Canned Wine Might Have Been Primed For Socializing In The Era Of Social Distancing

Posted: Nov 09, 2020

Kristin Olszewski got her start in the hospitality industry while working in restaurants in the Bay Area and became enamored with wine while working at Michelin-starred Saison. After pursuing a postbaccalaureate in medicine at Harvard, she realized she’d fallen in love with the wine and restaurant industries and instead went on to get her sommelier certification. From there, she furthered her depth of knowledge as a sommelier at Straight Wharf Restaurant in Nantucket and the award-winning Husk Nashville before moving back out West to head the wine program for F10 Creative in Palm Springs.

In 2017, while on the sommelier team at Nancy Silverton’s Osteria Mozza in Los Angeles, Olszewski founded canned wine brand Nomadica with Emma Toshack to change the way that people consume and think about wine. Nomadica sources its wines from boutique winemakers, packaging them in chic cans with limited-edition art from independent illustrators, painters, sculptors, photographers, and street artists. Additionally, because glass bottles are 400 times as heavy as cans, the Nomadica brand reduces emissions from shipping by up to 80%, making it a more sustainable wine-drinking choice, according to the cofounders. Olszewski is also the wine director of Gigi’s, a new French bistro opening in Hollywood this fall.

Fortune recently spoke with Olszewski, as well as Tara Hannaford, Nomadica’s new chief operating officer, about how the first year has been and what the company plans to do next.

The following interview has been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.

Kristin Olszewski, cofounder of Nomadica
Courtesy of Nomadica
Fortune: Could you tell me a bit about your backgrounds? What were you doing professionally prior to launching Nomadica?

Olszewski: I majored in sustainable farming and gender studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and ended up moving to San Francisco after graduating to work in a revolving door of Michelin-starred restaurants. While working for the Sons & Daughters Group, [sommelier and wine director] Carlin Karr really introduced me to the world of wine, and it was all downhill from there. I remember being amazed that you could find incredible wine at affordable prices; before tasting with Carlin, I always felt like wine was so inaccessible.

I did a brief detour back to the East Coast on the med school track at Harvard and ended up working at this incredible wine bar, Spoke Wine Bar, in Boston. Flea Foster, the owner, took time to taste with me, develop my confidence in my own ability, and gave me the courage I needed to leave school and pursue wine. Since then, I’ve been a sommelier and wine director at Straight Wharf Restaurant, F10 Group, Husk, Osteria Mozza, and Gigi’s. I’m completely obsessed with wine; passionate about the “new” California, France, and Italy. I love that wine gives an opportunity to support farmers who are truly stewards of the land.

By Rachel King
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