I moved to New York after nearly a decade in Italy, where I worked as a food and travel writer and consultant. Along the way I completed the rigorous training program at the Italian National Sommelier Association. While in Rome I launched my own wine column in the Rome publication of WHERE magazine, and continue to write about food, wine, and vineyards for a number of publications including Zagat, Insight Guides, Draft magazine, The American, and Haute Life Press.
My travels took me to tiny towns where local food and wine traditions have grown up together, and to vineyards where generations of winemakers have been producing wines not only in accordance with modern day standards, but in line with the explicit style and flavor of the region. I learned that while there are “rules” about what to drink and when, the spirit of wine goes far beyond its scent and flavor profile. Wine embodies place and time, an occasion, and even a feeling. It can commemorate an occasion, and inspire emotions and creative expression.
The owner of my favorite wine bar in Rome used to say that every bottle of wine has a soul inside, a story. Where did the grapes grow? Can you taste the sea breeze that rustles the leaves of the vines? When you open it, smell it, share it with others, engage with it you set it free.
The study of wine is truly multidisciplinary. It comprises history, culture, biology, geology, and chemistry (among others) and in its own way, even composition and poetry. The olfactory sense is our most direct link to the world around us, biologically and emotionally.
When teaching, writing, and hosting events it is my goal to bring people closer to this understanding, and ultimately closer to one another.
Alessandro Spreafico, CEO Contaminate, Brooklyn, New York
" I operate an experiential arts organization and we produce several creative events in New york City. Whenever I need wine advice, a sommelier for a special occasion, rental glassware, or simply an effervescent presence, DiVino is one of the first names on my list. "
Celene Aguilar, Brooklyn, New York
" Annie helped me plan probably the best party I’ve ever had! I wanted a wine tasting for my birthday where my girlfriends and I could learn about wine, but in a very accessible and fun way. Annie brought all the elements together to make it an unforgettable experience at the venue I had chosen, an intimate and lovely event space at Shag in Brooklyn. She made sure to incorporate my favorite wine, Rosé, into the varied selection, and worked within my budget to make it feel lavish, but not break my bank! She also printed out the menu of wines being tasted for my guests to leave with and keep as a souvenir (or shopping list!). She also offered to assist with the selection of cheeses and other tidbits to compliment her wine selections. We had a gorgeous evening and I can’t wait to use her again for another fabulous party!! "
Alex Rodriguez, Manager RONI Boutique, New York
" For the grand opening of our Nolita location, Annie worked closely with me to find wines that represented our message of RONI boutique’s unique fashion personality. She was efficient and organized at every step of the process, from the earliest details to the creation of promotional materials. Annie has the innate ability to seamlessly fuse her expertise and authority with your vision to produce a highly successful and memorable event. "
Sharon Banis, Participant, Chicago
" I attended Annie’s class at Sentieri in Chicago this November. I think that Annie’s presentation struck a perfect balance between being fun and being informative. She was very approachable and un-stuffy, so that no one was afraid to ask a question or make an observation. Just sip, learn and enjoy! "
Jeffrey Kuntz, London
" I went to Annie for wine advice when planning my wedding reception in rural England. Even from overseas I knew we were in good hands. Annie selected delicious wines that fit our budget and designed a beautiful single-page wine list/ homage to our relationship. Harmonie de Gascogne 2009, which Annie chose to reflect our relationship, was a true crowd pleaser and was the perfect companion to the braised pork. Thank you Annie! "
Monika Balsamo, PR and Marketing LAFCO, New York
" We love Annie and DiVino! Our last event with Annie was one of our most innovative – an evening of fragrance and wine pairings for the launch of a new Eau d’Italie Fragrance. LAFCO can’t wait to host our next event in the Spring of 2011! "
Michael Goldman, Publisher Haute Life Press, New York
" Annie provides high quality food and wine writing for our series of custom publications created exclusively for high profile chefs including Michael White, Lidia Bastianich, Laurent Tourandel, and David Burke. She has a very effective way of combining her knowledge of wine and how to drink it with an engaging and entertaining voice. "
Mick McGuire, Trunk show host, New York
" Annie was the perfect solution for a recent launch party I hosted for a friend’s jewelry line. With very short notice, Annie conceived a full-scale wine experience. She handled glassware, wine selection, delivery, and presentation. She even prepared small samples of the scents unique to each wine to help bring out the flavors and was eager to help my guests learn about the wines they were drinking. I was thrilled to be able to offer my guests an alternative to the standard open bar that was fun, educational and, most of all, delicious! "