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Janet Viader, Sales and Marketing For Viader – Spotlight on a Drink Careers 101 Project Advisory Board Member



Janet Viader oversees sales and marketing for her boutique family winery, Viader Napa Valley in St. Helena. She was raised amongst the vines and learned the wine business at her mother’s side. Janet is on the Board for NG: The Next Generation in Wine, and is the youngest member of Napa Valley Vintners, helping to promote education, awareness and trade in Napa Valley. She is a part of the next generation in wine and we are proud to have her as a member of the Drink Careers 101 Advisory Board.

What was it like growing up in the wine industry? Do you have any favorite wine childhood memories?

It’s definitely a different kind of rural upbringing given the emphasis on hospitality, wining and dining. Having grown up with all brothers, I was no stranger to getting dirty and running all around the vineyard and surrounding property (we always had poison oak head to toe). My mother was managing the business on her own for the first 15 years out of the house, and she was a single mom so we helped out whenever we could. I remember that on several occasions, if she had to run to the bank last minute or was caught up with something and we were at home; she would ask us to keep visitors entertained until she returned. Not a lot of people expect to discuss viticulture and winemaking with an eleven year old! It was our backyard, so we absorbed a lot of information even if we weren’t directly involved.

What were the steps you took to prepare yourself for a life in the wine industry?

I just went for it! My first sales trip was to NYC and I had absolutely no idea how to talk to wine buyers, especially those known to only give you 2 minutes of their time, but I spoke from the heart about my experiences and the family philosophy of winemaking. You figure out your style. I’ve since taken various seminars offered by places like the NVV, Sonoma State University, Brotemarkle & Davis, WISE, The Seminar Group, etc. covering anything from branding, finance, to building the tasting room experience, legal grape contracts, trademark registration in China. My mother always encourages me to learn as much as I can from other experienced professionals. There is a wealth of information out there.

What is the most challenging aspect of your work?

Prioritizing my duties. Aside from managing our U.S. distributors, importers, and California trade accounts, today my most important duty is the direct-to-consumer marketing. It requires the most time and creativity, because one needs to stay consistently relevant and keep people excited about winery events, promotional offers and new releases. Surprisingly, it’s not challenging working with family. We all get along royally (for the most part). My brother Alan handles our wine production and my responsibility is sales, and I think it’s important that we don’t overlap too much. As the “big boss,” our mother makes sure we’re on track, but she is also receptive to our ideas and we have few conflicts that don’t get resolved during family meetings.

As the youngest member elected on the board of the Napa Valley Vintner Associations, what kind of perspective does this allow you to bring to the board?

I feel you should ask them! Having grown up here, I think I have a valuable connection to the community. I bring the experience of the small family winery when discussing complicated issues, and I learn so much from my fellow board members who have various production levels and much more business experience. I am personally committed to protecting the future of the Napa Valley – it’s community, land, and economy. It’s a challenge to maintain the delicate balance of protecting the environment and sustainability of Napa Valley, while also providing room for new business and opportunities for growth. I hope that my connection with like-minded young vintners, like those in the group NG: The Next Generation in Wine, helps me in ensuring the success of the wine industry while keeping our Agricultural Preserve and local charitable giving through Auction Napa Valley a top priority.

Please explain a bit more about the NG: The Next Generation in Wine? What are the goals of this association and how to you to reach out to younger and upcoming wine drinkers?

The original purpose of NG: The Next Generation in Wine was to provide a social atmosphere for younger family vintners to network, and it has grown to be an avenue for Napa’s family wineries to cross-market and get in front of both trade and consumers. The philosophy is to take out the stuffiness of wine, and make it more accessible to younger and new wine drinkers by having the young family vintners there personally pouring the wines. Our events have music, sometimes food trucks, and always a fun, hip vibe. However there is an underlying message about sustainability – in both agriculture and our family businesses. That said, we also offer educational seminars to our members on topics that may affect the newer generation like Estate Planning and our most recent one was on branding. And the best part is that we always have great wines at our meetings!

What is your favorite aspect of what you do?

