Wine Women Wednesday with Sommelier, Samantha Capaldi
Happy Wednesday! We’re back with our 2nd installment of Wine Women Wednesday. In this series, I’ve chosen some of my favorite women to interview who just happen to be killing it in the wine industry. Today, I’m thrilled to introduce you to my friend and Sommelier, Samantha Capaldi.
I met Samantha over the summer when we both attended Taste Our Terroir in Livermore Valley, California. Full of spunk and style, I quickly knew I liked her as we laughed about our significant others and blogging over wine. Turns out Sam is also as smart as a whip when it comes to wine and is extremely passionate about it. One of the things I appreciate most about Sam is the fact that she loves to educate about wine without being a know-it-all. As someone who is still evolving and learning about the nooks and crannies of wine, I’ve certainly encountered some folks who don’t make me feel at ease. Instead of being supportive, they tend to look down on you if you don’t have their level of knowledge. Not Sam. She treats everyone in the room as an equal.
Like the rest of us, her road to living the dream hasn’t been smooth sailing. Read on to learn more about her business, Samantha Sommelier and her advice to other young women who would like to follow in her foot steps.
Wine Women Wednesday with Sommelier, Samantha Capaldi
Mary: Tell me a little about you and your background. When was that ‘moment’ when you knew you had a passion for wine?
Samantha: After completing my bachelors in Marketing and Public Administration at the University of Arizona, I joined the corporate world to quickly find out what I was truly passionate about. The world of wine, traveling, and more importantly inspiring others to break out of their comfort zones and put themselves out there. Shortly after this realization I completed an Intensified Sommelier Training Program at the International Culinary Center of California. I then passed my Level II certified exam through the Court of Master Sommeliers. I began to see food and wine in a completely different way which inspired me to start a blog to share my wine journey experiences.
From there, I was encouraged by friends and family to launch my own private wine tasting and events business, Samantha Sommelier. Samantha Sommelier Wine Tastings are personally designed to be a fun and approachable way to enjoy, drink, and learn about wine all from the comfort of your own home. I want my clients to feel as if I am their personal Sommelier friend so I work with each client’s individual needs and tastes to best complement the ideal wine line-up. I love to educate myself, explore, and constantly gain experiences within this ever growing industry and I look forward to what is ahead.
Becoming a Sommelier
Mary: What were some of the biggest takeaways for you as you became a Sommelier?
Sam: Some of my biggest takeaways for me on my road to becoming a Sommelier are being passionate, being customer focused, positive, and being open to learning what I can do better. The wine world is constantly evolving and it’s important to realize I can always learn something new in the wine industry and to never stop educating myself!
We all have a different path to take and what I have learned throughout this year is you need to do what’s best for you and it will all fall into the place.
The Road to Entrepreneurship
Mary: Being an Entrepreneur is fun, but definitely not easy. When those days hit that you feel like throwing in the towel, what keeps you motivated?
Sam: My road to becoming a sommelier and starting my own small business has not been entirely a smooth one. There are times, actually fairly recently, where I wanted to give up completely. Not because I wasn’t loving what I was doing but because I was trying to be something to too many people. Looking back on how I gave up the comfort of a steady income, spending less time with my loved ones, and having to be constantly thinking of new strategies to grow my business is something I knew I couldn’t give up on so easily. I worked 7 days a week to establish myself and more importantly to be taken seriously as a 23 year old woman and newly certified sommelier in the wine industry.
I am my own social media manager, accountant, sales rep, wine consultant, and in home sommelier. Wearing many hats and not seeing your hard work always pay off can become extremely discouraging, especially when you see friends your age continuously moving up in their positions post college.
It was difficult for me to take a different path than expected and although I wish I can say everyone was supportive of me, you are always going to face those few people that want to bring you down. Those people that make you feel like what you are trying to do is not a “real” career and not worth all the hardships it has brought on. Being in your young to mid-20s and hearing these negative words can be extremely difficult to shake off but with every step back I have the people who love me to push me forward. I have been doing my wine tastings for a little over a year and it makes me have the most respect in the world for entrepreneurs who have been giving it their all for years and are still working to grow despite push back. We all have a different path to take and what I have learned throughout this year is you need to do what’s best for you and it will all fall into the place. No matter what my journey turns into I know I will always experience push back but I hope that I am always strong enough to push past it to get where I want to be.
Mary: With your wine tasting business, Samantha Sommelier, you offer personalized, at-home tasting experiences. Can you tell us a bit about that and how my community can learn more and work with you in that regard?
Sam: Samantha Sommelier Wine Tastings are personally designed to be a fun and approachable way to enjoy, drink, and learn about wine all from the comfort of your own home. As nothing goes better with wine than friends and food, many of my tastings have a food-pairing focus as well. I want my clients to feel as if I am their personal sommelier friend, so I work with each client’s individual needs and tastes to best complement the ideal wine line-up. My goal is to break the intimidating part of wine tasting down into a simple and fun way for people to learn in a relaxed environment.
Unlike a wine tasting room or wine shop, my tastings provide a next level personal touch. I like people to think of me as a sommelier at their doorstep! I bring the wine, glasses, and tasting materials to them for a unique experience that they may have never had before. I love the fact that I leave people feeling inspired to taste more wine and not afraid to ask as many questions as they want.
As much as I love doing personal tastings, I also love to work with other small businesses to promote their wines, tasting rooms, travel destinations, and products. This allows me to constantly continue my wine education as well as gaining new experiences along the way. I hope people can use my private wine tastings and blog as an inspiring resource to connect them to the beautiful world of wine. Subscribe to my website, www.samanthasommelier.com to stay up to date with my latest wine tips, simple recipes, and hidden gem wine regions!
Living the Dream and Sam’s Perfect Day
Mary: What would you say to other young women interested in a career in wine?
Sam: I would tell them that if you’re truly serious about working in wine, you need to get first hand experience and learn from people. Whether it’s working in a wine tasting room, on a vineyard, in a restaurant or in wine sales and distribution it’s important to immerse yourself into the industry as much as you possibly can.
Something I wished I did before I studied to be a Somm was working a harvest so I had experience in wine making. I think there is so much to learn in wine that goes way beyond a classroom so I truly believe any experience you can get is so valuable in whatever wine career route you choose!
Mary: There’s nothing like a perfect day at your happy place, kicking back listening to your favorite album and drinking your favorite wine. What does that look like for you?
Sam: Ahhh, my perfect day would be sipping Rich Aged Triple Cream + Sparkling Brut Rosé in Hyde Park, London. That is my happy place!
(*Special thanks to Samantha for being a “Wine Woman” on this Wednesday and please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you or someone you know would like to be a candidate for this blog series.)