Laura Maniec is a master sommelier, one of 20 women in the U.S. that have that designation.
That means she spent years blind tasting wines, learning the history of the drink and how it's made and sold. Becoming a master sommelier also meant that she had to be able to identify wine vintages, qualities or flaws by taste, and be knowledgeable about other alcoholic beverages, spirits -- even cigar production.
And here’s the crazy part. She started this long arduous process at 24 year old and, while I won’t reveal her age, she's still not yet 35.
In 2011, she finally decided to go out on her own and opened Corkbuzz, her first wine “studio” in New York City. She calls it a wine community center of sorts; a place where people with all levels of wine knowledge could go to drink, learn and explore wine.
“It’s part wine bar, part wine school, all wrapped up in a cool, casual studio designed to feel like a living room,” says Maniec.
Corkbuzz offers 15 to 20 classes per month, ranging from courses called a Tour of Italy to Advanced Blind Tasting to Picnic Pairings. (Hmm. I would love to know what to pair with that hot dog.)
And after she opened Corkbuzz in lower Manhattan, The Wall Street Journal called her the "It Girl" of the New York wine scene, Crain’s New York Business honored her as one of their “40 Under 40” and Food & Wine magazine named her one of 2013’s “Sommeliers of the Year.”
She makes me feel like a slacker.
Yet she's completely approachable, and knows her stuff. And she reminds us all, that we should strive to be a master of whatever we love most.