This #GirlBoss Made Her Love for Wine into a Full-Fledged Career
Let’s be honest — if being a professional wine drinker was a normal job, it’s more than likely a few of us would quit our day jobs and apply for that immediately. And while most people’s love for wine stops at enjoying a glass at dinner, splitting a bottle with your boo or adding to a modest wine rack collection, Jessica Altieri, the CEO and founder of Wine Channel TV Digital Network, turned it into a full-time gig. It sounded too good to be true, so we caught up with Jessica to hear what it’s like to be considered a wine pro, what trends we can look out for and what it takes to be a #girlboss in the digital space.
B+C: So. Let’s just clear the air. You’re a professional wine drinker. Yes or no?
JA: I prefer to call it “wine sensory and taste researcher.” So, yes. AKA… professional wine drinker. I’m a level-two certified sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, a California Wine Appellation Specialist, Professional Wine Judge, author, speaker and CEO/Publisher of the Wine Channel TV Digital Network.
I have appeared on ABC, WGN, CNBC and ESPN Radio, also online with AOL, BRAVO and Michigan Avenue Magazine, spreading the message that “Wine Is Just a Conversation Waiting to Happen.” My book, Kiss My Glass: Jess Altieri’s “NO-BS” Wine Buying Guide is available online through Amazon and in select Walgreens Flagship stores throughout the US.
Through my travels to New Zealand, France, Italy, Austria, Oregon, Washington and California, I have worked with over 100 wineries and wine lifestyle brands. And as a professional wine judge, I’ve participated in prestigious competitions, including the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (third year), the International Women’s Wine Competition and the Sonoma County Harvest Fair. And, I am a graduate of New York University with a degree in broadcast journalism.
B+C: Can you expand a little bit on Wine Channel TV Digital Network? What type of programming does it produce and what makes it unique?
JA: We create original wine lifestyle content, called “edutainment,” the perfect blend of education and entertainment, which is focused on wine lifestyle instead of just wine. As the CEO and publisher of the Wine Channel TV Digital Network, I lead the charge to change the way consumers experience wine through our ability to reach and engage millennials with social media and video campaigns. From sports to fashion to music, wine is a currency to convey conversations around the world. We’ve grown to become the world’s fastest growing digital wine lifestyle network and collaborate with leading brands, trade associations and lifestyle companies around the globe.
B+C: Your book, Kiss My Glass, is a no-BS guide to buying wine. Can you share your top three tips for purchasing a great bottle of wine?
- Don’t be afraid to ask your wine buyer for recommendations; they may have a winning new wine they just got in. Don’t be afraid to ask if you can try a sample!
- More and more wine buyers are offering tastings; take advantage and see if you really like what you’re about to buy.
- Location, location, location — if you’re headed to an Italian dinner, think Italian wine. Going to a fancy French restaurant, stick to a great French wine. Always think location if you’re in doubt of what to get, and you won’t go wrong.
B+C: What should wine lovers on a budget look for in a good bottle of grapes?
JA: When on a budget, make the time to get to know your local wine shop owners. They can steer you toward great new varietals you may not have tried and offer up some tastes to whet your palate.
B+C: You often travel to judge wine competitions. Which city do you think takes the crown for best wine?
JA: I judge thousands of wines in a competition. At the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, the largest competition of American wines, we judged over 7,000 wines! The city where that takes place, Cloverdale, California, could rank right up there for one week each year.
B+C: What trends in wine are you seeing for the later half of 2016 and into the New Year?
- More amazing wine-by-the-glass options. Thank you, Coravin…
- Advanced wine apps and new technology to help you keep learning about new wine regions and track your favorites.
- Millennials, who are the biggest consumers of wine at the moment, are all about experimenting with new varietals, so tons of room for growth from producers around the globe.
B+C: Have to ask — you only get to drink one wine for the rest of your life. What is it (and why!)?
JA: My tagline, which appears at a wine bar in Disney in California, is “wine is just a conversation waiting to happen.” So my answer depends on where I’m at and who I’m having a conversation with; however, that being said, I am partial to a big, bold Barolo in Italy.
B+C: Fair enough. Let’s pretend wine isn’t an option. What are you drinking? Water? Beer? Diet Coke?
JA: Green tea, iced or hot!
B+C: What’s the toughest thing about being a trailblazer in the wine industry?
