Let鈥檚 be honest 鈥 if being a professional wine drinker was a normal job, it鈥檚 more than likely a few of us would quit our day jobs and apply for that immediately. And while most people鈥檚 love for wine stops at enjoying a glass at dinner, splitting a bottle with your boo or adding to聽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鈥檚 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.

jessica altieri

B+C: So. Let鈥檚 just clear the air. You鈥檙e a professional wine drinker. Yes or no?

JA: I prefer to call it 鈥渨ine sensory and taste researcher.鈥 So, yes. AKA鈥 professional wine drinker. I鈥檓 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 鈥淲ine Is Just a Conversation Waiting to Happen.鈥 My book, Kiss My Glass: Jess Altieri鈥檚 鈥淣O-BS鈥 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鈥檝e participated in prestigious competitions, including the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (third year), the International Women鈥檚 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 鈥渆dutainment,鈥 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鈥檝e grown to become the world鈥檚 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?

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?

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B+C: Have to ask 鈥 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 鈥渨ine is just a conversation waiting to happen.鈥 So my answer depends on where I鈥檓 at and who I鈥檓 having a conversation with; however, that being said, I am partial to a big, bold Barolo in Italy.

B+C: Fair enough. Let鈥檚 pretend wine isn鈥檛 an option. What are you drinking? Water? Beer? Diet Coke?

JA: Green tea, iced or hot!

jessica altieri

B+C: What鈥檚 the toughest thing about being a trailblazer in the wine industry?

JA: You need to take a daily dose of courage and adopt a 鈥渟mash the wall down鈥 attitude. It鈥檚 a male-dominated industry. I鈥檓 wine smart, tech savvy and I pilot a digital wine rocket-ship that is fueled by new apps and technology every day. There鈥檚 little room to walk and talk softly. It鈥檚 jump in鈥. take some shots鈥. 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鈥檚 your best piece of advice for your fellow #GirlBosses out there?

JA: Perfect is the enemy. Don鈥檛 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)