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Kristina Tomlin


My first real exposure to wine was when I was working my way through college. I’ve always had a fascination with different cultures and how they interacted with one another, so I pursued a degree in International Relations (political science).. While I was there, I worked at the university banquets and catering department - where I wielded that waiter’s tool with finesse and efficiency. I also learned what they mean by “banquet wine,” safe to say I believed I was a devoted red wine drinker. While at USD, I learned the ins and outs of how to operate a catering company, fold napkins, and set a formal table, while also receiving my degree in International Relations and History. 


My interest in wine piqued when I went wine tasting at local wine tasting room and was poured a white wine I was told I might enjoy. It was one I’ll never forget - Moonstone Cellars Albarino. Albarino is still one of my favorite wines to this day. I didn’t really understand - how did this wine taste so vastly different than previous white wines (as high of a quality my college budget could afford)? My background in marketing and knowledge of the hospitality industry led me to venture into the world of wine. 


As anyone who has “studied” wine knows - there’s truly no end in sight, the more you learn, the more you find you don’t know. Wine is a passion for lifelong learners - myself being one of them. What I love about wine is its connective properties - it can allow us in the present to experience the life of vines in the past, each experience is new from one moment to the next. The experience when you share the same bottle with one person to another is itself a unique experience. Wine, like food, invites us to share in an experience that is essential to human existence - breaking of bread and sharing of wine, it creates community. 


I often have people ask me what I studied in school and how it applies to what I’m doing today, and I like to think that what I’ve learned through the interdisciplinary International Relations is how societies are influenced by the past, much like how grapes absorb the events of that vintage and tell a different story every year.


I passed my Court of Master Sommelier Certified Exam in late May 2019 in Las Vegas - a final attempt after failing the first time (another story). I helped build the local tasting room where I was first exposed to the diversity of wine - making it a premier destination for novice and seasoned palates alike. I organized a robust program of events, educational, food driven, and  with winemakers - domestic and international. I have served on the committee for city food and wine expos, and wine centric events both in the LA area and San Diego. 


In addition to pursuing my Certified Specialist of Wine Certificate with the Society of Wine Educators, I am looking forward to continuing to serve my community as a “Sommbassador” for Somm Sustainability and on the committee for USD’s Wine Classic fundraiser. I enjoy organizing tastings with other wine professionals in the area who are looking to break into the industry. I’ll never forget the wise words of an old customer after I passed my Certified Sommelier exam, she said “Congratulations, now bring someone up with you.” Build a community and pay it forward. 

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