I love that my family’s wines can make peoples’ life experiences and special occasions even more enjoyable. We like to think that everyday is a special occasion worth opening a bottle of wine! My favorite client emails have pictures of 3 liters opened at 50th birthdays, or someone recounting how they finally popped open a bottle signed by my mother years ago and loved it. It’s great to share stories and even partake in those special moments, and I am amazed by the warm connection we have with clients just because they enjoy our product. I think it is a reflection on our family’s reputation and all my mother’s hard work. We’re all about consistently making a quality wine that demonstrates the beauty of a Bordeaux-style blend from our Howell Mountain estate. While our signature VIADER blend can stand the test of time in the cellar, we also produce wines under “DARE” by Viader that work well for those who “trunk-age” their wine and want to enjoy it immediately after the drive home!

What advice would you give college students considering a career working in the wine industry?

First of all, drink lots of wine! Secondly, be open to working hard and starting at the bottom. I was lucky and had my family connections, but even then my first job at Viader was filing and answering phones, and my brother’s was clearing rocks between the vine rows. Any and all wine education is valuable because it helps get your foot in the door, but after that there is a lot of on-the-job training that may carry you further. You do not have know everything, but be willing to listen, learn and put in long hours, in both sales and production. Read trade publications (I should follow this piece of advice more!). And like any industry, networking is extremely important, so try to attend as many wine-related events as possible and if you are trying to get your start, make an effort to get to know the winery owners or representatives personally. Always maintain your relationships, because you never know when they may come in handy.

Giveaway – Malts & Milkshakes By Autumn Martin

Other Beverage

Malts & Milkshakes

Seattle based chef Autumn Martin reigns supreme over the cities dessert scene. Her career started at the famed Canlis restaurant in Seattle, and she made her name in confectionery during her time at Theo Chocolate. Her side business Hot Cakes took off when she started selling Take ‘n Bake Molten Chocolate Cake in mason jars at local Farmer’s Markets. Only a few short years later she opened Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery serving the kind of desserts and cocktails every red blooded American craves.

This month St. Martin’s Press is releasing her first cookbook Malt’s & Milkshakes, and they have provided us with a copy to give to one of you. To win the book, tell us in the comments what you like better, malts or milkshakes and why. The winner will be chosen at random.

Scott Klann Proprieter & Winemaker Newsome-Harlow Wines – Spotlight on a Drink Careers 101 Project Advisory Board Member


Scott Klann

Mutineer first ran into Calaveras County winemaker Scott Klann when we did a feature story on the region in Issue 11. We quickly became hooked on the area, and his wine, and Team Mutineer moved to Calaveras for six months to immerse ourself in the culture of the small Sierra Foothills wine region that was just starting to make a name for itself. Calaveras County is a place that must be visited and when you do go, be sure to stop by Scott’s Newsome-Harlow tasting room for some of the best Zinfandel you’ll ever taste. We are proud to present Scott Klann, Proprietor and Winemaker of Newsome-Harlow Wines.

What first interested you in wine, or making wine?

It really wasn’t something I was interested in (or even aware of) until after falling into a crush job in my early 20’s.

How did you get started in the wine industry?

I literally fell into a crush job at a local winery. I had no idea about wine. I always thought Chardonnay was some guy that had his wine everywhere, but by the end of day one, I was hooked!

What is your favorite aspect of what you do?

The variety is my favorite aspect. The fact that every day is different is what I like the most. Some days I’m walking vineyards, some days I’m in blending trials, some days I am on the road selling wine.

Did you have any mentors who helped you along the way?

Yes, a few. My first mentor was Chuck Hovey, winemaker at Stevenot Winery in Murphys [California] where I got my start. He taught me the practicality of making wine and helped solidify my passion for this business. Another mentor was/is Brian Klassen, national sales director for Stevenot, I learned from him that this business is mostly about relationships. Finally, Tom Montgomery (currently winemaker at BR Cohn) helped me put the pieces all together and taught me to lose the fear.

Do you have any advice for people looking to become a winemaker or enter the wine industry?

As in most any industry, hard work and persistence is the key. Prove yourself worthy by paying dues.

How are job opportunities different in a place like Calaveras County, compared to somewhere like Napa?

