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Meet Missa Capozzo of Wine Down Tastings in Worcester

Today we’d like to introduce you to Missa Capozzo.

Missa, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I had been in a different industry for almost two decades when I made the decision to completely change my course. At the time, my career just wasn’t bringing me the joy and fulfillment it once did, and I knew I needed to make a change to reignite my fire. I considered many different avenues to take, until I finally decided I wanted to do something crazy, something I had zero experience in, but could learn, something that I enjoyed as a hobby so that it would never feel like I was working. At that moment, I looked down at the wine glass I was holding in my hand and I felt a spark. That was the beginning of a whole new passion.

At that time, I truly knew nothing about wine. I knew I enjoyed drinking it, I knew I was fascinated by the wine making process, and I felt the world of wine was incredibly intimidating, but I wanted to learn and be a part of that world. The first obstacle was finding a job that I could learn on the job, and I was lucky enough to find two! While still working at my full time job, I also got hired at Hardwick Vineyard & Winery in Hardwick, MA to conduct in-store wine tastings and occasionally work the tasting bar at the winery itself, and I also enrolled as an Independent Wine Consultant with a direct sales company, both in the spring of 2014. Both positions gave me a wonderful introduction into the world of wine, as far as both education and the skills to sell wine.

Within six months of being a wine consultant, I was able to resign from my full time job and immerse myself in both of my wine related jobs. I officially had a new career in a new industry, but more importantly found a new passion I didn’t even know existed. I craved more, so I scheduled myself for the Court of Master Sommeliers Introductory class, which would be my first exposure to the various wine certification programs that are available. Over the next several years, I expanded my wine education with various courses and certifications, including the WSET2 and WSET3 (Wine and Spirit Education Trust), the CSW, (Certified Specialist of Wine), and most recently the FWS (French Wine Scholar).

Throughout all of my classes, I continued on as a wine consultant with my direct sales company, working my way to the top of the company, receiving multiple company awards, speaking at national and regional conventions, and ultimately accepting a position as their Director of Sommology in April of 2017. Within this position, I run the wine and food pairing program, tools, and much of the food and wine education for the 5,000 consultants in the company.

In February of 2018, I was contacted by the Boston Wine School, who was searching for a qualified educator to teach wine classes and lead educational wine dinners in the Worcester/Central Mass area. I accepted the position before I even got off the phone! It was a dream come true, being able to educate the wine curious crowd in a classroom and/or restaurant setting, and really offer a unique brand of “edutainment”.

I still work all four of these positions collectively, as each position gives me different fulfillment and joy, and allows me to reach four completely different groups of people. In addition, I do quite a bit of independent consulting for various types of clients, whether it be to coordinate a wine list and menu for special occasions such as weddings, parties, or corporate events, to help craft the perfect wine list for a restaurant, or even to assist in building a wine enthusiast’s wine collection. I can proudly say I was able to turn my hobby into my career, and I don’t feel as if I’ve worked a single day since!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Like everything in life, it has been a roller coaster. With that roller coaster comes a lot of personal growth and self-exploration. They say anything worth it doesn’t come easy, and that is true. My biggest struggle along the way was learning how to balance it all, between my various positions and the intense studying for certification exams. Focusing too much on any one area would affect my feeling of fulfillment, so it was a huge lesson to learn how to balance each position with education, and especially with my social life and spending time with friends and family. When you are passionate about something, it can be all too easy to neglect other areas of your life, so it was a real learning curve for me to step back and make adjustments, which including nurturing myself and not being afraid to say “no”.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Wine Down Tastings – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Wine Down Tastings is my all-encompassing wine business, in which I offer consulting services as well as education. I specialize in creating the perfect wine and food pairing menu for any occasion, whether it’s a large celebratory event, or a quiet dinner for two. I am known for demystifying wine and erasing the intimidation that often accompanies wine, making it approachable, enjoyable, and most of all fun. My clients don’t want to be experts or somms or educators, they simply want to learn some useful tips and tidbits that will make their dining, drinking, and entertaining experiences more memorable, and through a down to earth, “snob-free” approach, I am able to provide that.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Opportunities seems to present themselves to me at the perfect time, which makes me look forward to each and every new day. Although I don’t have a strict plan for the future, I do plan on continuing my education, earning more certifications, and truly enjoying where my new world takes me.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Professional session photos by Jaclyn Tillinghast

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