After Graduation: Starting a Wine Business

by Kim Simone

Alumna Kim Simone (May ’14) shares her post-degree career path and founding her company, Vinitas Wineworks.

kim1One of the questions I heard frequently from people while I was attending the Gastronomy program was “What are you going to do with your degree?” It’s not exactly a traditional program with built-in job training (with the exception of the culinary program.) We do it because it’s a part of who we are and what we love. I bet that most of us use the degree to forge our own way in the world of food, creating a place for ourselves in one of the many industries that pertain to our chosen field of study, be it cooking, writing, education, hospitality, and so on. I chose wine.

At the same time that I started the Gastronomy program I also jumped into the wine world, working first in a large retail store and then for a medium-sized Massachusetts wine distributor. And although I was climbing up the industry ladder, I got an idea pretty early on that a job in sales wasn’t the place for me. My real love has always been educating the public and “geeking out” over the finer points of whatever is in my wineglass. Which is why, after years of thought and planning, I founded an independent wine education and consulting company after finishing my degree last May.

Wine-is-fun-single-1080x675I specialize in wine education classes and hosting wine events for the general public. These can be either private events (e.g. tastings in people’s homes, private parties, etc.) or something bigger like a fundraiser for a nonprofit. I also provide training for those in the hospitality trades that either need some guidance within their own store or restaurant, or who need someone to train their staff to be better servers or wine consultants. My education through the Gastronomy program and the Elizabeth Bishop Wine School has really prepared me for this new role. Both the hands-on tasting classes led by Sandy Block and Bill Nesto, as well as the History of Wine class, really opened up this fabulous world to me. The most important thing I feel that I can pass on to my clients is that wine doesn’t have to be scary. It is complex, yes, but there truly is something out there for every palate. Once you learn what you like the possibilities are endless. Through my events and blog I provide the place to ask those questions that you might think are a little bit dumb and get that knowledge flowing.

Kim Simone can be reached at or

Honoring the Work of Domenico Sestini

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn Wednesday, October 22,  Bill Nesto M.W. , Metropolitan College Wine Studies instructor, and Frances Di Savino presented the book which they co-authored,  The World of Sicilian Wine (UC Press, 2013), at the Accademia dei Georgofili, in Florence, Italy.   Since 1753, the Academy has promoted practical research in the fields of agronomy, forestry, geography, and agriculture.

Bill and Frances lectured about the culture of wine in Sicily in honor of Domenico Sestini (1750-1832) whose memoirs of his research in Sicily were an important source for their book on Sicilian wine.  Sestini was an accurate and sensitive observer of Sicilian viticulture and enology.  A member of the Georgofili himself, he lectured to its members, on three occasions in 1812. He wanted to inform them about the inspiring achievements that Sicilians had made in cultivating wine grapes, making wine, and exporting it abroad.

More than 200 years later, Nesto and Di Savino came back to the Accademia dei Georgofili to continue his work, to honor it, and to thank him.

Congratulations, Bill Nesto!

I am happy to announce the Programs in Food, Wine & the Art’s very own Bill Nesto has won an André Simon Food and Drink Book Award! Nesto and his co-author Frances Di Savino were granted the 2013 prize in the drink category for their book The World of Sicilian Wine.

The André Simon Food and Drink book awards are granted by the Trustees of the André Simon Memorial Fund, which has honored gastronomic literature since its founding in 1965. Other prizes include the 2013 prize in the food category, Special Commendation, and the John Avery Award. In addition, eight books are honored on the shortlist.

Bill Nesto is a certified Master of Wine and teaches Wine Studies at Boston University. You can visit his blog here.nesto