The One Minute Wine Master: Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan, MW
For many wine enthusiasts, wine is a lifestyle choice. For Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan, it was a business lunch that changed her life forever. The herb-crusted salmon paired with a chilled glass of Sancerre left such a strong impression on Bryan that she left the corporate banking world for the wine world.
“Maybe it was because I had a job that I was so miserable in that I was looking for an escape,” Bryan said.
Every aspect about wine fascinated her.
“Wine is just so exciting! From Italy, Australia to South Africa, there are so many exotic places associated with wine and it just fascinated me that different grape varieties tasted differently and that the same grape variety tasted different in different regions and every vintage tasted different,” Bryan exclaimed.
When Bryan got bit by the wine bug, she got bit hard. She wanted to know everything.
“I’ve always been interested in science,” Bryan said. “So learning about the wine making, all the science behind viticulture and how the tastes got in there amazed me.”
After achieving her Wine & Spirits Education Trust Diploma in 2002, she went after the coveted, hard to obtain title Master of Wine. In 2008, she received her title and the 2008 WiesbadenTasting Trophy awarded by the Institute of Masters of Wine. Bryan is one out of eight women in the U.S. to achieve this title.
“I went from knowing nothing about wine in 2000 to achieving one of the top, if not the top title of the industry in eight years so it can be done,” Bryan said.
Bryan was so enthused by wine; she wanted to share it with the world, starting with her family. She brought home a bottle of 1996 Grands Échezeaux to show what an ethereal experience wine could be. She opened the bottle, discussed the ins and outs of the wine, left the room for a minute and came back to find her family had added 7-Up to their glasses. Even her identical twin, with identical DNA didn’t like the wine or understand its complexities.
“I was like ‘wow, this is really interesting,’” Bryan said.
It was in that moment and countless others that led Bryan to realize wine preference is very diverse and the answer to “what kind of wine do you think I would like?” should be a short, simple answer.
“My inspiration came as I wanted to share my knowledge and experiences to help people chose wines that are right for them,” Bryan explained.
Taking inspiration from Cosmopolitan quizzes and Colour Me Beautiful, The One Minute Wine Master: Discover 10 Wines You’ll Like in 60 Seconds or Less was born.
“Everyone does Cosmo quizzes while sitting at the nail salon and it was a light bulb moment that got me thinking about the Colour Me Beautiful book,” Bryan said. “In the 80s, so many people didn’t know anything about cosmetics, including myself, and I thought a unique idea with wine could be really great for those people just beginning and wanting to know the right wine for them.”
She developed The One Minute Wine Master Quiz which has 11 questions and each answer leads to a palate type which is associated with a season – Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. By taking her quiz, readers can discover what season they fall into and then discover 10 different wines that should suit their palate from The One Minute Wine Master Wheel.
But Bryan’s book doesn’t just consist of a quiz and wine list. She takes her expertise and digs into the 5 S’s of tasting wine, the six different types of wine drinker, perceiving aromas, flavors and taste, key words to use when ordering to get the perfect wine for your palate and further explanation behind the quiz, seasons and wine lists.
The One Minute Wine Master could be a game changer in the industry.
“Any methodology that makes (wine) easier for people, I’m all for it,” Bryan said. “Simplicity is a huge way to get (people) comfortable with wine. The One Minute Wine Master quiz isn’t foolproof, but at least it’s a starting point to get people exploring.”
For example, if the quiz says you are a “Summer”(meaning medium-bodied wines with lots of ripe juicy fruit), and you’re not, it may mean you are actually a “Winter” for red wine (rich, full-bodied tannic red wine) and a “Spring” for white (delicate, crisp white wine).
Bryan hopes her book can be used as a quick guide and stir up conversations, especially with business people entertaining clients in restaurants.
“It helps people choose wines in pressure situations that is fun and gets people talking,” Bryan explained.
Opening the doors to the wine world for enthusiasts and beginners alike, may just be Bryan’s ticket to the top.