Here in the foothills the industry is just now growing from its early days of small 1 to 3 person operations. Combine that with a smaller number of wineries than other regions and you end up with some challenges, although they are not insurmountable. Like many things in life, it is about creating relationships. I suggest seeking these wineries out and seeing where they need help. You might need to string together a couple of different part time jobs in wineries, restaurants, bars and hotels to stay afloat in the beginning but all of those jobs will lead to a bigger picture education.

Follow Newsome-Harlow on Facebook and Twitter.

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Jordan Kivelstadt, Founder & CEO- Free Flow Wines & Kivelstadt Cellars – Spotlight on a Drink Careers 101 Project Advisory Board Member


Jordan Kivelstadt

Jordan Kivelstadt is reinventing the way Americans drink wine. As the Founder and CEO of Free Flow Wines, he has changed the was many restaurants and wineries serve wine by the glass through wine on tap, eliminating waste and easing the environmental burden of wines served by the glass. It is because of his entrepreneurial spirit and experience in the wine industry that we are proud to have Jordan as member of the Drink Careers 101 Advisory Board.

What was your path into the wine industry?

I was in management consulting for a couple of years, before realizing that a cubicle and tie was not my calling. I moved back to California from Boston, and had lunch with a friend in the wine business, two bottles and two hours later, and I had my first internship at Copain. From there, I made wines in Australia, Chile and Argentina, before starting my own brand. Now, 9 years later, I am involved in many facets of the industry, and having a blast.

What were the steps you took to prepare yourself for your career?

None, but it did help to have a chemistry and engineering background when I was in the winemaking side. To be honest, wine is a business like any other (just tastes better), and so the same business principles apply. I will tell you that nothing prepares you for being in an industry that at the end of the day, Mother Nature controls.

When did you take your first full-time job in the wine industry?

I started in 2004 (yikes!), with Copain Custom Crush.

What is Free Flow Wines and what are your goals with the ‘Wine on Tap’ segment of the wine industry?

Free Flow Wines is leading the growth of premium wine on tap in the US. In 2009, we realized that there was a better way to serve wine by the glass than bottles. Now wine on tap is in 36 states, and 2 countries, and last year we took more than 500K bottles out of circulation. My goal is to fundamentally change, the way people drink a glass of wine for the better!

How does Wine on Tap effect the new generation of wine consumers?

Wine on Tap effects choice, freshness, and environmental impact. Wine on tap allows restaurants to offer more, and better, wine choices, thanks to the fact there is zero spoilage and zero waste. Our generation loves options, combine that with a fresh taste, and that every keg we put in service is like taking a car off the road for two and a half years. That means that today, our fleet is like taking all the cars crossing the Golden Gate Bridge every day, and making them disappear!

What is the most challenging aspect of your work?

Setting it all up. We have to work with wineries, distributors, restaurants, and installers, just to start. Getting everyone to come together, work well together, and in a timely manner, is a real challenge. We have great partners at all levels, but it is a lot of work to make this whole thing come to fruition.

What is your favorite aspect of what you do?

Knowing that I am improving what people experience with wine every day. Wine on tap makes wine fun, engaging, and removes the snobbishness. I love wine, and I want everyone else to.

What advice would you give college students considering a career in the wine industry?

This is, at the end of the day, and industry of passion. If you want to make a ton of money, go to Wall Street or become a Lawyer. But if you want to have a great lifestyle, make a good living, and if your heart is in it, then take the plunge. Follow your passions and great things will come!

Follow Free Flow Wines on Facebook and Twitter and stay tuned for the launch of his new website TryWineOnTap.com.

Pre-order the Drink Careers 101 Guide on Kickstarter today!

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Didier Loustau & Susan Quinn, Co-Founders of ToutSuite Social Club – Spotlight on a Drink Careers 101 Project Advisory Board Member


Didier & Susan of Tout Suite Social Club

A chance encounter four years ago is what brought together Tout Suite Social Club’s Didier Loustau and Susan Quinn. Didier, at the top of his game in the wine marketing business, and Susan, an innovator in streaming media were the perfect pair for a project as dynamic as Tout Suite Social Club. The pair produces several live streaming shows, including 5ive O’clock Somewhere, Meet Your Maker, and Tasting in the Dark. We are proud to have these groundbreaking individuals as a part of our Drink Careers 101 Advisory Board.

