Frequently Asked Questions
How did you get into the wine business?
Pretty much by accident. I went to school for music and was pursuing a career as a singer and songwriter in NYC, working in bars and restaurants to fund my first album. The more I was tasting and learning about wine, the more fascinated I became by that world. I loved how wine and spirits are the social glue that bring people together (not unlike music, actually). I started furthering my wine education and more wine gigs started coming my way.... until suddenly I had so many opportunities in wine that I decided to focus there for a while and see where it took me, earning my Sommelier Certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers along the way. Once I got offered the opportunity to join the team at MarthaStewart.com as their wine contributor, things really started to fall into place (I'm still in a band in my free time!).
What inspired you to create The Lush Life?
When I first started becoming interested in wine, I went to the internet for wine info- and to be honest I felt like most wine blogs and websites were not speaking to me, or my friends. I could not have been less interested in reading wine reviews awarding various point scores to really expensive bottles! I had burning questions like: what's up with screw caps, how do I find the good bottles under $15, does my wine need to be organic, can cheese pair with rosé? Because for me, wine doesn't exist in a vacuum or numerical score- I wanted to learn how to incorporate it into my life. Some lifestyle magazines & websites had the odd wine feature here & there, but there wasn't really a home base for solid and comprehensive wine information geared towards younger wine enthusiasts like me who are also into style, design, fashion, food, and entertaining. Basically I set out to create a wine blog that felt more like a lifestyle blog. And voila! The Lush Life was born.
What is your absolute favorite wine?
That's nearly impossible for me to answer... choosing a favorite wine is like choosing a favorite song.... it depends on the moment! Sometimes I'm feelin' jazz, sometimes 90s R&B, sometimes I need electro disco or I just wanna rock out. That being said, I'm almost always in the mood for Beyoncé and almost always in the mood for Champagne.
What are you most passionate about in your business?
Teaching people how great wines can truly elevate their lifestyle. I look at my friends who are creating fabulous living spaces, stocking their closets with the coolest fashion; throwing parties where every detail is immaculate from the food selection (probably carefully sourced from the local greenmarket) to the music playlist to the guest list. But the wine is usually an afterthought: because it can be such a complex and intimidating subject, people tend to give up and just choose whatever brands they know- or what's convenient at the store- without any real intention. We can do better than that! So I take great joy in shining a light on incredible bottles that are stylish, affordable, delicious, and eco-friendly--- and that pair perfectly with whatever food is being served. Those are the bottles that can take a gathering to the next level.
Have you met Martha?
Yes, and I keep this photo next to me at all times ;) Seriously though, Martha is truly the OG Domestic Goddess, and she has been a hero of mine since I was a little girl- it's been an honor to work with her team.
I have a wine/spirit brand or product line I think would be a great fit for a feature on The Lush Life... what is your sample policy?
I accept samples of products that I feel would be an organic fit for the site. I can't guarantee coverage, but I truly try to showcase the great products that have captured my lush heart ;) Email me for more info.
I'm interested in a career in wine, any advice on getting started?
I have to offer the cautionary advice: the drinks business looks far more glamorous than it really is. Yes, there are decadent wine luncheons & trips to visit gorgeous vineyard sites around the world... but those perks don't come right away and there is a WHOLE lot more lugging heavy wine crates around, unpacking bottles and organizing cases, excel sheets, exhaustion, late night study sessions, nerve wracking exams, hustling for gigs--- and the pay scale is on the low end for most. SO, before you get started I would ask yourself: are you really passionate about this? You should be very interested in maps, geography, geology, climate, history, and the world's cultures because all of that is wrapped up in a bottle of wine. You need to be disciplined and, honestly, you need to be somewhat of a geek ;)
If the answer is YES- I'd advise looking around your area for some Wine 101 classes and pick up some good textbooks (The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil is personally my favorite and where I started). Get a job (even if it's just on the weekends) in a wine bar or a restaurant with a solid wine program; even if it's just as the coat check girl or hostess--- and tell the sommelier or wine director you're interested in attending her wine tastings and staff trainings. Start a tasting group with your friends, meet once a week and bring a few bottles each, and taste together and take notes. You don't need to go to a formal wine school necessarily--- I and many of my wine industry friends learned a lot on the job and through self-study, but that's a path for the most self-disciplined among us. My friend Hillary Zio has a fantastic book out, The Unfiltered Guide To Working in Wine- it outlines different jobs available in various aspects of the business and is a great resource. Check it out!
I'm interesting in hiring you for my event but I'm not in the New York area. Can you consult remotely?
Absolutely! I offer 'e-sommelier' services and I can create your beverage programming along with serving guidelines, tasting packets, menu cards, and all other collateral--- and I'm happy to interface with your caterer. Check out the Services page for more info, or email me.