Wine Industry Pro Hillary Zio Explains it all in Her New Book:

The Unflitered Guide to Working in Wine


I met Hillary Zio via Instagram and was immediately drawn to her because, well, she’s like me but also someone I can look up to. She’s a young woman up-and-coming in the wine industry who’s already set up a firm foundation for herself by a) becoming educated in her passion (Hillary is a Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers and holds an Advanced Certificate in Wines and Spirits with the WSET)  and b) working in all sectors of the industry — from bartending to teaching.

 So when she emailed me telling me she was publishing a book, I knew I had to give it a read.

About the Book: The Unfiltered Guide to Working in Wine is for anyone interested in working in the wine industry. Hillary covers everything from retail shops to on-the-road wine sales, and even wine writers like me.

The book begins with a breakdown of the different types of wine education programs available and what each program can do to enhance a career in wine. Hillary even includes overall cost, time commitment, and recommended career paths for each. So it really does  help you gauge what kind of education you may need — if any at all.

It’s written in a casual, blog-style manner. Hillary does a great job being completely candid about her personal experiences in each sector of the wine industry while simultaneously maintaining a non-biased opinion, so readers really will get a well-rounded perspective about each career path. For those topics she’s not familiar with, she’s wisely consulted experts who are, and has included question and answer style interviews to help relay that information.

What You’ll Learn: If nothing else, you’ll learn about yourself. You’ll figure out if you really do want a career in wine at all just within the first few chapters. Is wine a subject you’re passionate about? So much so that you’re willing to spend the time, the energy, and — oh yeah — the money to study it? What do you want to do with that passion? Sell it? Teach it? Serve it? Write about it?

I honestly think this book is a good starting point for anyone even remotely interested in the industry because Hillary puts not glitz and glamour on the wine life, which I think is a common misconception that goes with the — again common misconception — elitist air around wine. Whether you’re a Certified Somm like Hillary or a wine writer and editor like myself, it’s a job, it’s work. So if you have the passion and the drive — then, yeah, it’s tons of fun. But if you don’t, then, well, just don’t expect that the alcohol will enhance the situation. That’s just not how it works.

Wine Pairing: Yes, wine pairing. As a book nerd and a wine nerd I believe a good book deserves a good wine pairing. So what pairs best with The Unfiltered Guide to Working in Wine? Open the bottle that made you fall in love with wine. Was it something foreign and fancy? Was it a bottle of Two-Dollar-Charles? Whatever it was, sip it while you decide if you want to make that first love your whole life.

Me? It was the first time I ever had a bottle of Patricia Green Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon. It was the first time I ever tasted the terroir in a wine, the first time I ever tasted something other than “fruits” and “wine flavor.” I remember because all I kept saying was, “Flowers. I taste flowers.” It was like I was standing in a field of flowers — and if you know anything about me you know I have a thing for daisies. I always say, “I just want to be surrounded by daisies. For the rest of my life.” And that is what Patricia Green’s Pinot did for me. (And that’s why I love the book Drops of God and this image so much.)

More Info: For more information about HIllary Zio, her book, and her work, please do visit her personal website.

I did receive Hillary’s book as a gift (thanks!), but you can purchase both the hard or digital copy on Amazon. Do it and support a fellow wine artist…Cheers!

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