benefits of plant-based diets for personal health, the environment, and animal advocacy. Rebecca is passionate about showing the “foodie” side of veganism and her specialty is veganizing classic recipes with an emphasis on nutrition.
Alessandro Ingrosso, Italian Sommelier
According to Alessandro, “I do not like to define myself because I am basically like wine, constantly evolving! I’m a sommelier, but I’m not a professional wine expert… I am simply a wine and good food lover, always curious to discover new products. I enjoy listening to winemakers’ stories in their cellars. I also love to talk and write about wine, its nuances, and the emotions it creates.” Throughout his career, Alessandro had hotel training, acquired a degree in economics, and then became an accountant. Based in Italy, he is a sommelier for Vegan Wines.
Ferdinando Mucerino, Sales Team & Wine Club Manager Assistant
Born and raised in Naples, Italy, Ferdinando Mucerino is a CMS Certified Sommelier. As a child he remembers helping his grandfather make Aglianico for friends and family – a wine he loves dearly to this day.
Ferdinando learned about wine from some of the best in the business. In 2012, he began working at A16 in San Francisco, and their wine program won the James Beard award for best wine program in the country. He then moved to Los Angeles to work for Michelin star restaurant Rustic Canyon and became their Wine Director. His goal: to have one of the most unique and talked about wine lists that would rival the best in the industry. Wine Enthusiast took notice and included Rustic Canyon in their “Top 100 Wine Bars in America” issue in 2016, and again for three consecutive years. Ferdinando was nominated “Best Wine Director of the Year” in 2019, an award that recognizes only the top five US professionals in the industry.
Ferdinando consults with various restaurants, cafes, and private clients while organizing corporate events for some of the world’s best-known companies. He has masterminded sold-out dinners with exclusive winemakers, capturing headlines like “These are the Coolest Food Events in Los Angeles” by Eater. Ferdinando has attracted a vast amount of media from Eater LA, Wine Enthusiast, LA Times, The LA Taco, TheInfatuation.com, and more.
Other than sharing his knowledge and passion for wine, Ferdinando enjoys soccer, hiking with his rescue dogs, Vinny and Franky, and collecting old and rare wines. His personal collection includes wines from the 1800s to current releases.
Cassie Drymala, Wholesale Distribution Sales Team – East Coast
Cassie Drymala began working in a tasting room in Sonoma Valley twenty years ago and so began her career in the wine industry. After working and learning in the tasting rooms and vineyards throughout California, she transitioned to sales and eventually landed in New York. According to Cassie, “I am thrilled to be working with Vegan Wines and love talking about and showing such gorgeous wines to folks, knowing they are ethically and beautifully made, in nature and kindness.”
Wesley Savin, Wholesale Distribution Sales Team – West Coast
Wesley has been a loyal servant to the hospitality industry since the age of 18. Born in Camarillo, California, he remembers venturing to the local farmer’s markets with his mother to gather fresh produce. He caught the wine bug early in life at the age of 17 during a trip to visit his sister while she was teaching English in Bordeaux, France. Through a few more trips seeing tourism to Germany, Austria, Spain, England, Italy, Singapore, Malaysia, and the Basque Country, he’s been able to develop and refine his palate for quality food and drink.
Upon graduation from high school, Wesley studied hospitality at Cal Poly Pomona. There he had the honor of being mentored by Master Sommelier Tim Gaiser, which further sparked his interest in wine. Thereafter, Wesley went on to study with Master Sommelier Peter Neptune and acquire the Advanced WSET qualification.
In 2017, Wesley decided to step away from the restaurant for a brief period to learn how to make wine in Walla Walla, Washington, working in the cellar for Jean-Francois Pellet of Pepper Bridge. Shortly after returning to Southern California, Wesley began working as the sommelier at AnQi by House of An, and most recently at Orange Coast Magazine’s 2018 restaurant of the year, Journeyman’s Food + Drink. While working at Journeyman’s he passed the Court of Master Sommelier’s Certified Sommelier Examination.
Deciding to go vegan in January of 2020, Wesley has always sought out ways to reduce suffering in the world, whether it be with a smile and a laugh or by choosing the least impactful and harmful ways to stay strong and healthy. His first love outside of wine is soccer, and secondly pickleball. A goal of Wesley’s is to continue with his studies along the WSET’s path to Master of Wine.
Aleena Butler, Sales Team – East Coast
Aleena began working in the wine and events industry at a small family winery in Clarksburg, California. She then took her talents to New York to plan weddings in Central Park. Soon after, she became a flight attendant and traveled the world. Aleena loves to cook and is an aspiring vegan chef. She went vegan due to a back injury, and her results from those diet changes inspired her to create The Weekend Vegan, an educational dinner party experience that highlights the benefits of cooking vegan dishes with seasonal foods. She is excited to work with Vegan Wines and hopes to include a vegan wine component to her event experience this year!!
Lucia and Alicia Civile, LACE Photo Media
LACE Photo Media is a full service brand strategy + design firm located just outside NYC in the scenic Hudson Valley, serving brands worldwide. Sisters, Lucia + Alicia Civile founded LACE Photo Media to help businesses establish their brand identity and cultivate their media presence. Their firm offers a full range of creative marketing solutions including photography, website design, graphic design, content creation, brand development, SEO and social media account management.