JA: You need to take a daily dose of courage and adopt a “smash the wall down” attitude. It’s a male-dominated industry. I’m wine smart, tech savvy and I pilot a digital wine rocket-ship that is fueled by new apps and technology every day. There’s little room to walk and talk softly. It’s jump in…. take some shots…. get up and keep going. No time to reflect. Women should and are taking on more leadership roles and starting their own wine-related businesses, like I have, and people are paying attention. This is a great time to get into the wine industry.
B+C: What’s your best piece of advice for your fellow #GirlBosses out there?
JA: Perfect is the enemy. Don’t try to be flawless at everything you do, just make a plan and get going. Then you can always adjust things as you go. The hardest part is starting.
Tweet us your fave wine @BritandCo!
(Photos via Jessica Altieri)
Welcome to Selfmade Finance School, our new money series with Block Advisors to help small business owners with their tax, bookkeeping, and payroll needs year-round. This week, we explore the tax implications of bringing family members into your business.
The question for today is this: Does hiring your family members make sense for your business? Let me be clear. This is not a piece about whether hiring your family members makes sense for your relationships with those family members. As someone who is part of a family business, I could fill up a lot more than 600 words on my opinions about that. For today's purposes, we focus on whether it makes sense from an overall "good business and tax implication" perspective. As it turns out, there is a decent amount of tax nuance when it comes to employing your family. Let's break it down based on relationship to the employee:
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Spouses Who Are In Business Together
Personally, if I had to be in business with my husband, it would not go well. However, many couples build viable, strong businesses together and I say, good for them! Depending on how you have your business entity structured, it will make a big difference on the tax treatment of you and your spouse working as partners. Because a business jointly owned and operated by a married couple is generally treated as a partnership for Federal tax purposes, the spouses must comply with filing and record keeping requirements imposed on partnerships and their partners. The election to file two Schedule C (Form 1040) forms, (one for each spouse) permits certain married co-owners to avoid filing partnership returns, provided that each spouse separately reports a share of all the businesses' items of income, gain, loss, deduction, and credit. Under the election, both spouses will be subject to self-employment tax and on net earnings from self-employment and receive credit for Social Security earnings.
One Spouse Employs Another
If you have a dynamic where your spouse is an employee of your business, then your spouse's wages are subject to income tax withholding, Social Security and Medicare taxes. If you are self-employed (not a corporation or a partnership), your spouse's pay does not have to be included in your federal unemployment tax account (FUTA) contributions and payments. However, if your business is a corporation or a partnership you must include that spouse's pay in your unemployment tax contribution calculation.
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You Employ Your Child
First, let's be clear. I work in my family business, but I am an adult, so I am treated just like a normal employee. However, if you, for example, run a family restaurant and want to hire your children under 18 to work for you, there are some tax benefits. But first, you should check with your state for rules on how many hours minors can work (in non-agricultural jobs) and reference the Fair Labor Standards Act for information on limitations on the kinds of work children can perform.
"This is an often overlooked or under-utilized strategy. Paying your children for true services they provide in your business can be a powerful tax-saving tool," says Cathi Reed, Block Advisors Regional Director. "If you are a sole-proprietorship or single member LLC, and the child is less than 18 years of age, the business is not required to withhold FICA or payroll taxes. The child can use his or her standard deduction against income you pay."
You Hire Your Parent
Oh dear. If you are brave enough to do this, know that you will need to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on your parent's wages and make the appropriate withholdings, but you don't have to pay unemployment taxes. Now all you have to do is convince your parent that you are the boss. Have fun with that!
Is Hiring Family Members Worth It For The Tax Benefits?
"There are some positive tax advantages to hiring family members. It's important to treat a family member like any other employee. Hiring your children can result in substantial savings for businesses. Make sure your child has real, age-appropriate work to do and a reasonable pay rate, comparable to other employees. Consult with a Block Advisors small business certified tax pro to ensure that you are complying with all requirements," advises Reed. "Block Advisors, a team within H&R Block, is dedicated to meeting the tax, bookkeeping and payroll needs of small business owners year-round. To start working with the tax experts at Block Advisors, visit blockadvisors.com."
In my opinion, you should not hire a family member solely because of the tax benefits. You should always hire based on whether that person is right for the job and keep in mind how this hire could materially impact your relationship with that person and others in your family. Finally, as I mentioned, make sure you have a tax professional on your team when making these determinations. As you can see, things can get a little tricky!
*All details were sourced from IRS.gov and blockadvisors.com