What were each of your paths into the wine industry?

Susan: Coincidentally, I grew up making serious garage wine with my family (my jobs: bottle washing, grape picking, occasionally working the cork machine) but we had nothing to do with the wine business. I was drawn to San Francisco for a career in high tech in the mid-90s. In 2009, I was inspired by the recession to create a social streaming video community, real world and online, to help the entrepreneurs, or the “makers,” of great products to connect directly with their customers in an authentic live, interactive experience using technology to make those connections spread far and wide. Fortunately, I met my partner Didier who is equipped with so much wine knowledge, friendships, and many skills, too many to mention. So my newest tech venture involves lots of trailblazing people, interesting human stories, and excellent meals that pair perfectly with great wine, cocktails, artisanal spirits and beer.

Didier: I studied at a private hotel/restaurant school in Bordeaux. I came into wine later as a natural extension of managing restaurants. I want to mention that I didn’t go into that business because I loved it, but I figured that this would be the perfect job for me to travel the world, as there are French restaurants everywhere.

What were the steps you took to prepare yourself for your career?

Susan: As an entrepreneur by nature, I jump in and learn as I go. The only ingredients necessary are passion and drive. Passion for your work is what makes you intensely curious and inspires you to work late into the nights, dream about work at night, and still be excited to get up the next day and do it all again, and again. Drive, or tenacity, is what you need when doubt creeps in and makes your passion look silly for a minute! It happens. In my experience, you need to find a career that triggers a balance of both.

Didier: Travel/work, work/travel while putting myself in some strange situations in order to build experience. The love of the business came later.

Why did you decide to start ToutSuite?

Susan & Didier: We knew we had a grasp, or just a whiff of an idea, on a unique and powerful means of communicating. Before we started ToutSuite, we spent each day, for months on end, brainstorming all kinds of business models: a webcast travel adventure game, an online tasting club, national wine events… We kept coming back to the real human connection. Once we solved that concept for ourselves, the business instantly crystallized in our minds and the future was inevitable; we could not fathom of not starting it.

What do you hope to accomplish with ToutSuite?

Susan & Didier: We hope that people will have extreme fun with the platform and use it on their own to take connections and discovery to a new place!

How important is the role technology and new media in the wine industry?

Susan & Didier: Technology and new media are requisite for the wine industry, or any industry where people buy products, sell products and need to communicate.

What is the most challenging aspect of your work?

Susan & Didier: Explaining it. Truly innovative startups cannot be explained. You have to experience it for yourself.

What is your favorite aspect of what you do?

Susan & Didier: Seeing the wonder and exhilaration of others (makers and consumers) who have just experienced a live ToutSuite show for the first time. And checks. Yeah, we get paid for this shit!

What advice would you give college students considering a career working in beverage media?

Susan & Didier: Be original. Be bold. Be curious and kind. Tell stories in a way that is unique to you. If you are curious and kind, you’ll find stories that were always there, just waiting to be told, that will delight your audience. If you can truly engage your audience to interact with your stories, you are now scaling friendships.

Follow Tout Suite Social Club on Facebook and Twitter!

Pre-order your copy of Drink Careers 101 today on Kickstarter!

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Katie Hamilton Shaffer, Founder of Feast it Forward – Spotlight on a Drink Careers 101 Project Advisory Board Member


Katie Hamilton Shaffer

Katie Hamilton Shaffer moved to the Napa Valley 10 years ago to pursue a career in the food and wine industry, and ended up a philanthropist and vintner. Katie is currently embarking on “Feast It Forward”; a philanthropic effort in the Napa Valley that uses food and beverage as a way to promote good will & charitable giving. Katie is releasing several beverage related products as well as a line of spices for Feast it Forward through Napa Valley’s own Whole Spice. At the same time, she is developing a web-show based on Feast It Forward. Her energy and talents are endless and we are proud to have Katie as a member of the Drink Careers 101 Advisory Board.

