Book Review: The Unfiltered Guide To Working In Wine by Hillary Zio

The business of wine making presently is a global phenomena that is often overlooked or at the very least, taken for granted. Wine is an indulgence, a conversation starter, and many times, the perfect gift that is accessible to us almost everywhere in the world. It continues to act as a binding agent amongst people, laying common ground in the most unlikely of scenarios, as it has for thousands of years. This age-old staple is abundant in its multitude of vineyards, brands, and varieties in production globally. Gaining a greater foothold in our gastronomically established society are the individuals that bring to fructification what happens after the grapes are pressed and the bottle is corked. In Hillary Zio’s The Unfiltered Guide To Working In Wine, we dive into the complexities, tiers, and regulations of this universe.

The author describes her foray into wine as an uphill and gradual journey fueled by an unyielding passion for the spirit. She repeatedly reiterates that meticulous enthusiasm bordering on obsession is essential in order to go places in the industry, for it is not one that grants immediate reward. Social media, too, has been come a definitive factor in marketing oneself or even a brand. Zio breaks down the levels of certification that must be obtained to be taken seriously as an aficionado, as she is currently a Certified Sommelier herself. To work in wine as she does so intently, it requires mastery of not only top-notch vintners, but familiarity with grape varietals, what soil in particular regions yield, as well as an exceptionally keen taste. As she does mention, positions in the enterprise including serving, retail, and buying, it is the responsibilities as Sommelier that intrigue the most.

In The Unfiltered Guide To Working In Wine, Hillary Zio recounts, with an underlying sense of humor, the hurdles that she met with fervor along her path in this occupation. More importantly, these accounts act as advice and something to learn from for the wine-curious or beginners seeing a doorway into this world. Experience, knowledge, and an inquisitive nature are assets frequently mentioned as requirements for success in the how-to book. From detailed descriptions of the nail-biting exams the author endured for certification to reports of the joy derived from working with something you care about, Zio’s straight-forward direction entertains. The benefits of finding your place in this sphere, she states, are not just the perks of getting free wine, but meeting people with a shared interest and being able to be a part of their special experience, as private tastings typically allow.

It is plain that the author has found her center at the heart of this trade as she has built a life around it, as she continues to self-educate as well as educate others. She encourages newcomers to wine to immerse themselves and take advantage of the inside information that this book provides. The potential occupations in wine range from service and Sommelier to wholesale as well as store operator. If The Unfiltered Guide To Working In Wine shows us anything, it is how invigorating following what drives you can be. Hillary Zio’s piece is the straight-forward, first-hand encounter that informs as it humors, delivering a myriad of avenues to travel in the world of wine. This book translates insightfully average for the wine-loving novice, allowing the reader an advantage and dose of reality before plunging headfirst into the barrel.