The SOMM Journal

April / May 2015

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Page 24 of 112

24 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } APRIL/MAY 2015 { the punch-down } { the punch-down } interviews and ruminations with beverage industry pros by Jonathan Cristaldi Career highlights: 1995–1999: worked in corporate finance for Citicorp in NYC and London. 1999: moved back to NYC, left her six-figure salary to work at The Burgundy Wine Company. 2000: joined Kobrand Corporation in brand management. 2002: received WSET Diploma and Society of Wine Educators' CWE. 2005: became Director of Education for Rémy Cointreau USA. 2008: was the fourth woman of 28 people in the U.S. to achieve the international title of Master of Wine. I'VE HAD THE PLEASURE OF GETTING to know Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan, MW, who was instrumental in helping me pull off an epic dinner event back in 2012 in NYC. On the 100th anniversary of the Titanic's sinking, I hosted a reimagined "last meal" aboard the Titanic with Chefs Adam C. Banks and Rob McCue of Bravo's Roble & Co. Simonetti- Bryan brought in wines and spirits brands that might have been on the actual luxury liner—Maison Drouhin, Laurent Perrier, Louis XIII and more. Anyone else who knows her understands that Jennifer is the consummate wine professional, an avid educator and accomplished author of an incredibly informative book, co-authored by Certified Master Chef Ken Arnone, called Pairing with the Masters: A Definitive Guide to Food & Wine, published by Cengage Learning. She's also hosted wine seminars with Food Network greats, including Rachael Ray, Bobby Flay, Tyler Florence and Mario Batali. Jonathan Cristaldi: You're a partner of Wine Ring, a new technology com- pany with an app launching—tell us about it. Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan: We have five MWs and four MSs on staff! Wine Ring is designed to work for consumers and the trade. The app helps consumers gain confidence and better gauge whether they will like a wine before they buy it, and for the trade it's a great communication tool that helps to engage the consumer, on- or off-premise. Users simply rate wines: Love It, LIke It, SoSo or Don't LIke It, and the app analyzes your unique pattern of preference to gener- ate smarter, truly personalized recommen- dations. It's all about your individual wine DNA—not buying patterns, profile buckets, product matching or user popularity contests. You're also teaching for The Great Courses—what is your focus as an educator? While I can get into great detail about grapes and winemaking, my true focus as a professor for The Great Courses—which encompass a wide range of topics at the college level—is to make sure my students are having a blast while learning about wine. And the best part is that with these courses, you can learn about wine on a TV in your living room, laptop during lunch, tablet in an airport or mobile device on the treadmill or in the car. You make many TV appearances; where else can we follow your career? I'm continuing my TV news segments and recording podcasts with Tracy Byrnes on Fox News Radio called Wine with Me. Also, my "second act"—or complete career change!— story has been included in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Time to Thrive, which is coming out this May. I hope my story helps some people. Any words of wisdom for some- one thinking of trying for the MW? My biggest piece of advice for anyone think- ing about the Master of Wine is to study smarter, not harder. I now realize I could have devoted a fraction of the time studying if I focused myself by studying actively, applying the 80:20 rule [aka the Pareto Principle: 20 percent of your time produces 80 percent of your results], and using ten-minute drills to test my skills and find areas to work on." Keep up with Jennifer's activities at www. and, and follow her on Twitter: @JediWineMaster A Master of Wine—Busy at Work JENNIFER SIMONETTI-BRYAN, MW, IS LEVERAGING BOTH TRADITIONAL MEDIA AND DIGITAL ENGAGEMENT WITH THE GOAL OF SHAPING AN INTERACTIVE WINE INDUSTRY OF THE FUTURE A consummate wine professional: Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan, MW. Q: Q: Q: Q:

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