What was your path into the wine industry?

My joke is, in all seriousness, that I wanted to go to culinary school but they didn’t have a soccer team. So I played college ball on scholarship, then moved to the wine country after my sports career to pursue a lifestyle/path of food and wine.

What were the steps you took to prepare yourself for your career?

Think big. Dream Big. My favorite quote is “The road to success is always under construction.” Sometimes you’re not measured by your successes, but how you handle your failures. That shows true character. If anything, in regards to business I’d say I’ve learned to “try and apply.” True experience is what prepares you. Most importantly, if you’re truly passionate about something people will see that and want to follow. You must constantly prepare for what’s next.

Why did you found Feast it Forward?

Based on the concept “pay it forward,” my mission was to create not only a community, but also a lifestyle for philanthropic living. Further, this innovative media concept will bring foodies, winos and philanthropists all together under one brand while going “beyond the bottle” introducing causes around the country, alongside the chefs and winemakers that are inspired by them.

What has the response to Feast it Forward been thus far?

Though the response has been great, I’m excited for when we officially “launch.” As a start-up, the last 2 years has really been all about the plan and numbers, while sharing and promoting some of our smaller divisions of what will exist. It is a slow build.

What is the most challenging aspect of your work?

Patience. I’ve owned other businesses, but nothing compares to this level. Not to discount my past companies, but when you’re building an actual enterprise, with real numbers and investors, there is so much involved. I’m a fast worker and mover, so naturally I want things to happen now. With that, I’d say my biggest challenge is slowing down and taking my time.

What is your favorite aspect of what you do?

My favorite aspect of the industry is the ability to truly combine all of my passions, food, wine, entertaining, and giving back. There is something to be said for finding your passion and you’ll never work a day in your life. I can honestly say that’s how I feel.

What advice would you give college students considering a career working in the wine industry?

Like anything, it can be laborious, but it sure is rewarding. List out your motivations, passions and interests while sharing your ideal positions within the industry. Apply that list and consider shadowing or joining an internship program where you can further understand what opportunities are available. It may strengthen your initial thoughts or completely change your direction. As I say, “try and apply.”

Follow Feast It Forward on Facebook and Twitter!

Pre-order your copy of Drink Careers 101 on Kickstarter today!

Comments Off on Katie Hamilton Shaffer, Founder of Feast it Forward – Spotlight on a Drink Careers 101 Project Advisory Board Member 03.29.2013 |

Beverage Kickstarter Spotlight: Cocktail Cult


As you may know Mutineer Magazine is running a Kickstarter project right now, and we have been fortunate enough to learn about some cool beverage related projects at the same time. One project we have fallen in love with is the Cocktail Cult – Free Spirited Cocktails & Pure Spirited Women by Kiki Braverman, founder of Pür Spirits. Kiki and her business partners are creating a book celebrating the ladies of the cocktail scene in San Francisco and beyond. The book contains glamorous images, delicious cocktails and stories in one beautiful book.

They have reached their goal, but every dollar over goes towards compensating the photographer Kelly Puleio. Check out this amazing project, and order a piece of cocktail art.

To celebrate the book, Kiki Braverman supplied us with this delicious recipe using Pür Spirits.


Apothecary by Lucia Gonzales (photo Kelly Puleio)

1 oz. pür•likör blossom, elderflower liqueur
1/2 oz. St. George Dry Rye Gin
1/2 oz. Sherry
1/4 oz. fresh squeezed ruby grape fruit juice
fresh fennel, sliced
Muddle fennel in a mixing glass. Add all ingredients and stir over ice. Strain into an old fashioned glass. Garnish with fennel leaves.

Pre-order your copy of Drink Careers 101 on Kickstarter today!

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A Treat to Unwind: Buying Cider in an “Apple Store”


Check out this new commercial created by Somersby Cider featuring the “The Somersby Store” — a clever spoof on the “Apple Store”.

Have a fine beverage-filled weekend everyone,

Comments Off on A Treat to Unwind: Buying Cider in an “Apple Store” 03.29.2013 |

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