Hillary Zio doesn’t just have an Instagram account that leaves you inspired and envious. She is a wine educator and consultant.

Her book, The Unfiltered Guide to Working in Wine, is a roadmap that outlines her career path and documents the ins and outs of different jobs in the wine industry.

Upon reading, I decided to double up and take the WSET Level 2 and the Introductory Sommelier Course and Exam at the same time. I registered and then passed both in 6 weeks.

She’s single-handily helped me jumpstart my wine career. So, thank you, Hillary.

You can learn more about Hillary Zio and the twists and turns in her wine journey by listening to the podcast below.

“This is a small industry. Keep close ties and follow up. It’s important to have that network and community.”

Hillary Zio

Listen to Hillary Zio’s Interview

Check back here on July 17th for the re-release of my interview with Hillary Zio.

Update on Hillary

I had the chance to talk to Hillary recently to catch up on her latest adventures in the wine world. No surprise, she’s still crushing it…while expecting her first child. I’m so happy for Hillary and her family. I know she’s going to be an outstanding Mom.

Q: What is going on with The Unfiltered Guide to Wine?

A: Actually, sales are staying pretty consistent. It is in the Napa Valley Wine Academy right now. So, a lot of students who are there to work in the industry have been picking it up and reordering. It’s a good place for it!

Q: Are you still finding that a lot of people are reading it and getting a lot of things out of it like I did?

A: Yes, totally! People are always like: What do I do? Where do I go? I like having a place where I can direct them. People are thanking me all the time! It feels really good.

Q: Obviously you are not drinking, but is there any particular wine you are looking forward to drinking? Something stowed away for after you have your baby.

A: I have been spitting, so I am not totally sworn off of wine. But I don’t have anything stowed away. I am just excited to go out and party!

Q: What have you been doing otherwise? Anything new? Travel?

A: I did a lot of traveling earlier in the year. I went to the Canary Islands, England, Scotland, around the US. I’m kind of done with traveling at the moment, at least for a little while.

Q: Have you been to any of those places before?

A: Yes, I have. Not the Canary Island though. The volcanic soil obviously, the positioning of the vineyards over-looking the water, the crazy grapes out there; things you cannot see anywhere else. That was kind of our baby moon last month. I have been following Canary Island wine for a really long time, and it’s been really impressive. It is also so beautiful.

Q: What about your writing? Are you still creating content?

A: I am still writing a lot, but I am not doing the events and the traveling and the drinking. It’s different, but it feels really good.

I have been doing some guest blog posting with Wake-Up Wine.

It’s a new electronic decanter/aerator. I met them in the city and tried it out. I see so many wine products, so you’re skeptical and thinking what is this thing. Then we started tasting white, red, orange wines and spirits before and after on the device, and it really was astonishing. It’s been really fun because I have been writing whatever I want as it relates to decanting and aerating.

Q: Have you been finding that people are into it and get it?

A: Yes! When you open a young wine that is maybe high in tannin, it is really harsh at first and needs time. A lot of people do not have the time. Now, we have the technology to save you time. It’s a really good product and people are definitely interested.

I have also been doing a lot of collaborations on social media. I am going to take a break. It just doesn’t feel genuine since I am not drinking and going to events. And after I have my baby, I will decide how much I want to share about my baby. I just want it to feel natural.

Q: What advice would you give yourself two years ago?

A: I would tell myself to go travel because you are about to have a baby in two years! There are so many places that I haven’t been that I cannot believe I haven’t been like Rhône Valley or Veneto. They are still on my list. I would also tell myself don’t just do what you think you should do. I used to think that I had to sell, sell, sell to make money. That was not exactly the case. I am better at working creatively. It’s understanding what you are good at and following your instincts. Trusting yourself.

Q: If I gave you one free trip, baby-free, where would you go? No baby, no rules, no logistical challenges.

A: Probably Sicily. I have been dying to go for so long. So many wineries that are so impressive. It is changing so rapidly. I like to travel where I can enjoy the food, scenery, a beach nearby never hurts, and experience the culture. I cannot believe I have never been.

Want more Hillary Zio?

Buy the Unfiltered Guide to Working in Wine here.

Listen to her interview on CruPodcast with Chappy Cottrell.

Hillary joins The Grape Nation for another interview.

Lady Lovin’ shares a glass of wine with Hillary on one of their podcast episodes.

About Hillary Zio

Hillary D’Argenzio is a Certified Sommelier with an Advanced Certificate in Wines and Spirits. She has held director-level positions across the fine dining, luxury retail, and distribution sectors for over ten years. 

Having taught over 400 wine classes to date, she is always learning about and adapting to the never-ending world of wine. Hillary is also the author of The Unfiltered Guide to Working in Wine, a comprehensive source for anyone interested in or fascinated with pursuing a career in wine.

Today, Hillary creates written content and photography for wine brands, retailers, distribution companies and more, under her company, Hillary Zio, LLC.

Connect with Hillary Zio

Published by Brian McCann

Brian McCann started his wine journey out of luck, faith and confidence, and often times the complete opposite of all those things. Ultimately, he left his 9-to-5 and found himself in wine. His heartbreak grape is Syrah.

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